It's nice and sunny today--a bit of a change from the foggy overcast weather. Even though it is still cold outside, a little sun helps to stay warmer when walking around.
I took a short trip to a nearby "Sports Authority" to pick up some small weights so I could have something to work out with. I found someone who worked there, I said, "Sumimasen" (meaning: excuse me) and then proceeded to motion as if I were lifting a weight. He asked "dumbbell?" (maybe pronouncing it 'doom-bell') I said "Hai" (meaning: yes). He showed me the weights, I said, "arigatou gozaimasu", grab my weights and head for the check-out counter. I was feeling pretty good that I was at least able to use a few words in Japanese and then the clerk goes and speaks to me in English! :P Normally you would think this would be a relief, but I am now looking forward to using the very few words I know and hopefully picking up on other words I don't know.
I try to respond in Japanese with "Hai", but she keeps speaking to me in English which feels rather strange to continue to try and respond in Japanese. I pay for my weights, say "thank you" to her, and "arigatou gozaimasu" to another clerk who helped me package my weights and head out the door. On the way into our building's front entrance an older lady and I almost run into each other which I am quickly able to say "Sumimasen" to her (with a slight bow). I was very proud that the 'sumimasen' came out of my mouth so quickly. Oh oh, and then to top it off, I also got to say 'konnichiwa' to our front desk attendant :)
It's starting to feel good to use what little I know of Japanese (small steps), and it really does make me want to learn more. It feels good to be able to use something you just learned.