Japanese mimic people

Lost in metro

Tokyo- Japan- graphic by Daniele Frau.
Tokyo- Japan- graphic by Daniele Frau.

This is part 2, read part 1 first!

This time, I have an excuse, and a good one: I’m super tired, and in this metro, they write only in ancient Japanese writing. And as you can guess, I know about the Japanese language as Japanese people know about the logudorese dialect. Even though I wouldn’t bet on it, they are always ready to surprise you.

For instance, they don’t seem to have a natural visceral love for the English language in such an international city. The first Japanese couple I meet, I ask them for some information (I don’t know why I have to specify they are Japanese since I’m the only Western-looking person in the metro right now). 

Even though they try their best to help me, these two cute Japanese youngsters know only a few words (and luckily for me, these words aren’t Baby One More Time).

Those words were Yes, No, Yes- No (which is confusing) and everything is followed by a slight nod of their heads, which makes me anxious. In that moment of frustration, I have to admit that I start criticizing the whole institutional Japanese system inside myself.

Then, the miracle occurs

Lost in metro, Japan, graphic by Daniele Frau.
Lost in a japanese metro, graphic by Daniele Frau.

I discover that frustration can sketch a silly expression on my face and that idiotic face attracts a third passenger. This new character has a slightly better vocab; for instance, he knows the word ‘right’ (which I translate as ‘you’re right, my friend, just keep going, you cannot be mistaken’), so I feel I’m on the right path.

The biggest problem isn’t their understanding issues or their passion for the English language equal solely to my love for playing the banjo (I have never even seen a banjo in my life). No, the real issue here is my Japanese word pronunciation, which is really (really) bad.

Let’s take as an example the Okubo station, my last stop. My pronunciation in Japanese is the most Italian pronunciation ever, with that special something coming from Holly and Banji cartoon in the original language with the cherry on top: I bow after every word.

I’m convinced they understood me, but to my surprise, they didn’t get anything I said and sent me in the wrong direction. So, now I’m lucky enough to find a couple of those known as ‘Compulsive Mimic People’: these are the ones you really need when travelling abroad.

You need people who stare at you with a blank face if you use your oral cavity, but if you move enough of your hands and show a piece of paper with the name of your metro, they (between a few bows, of course) will rescue.

To be honest, I didn’t wholly believe the first three people, and I went in the opposite direction to the one they showed me. To my greatest joy, I discovered I was right.

So, to sum up: Compulsive Mimic People- 1 and A Few Words And Also Misspelt People- 0.

Yes, that’s the reality, my friends; survival is rooted in our genes.

I’m on the train. The Compulsive Mimic couple comes along with me but starts ignoring me when we set our feet on the train. I cannot blame them; I’m in a horrible condition.

Lack of sleep, smelly and with a lost stare, it’s not Japan, this cute couple would ignore me in any place in the world. I decide to embarrass myself by starting some big gesture of gratitude, like tourists in Sardinia saying hi from their boat.

Keep reading about the capsule hotel!

How important is it to read?

The importance of reading, graphic by Daniele Frau.
The importance of reading, graphic by Daniele Frau.

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