Thursday, December 6, 2007


There's a Chinese guy in my Japanese class named Kyu. He doesn't speak any English and his Japanese is really weird because he has been living here for two years but he hasn't taken any classes yet. He knows a lot of words, but he often can't make himself understood.

He seems to work whenever he's not in class, and one time, when I got to class early, I found him sleeping on a collection of chairs that he had gathered together into a humanoid shaped oblong in the middle of the room. He always has stories about his job, but it's impossible to get a straight answer from him about what exactly it is he does.

My friend, Ben, has taken to asking him every few days what he does for work and every time Kyu has a different story. One time he worked in a restaurant cooking rice, one time he worked in a convenience store, one time he worked at the train station. Moreover, he does all this with a straight face. If you try to ask him if it's anything to do with what he was previously telling you, he just looks at you like you're crazy, like it's a complete mystery where you're getting these ideas.

For awhile, I decided that maybe he was hooked into the Chinese mob, because he does kind of seem like the type. Then he told me this long story about shopping in Namba with his younger sister. I really don't know what to make of him.

Today in class the teacher was asking if we had part-time jobs and if so what they were. Kyu was in his element. Here spent like seven minutes telling all of us about some job he has. At first no one had any idea what he was talking about but eventually it became clear that it was all to do with washing pillows. Actually, I was able to determine what he was on about before the teacher, because he was using the wrong verb for washing pillows. For me, unlike for a native speaker, one verb for washing is much like another. At this point, having studied the language for less than six months, I already know six verbs for various types of washing and cleaning, but I obviously don't understand the differences well.

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