How you get to know people in a Foreign Language

January 7, 2018

Hey Everybody!

A consequence of learning beginner-Japanese is that I’m pretty sure, by now, I know all my class mates’ favourite food by heart. Yeah, that question has been a little overused, but it’s not the only question. I feel like when you start learning a language what you first learn is how to interview someone, haha.

I know the kind of people my classmates what to marry, what they want most (I discovered money is universally pretty high on the agenda, xD), I know who in their family read children’s books to them when they were younger, how they spend their weekends and deal with stress (an interesting one BTW).

All of these weirdly specific questions are just not what you ask someone you first meet normally, xD. Or just in general, haha.

Like, when was the last time you directly asked someone what their hobbies were? Imagine if someone just threw that bomb into the middle of a conversation, LMAO.

Ummmm, my hobbies? … do I even have any…*terrifying realisation*

The class learnt pretty quick that they needed to prepare ready-to-use answers for these questions. Not having a hobby, a certain genre of movies you liked best or a thing you are good at, (sleeping is always an option for this category btw), is Not An Option.

Recently, I had my first day at my once-weekly extra-curricular class at the language school. And since it was the first lesson and it was all about getting to know each other, I asked this one new girl I was partnered with, what her hobby was. She said she didn’t have one.

I remember just thinking; ohhhhOhOH, I bet by the end of the week you’ll have a detailed LIST of hobbies you only just discovered you had. #amateur

But, I’ve been in the same boat as her before… one I’ve thankfully graduated from because for the longest time I just couldn’t figure out what I was good at! Kind of depressing, I know, haha.

The teacher was going around class one time, having everybody answer that question to practice the new grammar we learnt, and I was just sitting there stressing. I could not think of a possible answer.

Starting to get desperate, I asked my friend next to me what I was good at. It took me a bit to understand her meaning, but I eventually got that she thought I’m good at “facial expressions”. *facepalm*

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That’s exactly what I’m going to declare to the whole class.

I don’t know what I ended up saying, but it was probably something along the lines of, “I forgot”, LOL. You can imagine my relief, though, when I finally (like two weeks of thinking later) discovered something I could say was a talent!

Swimming, especially since I found out, through those questions, that half the class would apparently drown if thrown into a pool, xD. And since I’ve been swimming since I was four years old and have done the whole squad thing, I figured I was qualified to say that^^.

But, something else I discovered about these questions, is that they are oddly revealing too.

Like, when I’d say I could drive people would be like, “wow, that’s awesome. I can’t”. At all, really?

Though, I think that’s a bit more understandable than not knowing how to swim. Because, as someone who grew up where learning not to drown is a mandatory skill to have, it was quite shocking.

So… your parents wanted you to die, did they? I mean, death by pool party does seem like an interesting way to go… IF YOU WANT TO END UP ON “DUMB WAYS TO DIE”.

The answers also got quite deep sometimes.

I remember when we had to talk about what our favourite colour was and why. My partner for this exercise said that her favourite colours were blue and yellow because those were the colours Van Gogh used a lot in his painting. Apparently, when she first saw a painting of his she “wanted to cry”.

thats deep

There was another guy, once we learnt how to ask “who gave you [insert word]”, who said that his parents gave him the necklace he always wears, just before he came to Japan. He said it’s for good luck and protection.

I was expecting something like, “I bought it cos it looks cool” …

I guess I’ve just been pleasantly surprised at how much you can learn about someone from these small, random, simple, questions. It’s a way of getting to know people I’ve never practised before, haha.

I’m now really curious about why people’s favourite colours are what they are, and what the meaning behind their jewellery is, LOL.

Until next time,

Vee

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