English

Fuck art, let’s kill

Tokyo easily lulls you into a sense of safety in public, unlike any other city in the world. This is a country where even the mob puts on a friendly face to foreigners. That’s why it’s all the more absurd and arresting to see violent imagery. On a date with a girl dressed as an anime princess, this fairly ordinary guy’s t-shirt reads, “Fuck art, let’s kill.” I hope the princess doesn’t understand English.

Listed as one of CNNgo’s top 10 Japan blogs in English

Wow! This simple blog has been cited by CNNgo as one of the top 10 Japan blogs in English. I like how the CNNgo description identifies me as being “married to a Japanese man” but is indeterminate about my gender and my readers’.

“So ladies” is how CNNgo addresses my readers. I welcome female readers but don’t think that’s the total of my readers. Hello?! Isn’t it 100% clear that I am a queer guy?! Haha on CNNgo for reflecting Japan’s inability to see gayness no matter how flagrant!

Some of the other picks are my regular reading material. Congrats #1 Green Eyed Geisha for continually inspiring me. I am also thrilled to be included with Vivian’s Lost in Translation blog.

Another silly English language apartment names

Another ridiculous English langauge name for an apartment building, Movements. Previously, I profiled Zesty Minami-Koenji, Decent, and one of my favorites Cram Place. As to Movements, I hope they were thinking of musical elements. Of course, that was not the first thing I thought of.

What’s the funniest Tokyo apartment building name you’ve seen?

“Skinship”

Japan is full of katakana English that has no real meaning in English. Like “service,” which refers to a small business giving the customer a freebie, often spontaneously as a reward for being a loyal customer. Sitting in Shinjuku Gyoen, enjoying hanami with several friends, I learned a new slang, “skinship.” That refers to building friendship through touching. Since touching is somewhat rare in public, borrowing from English is considered somehow appropriate. I explained to my friend the difference between “touching” and “groping.”

An Ode to Hot English Chastity

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I am an idiot, but the phrase “hot english chastity” has me laughing aloud. “Hot chastity” is already funny, but “hot english” is almost as improbable in my mind. Is it true what the Japanese guy told me, that I am an “A-jia・sen”? Like “debusen,” or fatty-chaser, I guess “ajisen” is an Asian-chaser.  Nonetheless, the new Jane Campion film might be romantic and sultry indeed.

“English?”

I was walking down a narrow street of small shops in an upbeat mood. Rain was just starting to fall, and I noticed a three year old boy with his palms outstretched and younger sister barely standing next to him. “It’s raining, no?” I asked him in Japanese. Excited and wide-eyed, he blurted out to his shop-keeper father, “English?” His father seemed as amused as me by the young boy’s false sense of language comprehension.

An attractive architect, who went to school and worked in the US,  recently told me that his wife, after a few drinks, thinks that she understands dinner conversation English, when in reality she is listening to his simultaneous translation.

I see this earnest delusion in my own efforts to understand spoken Japanese. Maybe language learning starts with the will to understand. Even though full comprehension takes much longer.

アイ・ラブ・ベジ, or “Aye Rabu Begi”

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Suntory’s new drink offers human-plant romance as the backstory for a new vegetable drink. Father-in-law thinks Donna’s vegetable boyfriend is creepy looking.

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I am amazed at the tag line, アイ・ラブ・ベジ, or “Aye Rabu Begi.” This is supposed to be the Japanese way to say, “I love vegi.” No wonder Japanese, for all the years studying English and the media ubiquity of “foreign words,” have trouble communicating in English.

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