Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm Huge (in Japan)

Well folks, I didn't manage to write much over the break after all, but I did have heaps of turkey and heaps of fun. I'll fill in the blanks over the next few days, but I wanted to share one particularly interesting bit that bridges the gap between Canada and Japan nicely. Or filthily, as I prefer to call it.

There are a number of wonderfully thoughtful people in Canada who I am proud to call my friends. One of these gifts was a very amusing shirt with the phrase

I'M HUGE IN JAPAN

written on in a vaguely oriental script. There are also some kanji written below the English sentence. I didn't wear the shirt during the day, but I described the characters to a friend and she informed me that they probably meant "giant body".

Now this is rather funny, because (for my 日本人 readers) huge can mean "large" or also "popular". Since this shirt was marketed to English speakers via the internet, one could assume that the two jokes to this sentence were...

1) That I may not seem big here, but in Japan, I'm VERY big!
2) You might not know who I am, but I'm VERY popular in Japan!

The fact that neither of these things is really all that true serves for a third joke, and I happily wore the shirt all day and showed it to a few of my students who found it to be even more hilarious than I expected.

Of course, little did I know, but a fourth joke had been hard at work without my knowledge. Near the end of the day, I actually showed the shirt to one of my Japanese co-workers. Her eyes went wide, and she said "Brent!!!" and hit me in the arm a few times. This is the standard treatment for when I test out new and dirty Japanese*.

Here's the shirt.



No doubt any J-readers are laughing now. Just so the rest of you can join in... it turns out that I didn't describe the Kanji correctly to my friend in the first place. Those Kanji don't mean "Huge Body", but rather "Huge Penis".


As I said to Dave after finding this out in a scotch bar, much to the amusement of the regulars... I guess it's an ego claim like wearing a Superman Shirt, but lower.







* An example of this behaviour is as follows:
Eg:

Brent: おまんこはたのしです!!  (Vaginas are fun!)
Co-worker: BRENT!!!! Stop Being Disgusting!! (Hit hit hit)

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