I went to a cafe near my work this past Thursday, and ordered an ice tea. I go to this cafe a lot and usually, when I place my order, I just say (in Japanese)
“Regular ice tea please.”
And they usually give me the small size and charge me 200 yen. The barista rarely asks if I want a different size, but if he or she were to ask me, I know what the Japanese for that is, and I know how to respond appropriately.
So on Thursday I don’t know what my problem was, but this happened:
Me: アイスティーストレトでお願いします。(Regular ice tea please)
Barista: 大きさは？ (What size?)
Me: … (pondering, wtf did he just say OSAKA?) HUH?
Barista: (switches to nervous English) Do you want small? Medium?
Me: (dear self, wtf) Small
I felt really stupid after that exchange. Not only did I know WHAT he said, even if I hadn’t understood I should have been able to guess based on context. I don’t know, I thought the whole thing was hilarious, because I was so dead convinced that he’d said Osaka (the name of another large city in Western Japan) that my brain could only come up with the most basic response.