Sunday, October 22, 2006

company mad-libs

Well the wedding was quite nice, and it turns out my kimono was pink, not the black I was expecting. As it turns out, my mother-in-law (still weird to say that!!!) was describing her OWN kimono. Silly japanese, you leave out the subjects and objects and it leads to all KINDS of ambiguity.

This is a real problem in the office sometimes, hence my secret belief that those company-sponsored drinking parties are so people can clarify what they actually were talking about earlier that day with the excuse that they aren't being stupid or rude, they're just drunk!

This is very necessary, since at the office; without needing to say anything, it's possible to intimidate and confuse your underlings even MORE in Japanese.

Boss's line:
".So, Yamada-kun, I need [***(person in the room)] to [***(verb)] [****(company-related noun)] [****time]. Make sure it gets done."

It's the underling's job to read the boss's mind and fill in the blanks, like an extremely stressful mad-libs. The boss could be thinking anything from:
"I need [you] to [write that] [annual report for IBM] [ASAP]. Make sure it gets done".
to "I need (Ms Suzuki) to (serve coffee) at the (company party) (next thursday). Make sure it gets done."

..of course at the bar after work the underling comes up with dirtier amusing variations with his coworkers.

Anyways, just when you think you've gradated school and are safe from tests, they come back from the grave to haunt you. It turns out I have to take the JLPT (Japanese test) for my company this December, and the outlook looks grim. "Why?" you may ask. "You live there, speak japanese every day, and read and write company emails. How could you have any lack of confidence?!"
My chinese co-worker Sho-san asked me the same question. "Don't worry, it's a peice of cake! I passed level 1 two years ago, you're taking level 2 which is easier. No problem!"

I scowled at her.
"Sure, if it were only speaking and listening comprehension. But the kanji section's gonna kill me!"
Sho-san smiled and looked a bit embarrased.
"Oh, right. The kanji is easy."
(FOR YOU, Ms chinese lady!)

I was originally just taking it because my company wanted it on my resume to look good, so I wasn't too concerned about it. But Takeshi noticed my lack of studying, and gave me a doubtful look. "You think you're gonna pass?" He said with a little scornful chuckle.

"I still have three months. I'm pretty close to passing level, I'll be alright." So Takeshi got this evil look in his eyes like I did when I made him sign non-fishing contract, and proposed a bet. "Okay, little miss confident. How about this. If you pass it, I'll give you 10,000 yen (100 dollars). But if you happen to fail, you gotta give ME 10,000 yen." Being the fool I am, I agreed to the bet. I even shook on it.
Oops.

It is now a little over one month left, and I haven't improved much at all. Even with the $100 carrot dangling in front of me and the $100 whip painfully urging me on, I am still far away from passing level.

Will she make it?!?! Who knows? I sure wont because the darn test results won't come back until MARCH. I guess since they only have them once per year the test people can take their sweet time to grade them. Until then I will be thinking of what to spend my $100 on.

...( How do you say "counting your chickens before the eggs are hatched" in Japanese?)

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why? You live there, speak japanese every day, and read and write company emails. How could you have any lack of confidence?!

Oh wait...you answered that already. :)

Pictures of the pinkness? :)

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

erg...that was Viet. Sorry, I'm used to commenting in Livejournal and Myspace and I sign in for those.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you going to write a book? You do write interesting things, especially with this whole cultural difference stuff. It's an awesome read.

GL with the bet!

11:17 PM  
Anonymous ~D. said...

Crap, I can't believe I did what Viet did, right after I read it and said I'd put in my name...

11:19 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

Thanks for the nice comment! Still don't know who you are though.. ^_^;; (d. isn't very descriptive)
Hmm, a book eh? That'd be fun! I'd have to find an editor to help me out.

And Viet, pictures of the pinkness to come! ^^

5:21 PM  

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