Our college class is roughly half boys and half girls. The girls are great – they mainly seem to be here because they love the culture, although one admitted her hobby was Japanese boy bands (?!). The boys, I’m not so sure about… Yesterday I went out for lunch with four of them. Finding somewhere to go was in itself a monumental effort – despite there being hundreds of local restaurants, they dismissed most of them as being too fast-foody, too western, too this, too that. Eventually we settled on a place but it had no English menu. I pointed to what some guys nearby were having, which I knew was koreage chicken (fried chicken in a light batter), with rice, miso, salad and pickles. They chose randomly from the lunch menu. Half of them didn’t like what they got and complained bitterly. They also all ate their pickles, which are put on the table as you arrive but are meant to go with the soup and main meal, before anything else arrived. They were rubbish with chopsticks and generally behaved like big blundering gaijin. One of them even blew his nose at the table! Later on I asked whether they’d been to the Imperial Palace gardens, which are literally five minute from college, and got blank looks all round.
The combination of these things completely riled me, and left me wondering why the hell they wanted to come to such an alien country to learn the language when they know so little abouut the country and culture. I was speaking today to one of my colleagues (a girl) who pointed out the one thing that I had clearly fogotten… That they are most likely here for the Japanese girls. This was further cemented by the fact that three of them were huddled around a camera this morning, smirking like 13 year olds.
Today, I bought a bento and took myself off to the park on my own ;)