Thursday, September 2, 2010

What don't you like about your job?

I know that learning or teaching a foreign language is a situation that naturally results in misunderstandings and awkwardness, but seriously people, today was something else:


Me: Wow, Fusae, that was great. Ask me another question using the grammar structure, "What don't you like about..."

Fusae: Okay. What don't you like about your job?

Me: Um... geez. Okay, ask me about my neighborhood.


Student: My parents had flower arrangement marriage.

Me: Um, sorry?

S: Ahh, my parents had arrangement marriage.

Me: Arrangement?

S: Ahh, I mean arranged marriage. My parents had an arranged marriage.

Me: Ahh, ok... Wow, really? That was pretty common in Japan in the past, right?

S: Yes. I have arranged marriage, too.

Me: Oh........ Wow, really? That's.... so interesting.

S: Yes. What do you think about arranged marriages?

Me: What do I think? Oh, gosh.. I dunno. I mean, it's so different from my culture. It's, well, interesting. So... uh... do you have any siblings?


female student: What is your personality? Are you outgoing?

male student: Well, when I meet new people I am usually shy. But, sometimes when I meet people I am outgoing.

fs: How about you Ken, are you outgoing?

Ken: Yes.

fs: Really, why do you think so?

Ken: I like to go outside. I like to play sports and traveling.

fs: ehh????

male student: ehh????????

Me: Um, do you like to meet people, Ken?

Ken: No.


So, I was tired of explaining to students that it is NOT okay to sit there like a dead fish while someone else is talking. How many times do I have to tell them that eye contact is important, and so is verbal response, whether it be a simple laugh or an "oh really?" This time, I didn't even bother with my speech. I came up with another solution. I liken it to when an audience is watching a live talk show. At certain designated moments, a flashing sign that reads "applause" tells people when to put their hands together.

Tonight, the usual male, intermediate-level students in their 30s sat around the table with their their mouths hanging open and their eyes focused on the carpet as Yoko the 40-something spoke under her breath-- literally, in a whisper, about her family. Her eyes, too, were focused on the carpet.

Me: How about you guys, are you more like your mother, or your father?

Yoko: I'm more like my mother.

Male student 1: dead fish

Yoko: Because my dad doesn't care about other people.

Male student 2: dead fish dead fish

Exasperated, I snatch my piece of scrap paper and scrawl at the bottom in BIG letters:


The students look at me expectantly. Any chance to get me talking is an even better chance to let them be silent. Good thing they're in a conversation class, right?

I point to the word REALLY?

Male student 1: Oh really?

Yoko: Yes. And he's very selfish.

Male student 2: speaking of fish, this one is DEAD

Male student 1: and this fish has up and died all over again

10 minutes later...

Male Student 1: I've run 10 marathons.

Yoko: dead fish

(I point to Wow!)

Yoko: Wow!

Male student 1: Yes.

(I point to Really?)

Yoko: Really? Where?

Male Student 1: In Japan.

Yoko: ...

(I point to Oh yeah?)

Oh yeah? Where in Japan?

Male Student 1: Near Tokyo.


Male student 2: dead fish that was eaten so long ago by other fish that they, too, have also died

(I point to Really?)

Yoko: Really?

Male student 2: maybe he's actually dead?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bon Bon Bon!

This summer break I went on a 5 day trip to Nagano prefecture. It's located Northwest of Tokyo prefecture (see above map for more detail). I've been to the prefecture before but that was to a different area. Anyway, the first few days I went to Matsumoto. It took about five hours by bus to get there. I don't remember much of that city, but here is the one thing I really do remember: the Matsumoto city theme song that was blasted on repeat for over 5 hours from speakers that hung from light posts around the city streets. ( Note to reader: I don't know why everything seems to be in five's in this blog post, but I will try to continue this trend now that I've noticed it.)

"Bon bon Matsumoto Bon Bon Bon. Bon Bon Matsumoto Bon Bon Bon."

So simple. So pure. So genius.

It's my fifth new favorite song and it will never leave my head, at least not for the next five months. For your own amazing experience of the Matsumoto Bon Bon festival, watch this video below. (Watch it five times if you please.)

