December 15, 2006
Did you know that it’s possible to survive in Japan with a 5-adjective vocabulary? I’m pretty sure there are several people who don’t think I understand anything other than oishii (delicious), ii (good), daijobu (ok), tanoshii (fun), and kawaii (cute - not to be confused with kowaii [scary] or kawaiso [pitiful], although of course we do it all the time!). Actually, a 6th adjective comes up a lot, and I’m not sure if that’s normal or if it’s just because we get into a lot of odd situations, but my personal favorite word is okashii, which means strange, in the sense of “not quite right in the head.” I get to use this word a lot, sometimes even in reference to people other than myself!
However, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the oishii cuisine enough, and the okashii encounters have received more than their fair share of coverage in this journal, so I think it’s time to give tanoshii the limelight. Life has slowed down a lot in these last couple weeks as we’ve settled in and stopped traveling as much, which has given us more opportunities to go out with friends and experience life like any other Japanese college student.
“Going out” has rather different connotations in Japan than it does at most U.S. colleges. Frat houses don’t exist and dancing at clubs is practically unheard of outside of the big
cities, so when students want to get out on the weekends they’re far more likely to go to rent a karaoke room (where you only embarrass yourself in front of your closest friends rather than a whole bar full of strangers), gather at someone’s apartment to cook and hang out, go bowling or to the arcade, or go out drinking with your group. It’s more about just hanging out and talking with your friends than mingling with new people.