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Posts Tagged ‘bilingual’

I touched on this in my post about cultural appropriation and Japan studies, but one of the reasons I got irritated in Japan with the constant “where are you from?” questions, was less for myself (I’m not from there) and more because it’s a burden that the children of my friends and coworkers raised exclusively in Japan have to bear (who may not “appear” to be “Japanese” at first glance, particularly if they’re multiracial). Addendum: I realize this post probably comes as flippant and ignoring the greater issues of being non-white and Japanese or multiracial and Japanese in Japan, especially given that time has passed since I originally wrote it and more people are now discussing this topic in relation to Ariana Miyamoto, Miss Japan 2015. In addition to her story, I’d like to also share some more recent articles on this: this article on “passing” and multiracial erasure in the US, and this one on the film Hafu: Mixed Race in Japan. And to note that, while there are negative stereotypes about white and white-appearing people, that white-appearing people often are associating with “benevolent” stereotypes, which, while problematic, are not nearly as damaging and dangerous as the negative stereotypes about Black people and people of Korean, Filipino, and Chinese descent (regardless of nationality) are.

Including stereotypes like this, from Toshiba's line of bread makers. Because white folks love bread, have big noses, and speak in katakana! Image via Japan Trends.

Including stereotypes like this, from Toshiba’s line of bread makers. Because white folks love bread, have huge noses, and speak in katakana! Image via Japan Trends.

Kanadajin3’s “White Japanese People – 白人系日本人” is video with commentary from several white people raised in Japan and the challenges they face as racial Others.   (more…)

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Part 1 here.

Space ALC: my favorite general online dictionary, that treasure-trove of excellent example sentences and entirely bizarre translation possibilities, that bright spot in the depths of translation despair. (Some are a little NSFW for language.)

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Space ALC is one of my favorite online dictionaries, especially since it uses a lot of example sentences and words in context. The dictionary also has a huge database of English-language slang terms, both historical and modern, and as the dictionary is more directed at English-to-Japanese translation (read: Japanese speakers inputing English terms, including slang), sometimes the results I get are nothing short of hilarious. My other translator friends and I like to swap screenshots of some of the weirder terms we get, and so I wanted to share some of my favorites with you all.

Just a note: none of these entries is wrong; this is not Engrish. If I had to deal with the sheer amount of slang that English has as a non-native speaker, I would be glad to have a place that could explain what buck wild means. However, going from Japanese to English turns up a lot of results that have odd slang terms listed as the first entries, which is why I find it so funny.

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