complete sentences, please

complete sentences, please

anime stunned face

To prepare for my ’09 language exam I meet weekly with Prof. Sensei to practice Japanese translation. I got to order a kanji dictionary, because apparently I can never have too many foreign language dictionaries.

The learning curve has been steep. My minimal kanji repertoire has sped looking up words, but I may lose my eyesight before my exam.

I’ve been assigned Oe’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech to translate. My professor said to just go at my own pace, so the first week I spent several hours on it and got through about 100 characters. I was just translating words and not really paying attention to the meaning but I figured that I had enough done for my lesson.

I read my translation for Sensei and he very pleasantly said, “Umm, that’s good, but we should probably get through the whole sentence before we start translating.”

I didn’t even get through a whole sentence?


Sensei was not impressed by my “anime stunned face.”

Maybe he’s immune.

I regret I must bleed before you

We pleasantly trudged along until we got through the whole sentence. As I was leaving I reached a flyer for the conference I’ve been working on but the weather has been so dry lately my folder nicked my thumb. If he noticed he was too polite to say so, but I was mortified.

This is not the first time this has happened, you see. Flashback:

When I was an undergrad I nicked my finger on the door of my Japanese class.* I bled all over the place and some classmates brought me some ice while I tried to excuse myself to Yamabayashi-sensei.

Akai no yubi, shituree shimasu, samui ne?

Which makes no sense. Roughly translated, I said,

Red finger, excuse me, it’s cold, isn’t it?

Flash forward to the present: not wishing to relive that trauma, I just shoved my hand in my pocket and one-handed my books together and one-handed my way out of his office and onto the elevator. That’s not awkward at all.

I get another chance to redeem myself on Wednesday. I’m feeling ambitious so I’m going to try for a whole two sentences this time.

*UH building planners, in all their infinite wisdom, fitted the doors in Agnes Arnold Building with really heavy doors. Or maybe because my college diet consisted of granola cereal and grilled cheese sandwiches, I just thought they were really heavy.

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