Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It must be love, love, love...

Conversation, very recently, with student 'C':

C: So, I want to do TOEIC to change my job next year.
Me: Good idea. What do you want to do?
C: I want to be tour guide. I did it before I had my family.
Me: Why now?
C: Because my kids are nearly grown up and so they'll be okay if I die in a plane crash or a terror.

So, sweet, isn't it?

Oh, and almost Japanese, er I mean almost all the Japanese I teach are obsessed with the terror and, despite constantly being told it's a 'terrorist attack' or a 'terrorist threat' persist in calling it 'a terror'. Also, almost Japanese cannot use 'almost' properly. But, I digress...

In Japan they have Dog Days or Days of the Dog every couple of weeks. Now, whereas most things my students tell me I've heard before, this is one I'd not heard of. Google has drawn a blank for me - or rather my ability with Google has drawn a blank - so, I'm going on student-say here:

Dogs give birth easily so on a dog day it's good luck to rub the belly of a dog (not sure if this is a real dog or a stone dog as I kind of forgot to ask) to pray that a pregnant women will plop out her babies like puppies. Or something like that.

Well, I certainly learn something new every day.

Let's talk about yesterday - Valentine's Day:

Valentine's Day, in Japan was, apparantly [student-say], invented by the chocolate companies in the 1970s. On this day women buy cho-co-laiyt and give it to their boyfriends, husbands, male friends, male colleagues, male bosses, male relatives, female friends, female colleages, etc.

A month later, in March, is another day called 'White Day' where men are meant to buy cho-co-laiyt and give it to women.

I've explained to many a student that in the U.K. if you bought your boss chocolate for V.D. he'd think you wanted to have sex with him. To the younger students I've watered it down a little, natch. I've also wound them up a bit by telling them that choccies for V.D. in the U.K. is a bad, cheap and unimaginative present.

Most over taught phrase of the week so far - 'it's totally commercial these days'.

One student - I think the same one who explained what a cactus was to her fellow students by arm movements and 'woo-woo' noises a few weeks ago, made a lovely little slip up today whereby she said she was given a young boy for V.D. I think she meant she gave her grandson chocolates, but I took the piss out of her (60+ year old lady) seducing an 18 year old lad at any rate.

Oh, and then there was another student who told me she'd bought chocolate for her husband, but he has diabetes so can't eat any. So, guess who'll be eating them?! I dared, of course, suggest she could have got something else for him, but I'm only a silly Gaijin who doesn't understand Japanese traditions, ne?!


Blogger LivinginOz said...

Jo - I love your student stories. They are so cute!

4:31 pm

Anonymous tokyogirl said...

I bought my aunt in law roses on mothers day because they are sooooo much nicer and dare I say it more expensive than carnations.
But carnations is what you give on mothers day - she looked puzzled. She was much happier the following year when she got carnations - that were half the price.

Go figure....

6:51 pm

Blogger Nix said...

I always thought you gave carnations when you died.

7:47 pm

Blogger Nix said...

Err... I meant when SOMEONE dies.

7:48 pm

Anonymous tokyogirl said...

Not in Japan.

Carnations for mothers day
Lilies for funerals I htink.

9:02 pm

Blogger Mark said...

That bit with mis-using "almost" is so Japanese I can't put it into words. There must be a textbook out there that says "almost" is exactly the same as ほとんど and that foreigners who tell you otherwise are just wrong.

As for Valentines Day, though, I did have an interesting experience with Japanese people, once. My old roommate at UC Boulder was a Japanese guy, and his girlfriend was still in Japan. On Valentines Day, his girlfriend sent me a bunch of chocolate and a cute note thanking me for "taking care" of him in America.

10:34 am


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