[ExI] don't bother

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Fri Aug 7 13:55:09 UTC 2020



For years I went to a really good sushi bar down the way from the Lockheed
plant, great place, now outta business, but the guy who owned the place and
his wife did everything, made the sushi, no other employees.  He was pretty
good at Spanish, his English not so much.  When I would go in there, he
would say: go aisatsu, Amanojaku, which I assumed means hello friend, even
though it sounds a little like: Go, I sat sue, Amanojaku.


He and I got along fine.  I said I was thinking about learning Japanese,
since I like the food so much and admire the culture.  He suggested, no, too
hard for American people, learn Spanish.  This is what he did, and we could
almost communicate better with my little bit of Spanish than we could with
his very limited English.


So it was years of go aisatsu, Amanojaku.


Yesterday a Japanese neighbor's granddaughter was visiting from Japan.  She
introduced us, so I said go aisatsu, Amanojaku.  The visiting family
laughed.  My neighbor explained that I might be better off sticking to my
native language, that English speakers probably needn't bother with Japanese
because it was far too cluttered with subtleties, such as: there isn't a
really universal word for greeting a general acquaintance exactly, nothing
analogous to our generic term "friend" the way we use it.  A new
acquaintance or friend has different (completely different) terms based on
your position (which I interpret as social? position) such as a
grandfather-aged man to a child, a child to a grandfather-aged man, two
neighbors the same age, gender-specific, oy vey, let's flee to the universal
term "amigo" please. 


It was a pleasant exchange, there were no problems or anything.  


But I went on home and looked it up.  After 30 years of calling my Japanese
friends amanojaku, I find out Amanojaku is a demon-like beast in Japanese
folklore, who devours a child and dresses up in her skin in order to
impersonate the child to fool her grandparents into feeding it.


All this time for all those years, my sushi guy was saying "Greetings,
horrifying demon."  Why that sly bastard.  I don't think I will use the
other Japanese terms and phrases he suggested I say to attractive young
Japanese-speaking women.



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