“Ohayo, sangatsu jyu hachi, kyu ji.”
I hope I got that right… :s It’s supposed to say: “Good morning (Ohayo), [it’s] March (sangatsu) 18 (jyu hachi)[th], 9 (kyu) o’clock (ji).”
The Japanese wife of a Canadian colleague from work who knows about my interest for all things Asian has been introducing me to friends of hers recently. English is used sparingly, as all her friends are Japanese. They are nice enough to fill me in on their conversations now and then or switch to English altogether from time to time; otherwise, I can always chat with a fellow Canadian (who usually understands Japanese already though). I picked up a few words here and there during those evenings (like “suki” means “[to] like”), but I wouldn’t mind doing some real learning in order to follow their conversations better.
Besides, with all the Japanese restaurants around and the Japanese population living in Vancouver itself, it might come in handy: I was eating sushi by myself in a restaurant one evening, a couple of months ago, when two young Japanese women came and sat at the table next to mine. From the corner of my eye, I could sense they were looking at me and whispering something in Japanese to themselves. I silently turned to look at them for a second or two with a look that said “Are you talking about me?” and they were all embarassed! Now I don’t know if they thought I was cute (“kawaii”) or not back then but they’d better watch out next time around — I might have a little surprise in store for them! :p
In the past 24 hours, I’ve already learned how to count from 1 to 20, the months of the year, and a few other useful words. Sugoi! (“Cool!”… Now I know what that brand of clothing stands for).
Mata ne! (“See ya!”)
EDIT: I didn’t turn Japanese in the end… I married a beautiful Thai girl and I must say speaking Japanese was a lot easier than trying to speak Thai with all the different tones and different sounds that I have to learn now. I’ll manage somehow, but it’ll take me a while to be fluent in Thai. ;)