Louisa and Tiffany stepped into the elevator and found themselves amongst a group of older Japanese men. The men stopped talking as they entered and most of them bowed or nodded their acknowledgement, but one man puffed out his chest and curled up his upper lip as though he had eaten something that was off. His face was bright red and it was obvious that he was very drunk.
Tiffany pressed the 9th floor button and the men resumed their conversation, albeit more quietly as though Louisa and Tiffany weren’t there. Tiffany didn’t bother to listen, but she knew her friend, Louisa was a notorious eavesdropper, at least in their home country of America. This was different though.
Suddenly, Mr. Chest Puffer spoke up in a louder voice , “外人が好きじゃない！” His colleagues ignored him and shuffled uncomfortably but since neither Louisa or Tiffany reacted in any way, they simply kept talking after a brief pause.
Reaching the 9th floor Tiffany stepped out as the doors opened, but Louisa turned around, shoved her arm to block them closing and glared at Mr. Chest Puffer.
Tiffany watched as his eyes widened in disbelief and she saw Louisa flash him a triumphant grin as he disappeared from sight behind the closing doors.
Tiffany turned to her friend.
“What did you say to him?!” she asked.”I didn’t know you even spoke Japanese!”
“Oh, I don’t really. I just know the essentials and one of those things just happens to be likes and dislikes,” she replied.
“Yes, but what did he say and what did you say that shocked him so much?”
“He was being rude and said he didn’t like foreigners, so I told him I didn’t like Japanese people either. People shouldn’t make assumptions that just because we’re white we don’t understand anything but English. Not all white people speak English.”
And with that she left Tiffany standing in the corridor, wondering just what other essential Japanese phrases she’d learned before their trip. Guess I’ll find out soon enough, she thought.