Keigo and An Over-reliance on Adjectives: Thursday 3rd March

Today marked the beginning of my forays into Keigo, the Japanese ‘respectful language’. To say that it is like learning another language would be like saying that the harp is similar to the kazoo, but I figure that if I learn enough to pass my test then that should suffice. Besides, I can’t imagine meeting the emperor anytime soon, and I have no intention of working in retail.

A traditional Hina-matsuri display.

Today also marked the celebration of Hina-matsuri, the Japanese Doll festival, or Girl’s day. Throughout Japan it is traditional to display dolls in the household from February, but they must be taken down by tomorrow or the single women of the family will supposedly be married late. Rie had invited me to her house, where her mother had cooked us a traditional feast. I had a great time, practiced my Japanese, and dazzled everyone with my sublime wit and command of keigo. Well, when I say sublime wit and command of Keigo I really mean an over-reliance on adjectives and remedial chopstick usage, but a good time was had by all never-the-less.


About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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