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Lost in translation experiences
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monkeybrain
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Jun 22, 2008, 12:30 AM
 
This one is for people who've travelled a lot, especially on business to Japan, China, or elsewhere in Asia. Does anyone have any funny anecdotes, especially about how Asians are reluctant to just say 'no' and use long, polite phrases instead?

Any stories about experiences of misunderstandings between Americans and Britons would be really interesting too!

This is prompted because I read about an American businessman in Japan trying to fly between two cities. The airline clerk was very polite and several times suggested taking some other form of transport, but the businessman persisted. Eventually it turns out there were no flights between the cities and the airline clerk just didn't want to say this directly.
     
moonmonkey
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Jun 22, 2008, 01:05 AM
 
Chinese people often get confused between Chicken and Kitchen when learning English, this can be fun.
     
Railroader
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Jun 22, 2008, 01:44 AM
 
I once had a major issue with a Liberian 10 year-old boy I was trying to discipline. I kept requesting that he look at me when I talked to him and ended up increasing his discipline because he refused to. Eventually he was beside himself sobbing and crying. I called a mentor and he explained to me that in Liberia, most young boys would probably lose an eye or have a broken bone from a beating if they looked at the person who was disciplining them.

I profusely apologized to the boy and took him out for ice cream.

Not all lost in translations are funny.
     
Laminar
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Jun 22, 2008, 02:02 AM
 
     
Trygve
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Jun 22, 2008, 03:51 AM
 
Recently in Tunis my wife and I were trying to explain that she was a vegetarian which is a fairly alien concept there. I didn't know the French or Arabic words for this but could explain the concept in a mixture of both. Unfortunately before I was able to do so, he got completely confused as to why we were telling him that she was a veterinarian.
     
Oisín
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Jun 22, 2008, 09:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Trygve View Post
Recently in Tunis my wife and I were trying to explain that she was a vegetarian which is a fairly alien concept there. I didn't know the French or Arabic words for this but could explain the concept in a mixture of both. Unfortunately before I was able to do so, he got completely confused as to why we were telling him that she was a veterinarian.


I’ve experienced quite a few minor cultural misunderstandings in China, some more amusing than others. One in particular involved me mixing up 刀 (dāo, a knife) with 套 (tào, a condom). That got some rather odd looks.
     
rogermugs
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Jun 22, 2008, 09:55 AM
 
text message from a friend in asia:

"I'm sorry i cannot come to play with you. I have two testies today"

awesome. - you can be sure he was looking up the plural for test and saw this in the dictionary and never read the definition... awesome.

or I've also seen

"long time, no massage from you"
     
Eug
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Jun 22, 2008, 09:57 AM
 
It even happens in North America with native North Americans.

A friend of mine asked for "putain" at McDonald's in Montréal. The server gave him a very weird look, but she understood what he meant and brought him "poutine". It took him a month to figure this out, and during that month he ordered "putain" several times.

( Last edited by Eug; Jun 22, 2008 at 10:24 AM. )
     
wataru
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Jun 22, 2008, 10:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by monkeybrain View Post
This one is for people who've travelled a lot, especially on business to Japan, China, or elsewhere in Asia. Does anyone have any funny anecdotes, especially about how Asians are reluctant to just say 'no' and use long, polite phrases instead?

Any stories about experiences of misunderstandings between Americans and Britons would be really interesting too!

This is prompted because I read about an American businessman in Japan trying to fly between two cities. The airline clerk was very polite and several times suggested taking some other form of transport, but the businessman persisted. Eventually it turns out there were no flights between the cities and the airline clerk just didn't want to say this directly.
That's straight out of Dave Barry Does Japan, and while I suppose it could be true, I have a hard time believing that an airline rep or a travel agent or whatever would hesitate to tell you that a certain flight path doesn't exist.
     
monkeybrain  (op)
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Jun 22, 2008, 10:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by wataru View Post
That's straight out of Dave Barry Does Japan, and while I suppose it could be true, I have a hard time believing that an airline rep or a travel agent or whatever would hesitate to tell you that a certain flight path doesn't exist.
Wow, really? I found that story on a website giving advice to businessmen travelling to Asia. So it's really just a joke? And a plagiarized joke at that.

