Tuesday, May 20, 2008
So, stating the obvious, here, sometimes things get lost in the translation. Case in point: my being sick in Japan and my colleagues' reactions. (I've had really strange sicknesses here, and the latest has been hanging around for the better part of a month now...yes, I finally went to the doctor...not to worry - got meds...I just won't be operating heavy machinery while I'm on these drugs) Anyway, today one of the English teachers asked me (knowing that I just started the medicine yesterday afternoon), "Are you better?" Hmmm...let's see - well, LOOK at me - do I LOOK all better? I'm frequently asked - within a really quick turn around time, if I've gotten better. I mean I'm trying to get better as quickly as I can (seriously - I've been walking around feeling like I've just run a mile drunk), but not there yet. Then I realized - they're not trying to be rude - it's just that the Japanese expression of concern, as it's directly translated into English, seems a little impatient. When I asked my trusted Japanese friend about my theory - that when people ask "Are you better?" they really mean "Are you feeling any better? (not 100% yet, but is there any improvement?)" She said, smiling "So so so" - meaning yeah yeah yeah! Whew. I need a nap.