Friday, June 03, 2005

"Hallo" Mr. Gaijin

Kitty corner across the street stood five small children. Four boys and a girl waved and blinked silently at me with bright eyes. The middleschoolers, probably 3rd or 4th graders, grinned big excited grins as they stared at their first foreigner encounter. Tall, blonde, and a medium build with blue eyes, that`s me they`re grinning at I thought cheerfully. The chubby boy nudged his compadre, and the taller boy of the group, the one with dark black hair reached his arm up and giddily spoke in his best broken English, "Hallo!"

Anxiously awaiting a response in English the huddle of children fidgetted a bit and then began to whisper to each other. "Hi!" I responded to the astonished children. They instantly became more excited. Again I got another "Hallo!" as the group giggled to the ineraction they had made. I sensed that they wanted to use more words but were a little bit shy. The children probably just started learning English in school and were excited to see their first English speaking alien. The group huddled together again, whispers were spoken, and then with the fluidity of a gaggle of geese they waddled over to the adajecent corner, the one directly in front of me. "Hallo!" They all shouted with glee.

It was fun to see how excited they all were to try and use English with a complete stranger, whereas if I were a Japanese person the small chilren, as cute as gerbals, would probably have avoided eye contact at all costs.

I asked them in Japanese if they were "genki" or doing well, and they all nodded and nervously replied, "yes." The crosswalk light turned green and as I past them I waved goodbye and said, "Bye bye."

To this their eyes sparkled and they giggled waving in return as they past shouting simultaneously in cheerful harmony, "Bye bye."

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