Humor of Speaking Japanese with Skill in Tokyo is adapted from a humorous book by David Sedaris: ‘When You Are Engulfed in Flames’, with this part about struggling to learn Japanese in Tokyo.
Here is an excerpt from the chapter The Smoking Section, pages 287-288:
It might be different for actual Japanese people, but as a visitor I am regularly overwhelmed by how kind and accommodating everyone is.
This woman at our local flower shop, for instance. I asked her for directions to the monorail, and after she patiently gave them to me I decided to buy a Hello Kitty bouquet. What it basically amounts to is a carnation with pointed ears. Add two plastic dots for the eyes and one more for the nose, and you’ve got a twenty dollar cat.
“Cute,” I said, (in Japanese)
and when the florist agreed, I supersized the compliment to
“You speak with skill,” she told me.
Drunk with praise, I then observed that the weather was nice. She said it certainly was, and after paying I headed for the door.
Anywhere else I’d say good-bye when exiting a shop or restaurant.
Here, though, I use a phrase I learned from my instructional CD.