Yep, only 5 – well that’s how many I heard anyway….
Yep, 5 languages spoken in the course of the afternoon, all flowing back and forth – y’know, Taiwan people are just amazing!
There I was visiting Rev. and Mrs. Hsu who live just up the road in the Shuang-Lien Elderly Center. He loves bananas – so I took him a huge great bunch, and she loves lychees so I took her a huge great bunch…
And off we went the coffee shop on the ground floor…. where we met Mrs. Hsu’s Japanese friend, Mrs. Jien – also a resident of the center, aged 96 and doesn’t need glasses. Here they are ~ Mrs. Hsu on the left, Mrs. Jien on the right…
And there we sat, the 4 of us chatting away. In 5 languages. Although Mrs. Jien’s husband was Taiwanese, in fact she speaks only Japanese – but that’s no problem for older Taiwan people who grew up under the Japanese colonial system in Taiwan and so had a Japanese education. So Mrs. Hsu and Mrs. Jien chatter away in Japanese. Mrs. Hsu translates everything into Chinese for me and then back into Japanese for Mrs. Jien. This is interspersed with Rev. and Mrs. Hsu talking to each other in Hakka language. Then they talk to the staff in Taiwanese. And in the middle of it all, Rev. Hsu talks to me in English.
That makes 5 languages. Occasionally we all get mixed up and find we’re talking in the wrong language to the wrong person – no wonder there’s a few blank stares. Body language helps, particularly when demonstrating my experience of wearing a kimono lol! Otherwise, on the whole we manage perfectly well, but only because Mrs. Hsu is so versatile and completely with it!
Wish I knew more than 5 words of Japanese lol….
Yep, Taiwan people are just aaaaaaaaamazing!