Oct 2, 2017
After 7 years here in Japan, it is safe to assume that I have had some embarrassing moments trying to adjust to this new culture and language, but for the life of me, I can't seem to recall them. There is also a possibility that I just didn't realize I was supposed to be embarrassed, especially those first years. I fully embraced the go with the flow spirit and let everything slide off unfazed. That or it was just so embarrassing that I buried it deep down in the far recesses of my mind. So let's go get a shovel and try to dig up some of those awful or awfully funny moments in my past.
I suppose there are the typical slip of the tongues, confusing one word with another.I still have the habit of calling North Korea "Kitasenju", which is an area in Tokyo, instead of "Kita Chosen". And with all the drama with North Korea, I make this mistake a lot. But most of the mistakes I have made haven’t had enough of an impact to remember it seems.
However I do recall a pretty big language flop that we chuckled about at the time. There is a restaurant in the town that I first worked. It is a chain izakaya restaurant that can be found all over this area, great place to take visiting family for a cheap meal. Add old Japan vibes to the decor and the layout is like a maze. Finding the bathroom can feel like an adventure...
[if you would like to have fun adventuring virtually here you go, bottom of the page.]
... especially when you can’t read the kanji for powder room (化粧室). I’m going to assume the kanji is for added Japanese feels. After finally going to the restroom and magically finding the table my friends were seated at, I asked a very important question, you know, just to clarify. Yep. I had indeed used the men’s room. The doors were not marked with the usual red (women’s 女) and black (men’s 男) but instead with some old school something or other that I can’t recall now. I had chosen the men’s room and used it proudly. But I knew for the next time...maybe.
Then there was that one time. I was stuck in Shinjuku and looking for a hotel to spend the night. Online there was this perfect place, cheap nearby and a capsule hotel. I had never stayed in a capsule hotel before. It was perfect, so I walked my blonde curly hair self to the front door. The lobby was on the 3rd floor so I waited for the elevator and tried to ignore the strange looks I was getting. I always get strange looks. Its the blonde hair. But then the guys coming out of the elevator gave me strange looks and that confused side glance. Something was up. Was my skirt flipped up and showing my undies? Nope. Did I have something smeared on my face..nope. Was I the only female in the lobby? Uhuh. Oh geez! The capsule hotel was for men only. And blonde bimbo me was trying to get a room. So I strutted up to the flabbergasted staff and asked where I could get a room, which clearly wouldn’t be here. Seeming more embarrassed than I was, the staff were kind enough to send me to a different place and sorta scooted me out the door onto the elevator as fast as they could kick me out. Now I am aware of ladies and men’s only hotels and hopefully you are too. Also look into all the different ways to say restroom here, just incase you have to go to the powder room (化粧室) instead of the toilet (トイレ).
American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too