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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

English Lessons - A Poetic License

Almost from the get go, whenever I would step into a bar in my town of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan, I would become an object of curiosity.

Sometimes it was because I was a foreigner drinking alone; sometimes because I was a foreign man drinking alone, and sometimes it was just because I was a foreigner who could speak English - regardless of my drinking habits.

As the latter, for the locals, it meant a possible free English lesson.

Here for your enjoyment is a poem I wrote one evening while sitting in the 4C bar, drinking a rye and coke, waiting for the best moment to hit on a gorgeous piece of fluff who kept giving me the eye while smiling and playing with her luxurious hair. I may have been inexperienced when I arrived in Japan, but even after a few months in this country, I knew how to play the game.

Unfortunately, sometimes, so to did the locals.

Sing a song of six yen
My stomach's full of rye.
Four and 20 Nihonjin
Are giving me the eye.
When the bar was open, 
Their mouths began to sing: 
Sumimasen gaijin I speaku Engrishu bery gud-do.

For your edification:
Nihonjin = Japanese people
Sumimasen: Excuse me, I'm sorry, and thank-you... yes, all three!
Gaijin = Foreigner
I speaku Engrishu bery gudo = I speak English very good.

Fortunately this type of free English lesson only happened until the end of my first year whenever I went to the 4C to drink alone. After that... perhaps the curiosity of seeing a foreigner in their midst wore off. I got laid more often after that.

Andrew Joseph


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