sábado, 25 de junio de 2005


On account of my "new" night shifts and several others
events I couldn't write very often last month so here
is a little summary of the main happenings:

* The only I have achieved at the moment (about my
quest for a new job) has been a bunch of refusal
letters, and also the knowledge of Indian companies
will not contract for a non-Indian person, and the
same fact for "Paki and non-Paki".

* A French guy is living with us now. We don't know
too much about him yet because he came to the house
last week and he seems he doesn't like talking.
Anyway, we already know his father should be rich, he
is going to stay in England for two months because he
wants to improve his English, he doesn't has to pay
for the accomodation and he hides a laptop in his

* I met Ini a couple of days before my birthday. She
was going to do a travel to the North of Europe with
her mates from Malaga: Tina and Jose. She said that
she misses my familly and she will visit all of you
again (I mean, she will go to Alcala again). I will
not see her til next year.

* I applied for a Korean minicourse at Brasshouse. The
Japanese and Mandarin courses were full.

* One of the cables from my Dreamcast has broken out.
I bought a brand new NintendoDS instead of trying to
fix the cable (SEE THESAURUS post).

* The gay guy I'm living with (Zack) has become "the
partner" of the gay guy I was living with (Daniel).
That's more stuff for me to ifnore if I don't want to
get completly mad.

* My birthday presents were a "Londonsale" bag (very
fashionable over here) from Ally, a postcard and £10
from Peter Codd and two "I'll buy something for you
one of these days" from Ali and Jose. I had to work
that night.

* One of the girls wanted to eat anywhere except
BigWok. We (the girls, Zack and me) finally went to
"Nando's". I tried the spiciest food I have ever
tried. After four bites I had to stop eating and go to
the toilet to wash my face.

Lost in Translation - Chapter IV

'Bruce, Bruce. What are you doing?'
'Ally? Believe me, I have no idea.'
'Where is Sumi?'
'She is in the bus stop.'
'And where are you?'
'I have just left Sumi in the bus stop and I'm walking
down Broad Street.'
'I'm near the bus stop, still in Broad Street.'
'Ok, ok. But what is Sumi doing?'
'She is waiting for the bus, she is not going to go
out tonight. I think I will go back to my house then
because -'
'Bruce? You are confusing me.'
'I know. I'm very confused.'
'Well... Ok. So, what are you going to do now?'
'I'm going to the train station.'
'You remember where is it, right?'
'Ehmmm...I'm not sure.'
'Ok...What! Don't worry, I'll go with you. Where can
we meet?'
'Where are you Ally? Are you in Broad Street?'
'Yes, yes.'
'Ok. Can we meet us in front of Hyat Hotel?'
'Can we meet us in Hyat Hotel?In front of Hyat Hotel.'
'Yes, yes. Just go there. See you in a bit.'
I had no time to reply her farewell at the phone. I
just pocketed it and I started to sidle looking for
Ally. The collosal Hyat hotel was about two hundred
yards away. She was waving to me when I catched sight
of her. I quickened.
'Bruce, Bruce. Tell me. What have you been doing? You
confused me at the phone.'
'I know, that's coz I'm confused as well.'
'Why did you go with her? I was also confusing when I
saw you walking with Sumi because I didn't know what
did you want to do.'
'Ally, I have just told you. I was, I am, very,
confused. I knew her friends will go out tonight but I
didn't know how to meet them and also Sumi is going to
stay at her house so I decided I will go back to my
'But she said to us she was not going to go out.' Ally
puzzled 'Ok. You have to catch the train so
"dRdapido", "dRdapido"' She had realized that I was
not the only one who had to hurry, she had to take a
'..."so, if you have been in England only for one
month and a half maybe you should need some help. You
can call me or call Bruce whatever you need".' I joked
remembering her what she had been saying to "pick some
information" from Sumie '"Oh! you are studying about
European culture; Bruce can teach you about Spanish
culture".' I beamed at her.
'Yes' She smiled as well 'I was very clever when I
asked her for her telephone number like that.'
By the way I recalled that the gateway to the train
station was into one of the corridors of Bullring
Link. I had passed for that place many times, I could
not believe I had forgotten the location.
Ally didn't let me go until I promised I'd give her a
missed call as soon as I'd put my feet into Lea
Marston's house.

