Saturday, July 30, 2005


Wakarimasuka? What an interesting and useful word. It basically means "do you understand?" I find myself using this words and its many variations everyday.

Back at home, in Australia, we often speak with the kids about how it is important to get your meaning across in writing as well as getting spelling and grammar correct. I try to tell Japanese people the same thing. It is not so important to get the word order or grammar exactly right, way more important to get their meaning across.

I had a wonderful example of this. I had volunteered to help out at a summer school for kids. A few days before the event, I got a text message/email to my phone from the organiser. Her English is pretty basic and her message was too. Mostly I understood her but it still made me laugh. The following is the exact message as she sent it to me...

Dear Ellen ll
ll Hello. It is the tomorrow's summer school
Children of the kindergarten which was to participate get impossible to participate.
The participant finally became ten people.
Do not understand that a name of a participation student is not given on that day, but thank you.
The bamboo grass shallows

Wakarimasen! (I don't understand)


alex said...

The worrying thing is that I do understand that! I've been in Japan too long. (except for the bamboo grass thing, but they do tend to insist on some seasonal reference everytime they send messages).

Anonymous said...

Good one Ella - I am sure it says I don't know how many will be participating at the kinder so I don't their names. M XXXX

Anonymous said...