Communication breakdown


Japanese communication breakdown

Knowing my wife now for a number of years, I think we dated for two years first before being married for five, we still have yet to get past the communication breakdown problem. I say this as my wife is first generation Japanese in the U.S. She had lived here for a number of years before we met. She was actually married once before and lived in NYC for quite some time while working for Kirin Ichiban as an assistant to executives. During her time here in the U.S. she hadn’t, and still really hasn’t, taken the time to work on her pronunciation of English. She is completely fluent in reading and writing English but her speech leaves much to be desired at times. Further more she tends to mix words up along with their meanings leaving me to scratch my head in misunderstanding.

I’ll do my best here to give you a few examples of what some of our communications are like. The other week we were getting in the car to go somewhere. As I was getting in the car she said to me, well what I thought, was “deer”. We live on a wooded hillside and have deer prancing around all the time. So naturally thinking she said “deer” I half close the door and look for it. I turn to her and say “I don’t see it.”. She says back to me “Stop playing games, DEER!”. I of course again look back over my shoulder and then look back at her and say “Um yeah there is nothing there.”. By this time she is fuming and I can tell. She again says “Deer!” while pointing at the mirror of the car door. “Oh” I say, “MIRROR and not DEER.”. Oh that was a crazy one that day. Pretty much the rest of the day we were talking about how I have a hard time understanding her pronouncing of certain words and that I wasn’t screwing with her, I thought she was really saying deer.

Japanglish is fun

There was also a time last year when we needed to find someone to come to the house to look after the cat while we were gone. We decided to head down to the local vet we use to ask them for any suggestions they might have. I usually let my wife do the talking when she’s talking to people, to give her practice. So anyway we get in the vet office and she tells the receptionist that we are looking for a “cat shitter”. Yeah that’s right she asked for a “cat shitter”. You can just imagine how that conversation went. I usually find myself either not fully paying attention to what just happened or I let my wife try and work it out for herself for a bit before I step in. In this case I realized right away what she said and just let her roll with it. The exchange between her and the receptionist went on for a bit before I finally said, “Sorry she meant to say cat sitter, not shitter.”. We laughed about that one afterwards and I still bring it up from time to time for a laugh with her. Other common mistakes she makes with words are “dick” instead of “deck”. “Erection” instead of “election”. Often at times when she thinks I am being a bit too demanding about something I’ll hear, “Hey, stop being so pussy!”. I have to stop and ask her most of the time if she meant to say “pushy” instead. “Oh, right” she’ll say “I meant pushy!”. Oh it’s fun living with My Japanese Wife. It’s never a dull moment.


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