Wataru, have you ever had any strange experiences of people in Japan skirting around the word 'no'?
     
JoshuaZ
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Jun 22, 2008, 11:00 AM
 
I've been in Japan for three years now and I could spend pages talking about "Lost In Translation" moments.

My favorite is when my children at school try and say "cook". It comes out "Cock". Nothing like a class full of 40 kids saying "cock" over and over again.

A common thing that happens to a friend of mine who is vegetarian, is that none of the Japanese understand what vegetarian means. She tells them that she doesn't eat meat, and they always ask "but you eat beef right?". Good times.

I like having small children point at me, or overhear parents giving their kids the "foreigner" talk. I often want to interject that I can understand what they're saying. When small kids point at me and yell "gaijin" I now point and yell back "nihonjin", which causes parents to laugh and kids to get very confused.

But I do believe the Dave Barry story. Seems exactly a Japanese response.
     
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Jun 22, 2008, 11:27 AM
 
An old Mexican friend had car battery trouble and asked me if I had "yumpers". Took a while and many "huh?"'s before I got it, he wanted jumper cables.
     
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Jun 22, 2008, 01:22 PM
 
A Canadian friend of mine, during one of his first nights in London, informed a girl that he liked her pants. He said that she gave him a dirty look and stormed off. We North Americans were very surprised to learn, some time later, that when they refer to "pants" in the UK, they are referring to underwear.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Jun 22, 2008, 03:02 PM
 
Every time I am in a chinese restaurant when I order a coke the always reply "cock".
     
Paco500
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Jun 22, 2008, 03:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by All_Insane View Post
A Canadian friend of mine, during one of his first nights in London, informed a girl that he liked her pants. He said that she gave him a dirty look and stormed off. We North Americans were very surprised to learn, some time later, that when they refer to "pants" in the UK, they are referring to underwear.
My first week here I was buying a suit, tried on the jacket and then asked for the matching pants. Didn't realize I'd made a funny for a few weeks. I have only once rather too loudly in public told my children to "get their fannies over here."

This must have been especially comical as one is a boy.
     
analogika
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Jun 22, 2008, 03:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
I like having small children point at me, or overhear parents giving their kids the "foreigner" talk. I often want to interject that I can understand what they're saying. When small kids point at me and yell "gaijin" I now point and yell back "nihonjin", which causes parents to laugh and kids to get very confused.
I did that a couple of times:

"Haha, haha - gaijin! Mite!"
I'd wheel around, point and yell at top volume "AH! NIPPONJIN DA!!"

Scared the living daylights out of 'em.


(Also stopped on the old bridge in Heidelberg once, pointed at a Japanese tourist group and yelled "GAIJIN!!!". They were *very* confused.)
     
analogika
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Jun 22, 2008, 03:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by monkeybrain View Post
Wow, really? I found that story on a website giving advice to businessmen travelling to Asia. So it's really just a joke? And a plagiarized joke at that.

Wataru, have you ever had any strange experiences of people in Japan skirting around the word 'no'?
When a Japanese person sucks in air slowly through his teeth when you ask him a question, you know the answer is "no". At this point, you have two possibilities as a gaijin: a) plead ignorance and continue to insist, whereby the impossible may become possible through intervention of a manager (who'll most definitely speak even less English than the clerk you're currently talking to) if you get insistent or loud enough to become sufficiently embarrassing, or b) acquiesce.
     
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
My favorite is when my children at school try and say "cook". It comes out "Cock". Nothing like a class full of 40 kids saying "cock" over and over again.
You could always scar them for life and explain to them what they're saying
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
(Also stopped on the old bridge in Heidelberg once, pointed at a Japanese tourist group and yelled "GAIJIN!!!". They were *very* confused.)

I love the way this word exemplifies the way Japanese people think
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analogika
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:18 PM
 
yeah - it's rather...mind-boggling that Japanese will return from a trip across Europe and seriously remark on how many foreigners there were ("Gaijin ga ooi naaaa...!") and NOT mean the tourists.
     
Atheist
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I love the way this word exemplifies the way Japanese people think
How about a translation for those of us that aren't familiar with the Japanese language and culture.
     
analogika
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:20 PM
 
Gai-jin = Foreigner (literally, "outside person") = Non-Japanese (as opposed to "foreigner" in our sense; see my previous post for example).
     
