Published: April 1st 2005April 1st 2005
Occasionally, people will knock on our door or ring the horribly-toned doorbell. The slightest shock crosses their face at being confronted with a real life gaijin (foreigner)before they decide to do the polite Japanese thing and forge ahead. They blast a string of Japanese at us. We shake our heads and ask, "Ego dekamaska?", which of course is "Do you speak English?" Most do not, but they continue speaking to us in Japanese. Who knows what events have befallen us without our knowledge? Perhaps the neighborhood watch has warned us about a string of burglaries. Maybe we have even been this year's winner of the Japanese Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes. We imagine they are saying in Japanese, "All you have to do is say you want the check and it's yours. Do you want it? Do you want it? Oh, too bad." We will never know. The Japanese visitors bow and leave us unenlightened and shaking our heads. So far the only visitors who have spoken English have been.......the Jehovah's witnesses! Yes, they are here, too! I couldn't believe it when I opened the door and in the middle of a string of incomprehesibles I heard "Jehovah's witness." The first visitor spoke little English, so they sent a man who was fluent. I can only shake my head in admiration at the persistence of these people. To knock on so many doors across the world and to more often than not be turned away, only to knock again. I have rarely seen that level of tenaciousness. The only thing I have ever seen that has come close to matching it is on the day when Jen and I were out for a drive in Florida and we came upon her father walking the dog. We stopped for a chat and a gentleman cruised up on a bicycle and asked for financial assistance. While this in itself was an ordinary enough occurrence, he proceeded to tell us that he had recently biked all the way from Trinidad. Now that is a level of endurance (and aquatic bicycling skills) that would put even Lance Armstrong to shame.