Walking home after midnight down the dim streets of Katsura. A man comes bounding out of an apartment building and crosses the street in my direction. He is slightly disheveled. Drunk? He beelines right for me. My LA and New York instincts tell me to prepare for a fight.
"Eki wa doko desuka?"
I know what he is asking, but seeing I am a gaijin he quickly rephrases the question in English.
"Where is the station?"
I respond in a Japanese-English hybrid and make an arrow with my arm in the direction of the train station, "Straight to migi."
He runs off into the night.
I am positively thrilled by this 15-second encounter. It is a wonderful victory for me. 13 months in Kyoto and someone other than a tourist has asked me for directions. Not just someone, a Japanese someone.