Wednesday, December 1, 2010


     As the title suggests (or lack there of) this topic is about my encounter with deaf people. In October I went with my class to Hiroshima in order to visit the city and understand more of Japan. As I want in Hiroshima with my friends we drifted apart and I ended up going around with Anna taking pictures of the Peace Park.

           We, who had taken a couple of Japanese sign language courses, had never seen deaf people in Japan before. As we're walking over the bridge that connected the Atomic Dome Area to the Peace Park, Anna notices on the other side of the bridge four people speaking sign language. We were very happy to finally see what we've been learning in these courses out in the streets!!!! Anna and I were a bit nervous about approaching the Japanese deaf people for two obvious reasons: we had only taken like 3 or 4 courses of Japanese sign language at the time and we were foreigners (especially with what many Japanese consider to be a scary look). Hoping that we wouldn't be killing one of them from shock as we would start throwing  Japanese hand signs out in the air, we tried to approach them with a simple good afternoon. One of the four of them noticed me doing the "konnichiwa" sign, and signaled the others about it. Surprisingly enough they weren't scared at all of us. They approached us very friendly as we tried to communicate with sign languages.
      One of the first things they asked us were if we were a couple. As we both said yes, not knowing that the hand sign meant that we were a couple, I remember seeing a similar (if not the same) hand sign in the sign language Iphone video we saw in the course. I told Anna that I think they asked us if we were dating, so just incase we tried to express that we were just friends. Interestingly enough, they understood very easily that we were just friends and showed us the hand sign for "friend." They also told us they were from Osaka and which city from Osaka they were from (we didn't understand the city), and when we told them which city we were from they didn't know which city it was either. All in all the experience was very rewarding. We met people who gave us more understanding of the deaf culture in Japan, and learned a lot about them. We told them about our class, and if we could share our story with everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure I understand the title in reference to deafness...

    I think you met a deaf person at the JSL Study Group, right?

    Anyway, I am glad you had a pleasant encounter. I think I recognize one of the men in your photo. It's a small Deaf-World...


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