I’ve been trying to learn a little Japanese before I go to Japan next week.
I’ve got a few basic phrases down. I can say, “Hello. How do you do? My name is Sarah Marchildon. I come from Vancouver, Canada. It’s nice to meet you. Goodbye.”
I’ll be fine as long as no one says anything back to me. If they do, I’ll just slowly start walking away backwards while bowing a million times and smiling like crazy. That seems to work in the movies.
Learning a new language doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to work really, really, really hard at it. It’s like math. It’s all about formulas and structure and rote memorization. It makes my head hurt. I don’t know how I’m supposed to memorize 800 new words when I can barely remember my own postal code.
One phrase that keeps tripping me up is “domo arigato” (thank you). I have to bite my tongue to avoid adding “Mr. Roboto” to the end. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say “domo arigato” with a straight face. Or at least without wanting to break into song and dance.
While my language textbook and CDs will come in handy for things like ordering food or what to say when meeting the mayor, they contain no information on how to pick up guys in Japan. Fortunately, I found a little phrasebook at a discount bookstore that has an entire section devoted to “romance.” Unfortunately, it only has one page of pick-up lines.
My favourite line is “You’re a fantastic dancer.” It’s comforting to know that pick-up lines are equally lame no matter where you are in world.
I've only got one more week to learn as much Japanese as I can (and to come up with better pick-up lines than the ones above). I haven't studied this hard since I was cramming for final exams in university.