Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Yesterday at the academic assembly fifteen or so Japanese students were introduced to our school. They will be here for about two weeks, mingling with us Americans in classes. They introduced themselves by saying something along the line of, “My name is (Cao Ren, Lu Bu, or something Asian-like). Nice to meet you!” This was followed by what sounded like a very quickly spoken Japanese phrase. After saying their sentence or so in Japanese, all of the other Japanese kids would chuckle a bit. The Japanese teacher would then “translate” their sentence into English. They all made fun of the teachers, saying that we should put a wall on our northern boarder to keep out Canadians or that we should have Herk, the old math teacher, teach history. Talking to a few of my friends who actually know Japanese, they told me that the kids actually said things like, “Your school is very large,” or “American girls are pretty.” The faulty translations were meant to make it seem like we liked what they were saying. The part I found most interesting, however, was the extremeness of the language gap. When you think about it, those 15 people really couldn’t communicate with the 1800 or so other kids in that gym. Just something crazy I thought about yesterday.