I am flat on my back these days with the mother of all colds. As I near the end of my chemo, this is not a good place to be since the last thing I want is for Chemo Round 6 to be postponed because I'm sniffling and coughing. So I went to the doctor yesterday and have a truckload of antibiotics and strict instructions to stay home and stay warm.
The younger Frenchling was also sick (she was my Typhoid Mary) so we spent a lot of time together - me on the couch and her in her favorite chair. I read paranormal romance novels and she practiced her Japanese by watching anime and other stuff on the Internet. She came across this video which she shared with me. I found it fascinating. It was filmed in Japan and it shows interviewers stopping "gaijin" (foreigners) in the street and asking them to talk (in Japanese) about their favorite things in Japan. (Yes, Nozaki-san, I know you told me not to use the word "gaijin" in polite company but everyone does use it, right?)
The video is in Japanese, a language I do not speak though I know some essential phrases like how to tell the taxi where I live and how to ask for things in the store. Lucky for me I have a translator at home - the younger Frenchling being a big fan of the Japanese language and culture. She has Japanese language classes at school, a private tutor (the mother of one of her sensei's at her Kendo class) and she spends a lot of time on the Net immersing herself in the language.
I don't think, however, that you need to speak Japanese to appreciate this video. Here are people from all over the world (India, Azerbaijan, France, Ireland, USA and other places) being stopped on the street and asked to spontaneously talk about what they like about Japan. They all seemed reasonably comfortable with the language but some were more proficient than others. Check out the body language as well. And it occurred to me as I watched the Americans that there is something really strange about watching one of your compatriots speaking another language. But what really won my heart, I think, was how good-natured the exchanges were. Everyone seemed to be having a good time - no "pieges" (traps) and no criticism - and when there was laughter it was "laughing with" and not "laughing at." This exercise was not designed to embarrass the foreigners though some of the answers were pretty funny. Enjoy.