School Dinners and a Feeling of Partial Competency: Wednesday 2nd November

Today I continued to spread the good word of ‘Meet the Music’ amongst the children of Saitama, this time visiting a primary school with a string quartet. By far the highlight of the outing was the free school dinner that we were all treated to, although it was rather surreal sitting down at a table in the head master’s office (complete with floral tablecloth) and eating from cafeteria trays. The scram was delicious, and whilst I am not entirely sure what meat it was that we were eating, I do know that whale is a common staple in some Japanese schools’ lunch menus.

Whatever this was it was darn tasty.

Whilst it is always nice when people compliment you on your Japanese, it really does have to be taken with a pinch of salt, as no sooner have I proclaimed that ‘Hello my name is Sam, pleased to meet you’, then I am being told that my level of proficiency is fluent. There then comes the crashing disappointment (be it over a few minutes, hours, or if I am exceptionally lucky days) where my conversational partner realises that my level of Japanese is far from fluent, and that if we stray too far from discussing Japanese food, my hometown, or cats in refrigerators, all becomes hopelessly and utterly lost. Still, it is rather nice whilst it lasts, that feeling of partial competency.


About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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