After the festival, I remember seeing a castle that I assume was called Matsumoto Castle. I climbed to the top, I think there was probably a beautiful view. Mostly I waited in the dark unlit interior of the castle behind a long snake of people, as I waited to climb the dozens (or maybe there were five?) of identically steep and narrow staircases up to the top. I also remember going to a hot spring on a roof with an amazing view of the city and the mountains surrounding it. I was naked on the roof of a building. I have no idea if people could see me, but I guess in Japan they don't care about those things. Apparently I took pictures, more than five. (Are you sick of it yet?)

After Matsumoto, I went to Kamikouchi. It didn't take five hours to get there. It took one and a half. I stayed in a Japanese style inn (called a ryokan) with the traditional tatami mat floors. People wore the casual kimono (actually called yukata) and slippers around the place and took advantage of the free hot spring. I'm just crazy about hot springs- they are super relaxing. There is nothing like scrubbing every inch of your body clean and then soaking in a hot tub of water. There was also another private onsen you could use for free. They had to drive you to it cause it was in a cave. A cave I tell you! How cool is that?

But seriously, Kamikouchi is a beautiful place. It's situated in a gorgeous river valley among the something-something Alps (in case you couldn't tell, I can't remember which Alps because just about every mountain range in Japan is called "the blabbity blabbity Alps"). The river's water was so clean and clear you could see right through to the bottom and it was a gorgeous green color. It was also extremely misty, which made everything very mystical and mysterious. The weather was also extremely cool. We were able to sleep with our windows open to let the cool breeze in at night. It was quite a relief from living in Tokyo, where the heat is simply brutal.

Also, where else can one eat an ice cream cone, in the rain, while hiking in the mountains? Yes, there was a souvenir shop selling ice cream. I couldn't help myself. And it wasn't raining until I stepped outside of the shop with my freshly bought cone. Call it bad timing, or denial of iffy looking clouds in the sky. Either way, I felt a bit ridiculous, but also really enjoyed my ice cream.

The other exciting part was eating at a restaurant where I watched the staff pulling fish out the river, sticking them on skewers in one, big, violent thrust, then ripping out their organs, and putting them on an open fire to cook. A good while later at my table, a delicious set lunch of grilled fish, rice, Japanese pickles, miso soup, and other assorted goodies was set before me. I was told I could eat the entire fish-- head, tail, fins and all. You could even eat the eyes, the bones, the teeth! Oh my! My companion just bit right into the head and ate that whole darn fish in a few gulps. Craziness! I managed to eat everything, but the head. It was a mighty delicious fish, though. I've never had fresher.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Actually Write like...

I actually write like
a moonstruck lunatic possibly actually wearing a straightjacket

I Actually Write Like Analyze your writing!

Is THIS what I look like?

I do not understand the Japanese custom of ooohing and ahhhing over people right to their faces. I went with a Japanese friend to hear his friend perform at a live house. The crowd was not your bubbly giggly crowd by any means, but as soon as he introduced me to a couple of his friends, the girls turned into cooing, squealing old ladies. It was nuts, I tell you!

"kawaaiiiiii!! Ningyou mitai ne! sugoiii kawaiiiii!"
{translation: cuuuuuute! She looks like a doll! SOOOO adorable!!" }

For one, I was a bit offended to be compared to the likes of something I find rather creepy (see photo above). But also, couldn't they have waited for me to go buy a drink or something, before making me want to die of embarrassment? And they didn't stop. I'd say thank you and hope that would be the end of it. The conversation might wander off for a bit, and then there would be a lull and "OOOOHH KAWAIIIII!!!" It would start all over again. Maybe they were just trying to be nice. Maybe they had nothing else to say. But holy geez! Just cause I have pasty white skin, blue eyes, and hair that isn't black? Get over it!

I mean, if I was back in the U.S. and I met someone from a foreign country--actually, if I met anyone really-- and I was to ooh and ahh over them like that they would probably smack me, or put me in an insane asylum, or maybe just call me a freak. Either way, it's not something we consider normal.

To make matters worse, one of the girls found out that she knew my roommate, who is also Japanese. Later that night she was text messaging my roommate, letting her know she had met me and that I was super cuuuuuuute and looked like a doll. What's with this doll stuff? I'm a human, okay? If you wanna call someone a doll, do it behind their back.

It's been suggested I sell my recipes to McDonalds...

The hamburgers have gotten out of control...

Yes, this is what I did on my day off. And yes, I plan to do it again.

Who is William Gibson?

