Happy Valentines Day!
Valentines Day in Japan is pretty different from Valentines Day in Canada. There are two types of chocolate that can be given - 'Giri Choko' or 'Honmei Choko'. Giri Choko is an oligatory gift to male supervisors/coworkers. Honmei Choko is a gift to a loved one. Valentine's Day is generally women giving chocolate to men, as well. In March, there is 'White Day', when men give chocolate to women. When in Japan, do as the Japanese do! I purchased Giri Choko for my boss and two male coworkers that I ride the train with in the morning. I made sure to say 'Giri Choko desu', so they didn't think I was trying to startup a relationship...that could definitely make things awkward! They seemed surprised but happy to get it...my boss seemed especially surprised, though (he made the surprised noise)- which made me wonder if I had actually followed the Japanese Valentines Day tradition, or just bought my boss a random present!
There are a couple things that I've noticed Japanese people say very often.
'Ahh - so desu ka...' = Oh...Really...I see...
'So desu ne!' = Yes, that is true... or Yes, isn't it.
'So ka!?' = Really!?
'eh...eh....eh...' = It's more of a noise than word. I'm not really sure what this means...I think it's just a sign that they are listening to whoever's talking.
'eughh!!!???' = This is by far the funniest noise...I had to get used to it and not laugh when I heard it. It seems to be a noise of great surprise and is generally accompanied by leaning back and opening their eyes wide.
'sllll' = I have no idea how to write this. It's more of a slurpring noise accompanied by squinting eyes and a grimace smile - it seems to be when they aren't sure of something or have to think for a minute about the answer.
Some of these are very funny to listen to as part of a conversation, and I'm trying to integrate them into mine to sound more-Japanese-ish (minus the slurping), but I'm sure I just sound ridiculous!
Tomorrow I'm off to the big city - Tokyo! I have to get up early and catch the train then the Shinkansen (bullet train). I will be attending an HVAC&R (Heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) trade show. I'm very excited to go - both to Tokyo and the trade show! I'll let you in on my adventures next time!!