By Kyle Helm
When I was in school, I used to irritate my teachers because I talked so much. I think I’ve met my match in Mrs. T, who has a wicked habit of leaping topics like hair lice, without restraint and to the detriment of the people around her, especially me. That’s putting it a little harshly, but I think everyone understands that comedy is about exaggeration. Anyway, conversations with Mrs. T increased recently, much to the amusement of our neighboring teachers, and my skill level in navigating Mrs. T’s leap-frogging is positively correlated with our more frequent discussions. Up, up, and away!
About two weeks ago, a conversation that began about “Popeye the Sailor Man and spinach” shifted into “why termites taste like carrots” and finally into “whether I’d rather eat poop flavored curry or curry flavored poop.” The time span for this conversation? 5 minutes at most.
With this said, today’s event will remain a strong memory of my time in Japan.
While sitting at my desk studying, a light mist suddenly began to moisten the hair on my neck and drift over my shoulders. When I turned around, Mrs. T was smiling at me, holding a spray bottle. She said, “乾燥からね” (“Because you’re so dry.”) Lately, I’ve been having pretty bad problems with my skin drying out, so apparently, Mrs. T wanted to offer her support. Not only is this behavior strange to the Japanese, naturally, I was derailed too.
Laughing at her antics, I thanked her with over abundant gratitude and went back to my studies. That’s when a thought struck me. Thinking I might be able to throw her off-balance, I turned back toward her. “植物のようだ！” “I’m like a houseplant.”
Without hesitation she said encouragingly to me, “大きくなれ!大きくなれ!” “Grow big! Grow big!”
There was nothing else to do but laugh.
Do you have any weird, ridiculous or just plain funny stories about your time in Japan? We want to hear them! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!