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A day in the life of emohawk, or, the adorable boy who could(n't) speak 4 languages.

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So a quick recap of my work for the purpose of this story. First off, I volunteer at a charity organization for my master's program. Or at least I did, seeing as how I graduate on the 12th. Anyway, I handle client evaluations who come in looking for different charity and assistance.

so this elderly grandmother comes in, she is Spanish only, no English, and she can't read. Happens all the time, NBD. Luckily in this case, she brought her 10 year old grandson to translate and fill out forms for her. Also quite common, and saved me the trouble of having to break out the mix of laughably incomplete Spanish I know and straight up mime to get my questions across.

anyway, the little guy is filling out a food order and I was just chatting with him while he did. I was like "you know, you really are the man. Your ten years old, here you are helping grandma getting food on the table at your age, you are already bi-lingual, you are killing it!"

he gets embarrassed and flattered, and he said rather bashfully "actually I can speak for languages!"

of of course I said "woah, no kidding! Four languages?! Which ones?"

he tells me "Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and English!"

so of course I said "hanashitte nippon desu! Watashi wa prince-san desu! Genki desu ka?"

now, I wish I could properly explain what happened next. I can't, but I'm gonna try.

now when an adult gets surprised by something, they try and hide it. Not very well, but they do. However this kid was still young. When he heard me randomly start talking Japanese to him (horribly accented, grammatically incorrect Japanese to him) he clearly recognized it. And his face went totally slack, his eyes went wide, and his mouth formed a perfect O shape.

What really sold it was he still had some baby fat on his cheeks so they kind of drooped a bit like jowels. It was totes adorbs y'all, is what I am saying.

so he looks increasingly panicked, and even grandma who doesn't speak a lick of English has a glint in her eye. Pretty sure she figured out the basics of what just happened.

finally after a good long moment of silence he confessed "w-well, I can only do the numbers..."

and thats shen I knew I would be telling that story for years.

cute kid, got him and grandma a big cart of groceries. Me and the crew were laughing about that for the rest of the day.


  1. Mcjon01's Avatar
    so of course I said "hanashitte nippon desu!"
    of course
  2. Tobias's Avatar
    What amused me most about the whole thing is when I first started, I fully expected him to start laughing at me, and then i would crack a joke like "well, I'm still learning!" Or something like that, we would all have a chuckle at the kid being smarter then me, and then back to work.

    funny how things never seem to play out the way you picture them eh?
  3. Mcjon01's Avatar
    tbf I probably would have responded exactly the same way as that kid though

    EXACTLY the same way

    Talking nihongo is too hazukashii for a shy boy like me
  4. Tobias's Avatar
    Actually I found out later that he is in martial arts and apparantly he learned the numbers by counting along with the cadence.

    not 100% about the Korean though, didn't occur to me to ask until after they left
  5. Mcjon01's Avatar
    Probably takes Taekwondo too
  6. Dark Pulse's Avatar
    To properly be a smug bastard, you needed to use "ore."

    You did not use "ore."

    I am disappoint.
  7. Kotonoha's Avatar
  8. You's Avatar
  9. Mcjon01's Avatar