A proposal of Japanese sorts
Yesterday I got the chance to cover a group visiting Whitehorse from our sister city, Ushiku, Japan. I don’t really know what makes two cities sisters, or why a small, Japanese town wanted to be linked with a mountainous arctic city in Canada, but that’s neither here nor there. Apparently it means teenagers can travel between the two and get treated to lunch with the mayor.
They were visiting for the week and I attended their official city welcome luncheon. Speeches were made via a translator, soup was served (as the organizer told me, the Japanese love soup) and groups of local teens who couldn’t speak English tried to mesh with the Japanese students by using hand gestures, laughing and pointing.
I learned that there is no Japanese word for “host family”, that the stereotype of Japanese teens holding their hands in peace signs for pictures is true, and that jokes told with the deay of a translator are often not well-received.
The strangest thing to happen to me all week occurred when I was sitting at my little spot going over notes, speeches and waiting to do an interview after the soup session.
“Excuse-a me, meese, what ees yo name?”
I told the lanky teen boy in the combat jacket with long bangs my name.
“We [giggle] want to say [giggle] that you-a are very [giggle] beautiful.”
I smile and nod my head, say thanks. But then.
“Weel you a-marry me? I woo-ed be so happy.” Dayum, I KNEW I looked hot tin this dress! Work it, own it. I smiled bigger, while giving him a half-squinty look, turning my head to one side.
“Thank you, that’s very nice, but no, I cannot marry you,” and I took full advantage of the opportunity to flash my ring.
“Oh, thass okay, eet no bover me that you taken.”
What a nervy little Japanese emo looking dude, eh?
I switched seats to one with a free chair opposite me and welcomed my two interview subjects, who impressed me with their English, expecially compared with my knowledge of Japanese (I can say hello, thank you very much Mr. Roboto and where is the toilet). They used words lke “fresh and clean” to describe this city, which really hasn’t been modernized since 40 years ago. And also that they enjoyed “all the natures” around. They were both shy, and the girl covered her mouth when she smiled. I don’t know if that’s cutom, but I like to imagine it is.
I finished, had the photographer snap some shots, and returned to work. I was excited to tell fiance about his competition to get me to an altar. But really that means fishing for compliments, hoping my valiant hero man would step up and defend my honour and his lady.
“Huh,” he said. “Maybe he can bring you futuristic things from Japan.”
Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way.