OreoCookie
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:28 PM
 
Literally, `gaijin' means outsider (the word `gaikokujin' is more accurate meaning `coming from one of the `outside countries'' but it is much less frequently used). One of the Japanese concepts is that of a group: either you're in or out. In the exclusive club of `Japanese people', there is only the Japanese and the rest.

So for example, when the Japanese visit another country, they still use `gaijin'. In the occidental mind, this is awkward, if you're visiting another country, you call the locals `foreigners.'
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subego
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:30 PM
 
I have a Polish friend who called the store Bed, Bath and Beyond, Bed, Bath and Behind.

Edit: I also have an Israeli friend who had always wanted to hook me up on a blind date, he asked me "are you ready to get fixed yet?"

It took all my restraint not to ask "isn't that what happens once you get married?"
( Last edited by subego; Jun 22, 2008 at 05:34 PM. )
     
Atheist
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:33 PM
 
When I moved to Trinidad, it took a while to get used to how some words are used differently:

You reach? (Did you arrive? When did you arrive?)
It finish. (We have run out. There is no more. As is when asking for something at a store or restaurant and they don't have any left.)
Would you like a next one? (Would you like another one?)
Just now, eh. (One minute, please)

I'm sure there are plenty more... just can't remember them off the top of my head.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Just now, eh. (One minute, please)

Wow. That's almost like shaking your head up and down for "no".
     
Atheist
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Wow. That's almost like shaking your head up and down for "no".
Yeah... they also have a phrase they use quite a bit that I haven't been able to translate into American English directly:

I'm going to go to the store one time.
Hey, hand me that book one time.

I'm not exactly sure what the "one time" thing is supposed to mean. It's not an indication that they intend on doing something just once. It's more just an indication of intent to do something. Like I said, I can't really translate it.
     
analogika
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:43 PM
 
Great potential also in the fact that Japanese wave with the hand downwards to have you come over, in what's regarded in the West as a "shoo!" gesture.
     
Oisín
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:45 PM
 
One Singlish phrase that boggled me the first time it was used on me: Eat ready?

I thought it would mean, “Are you ready to eat?”, so I answered in the affirmative, since I was starving. To my astonishment, my flatmate’s (a German girl, paradoxically, who spoke more Singlish than English, really, having just lived in Singapore for two years) face fell, and she looked all sad.

Apparently, it meant, “Have you eaten already?”, instead, naturally prompting me to immediately change my answer and my flatmate’s face to lift again.
     
analogika
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Yeah... they also have a phrase they use quite a bit that I haven't been able to translate into American English directly:

I'm going to go to the store one time.
Hey, hand me that book one time.

I'm not exactly sure what the "one time" thing is supposed to mean. It's not an indication that they intend on doing something just once. It's more just an indication of intent to do something. Like I said, I can't really translate it.
dictionary
According to that, it's "right now, immediately".
     
Oisín
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Yeah... they also have a phrase they use quite a bit that I haven't been able to translate into American English directly:

I'm going to go to the store one time.
Hey, hand me that book one time.

I'm not exactly sure what the "one time" thing is supposed to mean. It's not an indication that they intend on doing something just once. It's more just an indication of intent to do something. Like I said, I can't really translate it.
That sounds like a direct translation from Danish, oddly enough. Adding en gang in a phrase has the exact same effect. It’s sort of a diminutive, indicating that the thing to be done is something rather small, which is quickly and easily gotten over with. The second of your examples could be translated (almost) word-for-word into Danish and be perfectly good colloquial Danish: Hey, giv mig lige bogen en gang. The only difference is lige (‘just’), which is kind of a ‘softener’, making the sentence sound less harsh.

I suppose it could be from Dutch too, though I’m not sure. German (sometimes? always?) uses mal (‘time’) the same way, I just don’t know the Dutch equivalent.
     
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
yeah - it's rather...mind-boggling that Japanese will return from a trip across Europe and seriously remark on how many foreigners there were ("Gaijin ga ooi naaaa...!") and NOT mean the tourists.
`So nee~~ …' </queue voice of Japanese baa-chan here>
Yes, I'm still amazed by the indiscriminateness of their language.

