Every once in a while you meet someone while traveling that has a special quality about them that makes you say, "What make them different?"
A few days ago as I was staying a hostel in Coolangatta, I noticed a guy - looked Asian, that was kind of quiet, but you could tell he was a nice guy. Always giving a friendly nod and such.
A few days had passed and I had seen him several times passing through the hostel, but had never said anything to him.
One evening, I was cleaning dishes in the kitchen and saw him cooking. I couldn't take it anymore, I had to say something.
"I'm Sammy by the way," as if we were already in mid-conversation.
"I'm Shoyu," which sound's exactly like "Show You". Although I had never heard that name before, I figured it'd be easy to remember. Just "Show You" something.
A saw him a little later on and I said, "Hey Shome!"
We laughed about the name blunder and began a conversation that went on for ages.
Shoyu lives in the mountains of Japan in a Buddhist Temple. How cool is that?!
As soon as he told me he was from Japan, I told him a few Japanese phrases I learned from the Japanese kids I hung out with in Middle School like, "Awesome," and "Will you marry me?"
We started talking about languages and being the obsessive linguist that I am, I started asking him about Japanese grammar.
After a few translations like, "The boy kicked the ball", I quickly picked up on how Japanese denotes the subject and the object. It's done by inflections on the words, not the word order like in English.
I quickly threw back a different sentence in Japanese at Shoyu. "The ball kicked the boy." He was quite impressed that I figured out that aspect of Japanese grammar so quickly.
Japan is now on one of my must-see countries list.
Before Shoyu left the next day, we sat outside waiting for his bus. He pulled out a tiny box and opened it to reveal a bunch of colorful little square sheets of paper with designs on them.
He said, "Pick one," and I pointed to the red sheet with little white flowers on it.
He pulled it out and carefully began to fold it into different shapes. After about a minute, he handed me an origami crane - perfectly folded together.