They were meant as words of encouragement but ended up being the first salvo in a different kind of education that taught me to exist between Japanese and non-Japanese.
"Did you enjoy your cherry blossom viewing party over the weekend?"
"What do you call that sound that's made by people wearing baggy tracksuit pants when the material around their legs brushes against each other when they walk?"
After living in Japan for a while you start to notice certain personality types popping up in the international community, particularly among English teachers. There's the "weeaboo," a fairly recent character; the paripi (party people), who hit every nomikai (drinking party); and the gaijin (foreigner) ...