I live within walking distance of Myŏngdong (loooong walking distance, but it's good exercise), so I go there a lot to shop, hang out, or practice my measly Japanese with real-live Japanese tourists. I look for Japanese tourists (usually women, but sometimes men who really look like they need my help) who have a map out and are looking forlornly at the 안내도 maps or at the buildings around them. Then I ask them—in Japanese—where they are going and if they need my help. Usually they are happy someone can speak with them, except if the conversation gets too detailed too quickly, I end up asking them, "英語をはなしますか?" (Do you speak English?).
Today there was a trio of young women from Kyūshū trying to figure out how to get from Myŏngdong Station to Lotte. I walked them out of the station and was about to show them where to go, but all of a sudden they seemed to be in a panic about me showing them the way, like I was going to kidnap them or something. They said they remembered where they were and thank you very much and they quickly shuffled off. There I stood, suddenly realizing how disheveled I looked in my rumpled raincoat I hadn't worn since last spring, carrying around yesterday's beat-up International Herald Tribune. I would have thought I was kidnapping me.
This post is devoid of humor or point, except to see if the Japanese characters appear as they should.
By the way, today is the autumnal equinox, unless you're in the southern hemisphere (the only hemisphere I've never been to) where it is the vernal equinox. So happy fall to everyone!
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