In Japanese there is no “s” as we understand it in English.  The language uses moras, so in the S category you have sa, shi, su, se, and so.

Because of this, the Japanese accent can make some English words sound much different.  Shinnamon (cinnamon), ex-shy-ting (exciting), and so on.

Well, last night in my adult class I asked Shino how his weekend was.  I teach his two sons, 8-year-old Mahito and Yusei (6, soon to be 7).

“How was your weekend?”
“We were going to Costco, but it rained.  So we went to a clothes store and my wife shopped.  A lot.  Many hours.”
“Oh… I see.  Did you have a good day?”
“Mmmm, I had to babyshit Mahito and Yusei.  Much energy.”

Luckily I teach them, so I passed my laughter off as an oh-you’re-telling-me! moment.

Shino’s not the only one to make such a mistake.  In a recent e-mail to my replacement I wrote, “You shit on the floor and play with the kids.”  Whoops.


About Michelle

I lived in Japan for a year & a half teaching English. Now I'm blogging about learning to cook in NYC.
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