Monday, October 13, 2008

Strange English in Japan

The Japanese use a lot of English, but it's not always easy for gaijin to figure out what's being said. "Punk" doesn't mean a tough-looking guy, but a flat tire (it comes from the word puncture). If someone is "cunning" in Japan, it means they're cheating on a test. For some reason, the English word "glamor" has come to mean women who are well-endowed, so you might want to use the Japanese word for grammar (bunpo) to avoid chuckles in your classroom. If you buy a "bike" for your child you might get looked at funny since the word always refers to a motorcycle and never to a bicycle. If you have a business proposal to make to a Japanese woman, there's a slight chance she'll start blushing on you, since the English word "propose" is only used for marriage proposals in Japan, not for other kinds of formal business suggestions. If you "rinse" your hair, you're applying cream rinse, and if you live in a "mansion" it means you live in a nice townhouse that you own yourself. Living in Japan can be wacky!

This is a mansion by the way. Lots of people live there.