Monday, November 9, 2009

Adventures in Aqua Boot Camp - Episode 2

I'm taking a brief break from travel photos to share my most recent aqua boot camp adventure. My limited knowledge of Japanese is enough to get me through most day-to-day interactions, but every now and then, not being fluent results in character building (ie highly embarrassing or confusing) situations - and more often than not, these seem to happen at the gym. (If you missed out on the brouhaha I created by wearing earrings in the pool, you can read that here.)

So about 25 minutes in, the instructor stops the class, starts talking, and before I know it, everyone else has their left hand up in the air in a fist. I should also mention that I arrived to class a bit later than normal, resulting in me standing in the front row, smack-dab in the center - so everyone else could see me, but I didn't have a great view of what anyone else was doing. He keeps talking, and everyone's fist change into a gesture. After two rounds of this, it dawns on me that they are playing rock-paper-scissors (or jan-ken-pon in Japanese - did you know the game was invented here?).

But why? Why on earth would it be necessary to decide anything in the middle of a boot camp class? Were they deciding on whether we'd do 1000 kicks next or suffer through punches instead? And, seeing that I have no idea as to what is being decided, is it better to play along blindly or be the only person in the pool without my hand up? I opt for playing halfheartedly, weakly raise my arm, and make my selection at the last possible second. The women next to me helpfully pinched her "scissor" fingers at me to show that her "scissors" beat my "paper," while I smiled back with what I hoped was a flash of confidence. Or something like it.

The whole thing probably only lasted for 6 rounds, but they were the longest rounds of rock-paper-scissors I've ever played in my life, and no, I never did deduce what was decided as a result.


EstrellaBella10 said...

You are a trooper! I can't imagine how tough the language barrier has been for you. I remember when I first arrived in Chile, I realized the natives spoke in Chilean slang, so all my years of learning Spanish didn't help as much as I would have liked. It took me awhile to adjust, and I had plenty of cry fests because my favorite word was "Que?" (what?). I couldn't understand my host family for a month, so I feel your pain!

LJ said...

Thanks Nikki. During moments like that, I contemplate throwing myself back into my Japanese studies. But we're at the 6 month mark now, and I can't help but think that I won't use Japanese much (if at all) after we leave. So then I think that it would be more useful for me to go back to studying Spanish. But who studies Spanish while living in Japan?!