It’s the first time I’ve heard a native speaker of English (other than my husband) since we got off the plane at Narita.
Forty-eight hours and it’s already strange: my language feels foreign. I’m falling into the lilting, lyrical speech of those around me. By no means am I fluent, but I can manage. It’s second nature to drop my eyes, bow, express my gratitude for everything.
That’s the best, weirdest thing: every experience, every exchange, is worthy of thanks. My speech is punctuated not with symbols, but with the sweet, beautiful arigato gozaimasu.
Between iPhones and the slim point-and-shoot, my husband and I have already mastered the tourist selfie.
We hand over my wedding present, the hefty DSLR I’ve been wanting for over a decade, and stand in front of the pond. I already have half a dozen photos on my phone, unmarred by our tanned, sweaty faces.
I don’t hear the click of the lens. I hear the breeze and birds, the dim roar of distant traffic. The Aussie gives us a thumbs up and hands the camera back to my husband.
“Thanks so much,” I say.