28 July 2010

Ho-hum... Do spices make you gay/bitchy?

I was so tired yesterday but still I had trouble sleeping.  So today I woke up a little late, had grilled salmon and steamed pechay for lunch first and then off to school. Work, work, work, then I went home only after 9pm, for my adobong manok and steamed pechay dinner, again. I didn't return to school again for the day. Did I say the adobo was just perfect? It was a jackpot. I hope to sleep earlier today and be early to school tomorrow. :-)

So, did that sound very much like yesterday except for no basketball yesterday.

So instead, let's add some SPICE by way of a spicy story.

So I'm new here in school starting this school year's Spring term in April, which actually starts officially around the 1st of April.  There are three of us newbies, the other 2 guys being from southern India.  They arrived maybe 2nd of April.  I arrived 16th of April.  So I'm like the newest of the new students.

Now, there is a total of 5 students here from southern India, 2 of which are actually a married couple.  There is 1 student from Bangladesh.  I think all 6 can speak the Hindi language.  There are also 5 students from China, 2 of which are actually a boyfriend-girlfriend couple.  There is 1 researcher also from China, 1 researcher from Taiwan and 1 researcher from Hong Kong, and all of them (8) people can speak Mandarin.  There is 1 Korean student, and 3 Korean researchers, all who can speak Korean of course, but also Japanese quite fluently.  Lastly, there is one Vietnamese and one Italian researcher.

Anyways, my 2 Indian "batchmates" and I will be here together for 3 years.  So at the beginning I consider them as my buddies around here as we all on the same footing.  The older, married batchmate, probably cannot take new-to-the-taste food, and so he goes home for lunch and dinner and eats by himself everyday.  So there is the younger batchmate, who is probably 10 years my junior.  At first, we would invite each other to eat lunch together, together with another relatively young Indian guy.  There was an Italian short-term researcher here when I first came here, and together with the Italian researcher, we all ate lunch together with some Japanese students and another gaijin (foreigner).

The Italians and the Japanese and the other foreigner had future lunch dates of their own, because what would happen is we would already go to lunch but they would have lunch a little later.  As for me, I was warned about some locals befriending you so as to practice their English, but once their English or your Japanese is much improved, they will ditch you just like that.  And so we were left to just me and the two Indian guys.  At one point, the more senior (by school years) Indian guy had a business trip and so it was just the two of us, the younger batchmate and I.

To tell you the truth it was quite difficult to get a conversation going.  He would usually be quiet, and even more so when those other nationalities are there.  One time, we had lunch with the Japanese and the Italian, and well I was making conversation with the two of them.  This young batchmate was dead silent the whole time.  Uninterested.  Sure, what we were talking about is something new to him, but it also was to us.

Anyways, things happened here and there and one day, at around 12:00 noon, I came up to the two Indian guys and asked them if we can go for lunch already (because on previous days we go to lunch at 12 noon, to avoid the "traffic" and rush of people at 12:30).  They said, "a little later."  So "okay," I said, and waited back at my desk.  We're in the same room, by the way, where all 13 PhD students and 1 researcher have our desks.  It's not so big.  1:10pm came and I was wondering, aren't these guys hungry yet?  So I come back to them and said, "Shall we go now for lunch?  We should go now, because the cafeteria closes at 1:30pm."  They're like, "We already ate lunch.  We thought you already ate lunch!"

Yup, I didn't hear the word "Sorry."  As for me, wanting to keep the peace, I just said, "Oh okay, it's okay."  And so I ate lunch by myself, an hour later!  If only I knew.  I thought, it might have just been a misunderstanding, although I thought if I were in their shoes, I would have passed by my desk to ask me if I already ate lunch or not.

On succeeding days, my batchmate and I have class until 12:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and so usually I would still invite them to have lunch together.  Hey, we're all foreigner students here, right?  We could learn about each other's culture and stuff and talk about our situations as foreigner students.  But no.  And then I noticed that they're not inviting me to lunch anymore.  At one point, they were like totally avoiding me already!  As in my batchmate-classmate in the 'til-12:30 class was avoiding eye contact with me right after class, and then go straight to meet up with his boyfriend Indian guy and have lunch together.  I was like, what's going on?  What did I do?  Lots of things happened since that first time they did not invite me to lunch, and well, I don't really know what caused all this to happen.  Do they feel insecure?  Or, fine, there's not so much "chemistry" (because mostly I start the conversation and they don't probably have any interest in other people or are ready with questions to ask or tools to interact), but to me I would at least exert some effort.  But no.

Well now, my attitude is, I have offered them my friendship and they have rejected it.  This is how they want it, and so this is how it will be.  We are but professionally related.  I don't need them and certainly I won't willingly offer them help unless asked to by our professors. They are not my friends.  But, of course they are not my enemies.

If you were wondering, I did not confront them about it anymore, (with the intention of confronting them diplomatically, of course) because well I think their culture is not like that.  These people have issues and instead of opening up to the challenge, they group together and wallow in their sadness.

So why am I even talking about them?  Like I said, we're just adding a little spice to this otherwise one-paragraph of a blog post. :-D  There is one other spicy story I have reserved for you in a future "boring" blog post. :-)

1 comment:

  1. A reader commented, "it's an indian thing. there are billions of other people in the whole wide world."

    It may be so, I agree. 5 years ago, I met this Indian guy here in TPU and he wasn't like these new guys at all. He was very international. He knew he was in Japan, a new country, a different culture, and he was open to new things. He learned nihongo, and ate and enjoyed Japanese food without hesitation. And he was just 24 years old back then. But I think he is a smart person, while these guys I'm with right now, I am not a bit impressed. I want to be surrounded by really good people and unfortunately, these guys don't fit the bill. They think they can just come here and get their degrees in 3 years. Maybe they will, out of our professor's expertise and patience. But these guys do not know what they are doing. They are not ready for Japan and the international stage, and yet here they are. It's a little annoying.

    Anyway, that Indian guy I met 5 years ago - it's his younger brother actually who is the other person I'm talking about. so I'm really surprised by all this. Only goes to show once again that siblings can be very different persons also.