There are times when I feel like I’m dating a Japanese version of Star Trek’s Chekov.  Remember how the pesky navigator of the U.S.S. Enterprise would often claim that anything of any note originated in his homeland of Russia?  Quadroticale, scotch, the Cheshire Cat, the Garden of Eden!  In similar fashion, Akemi is constantly bringing up the Japanese origins of things that are clearly not Japanese.  This afternoon, for instant, she was singing “Saru, gorilla, chimpanjee! Saru, gorilla, chimpanjee!” to the tune of the River Kwai March.  I hummed a few bars and she threw me a shocked look and asked: “How do you know that song?!”  I informed him it was an old (movie) military tune.

“Japanese,”she said.

“No, not Japanese,”I said.

She stared blankly.  “Not Japanese?  But words are Japanese.”  I had to break it to her that “saru (monkey), gorilla, chimpanjee (chimpanzee) were not, in fact, the lyrics.  In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the tune doesn’t even have lyrics.  It’s simply whistled.

She seemed dubious. Like last week when she was singing the Japanese version of Old McDonald: “Ichiro-san no oniwa de, Iya iya yo!” Which roughly translates to Mr. Ichiro (san)’s garden…I don’t want to go!”.  What, exactly, goes on in Mr. Ichiro’s garden that so fills one with dread is perhaps best left unexplored.

Also, the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus is a Japanese graduation day staple while Auld Lang Syne is reserved for major department stores that play the tune to let customers know they’re closing up and it’s time for them to go.


Tomorrow, my Snow Monkeys take on the undefeated I Have No Imagination in fantasy football league play.  The projections have them favored by some twenty points and it’s going to be tough given that my RB2, Daniel Thomas, is out.  I’m considering starting Romo over Fitzpatrick.  What do you think?

Don't mess with the monkey!

29 thoughts on “October 29, 2011: Things not Japanese! Or maybe they are!

  1. This is almost better than Akemisms. I wonder what strange notions we all carry around with us that just aren’t so.

  2. Romo announced this week he and wife are expecting a baby. So of course all the idiots are talking about if he will be so distracted with family and fatherhood that he won’t be able to play football anymore. Apparently a family zaps your strength and brain cells. Just something to keep in mind when you pick your quarterback.

  3. As I understand it, the Japanese are great sponges, absorbing bits from other cultures and making it their own. They just don’t seem to feel threatened by it, which stands in contrast to the French who fear any sort of assimilation. I do understand the French POV since my OCD side likes the idea of cultural purity, but at the same time one look around my house and all the things I’ve borrowed from a multitude of cultures tells you that my ADD side has far more say in the matter. 😛


  4. I think Romo is so happy cause he dodged a bullet in the jessica simpson baby bump thing.

  5. ROFLMAO, you tell Akemi it’s okay. Americans assumed they are the source of many things we are not, so she can claim those. I really do want to know what happens in Mr Ichiro’s garden.
    Anyone watching Sarah Gellar. I just couldn;t get into it. How about Once Upon a Time. Haven’t strarted it yet. Should I?

  6. Good luck this week with fantasy football! I too am in a bit of a lurch. I can’t wait ’til all my guys are finished with bye weeks!!

    I was doing some thinking about SGU and it’s unfavorable opinion inthe eyes of those naysayers from the beginning who called themselves “diehard” Stargate fans. The one thing they didn’t have with the new series was a luxury only afforded to the older series’. It’s a term usually used in the gaming industry, but it applies here just the same: replayability. Each of the other series were in syndication multiple times a day in most bigger cities(5 a day in my town most days including SciFi’s own reruns). When you’ve seen an episode of a tv show more than once or twice, you notice more, absorb more, and enjoy more of the episode as you’re able to sink a little deeper into it or even just relive the experiences of that episode. All of creates a deeper “connection” to the show. If this phenomena weren’t true, there’d be no need for syndication at all, let alone DVD sales.

