As I had to prepare for my JLPT exam, I usually stayed at the school for revision by myself. Joni, unlike other young students who liked to hang around in the city, she liked to stay at the school for cramming back some grammar rules after official lessons.
“Why don’t you go out with your classmates? It will be way more fun just staying here to study.” I asked.
“I come to Japan at least twice a year, every year since I was born. I do not feel too excited about Japan. Just like someone you have seen hundreds of times, you won’t feel any special. Besides, I love to finish my revision first. I do not want to speak English in Japan, but most of the schoolmates speak English after lessons.” She replied me in Japanese.
“It is hard to have someone speaking Japanese to you all day long, except the one who is Japanese. Many people come here for fun, or for experiencing the culture.”
“ Yeah, I know that. Their ways of life do not bother me. I just be myself. Besides, you are someone speaking Japanese all the day since we have met.”
“ We just become friends since yesterday”
“Yeah, lucky for me.” she said with a smile.
We kept studying at a classroom for around one hour. She occasionally asked me some questions about grammar, and I was happy to answer her; sometimes, she taught me some Japanese slang words I have ever heard of before.
She looked very tired after a hour to study, but from her face it was no sign she wanted to stop.
“Are you tired? “ I asked
“Yeah, kind of. But I want to study more and know more”
“If you are tired, it is better to rest. Your brain can’t function well unless you are not sleepy. How about us going to have a walk? It is your first time to come to Fukuoka, right ? “
She nodded. I couldn’t believe she accepted my advice, as I thought she would stubbornly follow her way.
We packed up our stuff, said good-bye to the teachers and some schoolmates, strolling towards Tenjin, from Hakata.
It was in January. The weather was super cold, and the breeze was strong. I was a bit regretful about asking her to have a walk, but she looked okay, without showing any satisfaction. On the way we were walking, sometimes we talked, sometimes we stayed silent.
“Why do you study Japanese ? you mentioned you will go back to England and start your university life, and do not plan to work in Japan. You study very hard, though. It doesn’t make sense, to me.” I said.
“Perhaps it doesn’t sound like a hafu, if I can’t master Japanese well. A weird reason, for a weird person like me. Why do you study Japanese? “ she asked me back.
“ As I want to escape from the city. I felt kind of monotonous by doing the same work endlessly. I enjoy my work, but do not want to do it for my whole life. Most of my friends get married and have kids, leading a stable life that you can tell what they would do and become after 10 years. I respect their ways of life, as they pay tax, bring a new life to the world, and spend their money to boost the economy, but it is not my way . Studying in other European countries are too far away, and expensive. But I can manage to study in Japan for a few months, and then go back to start my work immediately. “
I was an owner of one cram school, and luckily developed good reputation among some student’s parents. Most of them were okay about me going to Japan for a few months, and waiting for me to come back to the city and taught their kids again.
“Then you reason to study Japanese is to escape something unpleasant. My reason to study Japanese is to find back my identity, which is quite ambiguous, but quite important to me, at least at this moment.“ Joni said.
It took us around 45 minutes from Hakata to Tenjin. Obviously she enjoy walking pretty much. Unlike many Japanese or Hong Kong girls, they prefer taking a bus or train for such a “long” distance.
The End of day two