Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sweet cheesy corn! YUM!

Today, I had an English lesson in Tachikawa. My student usually comes here (she loves Taco Bell) but sometimes I like to go to her, just for a change of scenery. I left a little early and treated myself to lunch at Saizeriya, a popular Italian chain. I'd been wanting to check out Saizeriya for a long time, but Otis is an Italian food snob! After living in Italy for 2 years, all other Italian food is sub-par, peasant fare that he only tolerates on the rare occassion that I force him into an Olive Garden (which we don't have here), so I haven't really had much of a chance to try it out. It was.......eh. Not horrible, but nothing to write home, or in my case, blog, about (so glad I didn't nag O into joining me!!!).

After lunch, I met K at Starbuck's for our lesson. She's 27, never been married, still lives with her parents (not unusual in Japan these days, as most young people can't afford to live on their own!) and works at the Clinique counter in Takashimaya (an upscale department store). She's very hip, very....chic.

Today we were reading a newspaper article. The article mentioned a "cheesy commericial", and of course, K asks, "What does cheesy mean?".
Me: Hmmmmmm.....well........when something is cheesy, it's..........it's kinda corny.
K: Corny? Like corn?
Me: No, not like corn. When somethings cheesy, or corny, it's.........it's like, sappy.
K: Sappy? Yes, I know sappy, from a tree, for pancakes.
Me: No, not sap, it's sap-py
K: Ahhhhhhh, yes, I see (Japanese code for "Never mind, you obviously have no idea what you're talking about!)
Since I know absolutely nothing about Japanese popular culture, I couldn't give her any kind of example of something that's cheesy or corny or sappy. And although she's pretty up on all things American, she couldn't pick up on the cheesy nuances of, say, a gold chain nestled in a thick mat of chest hair, an after-school specials, or Hallmark commercials.
So, to all my fellow English teachers here in Japan, or English speakers, who also speak Japanese, how would you explain "cheesy"?


Gina said...

That is a good question, how to explain "cheesy". You know, I find a lot of our expressions when people in Japan ask me, I often too am just stumped. Sometimes things are just not so easily translatable. Even in the vice versa stuff from Japanese to English. Of course lot's can, but there's always that one expression or so, I am always, left like...hmmm. gee, I don't know.

And yup, hear ya on Saizeriya too! We go there a lot now. But when we first moved here and went. I didn't like it at all. Completely different from Italian American food. My dad hated that place when we took him. : ( And O, for living in Italy, I bet he would REALLY hate that place. As the years go by and I am still here of course, I get more and more hard up for cheap affordable Italian food. Or cheap affordable any type of dining. :D Ha ha ha. So, now I go. I like the rigatoni dish best. And the bread are good and the all you can drink... drink bar is a good one. Definitely a restaurant that would have closed down if in the states though, for sures! Ha ha ha! : )

Slime said...

I love, love, love any restaurant with a drink bar! I've started carrying a bottle of coke in my purse when we go out to eat, for my own refills! Japanese drinks are so tiny!

I had the focaccia w/ cheese, it was yummy. I'm sure I'll go again, and I'll try the rigatoni!

We have a great little Italian place right off the base called Un Quinto, it's just a little shack, only holds around 14 - 16 people tops! It's really good! Pretty cheap too. (O hasn't tried it yet, LOL)

Robin Vistnes said...

The translation of adjectives is actually not only a barrier by language- I had the HARDEST time trying to explain a term the other day. I was trying to say how someone was so "granola"- and they didn't get it so I said "you know, green" "oh" they say "new at something" (yea, like granola means new at something) No- it's like "GRANOLA" finally the closest I got was "flower child" finally they get it. Hello Captian Obvious!

BTW word verification is "cattetsi"

(In review, I noticed an excessive use of "..."
Is there some sort of blogger rules against that- maybe I can exchange "..." ( hese) for those cute little :) thing-ys that I don't know how to do