So I just heard about this website, forgive me if it's totally old news, I live in Japan.... so sue me. Anyways, you plug in a sample of your writing, hit a button, and the site analyzes your writing to tell you which famous author you write like. It said I write like William Gibson. Too bad I've never heard of him. But according to he is a science fiction writer. Already I am displeased. Here is a list of some of his titles: Neuromancer, Johnny Mnemonic, Pattern Recognition, Count Zero, Burning Chrome... I can honestly say I've never been less interested in reading someone's books before.

The sample of writing I used was simply a blog post from this very same blog. Imagine that! Who knew this was a science fiction blog!

Anyway, here's where you can find out who you write like:

I write like
William Gibson

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

26 Year-old learns to ride bike

There's this group of islands in the south of Japan, called the Izu Islands. Considered part of Tokyo, they are actually managed by the Tokyo government, but it takes over 9 hours by ferry to reach them. One island that goes by the name of Nijima, though not a particularly spectacular island, has become extremely favored by the foreigners in my circle of friends and acquaintances. Perhaps it can be attributed to the fact that this place is pretty much the exact opposite of touristy. There is one hotel, there are 2 supermarkets, literally no convenience stores (seriously, what a shocker in Japan!), one bakery, one pizza shop, one tiny history museum, and two hot springs. There are two beaches, one littered with blocks of concrete, the other littered with surfers battling the terrifying waves that crash you into large rocks that batter your shins and trap your feet so that when a wave comes you fall flat on your face. I obviously thoroughly enjoyed my 10-minute water-treading session.

Really, I enjoyed my trip there-- both of my trips there, actually. Considering my raving review above of the island, you must be wondering why I bothered to go back there again. Well, I could say that it was nice and relaxing, that I enjoyed camping out, lying on the beach, cooking food on a grill outside, and riding a bicycle to town to buy food or go to the hot spring. Yeah those things were nice the first time, but the second year was like.. um hey, didn't I do this last year?

Okay, so maybe I'm not the tiny, quiet island-type. Or maybe I like variety and I don't really enjoy visiting the same place twice. I've never been a huge fan of visiting the same museum, restaurant, or park more than a few times. It gets old quickly. Actually, I can't stand walking the same seven-minute route to the train station every day. Anyway, I got a little bored my second time around visiting this island.

However! This trip did have it's highlights, or highlight... I should say. On this island, I taught my 26 year old friend to ride a bicycle. Yes, I know what you're thinking. 26 years old and he didn't know how to ride a bicycle? I don't know why. Ask his parents. What normal parent doesn't teach their child how to ride a bicycle? Nevertheless, this guy had literally never set foot, or perhaps I should say bottom, on a bicycle before. I must add though that he never really seemed like the outdoorsy type.

Now, here's where I should mention that if you stay on this island it's pretty much impossible to get around without a bicycle. I mean, sure if you want to walk, go right on ahead. That's what this guy had to do the first time he visited Nijima. His friends all rented bikes and took like 15, 20 minutes to get to town to buy food or visit the hot spring. He had to walk. You can imagine how long it took. I'm sure it was not a pretty sight. From what I gather, he mostly ended up sitting alone at the campsite while everyone else happily rode their bicycles and frolicked around in their bathing suits in the hot spring with a gorgeous sunset view.

This time around, it was insisted that he learn to finally ride a bike. Two of his friends agreed to teach him. The three rented their bikes, took them to a parking lot, and let the learning begin. Evidently it did not go so well, as about a half an hour later I rode by to find the guy alone in the parking lot rather disheveled and sweaty.

My offer to try teaching him was quickly rebuffed with "I can't," or "I'm too old," or "I look like an idiot," and so on. I set to riding my own bike around the lot, quietly trying to figure out exactly what I was doing when I rode a bike. Eventually, I tried to explain: push down hard on the pedal with one foot and get the bike moving. Keep good posture so as to stay balanced, and as quickly as possible, get that other foot on it's pedal. You want to start pedaling immediately and not slow down. If you lose momentum, you lose your balance. But the guy was so sure that if he put that second foot up on it's pedal, he would fall. He would get the bike going and I would cry, "Yes! That's it! Now get that other foot up and keep going, don't stop!" and then that foot would hit the ground. "Aw, come on. Don't put your foot down. You had it!"

"No. I was going to fall," he insisted. "I'm never going to be able to do this. You can go. I'm sorry for wasting your time."

