Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Beginner’s Guide To Japanese

My Japanese is coming along slowly. First, a geography lesson.

Tokyo is not pronounced Toe-Kee-Oh, but more like Tock-Yor. Osaka is not Owe-Sarker, but Or-sack-her. And, on the South island, Fukuoaka is not Fucker-Whacker but Ffffff-Coker.

I noticed when I was interviewed back in May that Ian kept dropping in the oh-so Japanese pronunciation. “Yes, you see the things about Tock Yor is....”,

And now I’ve started falling into the trap of pronouncing the Japanese place names with increasing authenticity. What a twat. I promised myself I wouldn’t do that.

Mind you it works the other way round. I remember when Gena was depressed after he realised he’d started pronouncing Russian words in an English way. “I’ve started saying Gorber Choff instead of Gorrrrrrrbatchev” he moaned.

I know about 7 or 8 phrases now, and so far I’m doing alright. Phrasebooks are okay but it’s best to work out which phrases you need and then practise them. At the moment my favourite is “atatame, kudasai” which means “can you heat this up?”.

Handy if you’ve ordered a Frankfurter Pie in Mister Donut.

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