I was on my way to the grocery store. I was chuffed to see the elevator already on my floor. As I hopped in the elevator I heard a door slam and then small feet as they scurried for the elevator. A little girl about six or seven quickly jumped into the car with me. Adults often keep their head down, polite but nervous about what to say to a foreigner. The little girl greeted me with interest and a smile. Konichiwa, I greeted her, and she responded with the same. She said to me, kono ikura desuka? My first clue, the tone of voice. Aha a question! Hmm, a simple question. I searched my memory banks. What could she be asking? I made like Arnold Schwarzanegger in the Terminator, scrolling through all the data bank menus, searching searching Wait a glimmer, I think she is asking me where I am from. Quickly, acting as if there was no unnatural pause, (even though I bought myself some time with an um) I responded Kanada, with a big happy smile. She seemed a little confused; perhaps she doesnt know what country that is. We arrived at the lobby where her bicycle was waiting, she had just forgotten her keys. I held the door open for her so she could easily get her bike out, and after we were done, I got a big smile and an arigatoo. (Thankyou). I waved good bye and mumbled something back. I think I may have made a friend. I was certainly a very happy person today.
Upon further reflection and discussion with my sensei who actually speaks Japanese, Okuni would be the word for country, so she wasn't asking me that, hence the confusion on her face. Further, what I have written doesn't make sense. Hmmm. My first conversation didn't go well.