近海る (Kin Kairu)

JET, Japan, Journalism and other J words

Archive for the tag “Japanese”

“O MAI GAAA”: On Japanese-Altered English, Making Language Boring, and GRE Questions

Imagine you’re me for a moment: living in Japan for a few years, have a considerable amount of Japanese under your belt, and one day you find yourself at any given net cafe taking a four hour practice GRE test when this reading section question appears.

The Question

The Question

For those who, understandably, don’t feel like ruining their eyesight squinting at the small text, the left paragraph goes into detail about how Japanese commercials use foreign languages, from English to French and Italian, to heighten their sense of priority and significance. “The viewer usually does not understand [the foreign words], but the connotations of prestige associated with these languages are enough to warrant their use.”

The question reads as follows-“Which of the following would provide the best justification for the existence of English in Japanese commercials, despite the fact that most Japanese do not understand English?”

And from the variety of answer choices, the answer is #1-“To many Japanese, the mere voicing of an English word evokes a cosmopolitan splendor, thereby conferring sophistication onto whatever is being advertised.”

I would now like you to watch the following video which is a collection of Japanese commercials from early February of this year. Keep a mental track every time an English word/phrase (or what sounds like the Japanese pronunciation of an English word) is used or seen.

I think the important thing to remember here is that these commercials are not being targeted towards a foreign audience. These are made by Japanese people, for Japanese consumers. And yet, there was an exorbitant amount of English words/phrases interspersed within the ads.

Now, I fully understand the stance that most Japanese have learned or taken classes in English in some capacity, whether it is during their higher or lower education. I also have no doubt there are people on those advertising teams who do speak a fair amount of English. But can I just point out the ad featuring ninja-ladies and spouted “BE CONSIDERATE” and “CHANGE YOURSELF” was for boat racing?

And without the context that the Universal Studios Japan ad used “RE-BOOOOOOOOOOOOORN” to refer that the Jurassic Park ride was under construction and recently opened up, what the hell would that even mean to a) Japanese people who don’t know that word and b) people outside Japan who don’t know about the reopening?

Welcome to modern Japanese!

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Linguistically on the Job

I had my first dream fully in Japanese the other day. Not to say this is a first: I’ve had plenty of dreams in the past that involved the other language. But this was the first time I had a dream almost completely in Japanese. Yes, I know dreams are just one of the things people should never talk about, so I won’t bore you with the details. I will say the dream had me speaking some pretty fast and wild Japanese, with words and phrases saved only for the dramatic. Out of what I remember, at least.

Most likely this happened because I’ve been actively studying and hearing the Japanese language every day for the last two years. I like to believe I’ve come far in my Japanese studies, but I still have a while to go. However, there are many times right when I’m about to practice I run into an all too familiar situation:

What happens when the other person you’re speaking to only wants to speak English?

Not only an issue in Japan

Not only an issue in Japan

http://www.itchyfeetcomic.com/2013/11/second-mother-tongue.html#.Ve5xlNK8PGc

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Why the Sports Day is the Best and Worst Introduction to the Japanese School System

It’s pretty staggering to think how different my two years of Sports Day experiences have been. Although I didn’t even talk about it last year, I can definitely say something had changed, and I viewed the festival with a much different lens this year than I did the first time.

The Sports Day is, in short, a school-wide competition: Relay Races, Tug of War, a complicated game of chicken that involves hats and many other events are held for the kids to duke it out. Sometimes it’s different years competing, other times it’s different classes within a grade competing against each other. Luckily, even the teachers are able to join in sometimes! But in the end it’s all for the love of athletics, competition and team building.

Well, kind of.

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Recognition, “faux troubles” and the urge to “let it out.”

Dammit.

I wasn’t going to talk about this.

I really wasn’t.

I tried.

But something happened.

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Japan News Roundup Jan 27-Feb 5

Let’s take a little break from the temple talk and discuss some other things I have a particular interest in: East Asian politics/current events and Journalism.

Hell, the later is part of the header!

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Doin’ It Right

We all need a little inspiration from somewhere.
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PREMIUM SUPER-DRY LIQUID BREAD

Being a beer drinker in Japan sucks.

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The Judo Club

I had mentioned in an earlier post that one of my goals throughout this whole gig was that I was going to get active, in or outside of the school. This meant checking out as many school clubs I could, but there was one in particular that took no time and forced me to participate: the Judo club.

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Taste Test: KitKats vol. 1 (Pumpkin Pudding and Wasabi)

The Photographer’s Dilemma

When I first arrived at my placement, I was handed a list of rules regarding my new occupation. Many of them simple, but still needed to be stated: no extra pay from other institutions because I’m a government worker, how many vacation days I had and when my work hours are. However there was one rule in particular that struck me, which was rule number 8: “No photography of the school nor the students may be uploaded onto the internet, even with any person’s permission.”

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