Today, I went out to dinner on my own.
It’s been about three weeks now since I arrived, and I haven’t really gone out to eat in my town. It means a lot more trouble than I’m willing to put myself through most days. That is, only being half capable of reading the menu, stumbling through the whole ordering process, getting shocked into a blank stare as soon as the waiter says something I wasn’t expecting, and then attempting to recover footing…but it’s time to get out.
Somewhere about half way through my meal I was very politely approached and offered a spoon for my miso soup. This, I found a rather sweet attempt to make me more comfortable/have a chance to break the ice. From the kitchen, I could catch drifts of, “Does she speak Japanese? What did she say?” But nothing clear. Never anything clear. The biggest skin crawling moment for me was the hushed words to one of the guests seating themselves next to me, “~ ~because the guest next to you is a foreigner…” I just know that I have to study harder so that if I can better read on what’s going on.
It makes me think of a time that I had just served a group of Korean speakers at the coffee shop I was working at. All of sudden, I notice Japanese pop blaring in the background, and my co-worker is at my side just a touch self satisfied. “What do you think,” he asked. I shake my head and say, “I think you’ve got the wrong language.”