TENSES/Julia Glassman E'D ONLY BEEN IN Otsu two months when Greg stopped speaking English to me. Not cold turkey. A little less English here, a little more Japanese there--a little and a little, and little by little I realized that I never understood him, that instead of speaking he just made noises at me. I know one has to practice, and I know one has to work. We'd gone to Japan not knowing a single word between us and the first thing he said to me, after he learned it, was rensh --Let's practice. And I thought, that's sweet, because flying across the sea hadn't been his idea. We'd gone over together as English teachers, really spur of the moment. No time to learn much Japanese. The school district gave us our own house near the train station, and we would sit in our living room in the evenings and practice saying konnichiwa and ohaiyo gozaimasu to each other, working on our accents, flipping our tongues against the roofs of our mouths. When he called me, he would say Raiza instead of Liza. He started saying kurette kudasai when he wanted something, and it took me days to
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
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