Nine years ago, I was teaching English to Japanese housewives, office girls and bored salarymen. A popular drill exercise was turning statements into questions.
Tom: Yes, I like sushi.
Pretty student: Do you like sushi?
Tom: Yes, I will go out with you.
(Pretty student leaves room crying)
It`s Q and A in reverse. My current tour has followed a similar pattern.
I say: “We`re meeting at 7”, then two people jump in with: “Tom, what time are we meeting?”
I announce: ”We`re meeting in the lobby”, anxious faces shout at: “So, where are we meeting?”.
Perhaps I am being harsh, after all, it is my job to answer these questions, and I do mumble instructions – sometimes in Japanese. And quite often I start sentences without knowing
On a future tour, I want someone to ask me: “What is the key to happiness?” Then if I can remember my preceding statement, probably something about chocolate peanuts, my life will be sorted.
This tour has become a blur of surreal experiences – eating locusts in Matsumoto, drawing a Moomin`s penis in Takayama, singing In the Navy in Hiroshima and telling people 3 times each day: “We are meeting at 7 in the lobby”.
But I know I will miss my group tomorrow morning when I return to Tokyo and life amongst the city hobgoblins. Tomorrow I have to try to make an itinerary for my own life – much harder than making one for others.
Tomorrow, no-one will ask me, “Where are we meeting?”. And there will be no lobby to meet at. So, I`ll probably get pissed.