Tuesday, January 2, 2007
lessons in english

isn't this video funny? watch the whole video, beyond the japanese-to-english taxi phrases. it reminds me of the time i went to have a skirt hemmed at our corner tailor.

our corner tailor, called cadet cleaners, was run by a very nice family of chinese women. they worked hard and did good work when it came to alterations. the store itself was nothing to write home about. it was purely utilitarian, had very few decorations and was very badly lit.

the women used to listen to an english language instruction radio program while they went about their business. i wish i could find it on the a.m. dial but i can't.

one day, i went in to have a skirt hemmed. while i was putting on said skirt in their bathroom/dressing room, i started listening to the calm, mesmerizing voice of the radio instructor. i won't pull a rosie o'donnell but think of what a chinese sentence sounds like. then imagine hearing this, the english translation:

"the customs agent has confiscated my sausage."

"hmmm," i thought to myself. "it sounds like he just said 'the customs agent has confiscated my sausage.'"

then i heard the chinese sentence again, followed by:

"the customs agent has confiscated my sausage."

he did say it! he really, really said it! his sausage was confiscated by the customs agent!

now picture me, hearing this half dressed, in a tiny, dingy bathroom, piled high with rice bowls and spare rolls of toilet paper laughing so hard i was crying.

i've taken french lessons before (and i'm guessing you've taken some sort of foreign language lessons, too) and never in any of my french-english dictionaries or in any of my travel guide books do phrases like "spare me my life", "i was robbed by two men", or "the customs agent has confiscated my sausage" show up. never.


Blogger Andie said...

lol, that must've been some sight (& sound)!

Post a Comment

<< Home