Thursday, October 23, 2008


Over Christmas week 2007, my family went on tour in Japan. Among the highlights of that trip was our tour guide, Eddie, whose Engrish was the equal of the estimable standard set by the country he was surveying for us. (His Chinese subsisted on rarefied, literary air, such that I regret that I cannot reproduce those pearls.) Presented here are some nuggets from his linguistic treasury.

On the subway
Going on the subway to work in Tokyo is like going to the Hell. H-E-L-L.

On the packed subway
Sometimes, women lose their shape in the subway. A beautiful girl is 35-23-35. After the ride, she will be 23-23-23.

On Japanese finances
The average salary in Japan is $48,000 a year. This is not a big money in Japan.

On the men who act in the Kabuki theater
The actors are so gentle. Even a woman cannot be that gentle.

On Kyoto girls
There are many beautiful girls in Kyoto.

On Japanese tofu
This is called Japanese tau-fu.

On Japanese competitiveness
The Japanese are very challenging.

On Japanese honor
Chinese people will talk about someone’s mother, sister, grandmother. You can insult a Japanese person’s mother, sister, grandmother, and it’s nothing. But if you call a Japanese person a bakayero, he will kill you!

On the availability of children’s toys
We have the Pooh.

On the availability of name brands
We have many branded goods.

On bathroom breaks (and the similarities between a man and a bus)
We will stop here so you can release gas. The bus will release gas, and you will release gas.

On Mount Fuji
Getting the picture of Mount Fuji is worth one million dollars U.S. Without the picture, your trip is worth nothing.

On the hot spring baths
You are only allowed to wear nothing. If you are shy, use a facecloth. Don’t cover down here; cover your eyes, and no one can see you.

On the deer at Nara’s deer park
This will save your life. The deer’s grand-grand children will come around. Show them your hands like this, so they see you have no cookie. If the deer start to chase you, you must run away fast.

On compulsory tipping
Now Eddie give you a gift, now you give Eddie a gift.

Bonus: Eddie’s pronunciation of “Buddhism” as Buddhi-ism, or booty-ism

1 comment:

Henry said...

Eddie: They call it the train to the Hell.
Me: (whispering) Did he just say--
Eddie: H-E-L-L.