On Gaien Higashi Dori
Monday, October 6
The Middle Language
An email arrived today:
"I have your translator. Could you let me know how to do."
Kidnapping? No. Much more mundane than that. After a long spell in Japan, you begin to understand the middle language--the one between Japanese and English, the one where the majority of cross cultural communication here is done--quite adeptly. Translation:
"I took home your electronic dictionary by mistake. Do you need it back urgently or will next week do?"
Ignorance is when you presume the person speaking the middle language is actually speaking one of the other two.