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A conversation on the next table in a cafe in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, today was heard seamlessly drifting into topics of ‘English’, ‘overseas’, and ‘English teachers’.

“And then Natsuko said to me, ‘That’s an amazing amount of tuna mayonnaise in your rice ball’ – oh speaking of which, how’s the rapid increase of English usage in Tokyo these days?” said one woman.

The discussion touched on a variety of foreign themes but was vigilant not to verbalize out loud the terms ‘gaijin’, ‘gaikokujin’ or ‘bakagaijin’ for fear of that gaijin who walked into the cafe just before the smooth transition of topics.

The two women were quietly confident that the conversation was safely guarded by the sheer complexity of their exchange of ideas.

“You know I’m really encountering a plethora of bipeds who aren’t exactly from this neck of the woods,” said the other woman.

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