Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lost in Translation

For the most part, Gina and I have been doing a bang up job of maintaining conversations via the few Japanese words and phrases we memorized. However, there have been a few laughable exceptions...

At Chion-in yesterday, a woman in kimono came up to us and asked us where we were from. When we said Ohio (which, incidentally, sounds like “good morning” in Japanese), she said she had been to Pittsburgh and asked us if we heard of Century Misery.

Translation: St Louis, Missouri

Our guide through Gion last night was making suggestions for restaurants to visit and mentioned dishes with squirrel eggs. I went right along with it (???) until Gina called her out and said squirrels don’t lay eggs; they’re mammals.

Translation: quail eggs

At dinner last night, our server didn’t speak much English. After ordering, she asked us if we wanted sourdough. We were curious about the Japanese version of bread, so we said yes.

Translation: salad (“sa-ra-da”)

(In Japanese, “r” is pronounced like “l,” which keeps throwing us off. However, Gina today actually said Flank Lloyd Wright (instead of “Frank”) without even thinking. Hilarious!)

And, Phil might just have a new nickname, ganko, which is my new favorite Japanese word. It means stubborn, old man. Ha!

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