Another funny story from Japan: the night I learned the meaning of the word `sekinin' (you will have to read the story to find out what it means )

One morning, I was heading to class there and I was riding my bike downhill. I had to stop at a traffic light to cross the street. A half-asleep student from my dorm slammed into the back of my bike and broke my backwheel. It's true that I hit the brakes rather sharply, because I was in a hurry, but he was far enough away and plenty of space to evade. No prob, I was in the RC (= ryo committee = dorm committee) and knew the guy, so I wasn't worried that he'd cut and run.

I had a friend (= vice president of the dorm, one of the most open Japanese of the whole dorm) of mine arrange a meeting to solve the financial matters. I didn't want money, I just wanted my back wheel replaced. Sounds simple enough: he crashed into the back, because he was half asleep. So we started to negotiate. Imagine me with my rather bad Japanese and a dictionary, exchanging sentences. I thought it'd take 5 minutes and we'd have settled the matter. So I proposed, I'll get it fixed at the seikyo (= university coop) and give him the bill and he'll pay for it. Not quite. He didn't say no, but it was clear that he meant no. He said he'll pay for 25 %. A few minutes we talked back and forth and I had no idea why he refused to pay for the damage. At first, I suspected he didn't have the money. It was a dorm after all and had some rooms just for students with little money. So I offered him to pay me back over two, three months, but he replied: `No, money is not the problem.' Ok, so that left me even more confused. Then I started bargaining.
Me: 80 %?
Him: 30?
Me: 60?
Him: 40?

Then it dawned upon me. So I proposed 55 % and he replied 45 %.
So in a final bid, I proposed 49 % and he agreed.

So what the hell happened here? During the negotiations, he mentioned the word sekinin a few times (it means responsibility). At first, I thought he wanted to say that it wasn't only his fault. But then I understood that he meant to say that the majority was my fault and paying 49 % of the damage amounted to being responsible only by 49 % and the stupid gaijin (that'd be yours, truly) was mainly responsible for the accident The 2000 ¥ were sure worth this exercise of cultural diversity
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analogika
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:51 PM
 
German "einmal" = "one time/once" or "sometime".
     
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
dictionary
According to that, it's "right now, immediately".
Frequently that's the implication, but not always.... at least how they use it in Trinidad.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:56 PM
 
I've heard (though I don't know if it's true) that one of the reasons you have so many moments like this with Japanese to English is that many Japanese take their ability to speak English as a point of pride, regardless of their actual skill.

Likewise, a post hoc decision that the conversation could use an interpreter would be perceived as an insult.
     
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Jun 22, 2008, 04:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
Great potential also in the fact that Japanese wave with the hand downwards to have you come over, in what's regarded in the West as a "shoo!" gesture.
I've heard a story that this misunderstanding ended deadly for some Japanese youth who were walking around a military base on Okinawa. The GIs tried to signal them to get lost. And they tried to signal that more and more intensely. According to the myth/rumor, they got shot.
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Jun 22, 2008, 05:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I've heard (though I don't know if it's true) that one of the reasons you have so many moments like this with Japanese to English is that many Japanese take their ability to speak English as a point of pride, regardless of their actual skill.
In my experience, they're scared literally sh*tless by people trying to talk to them in English. They're convinced, they'll embarrass themselves, so they try to avoid situations where they have to talk in English. I had one professor ignore polite requests to meet, just because he thought his English was inadequate. It turns out that his English was pretty much the best among all the professors in the physics department -- at least among the ones, I've heard give talks.

Only once do I remember one Japanese girl who has spent a year or so in the US get ticked off, because a friend of mine (a damn gaijin from France) who tried to help her out translating things on a tour (his Japanese is very, very good). Apparently she had volunteered and thought very highly of her English skills.

