My Roommate

I never write about my roommate…mostly because it’s embarrassing to admit that I don’t know anything about her.

It’s strange, because I’ve lived with her for six months and know random, intimate details about her life, like the brand of shampoo she uses or how she takes her coffee, but I don’t know the important stuff, like her last name or where she works.

That’s awful, I know. But see, we don’t speak the same language. I speak English and German and JapanGlish and she speaks Japanese. So we’re forced to communicate via Charades and Pictionary. But mostly, besides the occasional sleepy ‘ohaiyo’ in the morning, we don’t communicate at all.

The other day, though, we came close to having a real conversation. I was listening to Paris Hilton’s “Nothing in this World” and she said: “I like Paris Hilton.” And then I lied (for the sake of some potential roommate bonding), and said that I did too.

Then we smiled at each other awkwardly and she went back to doing the dishes.

And that was the end of that.

I feel bad about not making more of an effort to get to know her. When I first moved in, I repeatedly invited her to hang out but she always refused. She has two jobs and works seven days a week, so she was probably wasn’t lying when she said she didn’t have time. But I also thinks she’s shy.

I find her fascinating though. She wakes up three hours before she has to leave for work and spends about an an hour and a half of that putting on make-up. I’m talking eye shadow and fake eyelashes, the works. Every single day.

I also know she dropped out of college and works in a restaurant and a yoga studio. What I don’t know however, is why. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but as far as I know dropping out of college in Japan is kinda a big deal. While getting into a University is extremely difficult, from what I understand, once you’re in it’s a breeze. So to go through all of that work to get accepted only to quit after a year, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

There’s a lot I’d love to ask her, if only my Japanese text book came with a chapter entitled “Useful Phrases for Uncomfortable Conversations with Your Shy Roommate”. But the best it has to offer is “How to Properly Negate an Adjective.” So not helpful.

Sometimes, I’ll wake up to find her sound asleep on the floor of her room, still in her work clothes, the lights on and her portable TV / Phone clutched in her hand. I feel really sorry for her and worry that she’ll work herself into state of major depression.

I wonder if she has been tabulating her own mental list of “Curious Things About the Weird Roommate.” I wonder what she thinks about me. I wonder if she finds it strange that I burn everything I cook or that I eat Oreos for breakfast or that I frequently talk to the Television.

But mostly, I wonder if we’ll ever be friends. Maybe once I’ve mastered Japanese we’ll be BFF’s and jokingly reminisce about those few months when we dreaded talking to each other. Or maybe we’ll find that we have so little in common that reverting back to week-long silences is just easier.

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. tokyo cowgirl

    Now I'M interested in your roommate. I'm interested in anyone who takes the time to apply fake eyelashes every day of the week and I'm interested in anyone who actually likes Paris Hilton.

    I know this is a bit tacky, okay it's really tacky, but perhaps you could dedicate one blog each week to her and what she has done for the prior seven days. I wish I was kidding, even though I already know this isn't going to happen.

    You see, Japanese women are an enigma to me. I have always wondered what they are like in their home environment and now I finally have a little insight and I'm greedy for more.

  2. Reannon

    Hahaha. Um, there prob wouldn't be enough material to write a weekly blog about her. But maybe that would motivate me to study Japanese more so I can talk to her.

  3. Lisa

    Ok, I want to know about her, too! Every time I've had to wear fake eyelashes I wind up losing half of my real ones. How did you meet her if you two can't communicate?

    (PS - I found you through JulieInJapan!)

  4. Reannon

    That's great...I love Julieinjapan.com. She's such a wealth of information...and so positive, too.

    When I originally moved to Japan, I moved in with a friend from college, (Japanese) who was living with two other girls. But then my college friend moved to Hong Kong and the other girl moved to Bolivia (both of them speak English) so now it's just me and the Japanese girl who doesn't speak English.

    Did you get all that??? Sorry, it's a little confusing.

    I'll try to write more about her...but I feel sort of bad. I'm sure she wouldn't like it if she knew I was writing about her on the internet! But it's really out of curiosity and genuine concern.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog, by the way!