I don't really see my neighbors often, but from what i've discovered my apartment building is pretty "international". (Japanese people love this word, i've found, and use it to describe anything/any situation where there's a foreigner. I hear it too much, in Japanese and in bastardized English pronunciation)
Anyway, there are only six apartments in my building. I usually only see the lady on the first floor.. i'm pretty sure she's Brazilian but i'm not sure. She's pretty nice and we usually greet each other in passing. And i've seen a couple other people from the second floor only a couple times. But the other week i had an interesting encounter with someone else who lives on the first floor.
I was walking down the stairs one evening, i think i was probably going to go get groceries or something. Was coming down the stairwell to the first floor and there was a rather good-looking guy there, probably close to the same age as me, tying his shoe on one of the steps. I think i had seen him from afar before, but i could be mistaken. I see many good-looking people on a regular basis, it's hard to remember a particular face.
So, he looked up and moved out of the way to let me come down the stairs, we exchanged "Konbanwa"s (Good evening) like good neighbors do, and i continued walking toward the street.
Then suddenly, from behind me i heard in a perfect English accent: "Do you speak English?"
I was rather taken aback, and i was sure my ears were playing tricks on me. It's not unusual for me to hear random English spoken at me, but it's usually very heavily accented and limited to "Hallo!" or "Where aah you furomu?". (Or sometimes, "Ohh, naisu body!!")
I turned around and said, "Uh.. yeah."
"Oh, okay. Just wondering."
Then there was a few seconds of awkward silence. I wasn't sure what to say then, but i was curious about his English and i was struggling to find the right way to ask. At first i was about to ask, "What are you?", as in are you really Japanese, or were you raised elsewhere or what? But "what are you" of course does not get across what i was wanting to find out, and just sounds very rude!
"What.. uh... you speak English too?"
"Yeah, I was raised in the Philippines, so.."
"Oh. So... are you Philippine?" Yes, i asked if he was a country, not a nationality, lol! Like i said, it was a very unexpected encounter and i wasn't thinking straight.
"I'm half-Philippine half-Japanese." I'm pretty sure he responded the same way though, haha.
"Oohh, i see."
"I've seen you around town a lot..."
I kind of wanted to say "Well, yeah, i'm kind of easy to spot", but i didn't want him to think i was being rude. Instead i just said, "Well, yeah, i live here, and i work at the hoikuen down that way, so..."
"Ah, I see."
There was more awkward silence, so we started saying our parting words or whatever and i backed away step-by-step and he started fiddling with his bike lock, and that was that!
Another guy in my neighborhood i have to mention. I've never actually seen him, but i hear him quite often! He walks down the street at night, just singing his little heart out. It's almost always around midnight or later, so i'm pretty sure he's coming home from some drinking-party with coworkers or whatever, though i have heard him a couple times during the day. I'd like to catch a glimpse of him sometime though.
Should be off now, meeting up soon with S for some amazing fun times again.. :D