Saturday, July 7, 2007

International Ep2: Rei. Also- new book covers

I cranked out new covers for Lifehack and Yute. Show first, then talk:

Ok, I lied, the covers aren't QUITE like that. The covers will have slightly different aspect ratios, and the only text on the front will be the title and my name. These are designs for oversized promo postcards.

The lifehack cover is just a little different from the one I posted before, with a new logo for the changed title. The Yute cover has the girl removed, (no more anime implications) and a new photo for the background. That's the sahara, courtesy Adam K. Wait nonono, that's the Yute desert. Yes. I plunked a nanite down there.. more of a symbloic thing, since of course a nanite wouldn't be that huge by any means.. anyway, onto the international student thing-


So the school board rep calls us up to see if we'd like to take a Japanese student. Cool! I'm more versed in Japanese culture than most north americans, (even counting the typical rabid anime fanbase) so it would be fun.
We sent out letter/picture package to her, and she sent a similar one back. This is our house, here's one of the rooms you can pick, here's our pets, blah blah.
"Hide the octopus." a couple friends joked. "Things with tentacles and Japanese schoolgirls have a rough track-record."

When we went to go pick up Rei (This is a codename by the way, lazily ripped from Neon Genesis Evangelion) we waited and waited at the airport. The plane arrived, and it took an hour for passengers to start coming out. Yay for customs. After another 20 minutes of "is that her? No, she said she's have a pink suitcase" finally she came down the passage. I'm easier to recognize in my wheelchair than she was in a mob of other japanese people.
I don't wanna say "they all look the same to me", cuz that's stupid- but if you're not dealing with japanese people often, it's trickier at first to tell similar looking people apart. And no one looks exactly like their photo.
Rei stood before us with her case. We greeted her cheerfully, and she responded quietly and politely. My wife asked how the flight was. "Good."
Alrighty then, I see we're going to be chatty. We led her to the car as she meekly followed behind (refusing help with her baggage), and we almost felt like we were abducting her.

No sooner than we have felt the parkade, than she was asleep in the back seat.
"Well, the time difference and jet lag..." you might begin to think, but nay! I have heard that Japanese people (and I later found out this partially applies to China and Korea) can fall asleep anywhere. Cars, trains, wherever. Apparently they also have the magical ability to wake when needed, to catch their train stop or whatever.

On the first day of school, my wife walked Rei the 2 or three blocks to the highschool, and took her into the office, to make sure she got to the right places.
On her way out, my wife saw many other international students, looking quite lost. Many other host families had dropped their new students off on the curb, and just left. My wife corralled them all towards the office before coming home.

I was very self-conscious about being the 'loud american', so I did my best to speak quietly, and keep humble. I helped her with homework sometimes, and to help her pronunciation, we would take turns reading a newspaper article every night.
Her engilsh was very spotty, as you could imagine. I kept a notepad handy so we could sketch things she didn't know the words for, and we have lengthy discussions about words, and other random topics.
She would also hear something at school, and due to people talking fast, she couldn't understand them. She'd ask me what "tewer" meant, for example. "Can you tell me where you heard it?" "Teacher say to write on a tewer three page." "um.. maybe it was 'write two or three pages'?"
She'd think a moment, eyes staring into the galaxy of her memory, then POP! A cute nod, and "YES!" One I couldnt figure out for the life of me was "Festival".
"Like a carnival? A Fair?"
Eyes narrowed.... "No... just she say 'Festival, ra ra ra ra ra...'" (ra ra ra is seemingly Japanese for 'blah blah blah'.) This one was a puzzlement for a long time.

Every evening after homework, she'd end with "sankyou!" Cute. I could correct her, but she had other english issues to deal with. Eventually, on teacher recommendation, she started watching TV. We set the subtitles on for the hearing impaired, and that helped a lot. One day, months later, she yelps in gleeful discovery.
That night, I brought up 'sankyou'. "TH- ankyou. TH is difficult for many asians."
"Ohh... THankyou.." we went on with the homework, and when she left, she was almost aroudn the corner, and she said "Sankyou!" I gave her a jokingly stern look. She gasped. "I mean thankyou!"
"Good good!"

It wasn't all giggles though. Some things pointed to trouble on the horizon. To make conversation, I asked if she had a boyfriend back home.
She gave me the strangest angry look. "You don't ask this."
"I was just trying to make conversation....!"
"Just do not ask that things." And she left the room.

Another happened on garbage day. We all take our grabage to the back. She took hers, and I was along shortly after with my little bag. She heard the bag rustle, and popped up form nowhere. (Also with the sleep-thing, Japanese people have the ability vanish and appear out of nowhere.)
"You look in garbage?"
"You look- inspect garbage?"
(blink blink).... "I was just putting more in...." I partially pulled my little bag out again to show her. She looked relieved, but still ill at ease. At this point, should I worry that she's got bad stuff, or just respect her paranoia, based on tales from the east of bizarre pervs who would not mind stopping to garbage searching to satiate their fancies? Bah, I'm lazy. Let sleeping dogs lie.

A month or two, the school board calls- "Can you take another student?"

Next international student post- "Enter:Asuka"

1 comment:

Becky said...

I'm not sure about the grey text against the blue sky on the "Watching Yute" cover. It's too close. I'd post it on the "Image Inspiration" forum and see what people say but I think it needs a different text colour.

The Lifehack cover is excellent.