Sunday, May 21, 2006


In Japanese schools, bingo is a pretty popular game to play, especially among the younger students. Give them a blank grid, and let them fill in English words from a pre-selected list. Then read off the words in random order, and the first person to line up 4 or 5 words in a row is the winner. The winner gets stickers or extra class points or a tender loving kick to the ass, whatever strikes our fancy that day.

Whenever a student is one word away from hitting a bingo, he or she will call out "Bingo ichi!", ichi in Japanese being "one". Of course, the Japanese like to shorten as many things as humanly possible, so "Bingo ichi!" becomes "B-ichi"...if you don't already see where the problem in this lies, try saying it out loud to yourself and with a Japanese accent.

I was playing bingo with Ms. Americanized in an ichinensei class. So of course, students were calling out "Sensei! B-ichi! B-ichi!" as victory drew closer. ...In the two plus years I've been here, I have not gotten used to that, and I don't think I ever will. Realizing that Ms. Americanized is one of a select few of Japanese English teacher who would actually understand, I decided to talk to her after class about it...

Me: You know, everytime we play bingo I always get a little weirded out..."b-ichi" sounds a lot like "bitch".
Her: (thinking about it) .....Yeah, it does, doesn't it!
Me: Yeah, so I can never get used to hearing that, especially from 12-year old Japanese kids.
Her: "Teacher, I've got a bitch!"
Me: "Double bitch!"
Her: "Triple bitch!" ...I told you Japan was fucked up, didn't I?

One day, her words of wisdom should be immortalized in stone.

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