For the past 4 years I have lived in Western Japan, a place where, surprisingly, designer fragrances CAN be found at affordable prices, though inevitably no one will ever understand you when you tell them what you are wearing because they have their own way of pronouncing Western words. My "Versace Blue Jeans" becomes "Ve-ru-sa-su Bu-ru Ji-n-zu" and my "Clinique Happy" becomes "Ku-ri-ni-ku Hah-pi".
"Why is this?" you ask. Well, it's all thanks to a little something called "Katakana", a Japanese written system used for all foreign words and names. Generally Katakana is a collection of consonants that have a variety of vowel endings such that letters like s, p, or t simply don't exist, instead they become sa, shi, su, se or so...and so on...
When I used to ask my roommate his opinion on my fragrances I could rest assured that his answers would always be predictable. His responses used to be "nice" or "ummmm", but recently, under my tutelage, they now range from "ra-be-n-da (lavender)", to "nu-su-pe-pa (newspaper)", to "ba-ni-ra (vanilla)" and our conversations usually go something like this.
Marlen: "Hey, Koji, what do you think of this one (Alessandro dell'Acqua for Men)?"
Marlen: "Yeah, it is kinda soapy, how about this (Adventure Quasar)?"
Marlen: "Yeah, I get apple and melon...And this?"
Koji: "Ba-su Ku-ree-n."
Koji: "Ba-su Ku-ree-n."
I have to stop and ponder this one. To him it makes perfect sense and he looks at me like I'm nuts for not knowing what he's referring to.
Koji: "You know, Ba-su Ku-ree-n."
Marlen: "Bus Clean?"
Koji: "Yeah, Ku-r-ee-n for your Ba-su."
Marlen: "So I smell like bus cleaner?
Koji: "No, not ba-su ku-ri-na, Ba-su Ku-ree-n ....you know!"
Marlen: "Oh, bath clean?"
Koji: "Just a name, ba-su ku-ree-n-yo!"
Marlen: "uh-huh...so what does it smell like, Bath Clean?"
Koji: "You use it in the bath-yo! Many types of smells, but the basenote is always same."
At this last remark I know I have truly taught him well - "the base is the same." That's my boy. He's learning to discern the different levels of notes in a composition.
Marlen: "So is it Bath Cream, or Bath Clean?"
Marlen: "Bath whatever."
Marlen: "Ba-su Ku-ree-n - the ku-ree-n part, is it meant to be 'clean' or 'cream'?"
Koji: "I don't know."
And so goes so many of our conversations. It keeps life interesting.
Leave a comment
You need to log in to leave a comment