Thursday, August 12, 2004



Something strange has occured to me: the pronunciation of Spanish is very similar to the pronunciation of Japanese. I have even noticed that children here first learn the vowel sounds, and then learn them in combination with a consonant, in the same way as Japanese children learning hiragana. Because of this, there are many words that sound the same in Spanish and Japanese. Our personal favourite is ´vaca´(Spanish - cow), which is pronounced exactly the same as ´baka´(Japanese - idiot). Tito has been driving around Chiclayo shouting this at inconsiderate drivers since we arrived.

Perhaps this unexpected similarity has caused many a Peruvian in Japan to come a cropper. For example, a Peruvian man asks a Japanese woman to dance. If she agrees, he might ask her for a kiss. "YADA!" might come the reply (Spanish - "Yes, give me it", Japanese -"YUCK!"). So, the Peruvian fancies his chances and slips her the tongue. "DAME!" says she (Spanish - "Give it to me!", Japanese "NO!"). The Peruvian certainly would not understand her violent reaction to his tender advances... especially when she starts passionately shouting "YAMETE!" (Spanish - "Put it in!", Japanese "STOP IT!").

Excellent! That made me chuckle.
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