What is annoying, very annoying, is that they can never fathom a `Westerner' speak Japanese. Your Japanese can be impeccable and they still would get confused by what you say. My ex gf's mother (Mexican, but she has raised a son in Japan, worked for immigration and was fluent in Japanese in reading and writing) was sometimes still talked to in English. I've always had the impression that they were scared we (= Westerners) actually could understand them, although they have always steadfastly claimed that such a feat was impossible or damn near impossible (Ruth Benedict is still famous in Japan today for having accomplished just that sixty years ago ).
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Jun 22, 2008 at 05:17 PM. )
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Andrew Stephens
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Jun 22, 2008, 05:06 PM
 
Time used to cause all sorts of confusion when I lived in cape Town. Mostly because they live on a different timescale to the rest of South Africa, which annoys Jo'burgers intensely.

Organising to go out, a Capetonian will say, "We'll meet you now" and you will spend all day waiting. A sort of code has evolved

now = toaday, probably

now now = today, almost definately

right now = this morning, probably

just now = this morning

just now now = an hour or so

there is NO word or phrase that actually means now, and in all cases an offer to go down the beach will usually trump any prior arrangement.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2008, 05:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
In my experience, they're scared literally sh*tless by people trying to talk to them in English. They're convinced, they'll embarrass themselves, so they try to avoid situations where they have to talk in English.

Interesting. This makes sense.

More background: the anecdote was definitely in relation to Japanese traveling abroad on business (hence the possibility of even getting an interpreter).
     
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Jun 22, 2008, 05:23 PM
 
I do charity work in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankans don't like to say no either. Instead they just wiggle with their head

"Sri Lankan" tea is black tea with lots of sugar and milk.
But I like tea without sugar and without milk.
I ask several times for tea without milk and sugar, I get the Sri Lankan tea. The waiter goes takes the tea, it takes a few minutes, and comes back.
I ask for tea with NO sugar and NO milk, I get Sri Lankan tea. I get a bit upset about it, because I think I am really clear about my order. And I don'tunderstand why he is taking so long to get back with the same cup of tea !!

now my neighbour has the kind of tea that I want, so I point at it, and ask for his tea. The waiter suddenly understands my order, and yells " O Sir So you want a PLAIN TEA !!! "

It took me some time to figure out that Sri Lankans have specific words for things, and because usually their English seems perfect you do get these "Lost in Translation" kind of things

it's a beautiful country I try to visit it each year
( Last edited by PB2K; Jun 23, 2008 at 02:51 AM. )
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Oisín
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Jun 22, 2008, 05:31 PM
 
now my neighbour has the kind of tea that I want, so I point at it, and ask for his tea. The waiter suddenly understands my order, and yells " O Sir So you want a PLAIN TEA !!! "
Sort of similarly, if you’re in a restaurant in China and you order water, they will usually bring you tea. You have to order either boiling water (开水 kāishuǐ) or cold/ice water (冷/冰水 lěng/bīngshuǐ) to get actual water.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2008, 06:08 PM
 
Though not exactly the same thing as the topic, I've always been struck by the inversion of attitude about smoking in Europe vs. America.

In Europe, packs of cigarettes have a warning on them that takes up half the front face of the pack. It succinctly states "smoking will kill you" in 38 point bold type. OTOH, the attitude towards smokers and smoking is pretty relaxed.

In America, we have dinky warnings on the side, but it's rapidly becoming illegal to smoke anywhere but your house.

I know Japan has an attitude similar to, though unsurprisingly more extreme than, America's attitude. However I'm guessing there's some interesting cultural reasons behind it (which I'm hoping those in the know will share) rather than America's depressing clash of politics and economics, or Europe's IME totally rational (and hence boring) position.



More exactly in line with the topic, I've found amusement in that what America calls "sparkling water" is more accurately described by the rest of the world as "water with gas".
( Last edited by subego; Jun 22, 2008 at 06:15 PM. )
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2008, 06:25 PM
 
I've got a couple more.

The first one was a sign in Italy that said "all water in this establishment is passed by the management".


The second is hugely embarrassing, though thankfully, it only occurred in my head.

I had read an article about Burberry making a face mask in their trademark pattern for the Japanese market, as apparently face masks are often worn by people in Japan.

I think to myself, of all the crazy...

I mean, I couldn't imagine the disdain I would look upon someone here in America wearing a face mask. What? The air I'm breathing isn't good enough for you? Are you so genetically deficient that breathing the same air might topple your weak immune system?