    So, for those that felt scorned by the cancellations of the previous series’, they, being of a mindset that anything that wasn’t their beloved series was an afront to them as viewers, were predisposed to hating it. It’s unfortunate. While I know they had absolutely nothing to do with SGU’s cancellation, it still sucks that it’s gone.

    I’m noticing that with SGU, as I’m watching episodes in syndication, I’m viewing some episodes for the third time now. While I know what’s going to happen and what w

  7. (sorry, accidentally hit the publish button)

    …and what will be said, but I’m enjoying the episode more than the previous time. Why? Replayability. It’s where good series become great. Without it we wouldn’t have comebacks like Serenity(from Firefly series) and the upcoming Arrested Development 10 episode series and movie. Hmm, both of those were on Fox, coincidence? Not if you ask me.

    One thing that stands out to me the most watching episodes of SGU over again(in HD): James Robbins designed and built some BEAUTIFUL sets!! Holy cow they were pretty! So much detail and depth. And now they’re all gone……makes me sad. ;(

    -Mike A.

  8. look what this guy did with his broken dishwasher: although he had a different problem he made it work better by changing the programming of the cycles and adding more options.

    btw, what do you think of the dreamcatcher movie? and this season’s survivor might not be the most exciting, but the biggest mess up is about to go down in the next episode, the show reminds me of the characters in stargate universe and how naive they can sometimes be especially when it comes to trusting the smart nerd type guy who also happens to be the most hated person in the tribe.

  9. Go Romo if you want to lose. I hadn’t heard the news Ponytail mentioned, but Romo has a hard time focusing under normal conditions. As for Akemi, of course she’s right. It doesn’t matter if she isn’t. She is. Allow her her patriotic misconceptions. Or if you insist on disillusioning her, arrange for someone else to do so for you, so that you can console and support her. And when is Baron Destructo going to sub for you here?

  10. Don’t mess with the monkey
    BUT, more importantly, don’t mess with Akemi!
    Really is slogan used in Texas – Don’t mess with Texas.

  11. Lyrics were put to the ‘Colonel Bogey March’ at the beginning of WW2, and began:

    ‘Hitler has only got one …’

    Well, perhaps the lyrics are not suitable for a family blog!

    Round here, we rather rudely used to sing to that tune:

    ‘B*ll*cks! – And the same to you!’

    Gives those scenes in ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ quite the undercurrent when you know this, doesn’t it?

    Akemi, may I ask, what, if any, misconceptions has Mr. M had about Japanese culture?

  12. It doesn’t matter where something originated. Vancouver doesn’t borrow from other cultures. It takes. It’s yours now. Not theirs. You just let others borrow it back after you etch a picture of a food truck on it.

  13. Every week I wonder the same thing – Romo or Fitzpatrick….last week I was distracted by Armageddon and didn’t change my team…I ended up with 4 players with a bye. Consequently I ended up with 17…that has to be the worst score ever. I’m sticking with Fitzpatrick this week. This week I’m distracted by booking for my upcoming trip which is coming all too fast….say how do you find out where the food trucks are…is there a website? I’ll have to add it to my itinerary.

    A question for Akemi – could you please share with us some Japanese nursery rhymes. I’d love to hear some and know what they mean.


    Cheers, Chev

  14. Anyone get hit with that snow storm? It was cold here last night 36F but at least we didn’t have snow.

    Thanks for the Akemi story! She sounds so sweet.

    I wish for everyone a nap today!!!!!

  15. I like adopted and assimilated Western holidays turned on their heads. I love Christmas in Japan. So tacky, so commercial, so over the top I can forget the roots. Which is okay, I’m a pagan who celebrates the winter solstice.

    Mmm, leftover Christmas cake. With the big strawberries.

