Today during lunch, one of the kids at church, A-kun, turned to me after trying the food I brought to share and asked, “Charlotte-Sensei, are you married?” The question caught me really off guard and I had him repeat it before I could be sure what he was asking me. “Uhm. No, I’m not married.” I replied.
Hmmm… how to explain in Japanese in the simplest terms… “Um. You need two people for marriage. I’m single. I have no boyfriend.”
He digested this information as he chewed his food.
Undaunted by the boring results of this line of questioning with me, he turned to my friend, Mrs. E. “E-san, are you married?”
“Yes, it’s terrible.”
“Do you have any kids?”
“No, I don’t.”
“I don’t need kids!” With the ever-so-slight intimation that certain ones could be bothersome sometimes…
“You probably need kids…”
“No, I don’t!”
Mr. K, sitting on the other side of A-kun, then. “She doesn’t need kids because she has a lot of dogs.”
Mrs. E replied with a chuckle, “Just one dog, four cats.”
Mr. K said, “So she doesn’t need any kids.”
“Oh.” A-kun seemed satisfied with this.
Which just makes me think I’ve encountered two potential universals today: 1) Kids say whatever they want. 2) People with pets, especially cats, tend to think of them as family.