You got a cellphone in Japan! (Did you get SoftBank or au? I like au for two reasons unrelated to the actual phone. One, au represents gold from the periodic table of elements (coming from the Latin word for gold: aurum). Two, the company has spectacular commercials involving famous Japanese fairy tale characters.)
Now you would like to give your cellphone number to your friends and families overseas so you can Face Time, etc. Yet, how does one call a Japanese cell phone from an overseas phone?
Life has come full circle. There is a completeness, and the story now has a happy ending.
Allow me to set the context:
An American student of mine, dutifully gave me a gift as his mother had told him to do. As it is no secret that I love plants (as they adorn my classroom, and I cultivate the edible garden outside the cafeteria) I am assuming that this gift was a thoughtful way of encouraging this passion of mine.
I was teaching a Mommy and Me English as a Second Language class to a lovely young mother and her two-year-old son. The lesson’s topic was body parts. Not wanting to use Japanese to explain the meaning, I would touch the location of the vocabulary word and then move such anatomy in a goofy way. This game was quite popular with the two-year-old, and I was feeling on fire as a teacher, for we were in that beautiful intersection of learning, engagement, and genuine joy.
I said, “Touch your chin,” and proceeded to place my finger on my mentum; however, Japanese-toddler logic mandated not the mentum as modeled, but what he very knew to be his chin. You see, “chin-chin” (ちんちん) is the Japanese kid word for penis.
At this year’s Christmas party, my 92-year-old grandfather in law said: “When foreigners eat sushi, it really is peace, isn’t it.” Well, actually he said: 「外国人が寿司を食べる時、本当に平和だね。
(Our family eats sushi in our Christmas spread, and the traditional KFC, Japanese Christmas cake as well as mash potatoes, turkey, and pizza. [We have a large extended international family, and everybody brings something they want to eat, potluck style, and all benefit deliciously.])
This was contemplating on how to work in a nap (I have a newborn.) without being rude when Ji-Chan (Japanese for Grandpa), who only says something when it needs saying, made the aforementioned comment. Three things happened at once.