Monday, 18 August 2008

Free Lunch

There's no such thing, right? Well, so long as you're honest there isn't. When I bought my lunch today, the checkout operator didn't zap my obento (boxed lunch). I tend to get a sushi-type obento (three kim-bap type rolls, three egg ones and a large one of rice wrapped in something tasty) and one of just meat (today, it was small, rounded hamburger patties). It makes for a filling lunch that covers pretty much every food group. XD

I realised she hadn't charged me for those items after leaving the store and determined to go back to make amends after I'd eaten my healthy Japanese lunch. I wasn't sure how to say "no charge", so I decided to look up the verb "to pay", intending to say that I paid nothing for my lunch. I also looked up the ending for past tense, which I haven't covered quite yet in my text book -- I am going through it very slowly. I just started on lesson four, which covers past tense, but haven't got past the vocab list yet. :o

I gathered all of my gaijin courage on my way back to the office and stopped in at the food store. In my simple Japanese, I spoke to the lady who had served me. I told her that I had bought some food and that I had paid zero yen for it. She was surprised. I don't know what she said, but it was probably something like, "Are you sure?". I handed over the money that I owed, repeating that I had paid nothing and would she please accept it. I also brought the barcodes to make her job easy, and so she zapped them both and there were happy parties on both sides. ^^

It wasn't just the fact that I went back and paid for what amounted from a mistake; it was my using Japanese in a real situation that made me feel good. I am an honest person, and so it was a no brainer that I pay for my lunch. However, this has boosted my courage in speaking out and attempting to communicate more with the locals.

Incidentally, I exchanged a few words with my supervisor earlier, about going through a whole lot of questions. Remember that he speaks almost no English, so it is a good opportunity for me to flex my language skills whenever I talk to him. I asked if we could go through them after lunch, but he said he had a full schedule. We decided that we would go through everything tomorrow, upon my suggestion.

My Japanese language skills are still so simple. I hope that I will have more opportunities this week to attempt to express myself in various ways. I will continue working through my text book and trying to build more of a vocabulary.



Nick said...

lol your phone has surround sound? does it play video and shit and can you talk on msn with it?

Timotheos said...

Yeah, it has 5.1 channel sound, lol. I haven't figured out all of the features -- I get an English manual this week sometime. I think it costs a lot to go online with it, so I haven't tried yet. They couldn't explain my contract to me because I didn't have an English speaker present when I got it.

It supposedly gets tv but is always out of range, even in the city. When I get a memory card for it and a laptop, I will figure out how to convert and bluetooth video to it.

I wonder if you can get really portable 5.1ch headphones. :p

Nick said...

You should email me from it. I found an english manual for it that i downloaded if you want me to send you a link.