Do you have BOYFRIEND? And other conversations with Japanese girls

I’m a bit dumb, so I chose to get tutored in Japanese this semester instead of, say organic chemistry or calculus. No matter. I got a tutor kind enough to tell me about this event:

The event was at Showa Boston, a language and culture institute located about three miles away out in Jamaica Plain. Showa Boston is actually just a branch of Showa University, an all-women college located in metropolitan Tokyo. Students hoping to improve their English skills can ship up to Boston to study abroad. Showa Boston’s location is a little isolated from downtown Boston, though– it’s nestled out among trees and grassy hills and suburban neighborhoods. Thus, Showa Boston is trying to connect to the local community. They want their students to connect with Americans. To practice English.

Thus, they decided to invite freeloaders (like me) over for free food.

I’ll take it.

So I hopped on a bus, and an hour later, I found myself in a room packed with Japanese girls. I was with my tutor and two other guys, but we ended up splitting up– doing so would give more students the chance to practice English. I wandered over to the food table alone and tried to make myself a rice ball…

After clumsily slapping together some poorly made rice balls, I awkwardly asked to sit down at a table. Three girls sitting around me were brave enough to strike up a conversation. However, their English was a little shaky. Still, we all tried our best:

We chatted some more:

And then it somehow turned into this…

And then into this: 

I'm a cynic. It's true.

And since they were getting the chance to practice their English, I decided to take the chance to practice my Japanese.

I spent the rest of the evening speaking in half-Japanese, half-English. The girls were merciful to me, though, and used only English. (My listening skills suck.) We discussed celebrities, movies, music, Justin Bieber and the Backstreet Boys… typical girl talk. And at the same time, I couldn’t help but notice the culture gap. America and Japan are worlds apart in terms of politeness:

Overall? It was a bit awkward, a bit nerve-wracking, and totally awesome. The three girls I met were really nice. The food was tasty. I got to test out my substandard Japanese skills. And now I’m more excited than ever to go to Japan. Only 18 days until I leave! But who’s counting?

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15 thoughts on “Do you have BOYFRIEND? And other conversations with Japanese girls

  1. hehe, I’ve been reading your blog since last semester, and this is the first time I got to comment! Your blog has been so great, I love reading your comics, keep it up! a sushi class, that’s so awesome! I get called a 14 yr old a lot, so I must be asian hehe. Don’t worry Vy, we can be together forever alone. 🙂 haha

    • MORGAN! You will totally not be forever alone. And thank you so much!! I love it when people read my comics, as lame as they may be, but it’s comments that really make my day! HOW’S COLLEGE? 😀

  2. LOL’d this entire post. Imagine this, but nearly everyday, in Spanish and English. Welcome to my central valley life! But add in Mexican mothers who say “come over to my house for dinner! I’ll feed you!”

    BUT WAIT. 18 DAYS UNTIL YOU LEAVE??? TO JAPAN??? HOW DID I MISS THIS?

      • OMG! I’m the worst blogging buddy EVER! How did I miss this??? How did you not mention it again? You’re too modest!! Congrats, Vy! You will do SO well. I wanted to do short term this summer, but with me finding out that I was graduating and then being torn on whether or not to do a college program just delayed me too much. So hopefully next summer! But WOW! Congrats, again!

  3. That does sound like an exciting but nerve-racking time! I have had a year when my family was a host family to two Japanese girls, and I’ve also had visits to Open High School and a Japanese cultural learning centre that they send Japanese-language students to, so I can relate.

    I also relate to looking so young. Once, when I was in grade 11 or 12, some strangers started talking to me while I was waiting for my bus home who thought I was in 8th grade, and insisted I was lying to them when I told them what grade I was really in. They thought I was trying to appear impressive (the whole time I was thinking “why would I do that? I don’t care what you think of me; I don’t even know you!”)

    I like that the Japanese girls thought you looked old instead of young. It’s probably a cultural thing, because Asians (apparently) look so young. But it must have been weird. I’d have just kept denying it, because of what I’d always been told.

    • Oh man, when strangers argue with you about your own age… I’ve been there too many times than I can count! Asians do indeed look very, very young. I’ve heard some crazy stories from my friends who’ve been to Asia. If you’re a foreigner in an Asian country, for instance, you’ll rarely-if-ever get your ID checked because they assume that you’re of age. (Leading to many, many tales of American teens getting wasted abroad…)
      You hosted Japanese students at one point? That’s awesome! Your Japanese must be mad good then!

  4. “Then what are American boys like, Vy-chan?
    (Idiots, douchebags, they think with their cocks, they ask what your fetishes are) They’re…friendly.
    Ahhhhhhhhhh!”
    You must be strong, able to say that despite your thoughts. I am a boy (buff man) by the way.

  5. SANJI!! That’s what those guys act like, “Thinking with their c*cks” Except, Sanji is respectful when he does it (usually).

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