I Brought You A Pie!

Posted: 2nd December 2009 by admin in Uncategorized

This is a story about an American man living in Japan. He has lived in Japan for 2 years, and his Japanese has improved tremendously since he has first arrived. One day his wife baked an apple pie and asked him to take the pie for women’s bible study at their church.
He eagerly agreed because he wanted to practice what his Japanese language teacher has just taught him a week ago: “If you want to sound formal and polite, you need to put ‘o’ before the noun.” For example, flower in Japanese is “hana.” When you put “o” before the word, it will be “Ohana.”

As he walks to the church, he decided, “I am going to speak very polite Japanese.” He has arrived at the church and cleared his throat and said to the ladies, “O pie wo motte kimashita.” The ladies looked uncomfortable. Thinking they could not hear him, he said it even louder, “O pie wo motte kimashita.” The ladies looked even more uncomfortable and avoided making eye contact with him. The pastor, who was leading the bible study, seemed shocked and looked at him with disbelief.

Soon he realized that something went wrong. Now I want to ask those who read this blog. What happened?

A. His Japanese was grammatically correct, but his intonation was wrong.
B. He had a good intention, but his vocabulary was inappropriate.
C. His manner was very Americanized.

I will give you an answer after I get 5 comments 😉

  1. Anonymous says:

    What is it about stories that involve other worlds and strange travelling characters that TCKs relate to? Read all of them numerous times except Simarillion which I could never get my head into. Just seemed like a history book rather than a novel. I see it more as a book that builds on the concept of middle earth and its characters.
    Interesting article on the life of Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born and spent part of his childhood in South Africa. Perhaps explains a lot.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, the cursed formal “o” in Japanese can certainly transform some of the words into something unpleasant… or can draw the line between polite and rude! I mean, you could say “oryouri” or “ryouri” and you’re still saying “cooking/cuisine” and still sound normal, but if you say “kane” instead of “okane”, then you almost sound like a gangster! Ahaha tricky but lovely language, and such fun to speak. 🙂