After almost 20 years in Japan, I have come to absolutely abhor that question. “Where are you from?” will ultimately be followed bu useless chitchat about stereotypes, how great my Japanese is (it’s okay but certainly not worth praising) someone’s trip to the Rocky Mountains 10 years ago, what Japanese food I like or even worse, that dreaded “which country do you like more?” (see my past post on this).
Today, I was at the pool again. Most people know me by now and I thought I was done with this question. I was sitting in a lovely hot jacuzzi and wanting to be alone today (I sometimes have those days) when a senior gentleman came and got in. We have chatted many times before and he lives not all that far from me, so ended up talking about DD1 and her long walk to school and whatnot. Then a elderly lady got in and was only in a minute or two before she looked at me and asked IT… “Where do you come from?” but to my surprise, this gentleman piped right up “She comes from Toda!” (we both live in an area of town called “Toda” -kind of like saying “from the East End”). I was so pleased. Thank you sir.
Unfortunately she looked at him and said “No, I meant her COUNTRY!” And I had to endure the usual chitchat AGAIN! She insisted on praising my Japanese until we could escape to the pool for a swim. Oh well.