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 red.
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.