Communication in Japan Weblog

{October 30, 2008}   Tongue Twisters!!

So the other day, a couple of my friends and I ended up talking about tongue twisters.  We tried to teach one of our Japanese friends English tongue twisters, like “She sells sea shells by the seashore”  and “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. ”   It took us awhile, but I think she got it… (maybe… not really…eto…).

Then, in return, she taught us a couple of Japanese tongue twisters.  Honestly, I think it sounds like a typical Japanese phrase rather than a tongue twister because I can barely say the regular Japanese phrase -_-;;… Anyway, the only phrase I can remember now is “Basu gasu bakuhatsu busu basu gaido” … or something like that… it says something about a bus gas explosion and ugly bus guide ….

A French speaker also taught us a French tongue twister…yea… don’t even ask me what it is…. -_-;;

OUCHHH!!!! Japanese Tongue Twister Show

Seriously, who in their right mind would want to go through this???


{October 27, 2008}   Going to the bathroom in Japan

You know, I finally found out why there are those flushing sounds in bathrooms in Japan. Apparently the sound of urinating is shameful for the Japanese. I didn’t realize that. When I saw that the first time, I thought that function was useless… it didn’t automatically flush the toilet like I thought it would. I told one of my Japanese friends that the flushing sound thingy in the restroom is kind of weird.  In return, she asked me if there was no such things in America. Since I have never seen one in America, I just told her that I didn’t know.  ところで、another Japanese friend of mine who has been to America said that the fact that the stall (door, etc.) did not reach the bottom is strange and embarrassing.

{October 24, 2008}   Air Quotes

We were talking about body language, or kinesics, in our previous lecture, and I just remember an incident with a Japanese friend where I had to explain to him what “air quotes” are. 

I guess that one of his foreign friend used air quotes, and he was too “shy” to ask them, so he asked me.  I had a difficult time explaining it to him (language barriers and all that ^_^).  First I had to explain what quotations are, and I think I used the phrase: “Marysan wa party ni iku to itteimashita.”  In English, that sentence translates to: “Marysan said, ‘I will go to the party.'”  I told him that the quotes go around the “party ni iku” in English.  Then I told him that when his friend(s) was (were) using it, the quotes were probably used to emphasize something, or something like that.  Yeah, I think I totally confused him after the whole explanation. X_X

Here, this explanation should make it clear what I was trying to tell my friend: quotation makes are also used “to emphasize sarcasm, irony, or humor.”  Well, the website says to use it “sparingly,” so… yea… here’s the site I used for the quote:  

  Dr. Evil!!! from Austin Powers!!! ^_^

{October 22, 2008}   Approaching a Japanese

When I first had to take the train back to my home stay family, I was seating next to this high school boy. That train was kind of crowded, and I was sitting at the end of the bench, and since this guy was squished next to me, I felt kind of awkward. I didn’t know what to do. When I glanced over to see what the high school kid was reading, I saw that he was studying for TOFEL or something like that, so I started talking to him in English. I think he was surprised that I was talking to him… He kind of started talking to me, but the kid looked so nervous, I was happy that my stop came.

I didn’t really talk to any random strangers after that. Instead, I go home with one of my friends. When she’s not with me, I would borrow books from the library and read them in the train. Makes me feel secluded, but o well…

{October 14, 2008}   Hitchhiking in Japan

Well, I’ve been meaning to post this up awhile ago, but I forgot. wasurete, sumimasen

So, last month, my friend and I went to Hiei-san to visit the temples around there. We took the cable car up the mountain and went to the Enryakuji temple. From there we decided to walk around to all the other temples and down the mountain. My friend had a Japanese map of the surrounding area and it looked like an easy walk down the mountain to the train station. Well, it wasn’t. The map showed that the road curves twice and then it reached the end of the road to the station, so we thought the trip wouldn’t be all that long. We were actually on the road for more than two curves and still did not reach the end. By the time that we got near a tunnel, we decided to test out the Japanese kindness and tried to hitchhike.

Umm… I guess like other nations, I don’t think that everyone in Japan would stop for foreigners in the middle of the mountain trying to get down… -_- hehe… Finally, this one security (maybe??) guy finally stopped for us and gave us a ride down the mountain. Had we continue on the road, I think it would have taken us at least a day to reach the end… so we were pretty thankful that such a nice guy helped us. Actually, instead of the nearest station, he took us to the station after that, so that saved us like 1 station fair ^_~ .

I have another hitchhiking story from a friend who got lost while trying to get back to the Seminar House. Instead of asking for help though, that friend was offerred a ride back to the S.H…. ughh, meccha jealous, but at least I got back safe and sound with my friend.

{October 11, 2008}   Pachinko!!!

Pachinko is a gambling place that one sees everywhere in Japan!  This one time when I went with a couple of my friends to this temple, there was a Pachinko right across from it.  

I remember when I was in Japan the first couple of few weeks and saw all of these Casino-like Pachinko, I assumed that Japanese people love to gamble.  Well, that and also my speaking partner went gambling the day before with his friends, and the day before that… He was catching up with his classmates, and so they went bowling together.  Apparently the rule of the game was that for every strike one of them made, the others had to pay 100 yen.  tanoshisou ne?

I guess that was one of my Fundamental Attribution Error (assuming that Japanese people like to gamble).  I talked about Pachinko to my host mom and she basically told me that  said “weird men and women” goes there.  These people are supposedly single, don’t have a job, and … something else… I can’t remember.  She said she would not go there (zenzen something…).  I told her that one of my friends told me that some people go to Pachinko to watch Korean movies, but my mom said she doesn’t know anything about it.  I guess it can’t be help since I don’t think she has ever gone in there.  I want to go check it out because many Pachinko places I see have Evangelion (It’s an anime… catchy opening song!!!)

{October 7, 2008}   Banana Diet

Yesterday in my Japanese class, I was told about the whole “Banana Diet” fiasco going on in Japan.   One of my classmates told me that this was a recent trend because there were plenty of bananas before (as long as a month ago, I think… tabun…).   According to the teacher, this trend started like 3 weeks ago, after some sort of program on TV.   (Talk about TV influence!)  She said that the diet consists of eating a banana and drinking water (no ice!!) in the morning.  

So, today I decided to google up this…diet…

According to Telegraph, the “banana craze started in March this year with the publication of Morning Banana Diet, which claimed that consuming only bananas and room temperature water for breakfast fuelled weight loss, regardless of what was eaten during the rest of the day.”

They also said that other TV programs and diet books helped support this claim, so I guess it wasn’t a one time show that people saw and passed around.  

CBS, on the other hand, said that there are experts who say “the trend is more a fad than a successful diet.”

Anyways, I heard that bananas are selling out in the supermarkets, so good luck finding a banana!!!!

And if you’re interested in the Banana Diet, here’s the link for more info:

et cetera