05 February 2011


The other day, one of my smartest kids -- as usual -- finished his work before everyone else. So I struck up a little conversation with him. He has a Pokemon pencil case and I started pointing to different characters asking their names. I pointed to Pikachu and said, "I know Pikachu, but," pointing to the rest of the characters, "I don't know who these guys are."

Usually kids in any country are happy to go on for hours about who their favourite cartoon character is, what he likes, what his powers are, what his weaknesses are, what happened the last time he did such and such. I've met kids -- they do this. But this smart kid gave me a smart ass answer.

"Why do all foreigners only know Pikachu?"

He's 5 so he said this in Japanese, expecting that I wouldn't understand. And because of the rules at work (we're not allowed to speak Japanese) I maintained the illusion for him. The other two kids in the class thought it was hilarious that he said this, and they laughed and laughed while I sat there with a dumb "I don't know what you're saying in Japanese" smile on my face.

I gave them all extra homework and told them Santa Claus isn't real. But they're smart kids and they like homework, and they don't celebrate Christmas because they're Japanese, so neither of those things had the desired effect; that is, their spirits were not crushed.


  1. I'm with the genius student on this one, Mike. I would have hoped you'd know about Magicarp as well (although in fairness, Magicarp is a pretty lousy Pokemon so it probably wasn't on the pencil case).

  2. You only know of Magicarp because it has "Karp" in it. Admit it.

  3. Santa Clause isn't real?! Spoiler alert! Ah well. This post, and the others I have read so far have literally got me laughing out loud. I'm South African and have recently moved to Aichi from Bangkok and it's been a little like moving from New York to the fictional Stars Hollow. I feel a little like I'm in the twilight zone some nights - where are all the people? Anyways, I saw some kids wearing beanies shaped as Pokemon and I too could only pick out Pikachu. Major anime fail.