Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Toilet Water

“Thanks so much for picking me up.”

“Ah, no problem. What’s your name?”

“I’m Dave. What’s yours?

“I’m Nao.”

“Nice to meet you Nao. What do you do?”

Now, up to this point, the Japanese needed is quite simple. It’s among the first Japanese I learned and I used it often. The question of occupation, however, sent me rifling through my pocket dictionary more times than I can remember.

  • “I’m a ____” –2 minutes later– “Ah, a crane operator!
  • “I’m a ____” –2 minutes later– “Ah, a security guard!
  • “I’m a ____” –2 minutes later– “Ah, a tombstone salesman!

But sitting beside Nao, watching Prodigy music videos and prudently monitoring his police radar-detector, my dictionary didn’t help.

“My job … toilet water.”

“Oh, a plumber?”

“No, not a plumber. Toilet water.”

“I’m sorry to hear that Nao, I really am.”

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