The Bullring Link was another shopping centre wich, a
few years ago, had been connected to the moderner
BullRing Centre by means of a footbridge between the
two edifices.
That one was going to be the third time I was going to
use the train in England. The first time Addy had told
Isaac and me what train to take and what to do
afterwards. In the second one Marian was the one who
planned our comming back to Tamworth by train. And
this third time was going to be up to me.
I went to have a look to the trains time tables.
According to "Marian's train catching procedure" I had
to start like that.
Trains to Tamworth were shown in the last but one
panel. It was not too hard to hit on what I was
looking for. I just had to pary to be right.
According to "Marian's train catching procedure" if
the first part had been successful I had to find out
wich platform was the train arriving to.
A few screens, fastened to the ceiling and walls,
displayed a list of the next incoming trains.

"DESTINATION: Leeds, EXPECTED: 2203, STATUS: on time,
I glanced at the clock in the upper part of the
monitor. "22:01".

I had not hitherto had any kind of troubles to reach
the train and that was quite strange, rather, quite
The only point that got me a bit worried was the fact
that the train was going to Litchfield instead of
Leeds. But it had been at the right place, at the
right time, it ought to be "the train".
I picked my mobile phone from the pocket in the sleeve
of my new coat(*). In the small screen, the minute
hand was pointing at six. I was sited into a wrong
train and, to make matters worse, it was already

I got of the car on arriving the following station. I
needed to find out how to arrive to Tamworth. As a
matter of fact, keaping sitted in that train was on of
the ways to not to achieve it.
Few people was leaving. There were no more than six
persons at the wayside station, and only one of them
was not too far from me.
'Excuse me. Excuse me please. Do you know how can I go
to Tamworth from here, from this place. I took the
wrong train.'
'This train is not going to Tamworth. The train is
going to Lichfield.'
'I know that already.'
'I think you can go to Lichfield and take a train to
Tamworth from Lichfield Train Station.'
'Ok, thank you. Thank you very much.'
'Go into the train!'
I entered a different car this time, there was a
couple chatting at the rear.
I got my bag and I took my notebook out. Ally had
"suggested" that I MUST write an email to Sumie; I
started scrawling what was going to be the email text
the next day.

(*)Isaac had given that garment to me before I left
the house to go to the party. He was packing the stuff
he was going to take to Spain the day after, the white
Nike coat was one of the articles he couldn't include
in his luggage.


miércoles, 8 de junio de 2005

Lost in Translation - Chapter III

Ally Cheng put a narrow piece of paper over the table and began to write.
"Ally Cheng

She wrote her name, her email address and, her telephone number last.
The small paper came to me as soon as she finished hers. I was really worried about my handwriting, she was Japanese and Japanese people pay an especial attention to other people's handwriting.
I rewrote my name over the first I did.

Sumie's took a block of "post-it"s out from her handbag. They were pink. He wrote her email address and her mobile number as well. Ally noted it down in her mobile and passed the post-it to me. I put it in my wallet.

I was starting to feel more confident with the situation but, of course, not confident enought.

We had bought ticket for a raffle a bit after we came there. Sumie had one string as well.
A fat old man in a suit announced that the raffle was about to commence. He bore a bowl containing a lot of squashed tickets. He came near to one of the big tables and a fellow dinner took one of the squeezed papers out.
'Three hundred and fifty six, three hundred and fifty seven'.
All our numbers were higher than four hundred.
In another table someone got up and went to the ping pong table where he had tochoose between the ton of objects.
'Three hundred and fourteen, three hundred and fifteen. Anyone has got three hundred and fourteen, three hundred and fifteen?' another person got up from his seat.
I was starting to think that all the numbers in the basin were under four hundred. I managed to explain that to Ally and Sumie.
Nevertheless, four winner tickets later, one of Sumie's was shouted.
'Here!' yelled Ally. Everybody looked at us.
A bit ashamed, the Japanese girl headed the prizes on the ping-pong table.

