Friday, January 14, 2005


Do you know CUM?

Benzaemon's hilarious blog about life in Japan has inspired me to re-relate this wonderful episode of miscommunication from my past... it still makes me giggle every time I think about it.

"Do you know CUM? C-U-M?" asked Mr. Ishijima, a member of my weekly English conversation class, as we chatted over coffee in a local family restaurant. The other members of my class (5 rather conservative middle-aged businessmen) looked towards me expectantly. I choked back a snigger and put on my best 'I don't, as yet, have any idea what you are talking about, so please extrapolate' face and tilted my head to the side (typically Japanese gesture of incomprehension). "CUM SHAFT" he elaborated, making some indecipherable gestures. The others nodded in agreement, and murmured "cum shaft", still waiting to see if I know it. At this point I exploded into completely hysterical, helpless laughter. The businessmen viewed my state with some concern, and tried more desperately now to make me understand. "OVERHEAD CUM" they shouted at me, making vigorous overhead cumming gestures with their hands. Mr. Takano passed me his fan and a glass of water in concern for my health. "DOUBLE OVERHEAD CUM" explained the exasperated Mr. Ishijima, now more than a little confused. That made 7 of us... Finally, I ask them to look up 'cum' in their high-tech portable electronic dictionaries. Mr. Lucky Rice Field's (that's what the kanji for his last name means - my terribly witty nickname for him) dictionary cost over a hundred and fifty quid - and does in fact contain the word 'cum'. He flushes red, starts giggling, and passes the dictionary around the table. The rest of the class dissolve into nervous, also slightly hysterical laughter, when they realize precisely what they have been bellowing at me. Turns out they were talking about D.O.H.C. shaft engines, or some such nonsense. The 'C' stands for CAM, not CUM...

After that things lightened up considerably. The class even felt comfortable enough after that to ask me what noise a poo makes in English when it falls in the toilet. (plop, obviously). Japanese is very onomatopoeic, and has at least 2 sounds for this, one being 'pocham' and another being 'boton'. Guess which word describes small pieces of poo and which the heavy log!

"Benzaemon's hilarious blog about life in Japan" make me blush!
Classic. Especially the fact that they spelt it like that, not just pronounced!
I greatly respect any language that takes their poo sounds so seriously. Love that poo.

Rob (Bor)
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