Saturday, June 2, 2007

No octopus balls

This morning I came home from the station to find one of kids from the neighborhood hanging out in front of the building. He's maybe 5 or 6 years old and seemingly not afraid of anything, least of all a 2-meter tall "English-speaking person," as he sometimes refers to me.

Today's theme was dirty words.

What's unko in English? he asked. Poop, I said.

What's shikko in English? Pee.

What's chinchin in English? Dick.

What's oshiri in English? Ass.

He wasn't repeating after me. It was just a kind of game for him to make me speak and a chance for him to use naughty words.

What's tokoyaki in English? Suddenly, we had switched to food, and he had chosen an item for which there is no English equivalent.

There isn't any takoyaki. What? Why?

How can I explain that pieces of octopus in a ball of fried batter is not a popular dish outside of Japan?

He gave up and started instead the "what floor do you live on" game.

What floor do you live on? 100.

There is no 100. What floor do you live on? 90.

There is no 90. What floor do you live on? 80.

There is no 80 What floor do you live on? 80.

No, there is no 80. What floor do you live on?

Then we saw the old cleaning lady. I gave her a wink and asked her if there wasn't an 80th floor. Of course, there is, she said.

Which made that little bugger stop and think for a moment and gave me the opportunity to slip away.



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