Friday, June 9, 2017

Japanecdote: If Only I Could Speak Nihongo

On the 8th day of our trip, we left Kyoto early in the morning and in 15 minutes, we alighted from the shinkansen at Shin-Osaka Station where we dumped our bags in coin lockers (it was still too early to check in to our Airbnb apartment in Osaka). Sans heavy bags, we then hopped on another train, the JR Sakura shinkansen, that would take us to Himeji in just half an hour.

I sat by the window, my friend by the aisle, and between us an elderly Japanese gentleman (probably in his 70s) in a jacket and black bucket hat, with a hardside suitcase in front of him. I couldn't talk to my friend because that would mean talking over the man's head which was not only impossible but also impolite. How I wished I could speak Japanese so I could strike up a conversation with our seatmate. But language didn't matter to my seatmate, he struck up a conversation with me.

A smattering of English, peppered with lots of Nihongo, and with the assistance of gestures, I was able to make sense of what he was saying (and, hopefully, vice versa). He told me he was on his way home to Okayama having just arrived from Thailand (thus the suitcase by his feet). What did he do in Thailand? Play golf with his friends. He asked where I was from. Cebu in the Philippines, I said. And he proudly told me he had been to Cebu years ago. And what did he do there? Golf! (Such a nice life he has!) He gave me his business card (what a shame, I didn't have a business card to give him in return), and I found out that Yamamoto-san (that's his name) is a historian. Here was a wealth of cultural and historical knowledge sitting right next to me—how I (again) wished I could speak Nihongo so that I could pick his brain!

Maybe it is time for me to learn Nihongo. So if and when I find myself in Okayama, I could give him a call and say something more than just moshi moshi.

Know Before You Go
Single Entry Tourist Visa for Japan
Roam Around Japan with a Swagger
An Ignoramus in Japan: Vending Machines
An Ignoramus in Japan: Bathrooms and Toilets
An Ignoramus in Japan: Manhole Covers
I Spy With My Little Eye: Japan's Fashion Contradictions
I Spy With My Little Eye: On the Go in Japan

From Tokyo to Hiroshima (2015)
10D/9N | Tokyo, Toyama, Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Hiroshima
Tokyo Accommodation: Shinjuku Airbnb
Tokyo: Memorable Tokyo Eats
Tokyo: Odaiba
Tokyo: Doing Touristy Things in Tokyo
Toyama: A Hamlet Called Ainokura
Kyoto Accommodation: K's House Hostel Kyoto
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Wisdom from the Road: On exits #2
Kyoto: By the Thousands (Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sanjusangendo, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove)
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Turning Japanese
Kyoto: Braving the Crowds at these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera, Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji)
Hyogo, Japanecdote: If Only I Could Speak Nihongo (you're here!)
Hyogo: Day Trip to Himeji: Himeji Castle and Shoshazan Engyoji Temple
Hyogo, Japanecdote: Am I an Alien?
Hiroshima: Strolling and Snacking in Miyajima
Hiroshima: Remembering the Past in Hiroshima
Osaka, Japanecdote: How to Lose Friends
Osaka Accommodation: Osaka Airbnb
Osaka, Japanecdote: Where is Bentencho Station?
Osaka: Osaka Castle and Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai
Osaka, Japanecdote: Learn From Your Mistakes


  1. My husband has an uncle nga Japanese and struggle jd kaau makigstorya niya every time he comes to visit. :D Mura na sad kog dili kamao mu-iningglis igstorya namo. Hahaha.

    1. Heheheheh kung ga nosebleed ka, ga nosebleed sad to siya, the Japanese uncle heheheh :D Struggle!

    2. Nangutana pa jd tu xa unsa daw na name ako plano for the baby. I said "Blake". And he said why would I name my baby "BREAK" daw? With actions ang pag-break. XD

    3. Hahahahahahahah!!! Bitaw, ngano! Nyahahahahahaha!!!

  2. This would always happen to me in China and Taiwan.. i sure wished I knew how to speak Mandarin then. Better brush up my Nihongo, perhaps I'd also get to meet a historian, celebrity or who knows what.

    1. Hi Mariane! For some reason I find it harder to communicate with the Chinese than with the Japanese or the Koreans...eventhough I don't know how to speak any of those three languages. So you can speak Nihongo?! That's great! I wish I could speak Nihongo! Are you going to Japan this year?