Shiiba Village Japan

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Adventures in Shiiba - March 1996
Erik Kassebaum

Oh No! No More Shiiba-ben

Not long ago, a friend who works in the Yakuba told me that he was worried about my Japanese. He thought that I was using Shiiba-ben too much and that I might not be able to speak standard Japanese. My friend then stated that from that day on he would only use standard Japanese when talking to me. I laughed. He gave up his plan after less than a week. The only real problem that I have with Shiiba-ben is that some of my students like to say "Good morning Mr. Kasebachi." I bet you know where those students are from.

Note: kasebachi is Shiiba-ben (local dialect) for fool

I Hate "American Coffee"

About 10,000 words from the English language have been "borrowed" and are now a part of Japanese. This is very common and happens all over the world. To be honest, most of the English language has been borrowed from other languages.The meanings of words and phrases often change a bit when they become a part of a new language.

I hate to be the one to tell you this but there is no such thing as "American Coffee." "American Coffee" is 100% Nihongo (Japanese). In Japanese American coffee is how you describe coffee which is very weak. Ironically American's prefer coffee which is much stronger than what most Japanese like. When I make coffee I use almost twice as much coffee per volume of water as you are probably used to. I like my coffee strong and served with cream and sugar.

Bad Timing

"Good Timing" is another example of an English phrase which has become a part of the Japanese language. Interestingly enough, the opposite "bad timing" has not yet made it into Japanese. This month's picture is an illustration of "bad timing."

Library Computer

There have been a lot of changes to Shiiba's library and soon there will be more. Many of the changes involve getting ready for a new library computer system which will make it easier to find and order interesting books from the prefectural library. In America such systems are very common. Many American libraries have computers which are hooked up to the internet. These computers allow people to use the internet for free. Many current users of the internet got their start at public libraries. Do you think Shiiba Village should have a library computer hooked up to the internet?