Thursday, October 22, 2009

The real Harajuku heartbreak

Some wanted to know how my Japanese language classes are going this fall. As I posted to my Facebook page, I guess I should have had my head examined when I first proposed the idea to a few friends, including several Japanese friends (who just smiled knowingly.....).

During one of our trips to Tokyo last year, Jase had fun composing some initial lyrics and music to a little ditty he called Harajuku Heartbreak, something about Tokyo boy meets Tokyo girl, or boy meets boy, and it's all buttercups and roses until, one day.....etc etc. That about says it all---last night, walking out the doors of the Japan Society around 8pm, I must have had that shell-shocked look of the suddenly jilted lover or (in my case) the student who's less than halfway through a grueling ordeal.

OK, I'm glad I'm doing this, basically. J & I love Japan; it's a great meeting ground for us. I want to be able to negotiate conversational basics at restaurants, stores, train stations, and meeting strangers at various points along our journeys.

On the other hand, this will give you a peek at the hills and mountains that lie ahead: in Japanese, the word for, let's say "eight", changes altogether, depending on context. Here are the anglicized versions of 'eight' in Japanese:

8-- hachi
time, as in 4:28 pm-- happun
8, as in 8 thousand-- hassen
8, as in the 8th of october-- yoka
8, as in 8th floor-- hakkai
8, as in 8 dogs-- happiki
8, as in 8 t-shirts-- hachi-mai
8, as in 8 apples-- yattsu

Get it?

Luckily, I have 10 fingers, and, if need be in Kyoto and elsewhere, I can remove my shoes and socks.


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