I met Junshi a few weeks ago through my Dad’s Japanese friend. Junshi moved to America only 2 months ago. We have teamed up to tutor each other – I help him with his English and he helps me with my Japanese.
He’s helped me tremendously with my then non-existent Japanese. Not only does he help me with grammar, but he more importantly gives me quite a few pointers on what a REAL typical first conversation with a Japanese stranger will be:
“Are you married?” (Kekkon shitemasuka?)
In which you reply: “I’m single” (Mada dokushin desu.) (single in Japan simply means you’re not married – so the next progressive question would be…)
“Do you have a boy friend?” (Kareshi wa imasu ka?)
But then he told me to be quite careful with the word boyfriend. If you say “kareshi” it means boyfriend, but by changing one vowel to: “Karashi” it then becomes mustard.
So if I’m asking a local vendor for some mustard, I better be darn careful what I say! (unless of course he’s hot – then it’s a win win situation)
I also remember asking Junshi a few classes ago on what the dating protocol is… For example whether or not I can ask a male colleague to go out on the town with me – or if that would be considered a ‘date.’ Junshi humbly replied: “Well… if you ask a male collegue to go out with you. I think he will be very happy.”
I think I got his point.