Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Common Interests

Yesterday was Suwa-san's girlfriend's birthday.

I only know this because this affected my schedule in when Suwa-san could teach me about PSP.

Before her birthday, Suwa-san asked me what he thought he should get her.  Since he asked me, I've spent the past few days trying to think of what is appropriate for birthday gifts to women.

Jewelry?  Clothes?  Shoes?

Media makes it look like those the appropriate things to get but those are all difficult things to buy because of different tastes, sizes, etc.  Despite being a woman myself, I was pretty stumped. 

Today, at lunch, I asked Suwa-san how her birthday went and what he ended up getting her.

Suwa-san: A photo album.  Do you think that's a good thing?
Me: Yes, actually.  That's a great gift.
Suwa-san: For her birthday, we went to the Sendai history museum.

So, Suwa-san and his girlfriend did the same sort of thing that I would love to do with a boyfriend.  For some reason though - I blame the media - I was picturing something more elaborate.  I felt no end of relief in knowing that I'm not an anomaly after all. 

Suwa-san: What do you usually buy for your boyfriend on his birthday?
Me: I'm actually quite pathetic at gift buying.  I love books!  If you give me a book for a gift, I will be happy.  But not everyone feels the same way.  I end up buying books for people and they just pretend smile at it but don't really like it.  So, I need to learn. 

So then another student decided to join the conversation.
Abhi-san: You say you like books.  What kind of books to you like? 
Me: All kinds.  Lately, I've been reading a lot of non-fiction.
Abhi-san: Like Jack London?
Me: <giving him a strange look since I didn't think Jack London wrote non-fiction> Umm...I read a lot of books about Asian culture.  I just finished reading a book by Martin Luther King, Jr.  and before that, it was a biography about a boy's chemistry experiments during World War II.
Abhi-san: <chuckles> Wow, our tastes don't overlap at all.
Me: Oh, I like other types of books too.  I read fiction.  <I start listing a number of different authors>
Abhi-san: Hmm...
Me: Ok, so what books do you read?
Abhi-san: Jack London.
Me: Really?
Abhi-san: Have you read any of his books?
Me: Yes, The Call of the Wild.
Abhi-san: His books are good.  I've actually read almost all of his books.  I have a library here of books, 10 or 12 Jack London books.  And one of my Dad's friends gave me a large volume of his short stories which I just finished reading.
Me: <Jack London wrote 12 books?!>  So, besides, Jack London, what other books do you read?
Abhi-san: That's it.

For the record, if your interest in something has only one data point, there is no such thing as overlapping interests.  There are no interests to overlap.  It's more like intersect.

But now that I know that Jack London wrote over 20 books, I think it might be time to go give this man another shot.

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