One of the new hires finally gathers up enough courage to chat with the company gaijin.
“Are you fluent in Japanese?”
“God no,” I reply, in the usual mock embarrassment and humility. Making jokes about how shit my Japanese is in, presumably, decent Japanese breaks the ice and the guy feels more relaxed.
“So, is this your first game development job,” I ask him.
“How are you liking it?”
“Well….” he says, “well….”
I motion to him that he need say no more.
“What is it you do, JC?”
“Art. But I’ve been doing a lot of debugging recently.”
“Do you program too?”
“Oh, it’s just that I see you typing often.”
“Ah, yes, those are the circular emails I send when I update assets,” I say, and think: and my Google chats and emails and forum trawling and blog post writing…
“Are you enjoying it?” he asks.
“Strange weather we’ve been having of late, don’t you think?”
“Really,” I reply, “isn’t it difficult? The English I mean? You should have waited. Capcom said they’d release the Japanese version this year.”
“Yeah, but I wanted to play it. And besides, I don’t want some censored version. Also, a lot of the story can be found translated on-line.”
“But still,” I say, “you’re missing out on some choice dialogues, man. There is a lot of subtle humour in little throwaway lines.”
“I quite like the game. Maybe not as much as Vice City, though. I’m glad they added the mission restart option.”
“Where is it you’re from, again? France?”
“You should be very careful accusing an Englishman of being French!” I reply.
“Oh, haha. How old are you?”
I loathe this question so I usually tell them to guess. He guesses several years in excess. I tell him my age.
“Oh, really! Me too!” he says.
“You are? I would have guessed you were much younger than that!”
“Haha, thanks!” he says.
“Yeah, and thanks a lot for guessing my age so high,” I reply, hurt.
“I always find it impossible to guess the age of Japanese people,” I tell him.
“Yeah, I’ve heard that can be a problem. Your wife is Japanese, though, right?”
I still don’t quite know what he meant by that.