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Saturday, Dec. 13, 2003
Gifts for the 'gaijin' who has everything
By AMY CHAVEZ
The holidays are here and it's time to find that perfect gift for the "gaijin" who has everything. Here are a few suggestions:
Kick back and teach English from home over your telephone. For years, we consumers have wondered what the question is that telephone answering machines supposedly answer. Feeling the pressure to answer themselves, answering machine companies have finally brought us the far more practical telephone questioning machine. With the new questioning machine , when someone calls, the recording immediately asks the caller, "What is your name?" and "Why are you calling?"
This new questioning machine will be popular with your Japanese friends or students who are keen to practice their English. Your questioning machine can be programmed to follow the latest English textbooks chapter by chapter, starting with "How old are you?" and "What is your hobby?" Change the recording every day and change your home phone number to a toll number to collect charges.
Preprepared immigration forms. Every gaijin can use a packet of these, sold according to three-year, five-year or 10-year plans, and for lifers. All the application forms you'll need for your sponsorship, visa, renewal, permanent residence, etc., are now available in one packet. Each packet includes an extra supply of apology forms, such as the one promising you will never again overstay your visa by a couple of hours.
Skywalker airplanes. Tired of not having enough time or space to walk Fido in the big city? Don't forget about that empty space above your head. Try dangling Fido from our super-powered, remote control Skywalker airplanes. There are no fire hydrants in the air, but don't worry -- there are plenty of tall buildings. Warning: Cats and other animals should be flown only over rice fields!
No more need to study Japanese! For years Japan has sold TVs that are programmed to change Japanese programs into English from a remote control. Now the Japanese have taken this concept a step further: You can point that same remote control at a Japanese person and have their voice comes out in English.
Fish beheader! This small battery-powered knife is perfect for the gaijin who loves fish but is not comfortable eating it the Japanese way -- with the head still on. No more embarrassing sawing with the edge of a chopstick! The fish beheader is designed to fit into your breast pocket and looks just like a pen! It will quickly and easily sever a fish head before your Japanese friends even have a chance to say, "Ehhhhhhhh?" It also comes with 10 small bags for convenient head disposal.
Oh, wait. I see this item is sold out! Well, the next best thing is the fish head bonnets. Just cover up the head and eat!
Aizuchi Translator. You've probably heard that the Japanese have invented a device that can analyze a dog's barks or a cat's meows and categorize them into eight emotions. Now, you can get a device that measures "aizuchi," those sometimes confusing signals Japanese people use when communicating, such as sucking in air through the teeth or the long, drawn-out "sooooooooooo desu ne."
This type of aizuchi usually results when a gaijin asks an "odd" question such as, "Can this package be sent overseas at book rate?" The postal worker will immediately start sucking through his or her teeth.
Exactly how much doubt is contained in this expression? The Aizuchi Translator measures the sound level and force of the sucking of air in each instance and translates the likelihood of the task at hand succeeding. The Aizuchi Translator analyzes the responses and puts them into three categories: 1. Probably OK; 2. No way; and 3. Maybe, keep pushing.
For the gaijin who has everything, including all the above, get them the one thing they definitely don't have but really need: a one-way ticket home.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.amychavez.com