We went on like this for probably an hour and I realized literally the only thing keeping him from being able to ride that bike was his fear of falling.

"Don't be silly. Where are you going to fall to? The ground isn't that far away. You might get a little scrape or bruise, but that's nothing. When you get that urge to put your foot down, resist. Don't do it. Instead, just keep pedaling!"

And then thirty, maybe forty minutes later... oh my god. I swear there was music playing in my head, like when a kid finally makes that home run in some feel-good family movie. He just did it. He rode that damn bicycle. It was a miracle.

And that was, seriously, the highlight of my trip. Seeing this grown man overcome his fear and learn to ride a bicycle at age 26, that was just super inspiring. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

You can go ahead and say, "Aww," now (or puke, whatever you prefer).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My MacDonarudo.

This is what happens when you unleash me in a room with small children and plenty of free time...I start asking what kinds of food they like:

Do you like candy?
Do like strawberries?
Do you like hamburgers?

and then suddenly I'm asking them if they like cat watermelon hamburgers or, better yet...television, watermelon, zebra hamburgers.

I think I've stumbled upon new artistic subject matter. yeah?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Am I Invisible?

You know the stereotype that Japanese people bow a lot? Well, it's not a stereotype. It's true. It's very common to bow to any one you are parting ways with. However, it's usually in formal or business situations. Shop clerks and restaurant staff always bow to customers, employees will bow to co-workers or bosses. I think, perhaps, it's especially important to do it for someone who is superior to you in age, social standing, or position in the company. Depending on their degree of importance, you have to adjust the change the angle degree of the bow. If they are a lot more important than you, you should bow really low. Anyways, I don't know much about it because I'm never really in a situation where I need to know this. Since I'm a foreigner, no one expects me to bow. Right now I'm focusing on the language, not the customs. One thing at a time.

Anyway, I remember noticing a ridiculous amount of bowing one time on the bullet train from Tokyo to somewhere far, maybe Nara. There were these female train staff in their fancy matching uniforms that made them look like flight attendants. They were walking up and down the aisles, passing from car to car for no apparent reason that I could glean. Every single time they exited a car they would open the door, turn around to face the people in the car and give a low bow before going out the door. If there was a group of them, each one would stop and give a bow before exiting. It seemed like these girls were stopping and bowing and going in and out of doors every 10 minutes. All I could think is, no one notices their bowing except me, the foreigner, and I certainly don't care if they bow to me or not. Is anyone really going to be offended if they exit the train car without bowing first? I know I may be missing something culturally, but I just found it rather excessive--to the point of being quite funny.

Another thing I've noticed is that people often bow when they get off trains and part ways with someone. The other night when I was on my way home from work, there weren't any seats so I was standing in the the middle area near the doors. There was a group of people standing a few feet away from me. As the train doors opened, most of the group got off the train and one of the remaining members was saying her deeply polite "goodbyes" and "thank yous" and "you've worked hard's" (Sayonara, arigatou gozaimashita, otsukaresama desu.. etc) to these people who must have been in a higher position than her, maybe even her bosses, but I don't know.

As she was spewing this ridiculous string of intensely polite greetings, she was rapidly bobbing her top-half up and down, up and down, so devotedly, so eagerly, that she failed to notice my presence about a foot or two away. Suddenly, mid-bow, her head landed right on my shoulder. I moved away, quite surprised and she didn't even seem to notice. She continued right on bowing. I couldn't help but laugh. I had just been bowed on!

And for a treat, here's a funny picture I found of Obama bowing to Emperor Akihito last November. It looks pretty funny cause the two are supposed to be in equal standing--both world leaders, and yet the Emperor is giving a very shallow bow and Obama is bowing like a lowly servant. It's also pretty funny that he's shaking hands at the same time. People don't usually shake hands in Japan--unless they are greeting foreigners and they are aware of the custom. I kind of love that he did that, though. So very hilarious..

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Cutest

This is a Japanese TV ad campaign for beans that is running right now. It seems to be a national phenomenon. Fuzzy plush bean dog toys, bean dog mugs, notebooks, pencils, are being sold in gift shops all over. And I love it! In fact, I've had an image of one of these things as my blog picture for like over a year and I never knew what it was.

