Monday, May 19, 2008

Just try not to squirt milk out your nose.

A beautiful thing happened recently.

A Pizza Hut opened up near our house. Just a 15-minute walk away.

This welcome development means that once a month, when Pizza Hut has a half-off sale, instead of paying the regular $30 for a large pizza, we can easily get a pie for an easier-to-swallow $15. And, we can now invite friends over for pizza nights. Yea!

That's exactly what we did last Thursday. A couple of Joe's Japanese girl friends and our Aussie friend Roo (short for Andrew, how fitting for an Aussie, right?) came over to eat pizza and watch Thank You For Smoking.

While they were here, Roo showed us this hysterical Japanese fitness video on YouTube. Apparently at one time, these videos were made to help the Japanese learn English. They repeat short English phrases over and over while performing some aerobic moves.

Like this one. I'd say these phrases would be handy for Japanese housewives, don't you think?

I particularly like the part where they do the smacking motion while reciting, "It's your fault that this happened!"

I'm also wondering if this video would be good to show my freshmen the next time we have a lesson on health and doctor visits. Maybe I'll make them learn this dance.

I have no idea if these deliberately were made to be this ridiculous or not, but I have to think these Japanese girls don't know what they're actually saying because how else could they keep a straight face?

I have to admit, I do wish they had exercise videos to teach me these phrases in Japanese. It would be awesome if I could say "I can't stand the sight of you!" in Japanese. I could even say it to people and claim complete ignorance for being the stupid foreigner.

OK, one last one.

Uh, so, OK. First, was that a bra on that guy's head?! I wasn't sure.

Hilarious of course, though the video begs the larger question: Is this how some Japanese view westerners? Or Americans specifically? Really?

You may think that's silly, but it may not be. I remember talking to one of my students in English Club shortly after I started teaching in Japan. She said she wants to study English in college and I asked if she's interested in studying abroad. She said she'd like that, maybe in Australia or England. "What about the U.S.?" I asked. "Would you like to go to America?"

She said no. I asked why. She said something in Japanese, which the Japanese teacher translated for me.

"I don't want to get shot."

OOOOOOooooo Kaaaaaaayyyy. Great. Don't want to get shot. That's lovely.

So of course I explained to her that, despite what the media would have everyone believe, not all Americans tote guns and go on shooting sprees for fun. I told her that, except for the one visit the reporters once made to the police firing range, I had never held or shot a gun. And none of my family or friends had a gun, either. Most places are safe, I told her, and most people don't carry guns around. She seemed genuinely surprised.

When you see a video like this last one, you start to understand why she might have those kind of ideas.

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