Friday, June 26, 2015

Foreign Ties

There was a space next to me on the train.  She saw it first and started to move towards it before seeing me.  And then we had the silent foreigner recognition.  I finished studying Japanese vocabulary on my phone and glanced over to see that she was alternately doing online shopping and reading the news on her phone.  I pulled out my book.  I thought I could say something but she seemed "engaged."  So I read and I noticed her checking out the English words in front of me.

As the train approached the final stop I broke the ice and asked her, "Do you live in Japan?"  "Oh do I live in Japan?  I've lived here 25 years!"  she responded with an English accent.  I congratulated her.  "Ha,  I suppose it's less 'congratulation' as 'commiseration',"  she joked.  And we had a short exchange.  She was from London and taught English at a university in Kobe.  She said she loved it.  She asked me a bit about myself.  Less than 4 minutes of introductions later we broke off on different trajectories but not without creating a little bubble of English in Japan and breaking out of the norm.  "Nice chatting with you."

1 comment:

  1. I often wonder about brief encounters like this.