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Watashi Whaaa, Part 2

, , , | Right | October 22, 2021

My boyfriend comes with me to Okinawa. I have been studying Japanese, and we have decided to go to Japan for a month for a bit of immersion and practice. [Boyfriend] cannot speak a word of Japanese beyond “konnichiwa.”

One morning, we decide to go to this cute place for breakfast. A gaggle of kids has been just in front of us, so the waitress who comes to seat us asks us how many people are in our party. 

I confidently break out my skills to tell her we are a party of two. 

Me: “Futsuka desu.”

The waitress looks confused but takes us to a table and gives us a minute with the menu. After a moment, I realize my mistake: “Futsuka” is the word for two DAYS, not two people. When she comes back, I apologize for using the wrong word and happily chirp my correction.

Me: “Futori desu!”

The waitress looked mildly uncomfortable but didn’t say much. I chalked it up to her not needing to be told we were two people when we were obviously two people sitting at a table. 

It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized that the word for “two people” in Japanese is “futari.” I said “futori”… meaning I was insisting to the waitress that we were fat. 

Now I am back in the states, and I still think about that and blush every time I go to a diner.

Watashi Whaaa

Shaken, Stirred, And Silenced

, , , , | Learning | July 22, 2021

High schools are noisy places, especially at lunchtime. It is in the early summer of 2011, soon after the huge earthquake in northeastern Japan. We are a ways south of where it happened but still well in earthquake country, which is mostly all of Japan. 

I’m walking down the main hallway during lunch. The hallway and classrooms are bursting with noise as 800 students all try to talk over each other. It is really quite deafening.

Then, the building starts to shake.

And the school is utterly silent. 

Everyone waits to see if the shaking stops or things start falling, maybe even including the school itself.

Luckily, the shaking stops after a few seconds and the noise redoubles in intensity in an instant.  

Only an act of God can make a high school quiet during lunch.

No Warm Fuzzies Here, Only Cold, Wet, Drippies

, , , | Working | June 3, 2021

It’s the end of a particularly bad, cold, and rainy day, and I am complaining to my coworker while we get ready to leave.

Me: “I just couldn’t really get anything right today. I don’t know where my head is.”

Coworker: “I was gonna say, ‘Up your a**,’ but maybe it’s not the right time.”

Me: “No! No, you’re right! That’s exactly where it is!”

Coworker: “Is it at least warm?”

Me: “No! It’s cold! Because it’s closer to my heart!”

I Once Had A Spongebob Alarm Clock; It’s Dead Now

, , , , | Related | February 20, 2021

My two-year-old son is very enamored of a popular British children’s show, but it’s not well-known in Asia. I end up ordering him several toys via the UK branch of an Internet retailer, including one noise-making playset that is far too loud for our small apartment. After about an hour and a half of him playing with it nonstop, my partner comes out of the office where he was working, which is separated from the living room by only one door.

Partner: “Is there anything you’d like to say to me?”

Me: “I’m sorry! I didn’t know it’d be that loud!”

Partner: “Did you get that online?”

Me: “Yeah, from Amazon UK.”

Partner: “Have you figured out why they don’t sell that toy in Japan yet?!”

I ended up putting some packing tape over the speaker which reduced the noise to a much more bearable level.

Their IQ Isn’t Exactly Triple-Digit

, , , | Working | December 30, 2020

I work in the maintenance division of my organization and I sometimes have to fill in at the trouble desk when the person assigned there is off.

Me: “Maintenance, this is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “My phone doesn’t work; who can help me?”

Me: “Okay, since this is a communications problem, you’ll have to call the trouble desk at [Communications Division] the number is [three-digit number].”

Caller: “I have to call [Communications Division]? But my phone doesn’t work!”

After a moment of silence…

Me: “Yes, you’ll have to use another phone — the one you’re using now, for instance.”

Caller: “Okay, what’s the number again?”

Me: “It’s [three-digit number].”

Caller: “Okay, because my phone hasn’t been working since this morning. What’s the number?”

Me: *Facepalming* “It’s [three-digit number] just call and give them your number and they’ll assist you.”

Caller: “My number?”

Me: “Yes, the phone number of the phone that’s not working.”

Caller: “Ummm, okay.”

Then, she shouts, “What’s my phone number?” to the rest of the office and another worker tells her the number.

Caller: *To me* “Okay, thank you.”