The idea is someone's about to sit down and eat their meal when a bean starts talking to them. Th e bean is super cute and has ears, so it kinda looks like a litte dog. Hence the name, bean dog. The bean dog tells them some random disturbing bit of trivia, such as "a kangaroo's pouch is really stinky," or "a flamingo's mother's milk is red." The person is so disgusted they can't finish their food. I'm not sure how this makes someone want to eat more beans, but I find these bean dogs cute and hilarious.

And now, please watch for yourself. There are about 14 versions. Most are in Japanese with English subtitles, one is in English, and one is in Spanish. I personally recommend watching them all.

Thank Heaven for 7-11

So one day I decide to go running in my neighborhood. I know it's Winter but it's a particularly sunny day and it can feel quite warm in the middle of the afternoon.

I start running along a dirt path that runs beside one of the many canal/stream whatever things that run across the city. I run for about 20 minutes, I realize I need to pee. No problem, the dirt path intersects with many streets. All I have to do is find a convenience store. Sure enough, there's a 7-11.

I pass a young, female employee mopping the floor. When I get to the restroom, there's a little handwritten note taped to the door. It's mostly in Kanji characters which I can't make out the meaning of. The only word I know is "Key," or "lock." Okay, I think, one school I work at has a handwritten note on the bathroom door that tells you how to work the lock properly. Unconcerned, I go in and lock the door.

When it's time to leave, I try to open door. The lock won't turn. Still calm, I alternate between wriggling the knob and knocking on the door.

Someone comes to the door and cries, "Ehhh?! Okyakusama!?!" (Ehhh is a typical Japanese noise of surprise. Okyakusama means customer or guest.) I hear a sigh of resignation. She knows I'm stuck in here. She's also probably wondering why I stupidly didn't read the note on the door. The young employee frantically tries to open the door. She goes to get some keys. She tries every one. None of them work. She asks me to try unlocking the door from the inside. I tell her I can't. She asks me another question, but she's obviously panicking and it's causing her to speak so quickly I can't understand her. I try to answer, but it soon becomes apparent to her that I'm not Japanese. This is where she really freaks out.

She goes to get the manager, crying something about a foreigner stuck in the bathroom. He also tries the keys. He tries telling me to unlock it from the inside. Well, duh.. don't you guys think I 've already tried that? I don't immediately respond because I'm trying to work out what to say in my head.

This is when he panics. He asks me questions in ridiculously fast Japanese. I start to panic, too, because I just can't understand him. I want to tell him that I can speak Japanese, but he needs to speak slowly and use simpler words. However, I can't seem to remember any of the tons of vocabulary I've studied over the past 2 years.

This continues for about a half hour: shaking the door, yelling in unintelligible Japanese, and trying different keys. Finally, I understand something they say: they are going to call a locksmith. I try to tell them I understand. However, it usually seems to be the case that once a Japanese person realizes you are foreign, their mind becomes literally unable to comprehend that you might understand Japanese.

They come back and tell me, in Japanese, that the locksmith can't come for another hour and a half. I tell them, in perfect Japanese, that I understand. But they don't hear it. I can hear them trying to figure out how to say it in English. They're panicking again. I tell them it's fine, I understand. I'll wait. Don't worry. Of course, I'm pretty upset that I have to be in here another hour and a half, but I'll do it. I'll wait. What choice do I have?

They abandon me to contemplate my imprisoned state in solitude. I close the lid on the toilet and sit down. I'm sweaty and red-faced from my run. I survey the items on the shelf above my head. Toilet paper rolls, spray bottles of cleaner. I remember it kind of smelled when I first came in, but now I seem to have gotten used to it.

Just as I've rested my head against the cold, tile wall, I hear in very broken English:

"heh-ro? ..... ehhh... shouldo...ehhh...wait? ehhh, wait one...ehhh...ando....thirty."

Um.. I'm guessing she's trying to tell me to wait for an hour and a half. I try to reconfirm this in Japanese, since her English is obviously not too awesome.

"Hai. Ichi jikan han. Wakarimashita. Arigatou gozaimasu." (Yes. One hour and a half. I understand, thank you.)

She's so surprised that I've answered in Japanese. She half asks, half wonders aloud to herself , "Wait, you can't speak English?"

"No. I mean, Yes. I can speak English," I correct her, in English. But she has already run away to break this devastating news to her superiors. Now how they are supposed to communicate with me?

Eventually she comes back with another girl and they continue trying to open the door. They keep lamenting in Japanese, "An hour and a half? What should we do?"

