Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What's He Worth?

Another language faux pas from yours truly. I am so embarrassed and my teacher would really scold me if she reads this. Saito-san, please forgive me, I am so terrible with numbers and counting.

A few weeks ago Sam brought a friend home from school some playtime. Sam and Aidan had a great time playing - they found some of the other kids in the building from the ELC, and played in the kids room here. They constructed legos, pretended they were in the jungle, and then ate dinner together - a great playdate.

Aidan's family live in Moto-azabu, about a half hour away from us in Yoyogi-uehara by train. We decided the best thing to do was to meet in a station in between and Aidan's dad would meet me on his way home from work.

The subways in Tokyo are superb. They are punctual, clean, reliable - and best of all - kids under the age of 6 ride free. So to take 2 small boys on the subway is not a big deal - it's kind of fun. Aidan, Sam and I met Aidan's dad in Omotesando, and Aidan and his dad headed on their way and Sam and I turned around and headed back home. 

Now, I did not exit the station at Omotesando, so my subway card did not register when I came back to Yoyogi-uehara, and the turnstile alarm went off. I knew this would happen, so I was prepared with my meager Japanese to explain what I did:

Pam: Sumimasen. Omotesando ni ikimashita. 
Pam: Excuse me. I went to Omotesando.

Well, I'd be lying if I said I knew exactly what he said, but he said something to the effect that I didn't leave the station, and I agreed with him. The stationmaster took my subway pass, and proceeded to deduct the fare to and from Omotesando.

Here is where I am embarrassed to say that I got confused, and I thought he was deducting a fare for Sam. I wanted to explain that Sam was only five years old.

All that I managed to tell him was that Sam was 5 yen. I don't know if he thought I was offering to sell Sam, or what kind of crazy deal I was trying to make, but he looked at me kind of funny. I immediately realized what I had said, and turned so red that I looked sunburned.

"Sumimasen, sumimasen, gomen nasai, wakarimasu, da joobi desu. Excuse me, excuse me, I apologize, I understand, it's okay," I stammered repeatedly. These are very useful phrases when you have said something really foolish, like your son is 5 yen.Add Image

I realize that reviewing my Japanese numbers and counting is crucial to avoid these cringe-causing moments, so I am now reviewing all my Japanese lessons - particularly counting and numbers.


  1. I know there have been times you would have sold him for 5 yen, but really!!!

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