This conversation took place yesterday with the same student who is being transferred to his company’s New York office this Autumn:
Student: I spoke with Human Resources today.
Me: Oh yeah? Anything interesting?
Student: Actually, they are going to give me extra money.
Me: Really? You mean for extra expenses you incur living in New York?
Me: Wow, that’s really cool. Are they going to pay your rent?
Student: Yes, they will give me an allowance for rent.
Me: Wow, free rent. How about your car? You’re gonna need a car to get back and forth to work, right?
Student: Yes. They will pay for the car, too.
Student: Do American companies do the same?
Me: Yeah, that sounds pretty standard. I mean, if the company expects you to live in a foreign country, they usually try to make the transition as easy as possible.
Student: (Big smile) Yes, I’m very happy. I will receive this subsidy plus my salary.
Me:Look at that smile…yokatta ne (that’s great). And, you were worried…
Student: They even pay for my food.
Student: Yes. They will give me money to buy food…but only Japanese food.
Student: Only Japanese food…
Me: That you must buy at a Japanese supermarket…
Student: Yes, probably.
Student: Yes, Japanese food is very expensive in America.
Me: This is true. A lot of it is imported. I know Japanese rice cost a fortune. I can never go back to American rice: Uncle Ben’s and whatnot… so I’ll be buying the overpriced Japanese rice too when I go home…
Student:Sou desu ka.
Me: Yeah, only I won’t have a subsidy.