mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo (Japanese that the Japanese don't know) is a riot. It's a manga by a woman who teaches at a Japanese language school, about the questions she gets thrown at her by students. (Ahhhh the section on counters!! 'So if chairs are ikkyaku (一脚) then toilets are too?' 'When have you ever had to count toilets?' And in fact toilets are sue/据; which raises the question for me, is it ichisue or hitosue? Sueru is the kun-yomi and that usually takes a kun-yomi counter, ie hito) As also the chance inter-cultural difficulties encountered, like the Chinese guy who happily counts 'Hebi ippon'/ 蛇一本-- "one 'long thin thing' snake"-- only to be told that in Japanese snakes are ippiki-- 一匹, one small animal.

I of course am enamoured of the older Frenchwoman who introduces herself with the historical yakuza formula O-hikae nasutte, and the Swedish woman who learned her Japanese from jidai-geki films like The Seven Samurai, because (ahem) *I* learned my yakuza introduction formula from jidai-mono television like Mito Komon and Shimizu no Jirocho. This section had me up at midnight searching the shelves in vain for that stupid book on learning Japanese that I kept only because it has the o-hikae nasutte formula written in full. Failing that, one must fall back on the Japanese version. Or watch it happen here, with translation of a sort.
Tags: chinese, film, history, japanese, manga_09

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