Sunday, May 22, 2005

So Much For Not Stereotyping

Tonight my neighbor come over to talk and we had a lot of fun. He's the 19 year old and he's a freshman at a college in Hiroshima. He loves practicing his English and he loves American culture, so it's always a treat to hang out with him because he's interested in everything. He brought some new shi-di's (CDs) to show me (Rob Thomas, J-Lo, whom he calls J-Ro, Beck and Mariah Carey) and he wanted me to look at his English language text book. The text book cracked me up. First of all, it's all so informal. Comparing it to my Japanese text, it's so obvious that our language is sloppy.

Here is an example of a beginning dialog from my Japanese text (translated):

  • Good morning, Mr. Smith, I am Mr. White. I am a lawyer with ABC Company.
  • Nice to meet you, Mr. White.
  • Nice to meet you, Mr. Smith.

Here is an example from the English text:

  • Do you like this pizza?
  • Kind of.
  • Do you like this beer?
  • Yeah, I guess.

Great. It was cracking me up. "Yeah, I guess." Good form.

Another crazy thing about it was a page where they were describing a typical American family. It was a dad, a mom, a son and a daughter. (Not completely typical for America anymore, but I guess Japan isn't ready for "Katie Has Two Mommies.") Each person had a short sentence or two written about them and it went something like this:

  • Tom is the dad. He works very hard at his job.
  • Mary is the mom. She has a job but she is very stressed and she doesn't get very much time with her kids.
  • John is the son. He is causing some trouble because he doesn't do his homework and he plays his music too loud.
  • Sally is the daughter. She plays soccer but she worries because she doesn't have many friends.

The whole thing was crap. I couldn't help but laugh about it. I kept saying, "Omoshiiroi desu!" or "It's interesting!"

My little friend did ask me what are the trends in America right now -- he wants so badly to be a part of American culture. Of course, I couldn't say anything because I have no idea what's going on over there. The only things I could think of were a TV show called "Desperate Housewives" which I haven't seen but it does appear from commercials to be complete crap, and then I kept thinking of crime. I know that's not exactly a recent trend, but I couldn't think of anything else. I did say, "Many people don't like Mr. Bush," but that was more me trying to indoctrinate him rather than describe cultural trends. Oh, the other thing I thought of was crime-related TV. MY GOD you people have about a zillion crime shows on TV. I just don't get it. But I didn't know how I was going to explain that, so I left it out.

Anyway, if anyone can let me in on recent trends in the US, I'd be grateful. I'd love to find something out and then be able to get him something having to do with current American culture. I just don't have a clue.

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