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Saturday, June 8, 2002


To World Cup soccer fans: Uerukamu!

In Japan, we have only two languages: Japanese and a dialect of English called Japanese English. JE is Japan's second language. I call it Zen English because you can't translate it directly. A lot of the meaning is left up to the listener. Entire sentences are often expressed in just two words. For example, "Troussier koochi" means "Philippe Troussier is the coach of the Japan national team." Once you learn how to fill in the verbs, predict prepositions and substitute letters," you'll find that JE is actually a very easy language to learn.

Here is your JE pocket dictionary to the World Cup games:

Uerukamu! -- Welcome!

This shows one of the many rules of JE pronunciation. In the JE alphabet, the wild card letters are l, r, s, f, o, u, t and d. These can be inserted, deleted or substituted freely.

Waarudo Kappu sakkaa -- World Cup soccer

The pronunciation of "waarudo" is like the name Waldo, but with the "w" sounding like "oo," as in "oo-aldo." It can best be imitated by mimicking the sound of a loon. Not your average loon, however -- one with an injury to his left wing. In the word "sakkaa," the r has been thrown off the field completely. "Sakkaa" is pronounced with a hesitation between the two k's. Act as if you have just gotten a fish bone stuck in your throat and momentarily had the wind blocked from your windpipe. Isn't this fun? "Waarudo Kappu sakkaa Japan" means "World Cup soccer is taking place in Japan this year."

Naisu tsu miito yuu, ha ha ha ha! -- For some reason, this phrase is always followed by a laugh. JE is full of humor!

Hau rongu sutei Japan? means "How long will you be in Japan?" Similarly, "Uea sutei Japan?" means "Where are you staying while you're here in Japan?" Getting the hang of it?

Huan -- Fan. "Ai amu Nakatazu huan" means "I am a fan of Hidetoshi Nakata" or, simply, "I am Japanese."

Sukinheddo -- Shaved head. "Ono izu sukinheddo" means "Ono has a shaved head." Sometimes you have to misunderstand English in order to understand JE.

Keisu bai keisu -- Case by case. A catchall phrase meaning: it depends, maybe, no, sometimes, at times or possibly. "Japan keisu bai keisu" means "The Japanese national team will win some games and lose some games depending on the strength of the teams they play against."

Reberu appu -- Level up. This has nothing to do with stadium rows or levels. It means to improve or advance to a higher skill level. "Inamoto, reberu appu Ingurando" means "Junichi Inamoto has advanced to the England Premier League."

Bakku -- Back. Means to go back home, or back to where someone came from. "Nakata bakku" means Hidetoshi Nakata went back to Italy, will go back to Italy or is going back to Italy. Take your pick. JE is flexible!

Gooru -- Goal. "Japan tsu gooru sekando" means the Japanese team scored two goals in the second half of the game.

Inja -- Injury. "Morioka inja" means Ryuzo Morioka is injured.

Fowaado, middofirudaa, difendaa -- Forward, midfielder and defender. The word "fowaado" accompanied by sucking in air between the teeth means "Japan's weak point is that it has no strong forwards for scoring."

Sukinshippu -- an invented word, "skinship," meaning togetherness. "Waarudo Kappu sukinshippu" means "The World Cup brings togetherness."

Now, try speaking Japanese English by yourself: "Waarudo Kappu berii enjoi!" or "Please enjoy the World Cup!"

Berii guddo!

Contact Amy at amychavez2000@yahoo.com or visit the "Japan Lite" home page at www.amychavez.com

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