False Laughter and Stemming the Flow of Verbal Empathy: Friday 18th November

Since starting my work placement I have become an expert in the art of laughing appropriately at jokes whose meaning, timing, and general grammatical structure I have no understanding of. At first it was tricky, knowing exactly when to break into raucous laughter, making sure to be neither the last to start nor the first to finish, but I reckon that I now have it sussed. When called upon I can now effortlessly emit a variety of authentic noises, ranging from the girlish giggle to the booming guffaw, the effect of which, to any passerby, is that I actually have something resembling a clue as to what on earth is going on. Today there was cause for real pearls of laughter though, as I actually understood what it was that everyone was laughing at: someone had said hobby (shumi) instead of interest (kyoumi). Of course the irony was that whilst I understood the joke I didn’t find it particularly funny; not that anyone would have noticed, given my well-rehearsed reaction.

I'll tell you in 5 weeks time!!

During the rehearsals for ‘Route 99’ I have taken to sitting next to the same two old boys, and they are always incredibly keen to include me in their conversations. However, today I was told by Kitazawa-san (who along with Takei-san and myself make up this happy trinity) that I need to stop using ‘sou sou’ as  a response to everything that I am told, as it implies that I know and can sympathise  with the topic, which given the frequency with which I use it gives the impression that I am a bit of a know it all. For the rest of the afternoon I resembled a nodding dog on amphetamines, whilst my tongue was almost bitten clean through in an attempt to stem my flow of verbal empathy.

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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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