Tuesday, August 1, 2006

glad to be of service

My aunt’s family is hosting a Japanese student at their house in Ohio right now. Every year they welcome a student from the LABO exchange program, and this year they have a junior high student from Saitama Prefecture staying with them. I have never been home during the summer to meet any of their visitors, and it seems like I won’t have time to get over to see this one either. However, when there was a problem with communication about medicine, my aunt gave me a call and asked me to speak to Kento in Japanese over the phone.

Now, it has been almost one month since I have spoken Japanese, and I was worried that my skills had flown out the window. I looked up a few hard to remember medical terms and went into my room where I couldn’t hear English on the television. Luckily, I had very little difficulty in jumping back into Japanese mode. After the third sentence I received the obligatory, “Wow, your Japanese is very good,” and even though I knew I would get that even if my Japanese was horrible, it felt good to hear it anyway. Kento and I had a nice conversation about baseball in Ohio, the wonderfullness of American pizza, and of course, his medicine.

It was odd to be speaking Japanese again, but very nice. When Mayo was here we decided that since her English was good enough to really make a lot of progress in immersion we wouldn’t speak in Japanese. I was glad to help her, but worried that I might forget it all before classes started again if I didn’t get in any practice. Thankfully, Kento was very happy to speak in Japanese with me; I could hear the relief in his voice. It reminded me of my first year in Japan when I would have those days when I just needed to leave my host family and speak some English to whoever could.

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