Lost in translation

I finally left Hong Kong.

I didn't really properly say goodbye to Hong Kong because my mind wasn't really on it. Nor did I plan for my trip to Japan. Pre-occupied (still) by the break up... uh... the being dumped... I just never quite got my act together to plan things that weren't urgent.

Anyway, here I am in Tokyo's Asakusa area... happy that I got internet access, yet beating myself up for getting it in my room. Now I may just stay in all day to revamp my website! um... not.

I spent the last three days hanging with KB, an old friend from college who used to be my summer roommate. Somehow, she and I became good friends despite having very different personalities. My prudent party style has served her well in her wilder days, I guess, looking out for her all the time. We both liked to be around friends and organize events (less so for me now, I guess)... so there was the connection. Anyway, we went to her summer vacation house with a bunch of her friends.

The beach was really nice, the onsen was unbelievable. It's just that everybody spoke Japanese. They all speak English, but of course Japanese is the default language. Immediately I thought of Lost in Translation... thing is, I've been around enough Japanese people to recognize words here and there, but not knowing what they mean entirely. For them, it was a gathering of friends to talk about what they have been up to and stuff. For me, it was like watching a movie, only I didn't really understand what was going on the movie and that the movie sometimes called on me. =)

Nonetheless, I found myself more amused than frustrated. Japanese is a very cute language to learn.

Back in Tokyo, I checked into the hotel and first took a hot bath. Then it was dinner time. Here was our conversation:

Josekin (yes, I need a better nickname... how's about HKG, or Hong Kong Guy, in a tribute to SG, the Sports Guy?)...

HKG: Sumimase... (excuse me, aka the phase you use all the time at any place when you are talking to someone else) I'm looking for a restaurant to have dinner, do you have any recommendations?
Hotel girl: McDonald-u. Turn right-do, then turn left-do (using sign language with broken English to guide me)
HKG: Japanese restaurant-u?
Hotel girl: Gomene (sorry), restaurants all close Sunday night.
HKG: I can walk further away to find a better restaurant?
Hotel girl: Gomene (sorry)... (thinking)... Denny's, only 3 minutes walk away
HKG: ...... arigato (thank you)
Hotel girl: Turn right-do, then right-do... 3 minute walk
HKG: hurrying out before she walks me to Denny's and makes me eat there

I love Japanese who are trying to help. They keep thinking what is best for you and will do everything in their power to make it happen.

I ended up at a Japanese restaurant where I have to purchase my meal ticket from a vending machine outside the restaurant (can't read the Japanese, but can connect pictures to words), then go in and be served, return ticket to cook as he executes the orders from the vending machine, then eat standing up, then leaving, all done in 15 minutes. I tell you, Japanese are the most efficient.

Tomorrow I go to Yokohama.


shmoo said...

I definitely ate at one of those tickety places in Tokyo. Delicious.

It took me weeks to stop saying sumimasen all the time to people after I returned to the US.

hedonist said...

I had actually wanted to send you this book:

but was afraid you might think it a book for girls...anyway it's quite good, it really helped my situation...I recommend you getting it too.

Josekin said...

Hmmm... will my ego allow me to read the book...!?

No. Not because it's more of a book for girls, but I'm not really into self-help type books.

(Okay, I'm sexist and I think guys shouldn't read the book)

Thanks for the recommendation... though I have no idea who you are!

hedonist said...

Maybe that's why I should SEND you the book...:)

Me? I'm just another classic gemini going through a breakup.