Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Excuse me, are you hafu?

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 8/09/2005
The other day, I was at the department store buying some face moisturizer. Because I had just walked for about 30 minutes from my office to the store (Izutsuya, for those of you in Kitakyushu...for those of you outside, try to pronounce that!), I was, to put it frankly, a walking fountain of sweat. It was quite disgusting, actually. My makeup had slithered off of my face and I was sporting what one would nicely refer to as: "the natural look." My Weather Pixie had failed me by telling me that it was only 89 degrees outside, when in reality, it was 97 degrees. Hello???

Anyway, so there I am, sweating like I had just run a marathon, trying to keep up a running conversation with the salesperson about different kinds of moisturizer. In the middle of this discussion (with sweat still running in rivers down my face), she says:

"Are you half?"

I thought I had misheard her. "Half what?" I answered.

"Well, if you're not hafu, are you a foreigner?" She looks at me in confusion.

Her expression mirrored my own because I had no idea what she was talking about. I know that Japanese people use the term "half" (pronounced "hafu" in Japanese) to refer to people who are that: half-Japanese, half-something else (white, black, whatever).

But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why she was asking me that. Was it because I was sweating? Wearing no makeup? Looking thinner than normal?

I turned to her and said, "Nope I'm a (insert southern accent here) root-tooting, gosh-darned, foreigner, lady." (or something to that effect in Japanese)

I wanted to ask her what it was about me that made her think I was half-Japanese. It certainly couldn't be my green eyes, my large curvacious body, my extremely white face (except where it was red and sweaty), my overly excessive sweat glands...

I later found out (with my wallet $100 lighter) that my Japanese sounded native.


0 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:


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