Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Be a hostess or teach

English at an eikaiwa? Which is better (or worse)? I don't really know, but have have spent a lot of time doing what could be best described as being a language whore. A hostess doesn't have to be a whore but:

Some nights I'd meet up to 10 different men. Each introduction meant having the same boring conversation once again. Where do you come from? When did you come to Japan? Do you like Japanese food? Do you like Japanese men? Do you have a boyfriend? Oh, you're Canadian; can I ask you to sing Celine Dion? From today's Japan Times Online Confessions of a Hostess, by Ivy Emerson here.

I repeatedly had those types of "conversation" in Toyama at the YMCA in the early 90s. One need not do either to have that conversation though, because that is pretty much the limit of conversation with someone whom you don't know very, very well in Japan. And it seems not to get much deeper than that. When you do find a Japanese friend or acquaintance who can carry a deeper conversation about things possibly controversial---in other words a real conversation--- not just trying to satisfy someone's myth that Japan really is the most uniquely unique country and people in the universe, you have to value that relationship.

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