Words of the Week Part 2 or “Fluff Post in Lieu of Something Better”


I have several potentially interesting posts brewing in my head, but until I can sit down to give them the attention I hope they deserve, I give you another round of “Words of the Week.”

ototoi – the day before yesterday. Perhaps meaningful only because it was the last word I wrote down in Western letters; from this point out, all words in my book of Word Cards are written exclusively in hiragana or shaky child-like kanji.

chanto – properly, well. Hollered by the “Bald Guy” character in “Kill Bill” when he shouts at Sonny Chiba’s character in the sushi shop scene: “chanto kikinasai!!” (listen well!), he shouts before spewing nonsense about sake and generals, right before Sonny Chiba twists his finger like a corkscrew and verbally owns him. Sonny Chiba is freaking hysterical. Sonny Chiba is the man.

isoide – hurry! Shouted by Sonny Chibo in “Kill Bill” several minutes before he verbally owns Bald Guy. Thank you, Carnitas, for suggesting I memorize the sushi shop fight scene to further my Japanese study.

deha* – if so

doshi doshi* – rapidly, freely

tondemonai* – outrageous!

narubeku* – if possible; preferably

fusawashii* – suitable

*words I plucked out of my phone’s Japanese-English dictionary while bored out of my skull during a substitute shift that yielded almost no work for me.

and, finally, the week’s gem:

kissho – gross. While being completely ignored by my class of 12 year olds as they chattered at each other in Japanese I overhead flirty Tomiko shouting this word at Seiya, the aforementioned kid who told me to shut up a couple of weeks ago. I have recently stopped caring if my 12 year olds speak in Japanese and dislike me; how many teachers did I listen to or like when I was 12? Japanese kids go to regular school, cram school, clubs, sports and then come to my school for even more English instruction – their attitude probably has very little to do with me. I have begun to be satisfied if they respond properly in English when I ask them a question and if they play the games I set out for them. I also take this opportunity to have a little fun (the other day while dividing them up into teams I dubbed the teams “Team Noisy” and “Team Loud”) and when I am able to catch an isolated word in their hurly burly Japanese, I secretly write it down. “Kissho” stood out to me amid the rest of the hooting, hollering and Seiya’s imitations of me. After class I took my scrap of paper to the Japanese staff members and asked them what it meant. They looked embarrassed. The principal said, “It is not a nice word. Did Seiya say it?”

“No,” I said. “Actually, someone said it to him.”

“It is not nice,” said the principal again. “Children say it to each other. It means ‘gross.'”

… and so the student becomes the teacher.

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