Day 15 - Sushi Buffet and Japan

February 22nd, 2016
Smog Level: 1 Mountain

Shimou’s cousin invited us to get Japanese sushi buffet. Apparently Canada isn’t the only place to have this sort of thing, despite what the international crowd in Australia had told me (thank you, god). 

They had some delightful new options, like "Fruit sushi," with a banana in the center. It had it’s own Chinese spin, with cooked fish, complete with bones and skin, as well as some not-so-nice twists, like durian cheesecake. Qi Qi [chee chee], Shimou’s brother, and Xu Xu [shoe shoe], Shimou’s Cousin, met us there.

Neither of them speak much English, which eventually allowed me to flex my pathetic mandarin muscles in attempts to say things. It’s difficult to start speaking a language because you know you sound like an idiot, but won’t get any better unless you actually start generating speech. For the first half of the meal, we would sit there in relative silence whenever Shimou had stepped away from the table. But, eventually, Xu Xu was the one to take the first step in trying to speak with me. Still spoke very quickly, and Qi Qi helped whenever he could, but it got the ball rolling. The fear dissipated and I said some broken, but workable, sentences. 

Shimou and I ended up debating something about Japan deleting their WWII histories from their textbooks, not teaching them what actually happened. I guess this is a sore point for Chinese people because, from what I gathered, the Japanese may have committed some wartime atrocities. I should probably stop pointing out that China may also have edited their history books with regards to atrocities committed toward Japan. I only bring it up because it seems to be an on-going feud between the countries, and is probably justified to a point... but less so when you consider that it was likely a historical blow-for-blow seeking vengeance. Who knows. I’m considering finding a book written by historian from a third-party country, as this is likely the only way I may find some semblance of objectivity. Then again, their histories are much longer than ours. I don’t even know where to begin.

Let's see here.. Coffee, Juice.. Black tea.. Oh, shit yeah! Corn juice!
The three of them walked me to the subway, and said goodbye, worried that I would get lost on my way to a tutoring session. It’s really not that bad on the subway system. Again: They have the pinyin versions of the stop’s names, and it easily labelled which stations have the transfers to which line. I had to take the 10 line, switch to the 4 line, and get off at a specific stop. No worries. Shimou had shown me how to get to my destination at a previous session. Easy peasy.

After tutoring, I made my way home during rush hour. It was pretty nuts, but I have yet to experience the fabled “pushing people onto the train” situation. There was one really packed train, but I just let it go and caught the next one, which had plenty of standing room.

The rest of the night was pretty quiet. Talked with Josh about Mandarin, Canada and the US, VPN’s, and other general Chinese cultural things. Like cutting in line: if you have enough space between you and the person in front of you, they’ll just sidle on in there and act like nothing’s wrong. I’ve followed Shimou’s lead for the time we’ve been here, which has often let people slip in front. Personally, I’m a bit more aggressive than she is, getting right up next to the person, almost touching them. I find cutters really irritating and see it as a call to action to confront them. But that’s in a western country where I can actually speak the language. Here, if I chose to confront them, it would be a garbled mess of confusion. 

Maybe a daily dose of heavy confusion would learn them... learn them good...

Editing Music

Dani's Blues
Bop English

Words of the Day:
Now - xiànzaì [shen zai]
Stop - tíng zhǐ [ting jurr] 
Call a Taxi (call car) - dǎ chē [dah Chuh]
Bully (verb) - qīfù [chee foo]
Most - zuì [zoey]

No comments:

Post a Comment