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At 8:47pm on July 24, 2008, Chris said…
No, I don't speak ANY Japanese. When I'm working I always have a full-time interpreter. I sympathize with you, though - it's quite a challenge. Almost everywhere else I've been (including Belgium), I pick up enough to get by, between the local language and whatever amount of English the locals speak.

Tokyo's quite a different story. The last few times I've been there, I stayed in Shibuya, near you, at the Excel Hotel. For a part of Japan that's full of tourists, they don't do much to make it easy.

I remember venturing out on my own to find a cash machine in that neighborhood. The hotel knew of only one in that whole area that would connect to my American bank network, and when I found it there was only one bank employee who spoke a little English. I tried to use hand-gestures and even wrote down -Y20,000 and waved my card around like an idiot.

I'm very sensitive to the fact that most foreigners hate Americans, even the polite Japanese, so finally I gave up, bowed a couple times and left.
At 5:01pm on July 24, 2008, Chris said…
Salut Frederic. How is Japan? I had been planning a trip there this summer but it looks like I won't make it. What part of Tokyo are you in?

I've spent quite a lot of time there for work, usually in Shibuya. Funny how when I'm there it can be overwhelming but as soon as I get home, I miss it.
 
 
 

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