Not Quite Clear….


I have  written about my roommate  and   his cultural confusion on some  occasions.   Some of  what he doesn’t understand  has to do with language.   He confuses the ‘r’ & the ‘l’ sound.  This is very common  among a lot of language groups.

One day he was vacuuming, and I told him he wasn’t doing a very good job.

“Look here!” I said.  “You’re missing all the crumbs!”

“I don’t see any crumbs,” he replied.

“What about these?” I said, pointing to crumbs  in the cushions.
You mean like clam chowder?” he asked.

I was so taken by surprise I didn’t know what to say.  I just  started laughing. and he didn’t have any idea  why I was laughing.  So, I then had to explain the difference between ‘crumbs’ and ‘clams’.

A lot of what he observes about American life baffles him.  He often asks me about ‘The God’ and why  this happens or that that happens.

He has a lot of questions about Christianity, and I’ve told him that he is asking the wrong person…because I am a Jew, and none of what they do makes any sense to me.  & it’s not like the Jews have the market cornered on what makes sense. We do plenty that doesn’t make sense in the modern world. As my own father says, “Making things Kosher is a racket.”

I’ve asked my roommate about his religion, and he’s told me that he was raised without any religion.  However, it appears  a lot of Japanese culture is intertwined with Buddhism.  He told me that  after World War II, much religious practice was discouraged.  He also told me that the Japanese were not big consumers of whale meat until after World War II, when the American occupiers encouraged it.  Interesting to know.

Well, the other day I was going through the mail, and there was a postcard addressed to Kunihiro that was thanking him for a donation to a  church mission.

I said to him, “You donated to a church mission?  Why?”

“Well….he is my colleague, and…”

“Hon, why didn’t you just give him a gun to shoot us with?  They want to wipe us out!”

“Really?”

“Sure!  They want to force us to believe what they believe or they will kill us!  I don’t believe you did this!”  I said to him.  I was sort of incredulous.

“Well,  he’s going to take a bunch of teenagers down to Texas to build a house for homeless people, and I think it may be a good idea to get the teenagers off the street, so it’s not like he’s doing anything  bad, really.  But I do wonder about one thing, ” Kunihiro observed.

“What’s that?”  I asked.

“Well, who would want to live in a house built by teenagers?”

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