First, you know when someone bumps into you, and so you snap back “Excuse you!” To the best of my knowledge there is no catchy Japanese language equivalent. Until now! I have invented it. When you bump into someone you say, “sumimasen” “すみません” (with the “mi”み pronounced like the pronoun “me”). So I think if someone bumps into you, you should yell, “suyuumasen” “すゆうません” (with the “yuu” ゆう pronounced like the pronoun “you”). I think it works. I am yet to try it out on a Japanese person (either to showcase my brilliance, or actually yell “suyuumasen!”).
Next, in Japan they use the word “player” but it goes through the katakana machine and comes out sounding like プレイヤ “pu(r/l)eiya” or “p(r/l)eiya” do to the fact that the “u” sound in “pu” is very weak and the Japanese “r” sound is about half way between the English “r” and “l” sounds. So people are pleiya’s in Japan. In America if you date multiple people you are a “playa”. So, we more or less put the word into a katakana style. Thus, in Japan, if you date multiple people, are you a “player”? Do they run it backwards through the katakana machine? I just don’t know!
My second grade students are learning the word “turn”. And my teacher has them guess what the word means and he says “Andrew, you turn!” So I do a U-turn. Then he says, “me-turn!” and he does a U-turn. Then he says something like “Andrew, U-turn” then “Me-turn, U-turn.” I find the whole exchange hilarious. Some of the kids do too. My teacher is delighted at the pun. I am too! It is something I never would have thought up by myself, because, although homophones, “u” and “you” do not overlap in my mind.
It is like the day I told my kids I like “nori” around sushi while hording a glue stick. In Japanese “nori” is the word for the seaweed that is wrapped around sushi and also the word for glue sticks. But they are written differently, and my kids were just blown away by how crazy I was for ever saying that. I knew the difference and meant it as a pun, but they did NOT get it. Even when it was explained to them they gave me a, “How many drugs consumed over what amount of time would make a person think that?” look. Good thing I didn’t try for a kami (paper), kami (hair), kami (god) pun!
The student that comes to talk to me every day at lunch, whom I call Adam – because he has named everyone at school, has recently been on fire! After telling me a kid’s nickname was “Cup Noodle Boy” or “Eggplant”, Adam told me that his nick-name was “Sean Connery”. I think I will have to start calling him “Sean” from now on.
One of Sean’s favorite people to talk about is “Goat”. He is a boy that ate a little bit of paper once as a dare, and is now synonymous with goats. I was asking how everyone did on the last English test. Sean got a 90% and was sad because he “could do better” and Goat got a mid-B. Sean then proclaimed that this was very good because Goat can only speak the goat language, and is learning English very well. Goat then hit Sean, to which Sean yelled “HORN ATTACK!” Sean is awesome.