When she came back she was holding a "hammer-like toy" [NOTE: I forgot to ask her about its name before. Apologize] in a transparent plastic bag. I remembered I had seen one like that somewhere, many years ago, but I couldn't recall when and where I did.
Sumie took the toy out from its bag and tied the string that was fastened to the red wooden ball to a staple in the main piece. Setting the sphere over the hammer shaped part looked as though it was an easy task, a child's play, when she did it. However it was one of the most labyrinthine things Ally and me had ever tried.
Ally achieved it when the string was almost completly rolled over the handle. I hit one of the glasses with the ball and I dropped it on the floor; but in the end I managed to leave the ball in its place too.
One of mine and Ally's figures was said by the raffle man. Ally shouted another "here!" and, once again, all the heads turned to look at us. She wanted me to go on my own but we finally went together to look for our prize.

There weren't too many items left in the ping pong table. Moreover, some of them were the same stupid things in differet colors.
'I don't know what to choose. We better call Sumie,' I commented. Sumie had stayed near the table.
'Yes, yes.
Sumi! Sumi! Come here! The Japanese one was looking for something into her purse but she left what she was doing when she heard Ally's calls.
'Have you got any idea abaout what should we choose?' I asked to her and, inmediatly, I thought I should have formulated a simpler question when I noticed that Sumie was replying to the same enquire Ally had asked.
She looked as though she reckoned that every stupid prize was as stupid as the one nex to it and she felt embarrased of be the first person who claimed it.
A small bamboo pipe, about thirteen inches long, with blue stripes in both ends was the foolish object I finally picked. I was also into a sealed showy bag.
'PAN-PAN,' I readed aloud while we came back to teh tall table. They were "katakana" characters printed in the plastic bag.
'Oh! he can read Japanese!'
'Yes, he can...' I could heard Ally starting another speech. The two girls were talking behind me.
Fortunately I managed to join the conversation this time.

Ally had fetched a few Japanese biscuits, I was taking notes and Sumie was correcting those notes.
"GOMASARDA" turned into "GOMA" (sesame) "SARADA" (salted) after her adviser.
I had been writing in my logbook the name of one of the biscuits.
The Japanese took my notebook and began to explain to Ally and me what the Japanese words printed in the biscuits bags menat. I was surprised at Sumie's handwriting.
  • EBI ................ shrimp
  • SHIO ............. salt
  • GOMA .......... sesame
  • SARADA ....... salted
  • SENBEI ......... rice biscuit

I could recognize the symbols but they looked so much different and even simpler than the ones I had seen whe n I studied them.

Someone had to go home. I wasn't sure about who was the one who needed to leave because I have felt lost in the conversations a few times, all along.

In that very moment I was really confused. I just grabbed my coat, the bag and I strolled away after Sumie and Ally.

[NOTE: I have a problem with the paragraphs control O_o]

The only thought in my mind was "what are they going to do?" and I felt too sheepish to make the query.

'Well, I have to go. I need to take the bus.

Sumie, see you on Monday at Brass House.

Bruce, see you... See you soon'

'I'm off on Tuesday, I think I will go to Brass housse on Tuesday'.

'Ok. Ok. See you on Tuesday then. Take care'.

Sumie and me said good bye to Ally who had gone showing herself a little halting.

The only hint I had about my supposed destiny was that I said to Sumie's Japanese companion that I was going to met her that night in some club in Broad Street.

We had walked a few steps together when she finally asked me.

'What are you going to do now?'

I hadn't got any clue about what time was it, I finally realized that Sumie was going to stay at home and I didn't feel like going out with her friends.

When we arrived to the bus stop I decided what to do.

'Ill take a train to go back to my home'

I said good bye to her, feeling deeply uneasy. Seconds later, my mobile started to ring.

