Mon Aug 28 01:45:44 2000
To: " Patrick"
From: "Peter M. Rivard"
Subject: Re: Japanese culture


      Yup, I'm receiving email. I wasn't looking forward to trying problem resolution in Japanese (no one at this company speaka de inglese), so I'm glad it's fixed itself--it was clearly their problem, so I just let it sit until one of their Japanese-speaking customers called up to bitch at them. Me, I sat waiting for a dish for 20 minutes tonight, even though the waiter had told me when I ordered that they were out (I had ordered by pointing to a picture, he said something, and I had thought "we're all out of that tonight" [in Japanese] was the name of the dish). Earlier, I was very proud that I was able to return a defective used stereo and describe the problem ("CD is broken. Sometimes, OK. Sometimes, noisy. phhhhssssskkkkkk [made static noise sound effects]"). Even my English is fading--after a day and a half of talking with junior high school students, I found that I had lost not only my articles but also my linking verbs. I caught myself saying things like, "American breakfast big. No rice." I was only half a step from the "natives" on Gilligan's Island whose entire language consisted of "oooga boooga" and waving spears.
      I made a joke to an Australian friend asking if she'd had linguistic difficulties of this sort when she moved to the States. I was surprised to find out that she had--apparently she drove a garage mechanic to hysterics when she told him she was hearing a rattle under her bonnet. Except for accidently addressing a teenage girl by a term more appropriate for a toddler, I don't think I've done much more than exasperate the very patient locals, for all the sport they've given me.


I hope all is well at your end. Let me know how things are going.


Peter

home

Home

For information on copyright and your license to use images on these pages, please click here.