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Language Mishaps

Back from the US after a 2-week trip home in August!  Despite a few hiccups in the trip, mainly due to a sprained ankle my first full day there, it was a fun and relaxing time at home.  I was gonna add some pics too, but WordPress is not cooperating with me at the moment so I’ll add those later…

And back on the blog as well everyone’s favorite language mishaps!  Well, maybe not my favorite…

  • tried to transliterate “empty-handed” into Japanese and invited my friends to come and do karate (lit. “empty hand” fighting) at my house for dinner
  • got dorobo (robber) and raba roba (donkey) mixed up and told my English students Jesus rode a robber into Jerusalem
  • i always have trouble with the pronunciation of byou-in (hospital) and bi-you-in (beauty salon) and then confuse people by trying to talk about riding an ambulance to get a hair cut.
  • Went to a baseball game and someone asked me who the toppu battah was and all I could think was “Top butter?  Is that like an expression for ‘cream of the crop’?”  Turns out it was not butter but batter, i.e., top of the line-up.
  • My car accident was jibai (self-caused accident) but I accidentally kept saying it was jihatsu (self-explosion)
  • katakuriko is a kind of starch used a lot in Japan but it’s quite the tongue twister.  I’m always like karakatako?  Kamakimiko?  Karakutiko?  Someone eventually figures out what I’m trying to say.
  • I’m having trouble remembering that the Chinese government is kyouSanshugi (Communist Rule) and not kyouKanshugi (Sympathetic rule).  If only…
  • thIs one’s not mine but can’t help not sharing! Read the Chinese character for sabi (rust) wrong and read James 5:3 “Your gold and silver have wasabi on them, and that wasabi will be evidence against you…”  Culturally appropriate translation?
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  1. Yukari
    September 2, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Lol Jesus riding a robber into Jerusalem! Love it! Ahaha!

  2. J Oh
    September 2, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Haha donkey in Japanese is roba not raba. The only reason why I know this is because our kids sing a sing about the donkey that Jesus rode on every year around Christmas time.
    I wish my Japanese was as good as yours!
    Sorry to hear you had a sprained ankle too. They’re a pain, eh? Bummer 😦 Hope it’s healing OK now though.

    • September 3, 2015 at 1:04 am

      oops! thanks~! yeah, ankle’s mostly better now, but no running around and leaping off tall buildings and such. 😛

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