Asahi Newspaper

A week or two ago, I was sitting in the classroom finishing up my work for the day and sorting though my papers, when a teacher and a reporter sort of ambushed me and asked me if it was ok to do an interview. I wasn’t prepared, but I had no idea how to say no, so after finishing my mandatory deer-caught-in-headlight-moment (happens every time someone talks to me in Japanese without me being prepared), I just shook my head in a no-motion, but the words that came out of my mouth was “Yes, of course!”. (Well, in Japanese, but you get the drift.)

The reporter was a very nice man, but he used so much keigo I couldn’t understand much of what he asked me. Just for the record, Japan has a really complicated system of talking depending on who you are talking to. Not only does the grammar change, but the actual words you use change to completely new words. You can use words to put yourself down (humble) and raise the person you are talking to up (polite). Obviously just describing this could make any head hurt. At least mine. These three sentences mean the same:

  1. 食べて、食べて! – tabete, tabete! – please eat (friendly)
  2. 食べてください。- tabete kudasai – please eat (little bit more formal)
  3. 召し上がってください。- meshiagatte kudasai – please eat (polite)

So, after trying to decipher two questions in keigo (very polite) from the reporter, I told him in Japanese that I was really sorry, but my keigo wasn’t quite up to par for this kind of task, and if he could lower his speaking to a little bit (from number 3 on the list to number 2 on the list above.) Poor man! After that it went a lot better with understanding everything he had to say, but I still find that talking and answering back to people is the most difficult thing, so I kind of stumbled my way through something that felt like about 2.5 hours, but in fact was more like 10 minutes. Anyhow – I made it to the front page of the Asahi Newspaper!

And oh! I have to write about what the interview was about as well! My school has started a multilingual blog, where everyone write in their own language and post whatever they want about life in Tokyo! It is a really cute project, you can see the blog here:

http://www.kaij.jp/gambalog/

(& one more thing – if you click like on the posts from Kirakira, I can win a trip to Disneyland, haha.) But back to the point – if you are interested in Tokyo and daily life, it is a neat blog to follow.

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  1. Nøve says:

    Keigo! >.<
    Uff, synes det er bra gjort jeg! Kjenner den følelsen av at alt blodet forsvinner fra hodet når noen snakker japansk til deg og forventer et svar.

    • Sushi Bird says:

      Litt keigo er jo egentlig bare kos, men det går en grense for meg altså… Jeg vet i alle fall hva det er jeg må legge mer tid på når jeg får tid til overs eller en pause. Jeg vil bli skikkelig flink, men keigo tar tid altså…

  2. Valerie says:

    very interesting, and cool for you that you got to be on the front page of the asahi newspaper 🙂

    • Sushi Bird says:

      Haha, I wish I could speak Japanese back then like I do now. I think it would have made a better interview. (My Japanese is still not great, but a LOT better than what it was when the interview was done.)