Friday, March 5, 2010

Wednesday's crazy language encounters

The day started with my JTE getting some coffee. Her coffee cup has writing on one side and Mickey Mouse on the other. Having not seen the other I was surprised when one of the lines of text said “I can be anything even a hot dog vendor.” Who has ever said they want to be a hot dog vendor? We had a bit of a laugh at that, and then one of the teachers said to her (in Japanese) that his tee shirt had funny English. It contained the phrase “cool as a cucumber.” I had to explain that we really do use that phrase in English and that it means someone who is not fazed by anything, though I said it in better terms for someone who’s not fluent in Japanese. Usually it’s me telling Japanese people that the English wording on things is funny. This time they thought it was and it really wasn’t. It was a strange turn of events.

At lunch time, it was taking FOREVER to get started setting out lunch, so I decided I’d start setting out trays and plates and things like that. I asked my vice principal how many people are eating lunch. He stopped looked up and said “Perfect! Good Japanese.” And then went back to work. I asked a simple question and got NO ANSWER! What good is figuring out a new language if my questions get replies like that, which don’t answer the question? I had a bit of a giggle and moved on.

Other exciting Japanese experiences included talking with the Combini lady in Japanese, a chat with my JTE and vice principal in both Japanese and English and a random encounter with three of my high school students near the Combini with some rather funny English (If I could remember exactly what was said in that encounter, it would be landing here as well).