(TO BE CONTINUED) (don't panic, only one more chapter left)

viernes, 3 de junio de 2005

Lost in Translation - Chapter II

NOTE: I have fixed the first chapter, it was an accident. I'm so sorry :(

I rose my head and I looked at Ally who showed a really happy and excited face this time.
Inmediatly I turned my head to look at the place she was pointing using her index finger.

'Bruce. Yes. That's yours.'

The Japanese girl was taking some food from the closest table.
She was tall to be Japanese, she was wearrg fashionable clothes and she was a very pretty girl.

'Excuseme, are you Japanese?' enquired Ally after having tapped the back of the cute Japanese girl. Another girl turned herself back to look at Ally.

'Yes, we are Japanese.' Said the first one.
'Oh. I've asked because both of us have been studying Japanese and maybe we can practice if you don'mind to have a sit with us. Do you mind?' I blushed.
'No, of course not,' answered meanwhileshe left her dish on our table.

The name of the girl Ally Cheng "had found for me" was SUMIE but people used to call her "Sumi" because the pronunciat of her name was too complicated for British people.
I couldn't remember the name of the second Japanese girl because I couldn't foundout how to spell it. A third girl, from Corea, was companying them. I rememered Ini when I saw her; for me, Ini and that gir llooked very similar.

Ally started to get all the inforation she could about Sumie.
We knew both Japanese girl had come to England together. Their universty had payed the trips and it was paying their stayin Like Ini, they hadn't finished their career in the university yet.
They lived together in a house about twenty minutes from the City Centre.
Except Sumie the others girls were going out in Broad Street that night.

My mind was starting to smoke. Ally's questions didn't stop. She was trying to know everything.

The Japanese girl who wasn't Sumie asked e if I wanted to join them that night. I said I could try.

Ally availed herself of everrytime the girls left the table to point that Sumie was "the ideal".
She was firmly convinced. [NOTE: And I know I can trust her ^_^]
'We have to ask her about her elehone number later. But we should wait for her friend to go.' Ally meant Sumie's Japanese friend, the Corean one ha left the table long time ago.

The verbal flood coming out from the mouth of my helpful friend seemed unstopable.
I didn't know how to join into the conversation, Ally was examining her like a police sergean could examine a suspicious of serial killing.
Anyway, Sumi always replied kindly and cerfully. ner the tble, Ally pinched me everytime he hought she got some good new information.

The Corean girl and the Japanese one whose name I couldn't remember had gone to chat with two Englis looking guys in the center of the room.

When they came back to our table Suie's partner was grasping a small glass.
I was sake in it.
She invited me to try.

I said to them that the drink I had just tried tasted like tequila but the Japanese liquor wasn't too strong.
She agreed and finished the drink.

After that I showed I can eat a typical Japanese sweet that most of European people use to hate. I couldn' understand why.
And finally they came out.
'JA MATA,' I said to them.


Ally kept asking. It was amazint t way she interrogated Sumie. It seemed Sumie didn't realized what "my mother in England" was doing.
Ally looked extremely friendly everytime. Indeed, she is extremely friendly everytime. But this time she was being friendly and she had a plan also.

Sometimes I participated in te show on my own, sometimes I had to cause Ally "invited" me to do it.

Another the things she lookedd up was that Sumie nd her friend has been lving in Englad for just one month and a half at the moment.
My pleased very best friend in England [NOTE: one off them]hd a brilliabt idea by herself.

'So, if you have been in England only for one month, I think, maybe, you should need some help. Don't worry because Bruce and me can help you whatever you need. Yes.
Don't worry.
Do you have an email address?'
'Ok. ok.'


Lost in Translation - Chapter I

And Friday arrived.
I didn't sleep too much, as usual in this kind of situations. The last night all of us had gone out in the City Centre.
It had been the night we "said see you later" to Michael and Billy because they went back to Indonsia on Friday morning departing from London.

My shift was eight to four in the morning, it was perfect for me to be on time at the "Ohanami Party".