    Ramble on: I tutored my house owner’s niece’s kids in English. What gaijin doesn’t? Eventually, the Sunday lessons turned in to weekly potluck dinners, and one year a Christmas party. I made a stacked star-shaped sugar cookie cake in the shape of a Christmas tree. Each cookie had carefully been coated with green poured sugar icing and the tips frosted with white boiled sugar frosting. Both types make a crisp, hard shell. I adorned it with tiny sugar ornaments, and a golden star… and candles, red birthday candles. It was the center piece for the party table. There were presents and games and songs and food. And then, the desserts, including my cookie cake. We lit the candles. It was beautiful, until … whoosh! Up went the entire cake in flames, shooting toward the flammable ceiling. Yikes! Sugar and flames make Big Fire. Very Exciting. Not a holiday tradition we adopted.

  16. ahh… the Things that get “changed” in the Cultural-Historical-Translations…

    Like how many kids know that “..Ring around the Rosary..” is about the BLACK PLAGUE!?

  17. @ Tam Dixon – Nope – no snow here. North/northwest Jersey got some, though…and PA was hit pretty hard, too. We’re on the coast so we only got rain, which was nice. I enjoyed staying at home, cooking, napping, and reading. Very relaxing day.


  18. Das: That sounds like a nice day! I spent the day at my son’s band competition, freezing. They had a big tailgating party before the comp that was fun. I made baked beans that were a big success. Someone liked them so much, they hugged me! I’m not a big hugger but the thought was appreciated. 😀 . Too bad it wasn’t some big hunky guy that demanded a hug though (sigh).

    Those waffles looked good from yesterday. Have you had waffles with fried chicken? It’s a southern thing.

  19. @dioxholster on the dishwasher:

    That sounds like something I would do…being an Electronics Engineer has its own particular risks 😉

    My current EE obsession? Creating a new control board for an Intex Pool Chlorine Generator. This past summer it keep aborting cycles (false low salt warnings) and it would forget its programming every time it was unplugged (a design flaw since my daughter would unplug it every time she cut the grass). I’ve started working out the control board connections and hope to have the new control board done in the spring. At least I’ve got something to do over the dark and cold winter months…

  20. Any Pearl Jam fans out there? If so, you just MUST watch Cameron Crowe’s documentary, Pearl Jam 20. It’s fantastic! I just can’t believe all the footage they have going back to the beginnings of the band. I recorded it a week or so again when it aired on PBS, and just getting around to watching it. It’s something I might have to own on DVD…just very insightful and very well done.


  21. Hey Joe,
    Nice article about Akemi calling everything of Japanese origin 🙂
    It’s all about the references !

    I am myself sometimes having weird discussions with my wife about the differences between France and Quebec. A lot of our childhood cartoons are shared, translated in French with the same voices, but some aren’t. Differences are subtle, but they are here. For instance, the Simpsons French Quebec version is using different actors than from the French France version ones. South Park is the same.
    We both know Chapi Chapo 🙂 Also weird sentences I caught here and there from her family. Her grand-ma is talking of WWII with no particular emotions, she never lived under German occupation with frequent massacres and food rationing, while my grand-parents (both sides) always had that hardship look on their faces whenever they were talking of “THE” war.
    What I am trying to say if that… somehow.. sometimes… I feel like I am living in a parallel universe. Quebec shares some of the French cultural references but left some others out.
    What if WWII didn’t happen… what if that infamous singer was never known and never sang that insanely good song.

    It’s all about the references, and its always awkward and funny, like you described Akemi reactions, when you poke them in the eye 🙂

  22. @ Tam Dixon – Wow…hugged for beans! They must’ve been good! Hope you weren’t ‘windy’ at the time… 😉

    Tonight I made a nice Guinness pot roast, with carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes…only to have Mr. Das bail on me because he was invited to watch the football game. Grrr. Oh, well…he’s gonna be eating leftovers ALL week now. 😀


  23. Joe, has Akemi watched the movie Backdraft? The Japanese version of Iron Chef borrowed the score for their theme and incidental music.

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