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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nines and Rays?


Changes on the horizon for the YouTube channel, and for us in general.

Back to Japan, back to work, and back to the kind of focus on building something that I haven't had the need for in about a year.

So in that spirit, I'm stubbornly persisting in my "America's Best Japanese Teacher" series, in the hopes that one day it'll pay off. I upped the editing ante for the bulk of this one. Trying to get a handle on Final Cut Pro. Advice always appreciated.





Here's what's up with teh jokes this time around:

It's a Q and A session (Get it? Cause "nine" is "kyuu" and "rays" are "eis?" GET IT?????)

and the questions are all invented. The first one asks why Japanese people use the expression "18-ban" to talk about either something they've cooked, or a song that they sing. It actually means that the dish or the song is their specialty, and there's a really interesting origin for this that we posted about a long long time ago. Check the excerpt, and if you want to, the full original post.

The predominant theory is that this expression comes from kabuki theater, way back in the day (early 1800s) when kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII selected the 18 kabuki plays that he believed to be the best representations of the aragoto style of kabuki. The kabuki plays that are still performed today are taken from these 18. It took me a while to figure out why, of the 18, the 18th was considered the best. But then I realized that the phrase doesn't have to translate as "the eighteenth." It might just be "the eighteen." So when you say your 十八番、 you're not neccesarily identifying the 18th in a series, you're just referencing the idea of the best selection.

In the video, I'm being an idiot and taking it upon myself to decide that this means they're ranking themselves out of 100, and Japanese people, being big into humility ("Allow me to introduce my homely wife and my dumb-ass son.") would never dare to rank themselves any higher than 18.

The biggest joke here is suggesting that you respond to this by saying "It's not actually bad," which would be okay to say if someone WAS really being humble. If you said that to someone who was offering you their "specialty," on the other hand, they would probably NOT きっと喜ぶ*.


In Question #2, I'm asked to explain the word "幼なじみ" (osananajimi) in relation to a picture of two older gentlemen. The word means "a long time friend." Someone you were close with since you were 幼い (osanai)、which means "very young." However, since both gentleman in this picture could be identified, unflatteringly, as "おっさん" (ossan; rude for "old man"), Bobby-Sensei explains that the asker is mistaken the word is actually "おっさんの馴染み," (ossan no najimi) closeness between old men.


And finally a question perfectly matched to this brand of Japanese teaching: It asks about how "Japanese people often use the expression "その場だけの関係 (sono ba dake no kankei)." This refers to a romantic/sexual relationship that is limited to a certain place or time. Like... summer camp. You met someone, you had a thing, but it was never going to be anything outside of the environment it was born in. But since the Japanese expression relies on geography "only at that place," the questioner has assumed that there is actually a place he can go to for such a relationship.

And instead of explaining his mistake, Bobby-Sensei tells him plainly: That place is Roppongi. Off you go."

The end.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas on places I could take this series, and what, if anything, you get from it. How do you think Japanese people will take it? Would it be insulting, or funny, or not even enough of a joke?

*definitely be pleased.

2 comments:

Misha Penkov said...

There's no audio in the right channel after around 30 seconds.

It looks like you put speech only in the left channel, and music only (from the intro) in the right. You probably want to just mix the left and right channels instead of keeping them separate.

Otherwise good work!

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