Jul. 24th, 2013

Jul. 24th, 2013 09:39 pm
When I was in language school in Japan, I had a Taiwanese classmate named Goh, who was known for her preoccupation with and delight in cake. Ordinarily she looked slightly startled and offended, as if someone had just asked her an extremely personal question, and she was trying to think of the gentlest way to tell them to fuck off. But before taking a bite of cake, her face would, briefly, take on the blissful serenity of some sort of image of the Buddha. Probably one doing a mudra specifically relating to confectionery.

When asked to form a sentence incorporating a specific grammatical structure, our class's default was kind of to say something about Goh and her cake. Make a sentence stating a rule: "When you visit Goh's apartment, you have to bring some cake." Make a sentence expressing incredulity: "What do you mean, Goh didn't finish her cake!?"

And so on. Each time this happened, she would screech and hide her head in her hands with noisy mock-embarrassment, encouraging the continuation of the practice. Language immersion school turns adults back into grade-schoolers.

(To be clear, Goh was very skinny, and this wasn't commentary on her weight. I was always by far the heaviest woman in the class, this being my duty as the American, and the jokes about me were about my ostensible status as a princess and undeniable kuuki-ga-yomenai status.)

One day at lunch we were talking about language classes in general, and one of the other Taiwanese women mentioned that she'd had to select a Westernized name from a list to use during her English classes. Goh said, "Oh, you got to choose? My teacher picked mine out when I was a kid. It's on my passport, but I don't really ever use it."

Just letting some English teacher she didn't like pick her name was a pretty Goh-ish thing to do, and so for this she received some light mockery. What was it? someone asked. She told us.

Myself and one of the other Americans started laughing. Goh looked at us in an injured manner. "What, is it a stupid name? Did she pick a stupid name for me!?"

Me: "Okay, so, did you really like cake back then, too? Like, when you were a kid, were you already the cake person?"

Goh declined to answer this question directly: "I will always like cake. Forever."

"That's great! Because your teacher named you after a cake company."

She refused to believe this. Fortunately, I had my laptop with me, so I opened the appropriate website for her. Her teacher had, of course, chosen to call her Betty.

I'm really just telling this story to illustrate why Goh is my image of Jane Crocker. Sorry, Goh, you are a brainwashed murderbot now. This is what your innocent love of cake has wrought.

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