My nose is out of service

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21 / 10 /2009
Once people know that I can speak German, Japanese and a little bit of Chinese, the majority will ask “Say something in German!” or “Say something in Japanese!” I really do not like these phrases, because of “something” is very general. What I should I say? What would you like to know? Generally the majority does not want to listen particular words in Japanese; they just want to have proof, that I DO speak that language. But honestly why should I proof it? They do not believe me?

The minority will ask e.g. “What’s hello in Japanese?” In such case I am welcome to answer this question, because these people will repeat my answer and try to remember it. It is not like I have to proof something; it is more a learning process.

There are some people on the world; they try to use me to “show off” to their friends. I feel very uncomfortable. Well, actually I could also see it from those people’s view, they might proud of me to be my friend, but I am not happy about it. Some people like to decide what I am saying e.g. “Say ‘hello’ in Japanese!”, “Say ‘thank you. Nice to meet you, too.’ ” In such a moment I feel like a speaking doll. You just press my button on my nose, and I will say the sentence. I really hate it. I am not a doll and I am able to hold my own conversation! モォ (`ヘ´)

My nose has been pressed too often, it is broken now:
 “Say something in Japanese/German/Chinese.”-service has been suspended!

Language Salad

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21 / 10 / 2009

After work I went to CKE mall on Nathan Road. It is a shopping mall with a lot of small interesting shops e.g. nails art, sweets, clothes, shoes, toys, stickers, tailor, funny items etc. All shops are different. I like to stroll around these shops, they are less people during the weekdays and sometimes I can find a great deal. Last time I bought 4 colorful pashmere scarves for 100HKD!

I saw a nice cream colored scarf with red roses and green leaves. This scarf would fit great to my red qipao!  “Very nice. Buy 2 for 100 HKD!” the shop lady came and told me in English. I did not answer her, because I was thinking. The lady switch to speak Cantonese, she might probably think I am local Hong Kong person. I am not sure what she was talking about, but I was able to understand one word sounds like “yingmen” = English. So I answered her in Putonghua “我说英文. (I speak English.)”  After a short silence, the lady started to speak again “你说英文,但是你也说普通话 (You speak Chinese, but also speak English)?!” I agreed her “你说对的. (You are right.)”  I said. The lady continued in Putonghua “这是很漂亮! 两条一百块! (They are beautiful. Two for 100 HKD.)”

Our conversation just ended, where we have started: “Buy two, pay 100 HKD” … and I was still thinking … should I tell her I bought 4 scarves for 100 HKD before in  this shop….

Brown: Tea or Coffee

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16 / 10 / 2009

While I was teaching Japanese to my Chinese friend yesterday, I found out something interesting.

Pointing of things near by we reviewed “colors” like green, blue, red, yellow, purple, pink, orange, black, white and brown.

Brown translated in Japanese is 茶色. The first character 茶means “tea”. If I translated word by word brown means “tea color”.
Brown translated in Chinese is咖啡色 . The first two characters咖啡mean “coffee”. If I translated word by word brows means “coffee color”.

This is quite interesting, because of both languages are using a drink for describing a color. But why the color definition for tea and coffee is so different?

I was thinking and I came to the following conclusion:

Obviously from Japanese point of view tea seems to be brown color. You may wonder why Japanese people will not say “coffee color” instead of “tea color” . Well, coffee without milk and sugar is called “black coffee” in Japan. Have you ever seen black tea in Japan? So that means in Japan brown can be never “coffee colour”, because then it would be black.

Obviously from Chinese point of view coffee is brown. Frankly thinking for me coffee is black, unless ….  I made an interesting observation. When I am drinking coffee with my Chinese friends (seldom happens), they told me that they cannot drink only the coffee, because only it taste so awful. In order to drink it, they put all a milk and sugar inside. After stirring the the black coffee turns into brown color!

It seems that these words are not only words, but also a part of the culture and habits.

Welcome back to HKG, Nobu!

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Yes, during the mid autumn festival I went back to Japan for one week.
Now I am back and I wished I could keep my “japanese mood” for a longer time, but life in Hong Kong and Japan is too different.
Following incidents forced me to remember local mentality and let replace my “japanese mood”. (。>。<。)

INCIDENT 1
In Japan, usually before we get on the train, we let people get off the train. Here in HKG, once the door of the train is open people get in and off at the same time! モォ (`ヘ´)If I wait, there might be not any space any more for me in the train, so I need to fight to get into the train.

INCIDENT 2
In Japan, during rush hour people including me try to get into the middle of the train, so there is more place to new passengers getting into the train. Here in HKG people seldom get into the middle of the train. I guess they are afraid that they cannot get out, because here seldom people make space for people, who wants to get out the train. So therefore all the crowd will be at the door! \(`0´)/キイッッ

INCIDENT 3
While I was taking out my money for paying the goods in the supermarket, people standing behind start to push me! Usually in Japan people will change the cashier or will look at their watch to indicate they are in hurry. I usually dont do it, but I looked very very angry o(゜^ ゜)○ウッキー, so the lady, who pushed me strongly, seems to be afraid, went two steps backwards!

INCIDENT 4
During meal, in Japan we always ask “Would you like to have the last piece?”, but here the last piece is gone already. Nobody will ask you. Everything is based on “First come, first serve.”

Please kindly be note this is based on my experience only!
If you would like to share your experience, I am looking forward to read them!

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