Some rants

Once again, I should be going to bed, but I’m going to write a little bit first. First of all, I am mad because I bought a Pocari Sweat Sunday evening (a brand of sports drink and my favorite because it’s the only one that isn’t grapefruit flavored – it’s meant to help you rehydrate after exercising and/or sweating a lot, and because it’s so hot, I buy one anytime I’ve been out and sweating all day), opened it, had a few sips, open the fridge Monday morning, pull it out, AND SOMEHOW IT’S ALMOST GONE. ???????????? This is Japan, you don’t just DRINK other people’s stuff! It was the only one in the fridge, how could you have mistaken it for your own!? And even if you were secretly sneaking a swig, wouldn’t you know better than to drink almost the entire bottle so obviously?! There are only 6 of us in this house, 3 people denied doing it, 2 at large… I’m really annoyed still. Grrrr.

Also, this morning on the train (Marunouchi Line, one stop for me but always jam-packed during rush hour) we were all packed into the car and this old lady decided that wouldn’t stop her from opening and reading her book, which meant her elbows were akimbo and one was digging into my stomach. What if I was pregnant??? I ask you. Rude!

Mostly, I just want to rant a little about annoying coworker habits. On the whole, my coworkers are great. The Japanese staff are now familiar with my Japanese ability and almost always speak it with me (or a mishmash, which I also enjoy), I have made some good friends among the other foreigners, and generally I really enjoy it there. But. There are some people, who are also American, who have a habit of inserting random Japanese words into their conversations, even with the other foreign staff. Okay, it’s just this one guy. Unfortunately his voice is kind of loud so I can hear him even if he is across the office. When he’s talking to a Japanese person, his 口癖 (word habit) is “Sou, sou, sou” [Yes, yes, yes/Yeah, yeah, yeah]. So he says that. Every. Minute. Or “Daijoubu” [大丈夫, okay]. First of all, he doesn’t need to say those things in Japanese. It’s the only Japanese he says the whole conversation practically, and I’m pretty sure the other person could understand the English. So I can only guess that the reason he says it is to sort of prove “Hey, I know some Japanese.” I think this guy’s lived here a while, probably has a Japanese wife/girlfriend, but he still hasn’t shaken that “I must prove myself and my Japanese knowledge!!!” attitude soooo many foreigners here (largely male) have. Which always bothers me no matter where it’s coming from. That alone would be bad enough, but he’s not really using the words correctly. This is Japan and this is a workplace – we use polite speech. “Sou, sou, sou” and “Daijoubu” are stripped of all polite nuance, they are highly casual. “Sou, sou, sou” especially is more for casual conversation. “Daijoubu” should be followed by something when using to mean “I’m fine” or “This is fine”, which is what he’s trying to say – it should be “Daijoubu desu” (polite) or “Daijoubu da (yo)” (casual). Usually the only time you hear just “Daijoubu” is when it’s a (casual) question – “Daijoubu?” [Are you okay?]. So yeah. Not only is the random insertion of Japanese words into his otherwise English speech just clearly a pathetic self-esteem boost, he’s not even doing it correctly or speaking politely enough for the workplace setting. So why even bother.

And not only that, but he does this with the native English speakers too. No. Just no. We all speak English. Use English. Don’t give me this bullshit about how “Oh, I’ve lived in Japan so long, I only hear Japanese at home, I forgot all my English!” No you didn’t. You are humble-bragging. It takes a lot of courage to get by here without shoving your Japanese “ability” (because his accent is horrible anyway) in people’s faces every 5 seconds to make sure we all know, but just try to live in a world where every other person you meet doesn’t have to know that you know a few words of Japanese but can’t even use them appropriately depending on the situation. Seriously, just try.


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