The ‘Decopon Face’

My host dad, who is an elementary schoolteacher, taught me the name of a Japanese citric the second day I arrived to the country. We have been gradually converting that word into a growing inside joke. I’ll tell you why.

The word is ‘decopon’, and that first time I pronounced it nasally exaggerating the last syllable a lot…That night, my host parents and me laughed about it and repeated the word quite a few times. More loudly each time.

The next day, my host dad told me (in his nice but broken English) he had told his class about me and about my ‘decopon’ pronunciation. His whole third-grade class found it hilarious…So did I. Embarrassing but in a really funny way.

The Decopon Face decopon


Then, at night when we went to buy dinner groceries, I could tell he was telling the salesman about the story, because of the way he was talking and looking at me and also because he ended the story with a loud ‘DECOPOOOON’. He then wanted me to say it. I just laughed and got red, but didn’t repeat the word.

Today was our Host Family Day and we went to a river, then to downtown Nagasaki. We had an incredible time! We had lunch at a restaurant, hung out at an awesome four-floor stationery store, went to a Shinto shrine, and also went to the ‘Spectacles Bridge’ and took a lot of pictures.

To finish our Nagasaki day, we went to the Historical Museum, and looked at the exhibition.

The last part of the exhibition was about Elephants, sponsored by a local chain of grocery stores that features an Elephant in its logo.

You can definitely appreciate that Elephants were an important animal in Japanese society before, and you can enjoy the changes in art in the different sculptures and paintings, featuring, of course, elephants.

There were a few paintings and miniature sculptures that had really funny faces and expressions painted on them. I pointed at one, and said: ‘Decopon face!’

We started laughing very loudly inside the entirely quiet room, and had to cover our mouths and look to different ways to be able to stop.

Good thing we were almost finished with the exhibition because the rest of it, practically all we could see, were decopon faces…

It is so amazing how no matter how different our mother tongues are, and how different our backgrounds are, we somehow have a very similar sense of humor, similar feelings and ways to connect…

We have been having such a perfect time, sharing random things and laughing about random situations…I have even learned about Japanese onomatopoeia with them!

I am super grateful for all we have shared in these few days, no matter how much guessing there has been in between! I am lucky to be in this family this week.

I will definitely say goodbye to them with an enormous hug, a happy heart, and my funniest decopon face.

Paulina Meza, México

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