At three o'clock Jose came to Lea Marston's kitchen. He had been at Brass House and had to work until eleven.
He asked me how excited I was because of the "Japanese meeting". He was a bit surprissed when, last night, he saw me entering the bar reading a sheet filled with Japanese grammar notes.
I explained to him that I was a bit nervous but I felt like going there soon cause I wanted to know what I was going to meet.
Jose also told me that he had been with Ally in the college and she said to him that she hadn't any appointment with me yet.
That was true. I had to phone her.


At four o'clock, after clocking out, I rushed to reception to have my wages I tried to call ally twice but she didn't pick up the phone.

Then I started to run to the house. I pretend to take the bus at quarter to five, the next to last.
Hurriedly, I took the garments I was going to put me on and I went upstairs to the bathroom to have a shave and a shower.

I was nearly finishing, I was dressing up when Isaac, carrying my mobile wich was ringing, knocked at the door.
'Cogelo tu! Es Ally.'
'Hello... Ally?' I heard Isaac talking behind the door. 'He is in the toilet...'

With no few dificulties we decided to see us at Brass House at seven o'clock and I should take the last bus then. I stopped rushing.


Reading some Japanese notes I had taken before leaving the house I strode to the the bus stop.


I had been reading over my notes until the bus dropped me in Upper Bull Street.


At quarter to seven I arrived to Brass House, almost in the end of Broad Street.

In the corner of Broad Street with the street where the college was I had seen a guy who was hitting a cab using his fists. People were stopped looking at the scene. I hadn't paid any attention when I passed in front of him.

I would have to wait for Ally a few minutes so I sat in one of the sofas.

Ally showed her up on time. She looked breathless.
'Hello Ally;' I said a bit perturbed, 'Have you been running?.'
'Hello Bruce. What?' She gasped.
'I said "have you been running to come to Brass House?"'
'Yes, a little bit.' She explained to me that when the bus she took left her in the bus stop it was nearly seven o'clock and she didn't want to be late.

She gave my bag back to me. I had left it in her house two days ago (SEE "Thesaurus, Chapters I & II).

'Go, go, go. "dRd"apido, "drd"apido,' said Ally to me. We had to go to another room out of the amin building.


The meeting room wwas behind the main edifice. The gate was quite big and under it there was a man sitted in front of a table, he was checking who was entering the place.

It was going to be £5 each.
After three tries Ally "let me" pay her ticket [NOTE: well... indeed she didn't allow me to pay but I did]

She gave the ten pounds note to the man and he asked her about her name.

Ally's name didn't appeared in the sheet. She told him she tried to book the tickets a few days ago but she couldn't do it and also somebody said to her she could buy them in there.
The checker man said that there was no problem, even there was no problem for me to go in cause "I went with her".

There were five big tables placed close to the walls. There was also a ping pong table in the end of the dinning room.
Around each big table there were a lot of small chairs, that kind of chairs wich was normally used in classrooms. And on the tables there were a lot of dishes, each one contained a different traditional Japanese meal. And in the center of each table there was a vase sith "SAKURA" (cherry flowers). The surface of the ping pong table was full of silly tiny objects.

But there were also a couple of empty small tall tables. Ally said to me we should use one of them.
We did that way.


We took a couple of plates, a couple of chopsticks and a fork from the nearest table. Then we loaded the plates with diferent food taken from the two tables wich rounded ours.

I started to eat realizing that Ally loved food almost as much as I do.

I realized also that I was the only person, among up to thirty people, who was using a fork instead of chopsticks.
I told it to Ally.

Ally headed the table where we got the plates and some food and she went back gripping a spound.

'I have brought a spound because I don't want you to have to feel stupid.'

Seconds later I was the only person at the "Ohanami party" using a spound and a fork instead of chopsticks.


'I feel a bit disappointed. I though there were going to be more Japanese girls.' Ally said showing a sincere sorrowfull expression.
I had a look across the room. Certainly, there were just few. I saw a copule of old women in kimonos, they looked very funny.

We kept eating and chatting.

'Bruce, Bruce. This one, this one!' I was concentrated rolling some noodles on my plastic fork. I wasn't sure about what she was talking.