Imagine my surprise when I read on to find people in Japan wear face masks when they're sick, as a courtesy to everyone else.

     
AKcrab
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Jun 22, 2008, 06:37 PM
 
Visiting London, we had just gotten off the plane from our long ass flight (Vancouver/NY/London) and needed to find the right bus to get us to town. We asked one of the drivers, and he pointed us toward I-3. We strolled up and down the busses, no sign of I-3. Finally it dawned on us. We were supposed to get on A3.
     
Oisín
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Jun 22, 2008, 07:00 PM
 
The first one was a sign in Italy that said "all water in this establishment is passed by the management".
Did you actually see it? That one’s been circling Europe (at least) for over a generation. In my experience so far, nearly everyone knows it, yet nobody has actually seen it with their own eyes.

I mean, I couldn't imagine the disdain I would look upon someone here in America wearing a face mask. What? The air I'm breathing isn't good enough for you? Are you so genetically deficient that breathing the same air might topple your weak immune system?
Face masks were quite popular in parts of Asia during the SARS outbreak. And though I have this only from hearsay, I’ve been told that pollution in certain parts of Tokyo (or some other Japanese metropolis? I’m not sure) can get so bad that you kind of have to wear one if you want to live past the age of 30.
     
imitchellg5
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Jun 22, 2008, 07:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by AKcrab View Post
Visiting London, we had just gotten off the plane from our long ass flight (Vancouver/NY/London) and needed to find the right bus to get us to town. We asked one of the drivers, and he pointed us toward I-3. We strolled up and down the busses, no sign of I-3. Finally it dawned on us. We were supposed to get on A3.
My dad and I had a very similar experience asking for directions on foot in London.
     
Andy8
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Jun 22, 2008, 08:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Imagine my surprise when I read on to find people in Japan wear face masks when they're sick, as a courtesy to everyone else.
It is a common courtesy here if your sick, no one even gives it a second look.
     
Andy8
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Jun 22, 2008, 08:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Face masks were quite popular in parts of Asia during the SARS outbreak.
EVERYONE was wearing a face mask in HK during SARS, if you were not, people would give you a very wide birth indeed.

Paranoia? You bet.
     
wataru
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Jun 23, 2008, 10:54 AM
 
There are a lot of armchair sociologists/linguists in here claiming to "know" thinks about Japanese culture/language based on what sounds like at most a year or two studying abroad in Japan. I don't have time to give my opinion on all of it, but here's an example:

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What is annoying, very annoying, is that they can never fathom a `Westerner' speak Japanese. Your Japanese can be impeccable and they still would get confused by what you say.
This is really not true. 99% of the time, I have zero problems with people misunderstanding my Japanese. What I find to be the difference between effective communicators and the "no one understands my Japanese!" people is a) pronunciation, and b) mannerisms.

a) You can know a lot of Japanese, but still have a terrible gaijin accent. Some people just never can rid themselves of it. Even I have trouble understanding fluent-but-heavily-accented Japanese spoken by gaijins who may have been here for decades.

b) If you hesitate before speaking, or approach the conversation with mannerisms inconsistent with what the listener is expecting, he or she will probably assume you don't speak Japanese. This is especially true in touristy places where 99% of the gaijins that pass through really actually don't speak Japanese. There's more to language ability than simply being able to string together a sentence.

Edit: Ok, here's another one:
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Another funny story from Japan: the night I learned the meaning of the word `sekinin' (you will have to read the story to find out what it means )
With automobile accidents in Japan, legally it is never only one party's fault. It is always a percentage-split between both parties. I'm not surprised he wouldn't pay for the whole thing.
( Last edited by wataru; Jun 23, 2008 at 11:00 AM. )
     
Trygve
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Jun 23, 2008, 11:52 AM
 
On an awning of a local business directly across from the Galata Tower in Istanbul is a sign reading "We're sorry, we're open."
     
Atheist
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Jun 23, 2008, 11:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by wataru View Post
With automobile accidents in Japan, legally it is never only one party's fault. It is always a percentage-split between both parties. I'm not surprised he wouldn't pay for the whole thing.
So if I'm sitting in my car stopped at a traffic signal, and a guy hits me from behind, it is still partially my fault? What's up with that?
     
 
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