Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lost in Translation

So let me start this off by stating that unfiltered internet (preferably broadband, perhaps acceptably ad-supported) should be a basic human right of every human being. I preceded my trip to Japan by going up to the north Ottawa valley, in the bush, just a stones throw away from Algonquin park. Yah, there was satalite internet there, along with WiFi. And I saw it, and it was good.

So upon entering the most populated metropolitan area in the world, I sat across from my (awesome) supervisor on a train, and asked whether there was wireless internet at my dormitory:

"No, I'm afraid not, no wireless internet." he replies.

"Damn" thunk I, "Plugging in is so uncivilized, but I guess it will do. I wonder if it will be 1 or 10 gigabit ethernet."

"Internet takes a long time to get, maybe a month, maybe more" He adds forlornly. He sees a combination of terror and sadness appear on my face as the true realization of my predicament dawns. "I don't know why it is this way. Ask Izawa-san."

It turns out Izawa-san is a troubled little man who manages the dormitory. He doesn't speak a word of English, but my first experience of Japanese racism is through him. While he is talking about me to my supervisor, completely ignoring my presence, some words stand out from the others: "Gaijin, baka desu, gaijin, kuso, gaijin, gaijin."

My supervisor, Saita-san, diligently translates with a smile: "He says that he has had a lot of trouble in the past with some boarders, and that he hopes there are no problems, and he says good luck in Japan." Right, Saita-san, thats definitely what he said. I think maybe some inimity was lost in translation, based on Izawa-san's diminuative glare.

Anyway, so washed away my dreams of liveblogging my every whim and fancy in Japan, much like my modesty after my first group bathing session.

1 comment:

  1. You should have called him that homo raping whatever it was fuck something whatnot.

    ReplyDelete