The Kimochi Warui Diary
In the back-left corner of the room—in the seat next to the window—I reviewed my script one more time.
I’m going to nail this.
Meanwhile, in the front of the class, a student began his own presentation.
“Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Harold-san desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.”
Before he could continue, Naoko Sensei interrupted him:
Sensei had a problem with the way he was pronouncing “yoroshiku.” He wasn’t able to roll his ‘R’ properly.
“Yo row shiku,” Harold said.
Sensei sent it back at him with a stern emphasis on the syllable: “Ｙｏろｓｈｉｋｕ!”
“Yo ROW shiku,” Harold said, louder this time.
Sensei’s face was blank.
“Okay,” she said. “Keep going.”
Harold took a deep breath and continued:
“Watashi wa anime to manga ga suki desu. Full Metal Alchemist ga ichiban suki desu. Video geemu mo suki desu. Supotsu ga kirai desu.”
Harold bowed deeply to the classroom, hinging at the waist a full 90 degrees. The students applauded him and he returned to his seat.
In Harold’s presentation, he said he liked anime and manga, but that was no secret to anyone. Two lectures ago, he was watching anime on his laptop—in the middle of class. Without any headphones.
Honestly, I felt terrible for sensei.
She came to this country to teach Japanese, but did she ever expect her students would be so embarrassingly otaku?
But that wasn’t fair of me to say. Even the actual otaku in Japan were much better than the wannabes in this room!
The people here? They were “weaboos.” Weaboos are entirely separate from otaku. An otaku is just a fanatic, but a weaboo is someone who literally wishes they could have been born Japanese.
I can forgive someone for loving Japan. I have no problem with that. The irritating part is that you can already tell half of them think this class is going to be a breeze.
Why? Just because they’ve watched Naruto with subtitles?
But don’t get me wrong.
I love Japanese cartoons as much as any weaboo. The difference between me and them is that there’s no way I’d let it show so tastelessly.
And unlike them, I’m way ahead of the curve. I’ve already taught myself how to write hiragana and katakana, and I’ve even begun studying kanji.
Honestly, I’m only taking this class to get speaking and listening practice. If I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t actually—
“Psst! Hey!” My desk neighbor tapped me on the shoulder. “She’s talkin’ to you, [Watashi]!”
I looked up to see sensei staring right at me.
“[Watashi]-san, please present!”
Finally. It’s time to show everyone my power level!
I got up and moved to the front of the class. I took a deep breath and repeated my lines, just as I’d rehearsed them:
I gave a curt bow to show I was finished.
Sensei applauded. Her mouth was agape in astonishment.
“[Watashi]-san, you have very natural pronunciation. It almost sound like native Japanese speaker.”
Then, she asked something I hadn’t expected at all:
I’d barely caught even one word of what she said. Truthfully, I hadn’t expected sensei to ask anything at all after reading what I had written in my script.
“S-sorry…” I said. “I mean, ごめんなさい、もういちどいって。。。kudasai?”
Sensei repeated the question again for me.
“Dono kurai…” she said, slowly. “How long…”
My mind was blank.
“How long have you been studying Japanese for?” she finally asked in plain English.
“Oh. Um… One year?” Actually, it was longer.
“Hai, ichi nen kan.”
Sensei wasn’t satisfied with my answer. Her open palm was saying I had left something out.
“Ichi nen kan… desu?”
“です！That’s right. Don’t forget to use the verb!”
She addressed the entire class now:“I will be listening for verb during final speaking exam, ne? Make sure to study and practice!”