Archive for September 2008

Meishi’s everywhere, right?

September 29, 2008

A meishi is a japanese business cards and as everyone can tell you, even without much knowledge about japanese culture, they are used everywhere in Japan. And even though knowing pretty much about Japan’s culture, I was making the same mistake.

Meishi
A typical japanese business card (Source: Wikipedia)

Not that, except business men, no one has meishis it is even a very hard task to actually find a store to get them. We were told that a shop called “juppun meishis” was close to the campus, but after two times searching with a friend all around the area and asking in a lot of stores around it was nowhere to be found. And none of the people even had a clue about some other place to buy some.

So basically we ended up another day running around Hirakata City and luckily got to the citizens office. Took us still like 15 minutes of talk and they had to do some information gathering, but finally they really found a place. So after talking to some more japanese people, I suppose that business men usually get their meishis from their company and as no one else carries meishis around, shops are pretty rare. But that was still a very unexpected experience. I better not mention the 50 mins in the shop to explain them in Japanese how it should look and what information it should contain.

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English-German

September 27, 2008

I never thought I would could write a blog entry about problems in English-German communication, but they are surprisingly a lot of stumbling blocks beeing a native German speaker.

One of them was already known by me, but it still keeps popping up in my head. A mobile phone is actually called “handy” in Germany, but most american people think of a handjob hearing that. So I am basically like 3x a day talking about handjobs and fastly switiching to “MOBILE PHONE” after I recognize my common mistake.

But there are also a lot of words you wouldn’t suspect to be totally different, like “Duschgel.” This basically means showergel and you can even find this words in online-dictionaries like dict.leo.org but americans had actually no clue what I was talking about at all. If I remember correctly they are basically calling it something like shower soap and it took me a long way to explain to them what I was searching for in the combini.

Another good example is a text-marker. In this case again just English words and no German would ever expect that this name is actually not beeing used in English-speaking nations. Took me also like 5 mins of misscommunication until an american girl guessed, that I was probably talking about an highlighter.

As far I only thought Japanese people had some serious problems with English words in their language not being recognized or known because of katakana and the transfer into their alphabet. But the conclusions I have been doing so far, thinking that English words in Germany can be trusted seems to be wrong.

So beware; Most english words in German may just be some fresh product names made up by the German advertising industry.