Sunday, July 30, 2006

Working to chill

Some of you may not know that I'm addicted to massages. So in our hotel in Japan I splurged and got an in-room massage, hopefully the kind that would not be sketchy. The time comes and I open it to see this tiny old woman holding a long white cane. What the Hell is she going to do with that cane? Then she feels her way gingerly along the wall and I realize that she's blind. Wow, I'm a moron. Apparently, blind people often go into massage in Asia.
The only problem with her blindness is that she speaks Japanese. I speak Crapanese. To compensate for my feeble language skills, I have been relying on phrasebooks and saying "hai" (yes) and "sumimasen" (excuse me, sorry) a lot. I have also developed a whole dictionary of points and gestures, from the definitive point to a menu meaning "I want this for lunch" to a pathetic point to a map meaning "I'm lost and stupid, where is this?" So being with this blind massage therapist, my limited vocabulary is reduced by 80%. Which makes it really hard to ask "clothes on or off?" and "do I lie face up or face down?" From her gestures and her firm hands on my shoulders, I gather that I should leave my clothes on and lie on my side on top of the futon. Her fingers dig into my shoulder shiatsu style and she starts chatting with me. I assume she can tell by my voice that I am a clueless American, but she keeps on chatting, quickly, and I don't want to be rude to this complete stranger who is doing me a service, even tough I hate it when massage therapists talk to me.
So now I'm confused and a little annoyed that she doesn't seem to just give up conversing, her questions keep coming like Tetris blocks where the keys are changed so I can't rotate the blocks in time. And I can't even shake my head and give her a confused facial expression, and this is in no way relaxing, what a bad idea. Then I see it, my salvation just on the other side of my pillow- oh, tiny phrasebook! You'll save me with your intricate knowledge of Japanese and your convenient English translations and your adorable pronunciation guide. You even have a section of phrases specifically for massage and accupuncture! You're my hero!
And that is how I ended up on top of my bed in a Japanese resort on my side with my clothes on frantically thumbing through my Japanese phrasebook to answer questions asked by my blind massage therapist.
It was one of the oddest experiences I have ever had.


Blogger Kevin said...

You know, you can totally tell (subject matter of massage or taiko aside) who is writing which blog.

You kids keep having fun.

I'm living vicariously through you.

Well, you and my X-men comic books.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Tristan said...

Another brilliant blog. I'm getting addicted.

Must...sign off...must...hit...enter.

(Random Batman reference triggered by Kevin's X-men comment).

7:20 AM  

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