This is a travel blog for desktop travelers and other ramblers who want to know the world just a little bit better.

Right now I am living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala where I'll be settled for a while. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Considering that I lived in Japan for a year and have been married to a Japanese teacher for five, my Japanese should be much better. However, it’s not. These past fifteen days in Japan my vocabulary has greatly improved, and I have reached the point where I can ask people questions, but usually not understand their reply.

I go to a chain coffee shop wanting to order just a regular coffee. I do not know how to say “regular” in Japanese. The following is a transcript of the conversation. What is spoken in Japanese is in

Barista: Welcome. What would you like? Points to the menu at the counter

Me: Uh, sorry. Don’t read Japanese. English you speak?

Barista: Sorry. No English. Asks co-worker, she also does not speak English.

Me: looks and points at menu, Which coffee, um, no milk, um, black only, uh not cappuccino…

Barista: Do you want a cappuccino?

Me: waving the my hands for the Japanese “no”, No, no um, sorry, uh…

Enter Mika from stage right

Me: Mika, how do you say “regular coffee” in Japanese?

Mika: Re-gyu-lah Ko-hi

Barista & Me: sighs; Regyulah Kohi!

There are lots of English words imbedded in Japanese. I can watch the Wahludo Cappu Sokkah on the telebi, while sitting at the taberu eating grapufrutsu and a Macudonaludo hambagah and wash it all down with beeru from a waiin grasu. Later take a shawah and dry off with a taoru.

Easy right? The problem is knowing which words exactly are Japanglish. Then I need the correct Japanese pronunciation so it is understandable to the general public and so that I don’t sound like a dimwit. Not so easy.

I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from my Torabelu Bulogu.


  1. Grandma via JulieJune 16, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Dear Jeff and Mika,

    Glad you are enjoying your trip in Japan. Keep sending your email and I will have Fran or Julie read it for me on the internet (internet, is that right?). Stay well and come back. Don't get to love Japan too much.

    Love from your grandma.

    P.S. My friend Anne also enjoyed Julie reading this and showing it to us.

    (Typed by Julie)

    Hi guys! Love the blog! What a challenge to explain that concept though. I had been following you in my google reader and so hadn't been to the actual site yet. Thanks so much for the shout out! Have fun!

    More from Grandma:

    Julie was here with me for dinner and her mother is at a spa for her 60th birthday outside of Chicago with her sister Terri and two other friends.

    (Julie) We are now sending this via internet magic that I realized I can not at all explain adequately!

  2. Thanks for the comments. I hope that when I am 95 I will brave new technology too (with the help of a grand neice). And I am quite sure this blog's millions of readers are glad to know Julie's Mom's birthday plans.