This is how ready I am for the JLPT* tomorrow.
Earlier in class our sensei gave us a list of Kanji characters that we were supposed to identify. Example:
If the Kanji looked like “山”, then one of us would say “Yama” meaning “mountain”.
So we took turns in identifying each character in the long list. As expected, some of us didn’t know some answers. When it was obvious that we were struggling to read the Kanji, our sensei would give clues (or the definition) so we can remember what it is. If let’s say, we couldn’t identify the Kanji “山”, then our sensei would say “It’s a place that you climb.”
Anyway, I got the Kanji “宿題”. And because I’m just so not smart at this, I couldn’t tell what it was. As a clue, our sensei said, “It’s something you bring home.”
After a few seconds of thinking, and in fairness to me, I really was just guessing. I mean, I didn’t think I would get it right. Ahehe. I said, “Um… Omiyage?”
And that’s when the class (including our sensei) laughed.
So, in case you’re not into Japanese, this is why it’s funny:
What I said, “Omiyage” actually means “souvenir” or more accurately, “pasalubong” in Filipino. And that was my answer because the clue that the sensei gave was that the Kanji was “something you brought home”. Call me greedy, but I immediately thought of souvenirs.
But the Kanji is actually “shiukudai”, which is, also something you bring home. It means HOMEWORK.
Well… Language is funny ain’t it? Or at least, learning a language is. I have lost count of all the times I’ve said the wrong thing and have the class laugh at me, or sometimes laugh at myself when I realize my mistake. Another one of my favorite instances is when my sensei asked me, “What are you interested in?”
And I said, “Ongaku.”
I thought it had meant “literature” and was already thinking of Japanese authors to name if she asked me about them, but then her next question was, “So, what instrument do you play?”
At which point I realized that “ongaku” meant “music”. And that the word for literature is actually “bungaku”.
What? It’s confusing.
*JLPT – Japan Language Proficiency Test