I got another email from my boyfriend (Teruaki) today, another email that I had to use the online kanji dictionary in order to understand. Teruaki is Japanese and I am an ugly American whom he seems to not find so ugly, but we do not speak the same language. The funny thing about this is that I don't feel uncomfortable not speaking the same language. There has never been a time when we felt we couldn't communicate. For all my grammatical analyses of various languages, it comes down to this: Teruaki and I understand each other just fine without sharing a common grammar. It is vexing and thrilling and comforting.
The thing I love most about coming to this silly little Internet cafe in this silly little town is not so much the free drinks, but that I never quite know what I am going to get in terms of computer. Some nights I come online and everything is in Portuguese1, a noble tongue with a lot of stunning diacritics, many of which are undecipherable to me. Occasionally it is English I get; usually, obviously, it is Japanese. Tonight, much to my astonishment, I came on and had everything (including Everything) written in Korean. Fortunately I have memorized the prompt boxes so I can negotiate them no matter what surprise language comes out.
The Korean thing tonight was a bit irksome at first as it changed the functions of many of the keys on the keyboard. The keyboard is printed Japanese style, so that the @ mark, for example, is sort of up in Wisconsin, rather than over the 2. But tonight, along with the Korean alphabet (or syllabery? I'm not sure which), it rearranged the function of the keys to match that of a standard American keyboard. In other words, despite the key's assurance to the contrary, tonight to type the @ sign, I actually have to hit Shift+2. After all this time, I had finally got used to the Japanese keyboard, and now this. Tomorrow night I am sure I will come here to find the computer all set to type in Arabic. Except there aren't all that many Arabs here.
I've spent all day hopped up on Sudafed and green tea, and now I am going home and going to bed. It is a full moon tonight, and the sky is clear, so I will be able to watch the few clouds drift about the top of Mount Fuji as I walk. And that always gives me sweet dreams.
1This area of Japan--Shizuoka--has a lot of Brazilian people living here, so there are many advertisements and such in Portuguese. Thus, finding the computer set to Portuguese is not as shocking as I would have liked for you to believe. But let's just keep that under our hats, shall we?