Friday, October 14, 2011

Yoko meshi

I always feel like an idiot trying to speak in Japanese, especially with the handymen who work on our house.  I'm either left seriously doubting what I said or with l'esprit de l'escalier (thinking of the right thing to say after the conversation has ended).

For example, an exterminator came by to spray for ants today.  I was doing pretty well (I think, maybe, hopefully) explaining that there isn't a lot ants now but there was two weeks ago.  I wanted to show him that the ant's nest seemed to be in a planter/wall of our driveway.  I remembered "niwa" means garden, so close enough there.  But I don't know the word for "nest".  I went with "ari no uchi", which I think means "the ant's house" - but maybe it means "my house of ants"  :S

A couple weeks ago, the boys and I were in the front.  I was working on the garden (aka the weed patch) and Owen was running amok (aka same toddler shizz, different day).  The Okinawan neighbor came over to introduce herself in Japanese.  I was getting the gist of what she saying until she offered Owen some sort of cookie/bread thing and asked if "reizun" were okay.  Looking like an utter dumbass, I asked 「レーズンは何ですか」(what is reizun?)

The second the words came out of my mouth I realized - duh! raisins!!  The one English word in the entire conversation and I don't know what raisins are - d'oh!!

She hasn't tried to speak to me again  lol

I recently came across the Japanese phrase 横飯 - yoko meshi.  Meaning "a meal eaten sideways", it's used to describe the stress of speaking a foreign language.  Perfectly fitting because it reminds me of the English phrase "fuck me sideways" - usually what I'm thinking while trying to figure out how to ask the handyman if the water filtration system can be repaired.

btw, I also came across the phrase 上げ劣り - age-otori, which supposedly means to look worse after a haircut.  I've been hesitant to post pics of Isaac's awful haircut, but in honor of learning new phrases, here it is:

Before: sweet baby shaggy goodness

After: uneven buzz attack
My poor little dude.  Sigh.

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