Tuesday, September 4, 2012


He's returned.  THE kid.  When he talks, the whole office listens, not simply because he's friends with everyone but because he talks so loudly that not even our headphones can block out his conversations.  With his return, the others come out of their shells.  Ponta feels the need to stop by and even sits down and looks over the powerpoint presentation THE kid created to talk about what he learned on his summer vacation (internship to a train manufacturer).  Sakai-san, who is so quiet and unobtrusive that I've only seen five times in the entire time I've been in Japan, suddenly shows up at his elbow and the two shoot the breeze and gossip about everyone late into the night. 

He comes, bringing his souvenir treat from wherever he was in Japan (I forget) which looks like slime and tastes like azuki.

For the past three weeks, I have often caught myself randomly looking over at the empty desks of the people that I miss during the long hours of the day.  But now that he is back, his presence so fills our office that even though all the desks are empty but his and mine, there is enough activity and energy and noise as if every desk was filled. 

One would think, the way this kid comes and turns our office upside down that I would be annoyed.

He does bother me.  I throw on my headphones and listen to loud rock music in an attempt to block out his noise and try to focus, focus, focus on that engineering paper I'm reading.  There are times that I just want to tell him to go talk in the hall and to leave me in peace.

In fact, he's probably one of the only ones who doesn't leave me in peace.  Everyone is kind and wait for me to approach them.  But he sidled up to me my first week with a smile and begged for my sympathy for the paper he had to present at lab meeting.  Somehow, I not only gave the appropriate, "Poor you" comments, I looked at the paper, skimmed over it and tried to figure out the math and the concepts so that I could help him understand it as well.  The way he sort of laughs at himself while begging for your affection somehow hits a weakness I never knew I had.  I find myself loving him in spite of myself.

Not that he doesn't return the sentiment.  There is not a day that he leaves the lab and gives his general farewell to the rest of the office that he doesn't stop and deliberately turn back to me, his face breaking into a goofy grin that always gets a smile out of me, and with a wave says, "Goodbye!  Have a nice night!"  It's not the stumbled farewells everyone else gives when they realize that I don't understand the Japanese - it's a purposeful message to someone he made a point to remember. 

Now the office is loud again.  It's hard to concentrate. 

And yet...It's so good to have him back!

In other news, guess who else came back?  Games on Thursday and next Tuesday.  In case, you're still wondering, there's a BIG HINT below.
Source: VW Golf jp

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