Er, not a cold that makes me …. nevermind. I should change the title of this post.
Anyway, I caught a regular old cold. While nursing my sore throat with… coffee I was reading this blog (which I am hooked on) and laughing because we’ve also had several linguistic “lost in translation” moments around the apaato lately.
1. The first was when T asked for a basic English lesson. I happened to be eating strawberries at the time, so I pointed to then and said “these are strawberries”. And then I pointed to a pencil and said “this is a pencil”.
He looked thoughtful and repeated “Jesus strawberries”. After laughing for a few minutes I said “Nononono not Jesus!” But he had already made a connection
“That’s why I hear people say Jesus so much in English, ne?”
Now everything in our house is related to Jesus. I told him only when he started seeing Disciples in our apaato would that be appropriate, but he responded with another useful English phrase I’ve taught him: “Yes dear”~ his answer whenever I say anything in English that he just doesn’t get.
2. Last night while walking from the grocery store together (he told me one can mix Japanese-style curry and UDON together, and I immediately decided we needed to have that shiz for dinner): we were dividing up the grocery bill for fairness’ sake and I said in English
“Let’s swap!” (his 500 yen for my 1000)
He gasped like a schoolgirl and looked around. Then he leaned in and whispered 「エッチの意味があるよ」(that means something sexual). I kinda knew what he was driving at, but, having fun, I asked him what on earth it could mean, as swap was a perfectly neutral word in English.
He looked thoughtful and said he couldn’t remember, BUT HE KNEW IT WAS ECCHI. This mademe laugh so loudly I embarrassed poor T in a crowd of cranky underslept salarymen. Finally, after the wheels had turned for a while he remembered, and his voice got quiet: “It’s like if X-chan (female friend) and her husband Y-kun came over, and I ‘did it’ with her and you ‘did it’ with him.”
This set me off laughing even more. Finally, I said “nonono I’d sex her up and you could have Y-kun”. His eyes got big and he pretended to be interested in the koi pond nearby. I’m sure he was thinking “I could have stuck to dating nice Japanese girls..”
Thus ensued a discussion about how sure “spouse swapping” is something you can say in English, but perhaps closer to the meaning he was thinking of, in contemporary parlance was “swinging”. Poor boy, I shouldn’t have mentioned the clubs in every major U.S. city dedicated to such activities, or added that I’ve been to one (not as a participant, for a modeling show held there).
Also- curry udon = oishii yo.