The new girl asks the first girl if I'm alright. The first girl replies a little too casually and disdainfully for my liking, "I dunno. She's a foreigner. She can't speak English OR Japanese."

The other girl asks, "Really? Where is she from?"

"I dunno. Probably Europe or something."

I attempt to say in Japanese that actually, "I'm American," thank you very much. But they have completely given up on trying to communicate with me.

"Oh, too bad." They walk away.

What the hell am I going to do for an hour and a half, in a 7-11 bathroom? I don't have anything on me, but a key. No cell phone, nothing. I think about asking if they would slide me a pen and some paper, or maybe a magazine, through a little hole in the door, but no one comes back. I wait. I try sleeping with my head propped against the wall.

When the locksmith comes, he can't get the door open. He's banging on it, using some metal tools to try to force it open, fumbling with more keys. Finally, he brings out something so noisy and terrifying that it makes me cower in the corner, as far away from the door as possible. I cover my ears. Fire-y orange spastic sparks shoot everywhere. The door swings open and I peek out. Wearing a gray jumpsuit uniform, the locksmith looks at me, stifling a chuckle as he motions for me to come out. I hop over his mountain of tools and escape like a scared little animal.

Mid-escape, I run into the manager. He awkwardly asks me in Japanese if I'm ok. Yeah, I say, sorry for not speaking Japanese so well, and not being able to read kanji. He gives a simple apology and leaves me standing there, wondering where my free stuff is. Shouldn't I at least get a complimentary bottle of water? Geez. I slink past the register on my way out, avoiding the smirking faces of the young employees behind the counter.

2 hours and 20 minutes after I left my house for a run, I slowly crawl back home, defeated. I feel somehow this is a definitive low point.

The groping hands return...

The next time it happens, I am looking for my children who have magically disappeared. The mothers are all happily chatting away on the plastic orange sofa in the lobby. I begin my search through the myriad of classrooms. Eventually I hear the telltale sound of giggles. I enter to find five little girls hiding under a table. Cute.

"Ok, kids. Let's go! Time to start!"

They crawl out, one by one. I say hello to the first sweet little girl, who always behaves impeccably:

"Hello, Sehwa! How are you?"
"Good! High five!"

One missed high five and a little hand lands on my pillowy chest. A wide mischievous grin spreads across her face. She reaches out again.

"No, Sehwa. Don't touch!"

Her frown turns upside down:

"No ja nai!" (Ja nai is Japanese, basically equivalent to "not," so having a negative meaning)

She reaches out again and attempts to pat and prod. More giggles ensue. The other girls have extracted themselves from their hiding place and now see what's going on out here. They want in.

10 little hands are groping and grabbing and chasing me around the classroom. And they won't stop that giggling!

"No! No! No! Stop!" I run out of the room. The mothers look at me, startled.

"Uhhh." I can't think how to tell them in simple English that their children are sex fiends. Didn't these mothers ever tell their children NOT to touch people in naughty places?

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

I do apologize for my almost year long absence from this blog.

And now, I would like to announce that I've been sexually harassed at work.. by little girls.

It all starts one innocent Friday afternoon. I'm in the school lobby, about ten minutes before my class starts. A group of young children around age 4 or 5 are all gathered with their mothers, eagerly anticipating another 50 minutes of:

"What's this?"
"What do Chicken's say?"
"Cluck cluck!"

You know, the usual stuff.

A girl named Nana, enters the school with her mother. She shyly hands me her attendance booklet and suddenly bursts out with:

"Why, thank you, Nana."
"Good job, Nana, high five!"

Smug with the knowledge that I have taught my kids well enough to say "here you are" and "you're welcome," I start to walk away from the lobby back into the office area. Suddenly, I feel a little hand grab my rear end and give it a good couple of satisfying squeezes.

bonk bonk. One, two.

It reminds me of the way one grabs a little fluffy round bunny tail. All innocent and oh, it just looks so soft and plush, I want to grab it.

"Oh!" the mothers cry.
"Oh!" I cry out.

Mortified, I spin around.

giggle giggle.

giggle giggle.

gigglegigglegigglegiggle. the mother's have joined in. Nana's looking real proud of herself.

I sigh and walk back into the office area. I drink my juice. No one speaks English, not even the mothers, so what the heck can I say anyway? I let it go.