Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I love it when this happens

I already posted this over on Dailymile, but I've added to it somewhat here.

This is a story from yesterday's run -- the experience is actually a pretty common one as a foreigner here, but I laughed harder than usual at the circumstances. I was running down the sidewalk on a nearby main road, one that I'm on several times a week. I came upon several groups of Japanese students, probably in their early teens or so - I have a hard time judging age here.

There was one very large group of a dozen or more schoolgirls, acting as schoolgirls do. They were milling about, blocking most of the sidewalk outside a bank. No big deal, I didn't think anything of it. About 50 meters away from them, I wondered if I'd have space to make it through the chattering, giggling crowd ... at 30 meters away, I realized from their body language that *I* was the object of some of the chattering ... they were starting to make a hole for me to run through, jumping back and forth across the sidewalk. Ten meters out, they'd separated into two groups on either side of the walk, when they suddenly became eerily quiet and all started looking in any other direction than mine.

I knew exactly what was going to happen next, because it happens so often here, but it hasn't gotten old yet.

Just as I passed through the group, one of the girls -- who had no doubt been double-dog-dared by her friends -- broke the silence and meekly said, "Konichiwa."

I replied, in my best big booming voice, "KONICHIWAAAA" and kept right on running, causing the entire crowd of girls to explode into loud, giggly tween laughter.

The giant can talk! I'm never sure, when this happens, if the kids are making fun of my awful, awful Japanese or just thrilled that the gaijin can speak a few words. I figure if they're laughing and I'm laughing, I can just file it under "contributing to improved foreign relations."

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