Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Couchsurfing is Cool

A while back we hosted our first couchsurfers. We've had many requests but this was the only one that has worked out so far. They were a Spanish couple (actually Basque if you want to get down to it) on an extensive SE Asia backpacker itinerary and sights set on living in Australia afterwards. Our kind of folks. If you read Spanish, you can check out their blog.

We went to pick them up at the train station and got cornered by some reporters wanting a story with us. It was pretty embarrassing, but also really funny. Our couchsurfers got the wrong impression that our town is really exciting. They took some pictures:

This is us negotiating with the reporters. It was really confusing because we were trying to speak what Japanese we know to these guys and what Spanish we remember to the couchsurfers, meanwhile consulting between ourselves in English.

He was definitely one of those TV guys who seems normal off camera and then goes all crazy personality plus once the cameras are rolling. The "interview" went something like this (mostly conjecture--have we mentioned we don't know much Japanese?).
Reporter: Holy moly look at these huge gaijin over here!! What the heck are they doing in our town?! Let's ask them!! (we really did hear him say we were very tall). Good evening!
J&J: Good evening. (this much we know)
Reporter: Where are you from?
J&J: America (We don't say that in English but that's how you say USA in Japanese. We don't make the rules).
Reporter: What are you doing here?
J&J: We're ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers)
Reporter: What do you like to do around here?
J&J: Zenko-ji, Matsumoto-jo and Shimosuwa onsen (they really wanted us to plug it - pretty sure we've never been there actually).
Reporter: Ok, there you have it - that's what those weirdo foreigners like to do around here. Why don't you get on a train and go somewhere too? (Again, mostly conjecture but it seemed clear they were promoting a new campaign for Japan Railways.)

This appeared on the 6 o'clock local news. At least one of my teachers that I know of saw it. I swear they just wanted to embarrass us. I guess we could've said no but they were so insistent and Japanese politeness is kind of catchy.

In conclusion: we recommend couchsurfing.org. We don't especially recommend interviews in languages you don't speak.

1 comment:

  1. where is the like button? i'm lost without my like button!