So a couple days ago, which I think is like . . .tomorrow, for you people back home, my heart attack-inducingly loud doorbell rang. Twice. In a row. This is how the mail carriers always ring the bell, so naturally, I figured it was them, even though I’m not expecting any (more) packages (sidenote, Radiant Silvergun came in the mail the day before, but probably nobody knows what that is so I won’t get into it. Hint: not an actual gun).
So anyway, I got up and answered the door, only to discover that it wasn’t a mail carrier or carriers at all, but rather a dynamic (read: indistinguishable from one another) pair of old ladies. They were carrier slips of paper.
Upon realizing that I was different from them, they did the typical twitch-freeze combo, but they had a smoother recovery than most visitors.
Lady: “How’s your Japanese?”
Me: “Eh, it’s pretty so-so, I guess.”
Lady: “Ah, okay. YOU GO HOME . . .I . . .WHERE YOUR COUNTRY . . .FROM . . .GO TO SHOPPING . . .”
Me: “Y’know, actually my Japanese isn’t half bad. Let’s just use that.”
Lady: “Ah, that’s a relief.” ::hands me slip of paper, which is an add for inkan, which are little stamps you use to put your person seal on various official documents instead of a signature::
Me: ::wondering why two ladies had to ring to come all the way up and ring my doorbell just to hand me a slip of paper that I’d already received at least twice in the mail:: “Hey, thanks. You ladies have a nice d–”
Lady: “What part of America are you from?”
Me: “Oh, uh, I’m from near Washington, D.C.”
Lady: “Oh, I went there once. The black people there are unbelievable!”
Me: ” . . .Yeah.”
Lady: “Graffiti everywhere.”
Lady: “It’s right near Vancouver, right?”
Me: “Uhhhh . . .”
Me: “Not Washington State, the other Washington.”
Lady: “Yeah, D.C., right? I’ve been there.”
Me: “Huh . . .”
Lady: “So do you believe in God? If you’re a foreigner, you must believe in God.”
Here we go.
Me: “Eh, well, I’ve sort of got my own thing going on.”
Lady: “Are you just American? You’re not like Russian or something like that?”
Me: “Nah, just American. I’m 100% Cherokee, in fact. No, actually I’m Jewish, if that counts for anything.”
Lady: “Ahh, Jewish. With Jesus and such, yes?”
Me: “No, without Jesus. You’re thinking Christianity.”
Lady: “Oh, are you Mormon?”
Me: “No, that’s something else . . .”
Me: ” . . .”
Other Lady: “Is he Muslim?”
Lady: “Oh, my stars, I thought you might be one of those Mormons you see on the bicycles.”
Me: “Oh yeah, I’ve seen those guys.” ::thinks about how those Mormons on bicycles have a better chance of converting a fish than a Japanese person, laughs::
Lady: “So I guess if you’re a gaijin, you don’t need a seal, huh?”
Me: “Yeah, they usually just have us smear some finger paint on an index card. You know, since we’re lower life forms and all.”
Somehow we ended up on the topic of self-segregation. These ladies had some pretty lofty ideals.
Lady: “If we just tear down these walls between different people, these language barriers, cultural barriers, racial barriers, it would end all the fighting.”
Me: ” . . .”
Lady: “You don’t think so?”
Me: “Oh, no, I do, it’s just that that’s definitely going to take some time.”
Lady: “No, no, very SOON.”
Me: “Soon? But I mean, even the language barriers? You can’t just pull those down like the Berlin Wall.”
Lady: “No, it’ll happen in no time. Like . . .2012.”
Me: ” . . .That’s pretty soon. And specific.”
Other lady: (peeks into my room several times) “Oh, he’s got some tea in there!”
Me: “Uhhh . . .”
Lady: “We just need to bring down the walls, and people will stop doing these terrible things to each other.”
Me: ::wishing I had a wristwatch on so I could look at it in an implicative way:: “So . . . .you ladies sell stamps, or what?”
Lady: “Well, stamps and health drinks.”
Me: “Again, very specific.”
Lady: “America’s amazing with the health supplements. I went there once. You have an amazing selection.”
Me: “Heh, yeah, I import my own, in fact. Say, uh, as long as I have no idea why we’re still talking, I’m gonna get back to work. Sorry.”
And that was the end of it. I was so puzzled by the whole encounter that I didn’t get back on track for another few hours.
Anyway, one day left of this, then I’m FREE. For awhile.