Monday, August 23, 2004

Great language story (from blog I just randomly found...):

A Japanese friend of mine took her mother to Paris one year. Everywhere they went they heard the phrase"Qu`est-ce que c`est?" (what is that). To a Japanese person, unfamiliar with the French language, that phrase sounds very close to "Ketsu kusei," which in Japanese slang means "the ass stinks." My friend's mother, who did not understand French asked her, "why are these people saying my ass stinks?" Poor woman!

Another Japanese story - I went to a boarding school with students from all over the world. Fun part of the experience was to share food, culture, music from our countries. The Spanish kids were trying to make friends with the Japanese kids by offering them gum. They would stretch their open palms (offering the gum) and ask, "un chiclet?"(brand of gum). Now, that phrase in Japanese sounds like "unchi kuray" or "give me poop." Here's what the whole scene looks like from a Japanese perspective - a guy is stretching his hand out to you and asking a question... ok so he wants something from me... thenhe hear the Spanish guy saying, "give me (your) poop."Of course, "un chiclet" became a great insider joke between the Spanish and Japanese kids!

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