Yesss…

I have started something.

I told my brother about how I create my own translations of Japanese signs that have odd photos.

For example:

After sharing such an idea with my brother, I thought his interest in it would be at an end within minutes.

This afternoon, however, as he sat at the airport, waiting to go home, I received a group message from him with the following:

Apparently, my delightful pastime was not lost on him.

😀

I actually was brimming tears as I laughed at this very unexpected set of messages earlier.

Whew!

Post-a-day 2019

I’ve never landed on snow…*

Well, here we go!

Ich freue mich so sehr.

Ich habe aber doch ein bisschen Angst.

Ich gehe trotzdem, und vielleicht weil ich diesen Angst habe.

I guess I’m still reasonably tired right now – German was all I had to express myself right there…

It has been fun visiting Montréal these past hours.

It seems like a lovely place – not by the sights so much as by the lifestyle and the people I have crossed and noticed.

I’ve used almost no English while here, had not even considered that it was French-speaking Canada – mostly because my friend who lives here is from Houston and is not someone I would consider “French-speaking”, so it didn’t even occur to me that it would be in this part of Canada, wherever he happened to live – and have loved every bit.

I always wonder when I go to the Mexican parts of our Houston culture – the tamale places, the panaderías, Fiesta – how the workers know which language to use, Spanish or English.

Do they judge people by their covers, as we were always told not to do?

And yet, I think they must.

And I think that is exactly what is great about a successful business like that (cross-cultural business, I mean): their being able to identify appropriately the customers’ culture, and then interact accordingly with the customers.

When I entered the plane yesterday, to go from Houston to Montréal on Air Canada, I knew they would be operating in bother French and in English.

I also considered briefly how any American airline likely would not do such a thing, and would use exclusively English, just about always, no matter the destination…

(When I interviewed with an airline once as a multilingual flight attendant, they made it sound terrible: the multilingual flight attendants are only ever one individual on any given plane, used to act as translator, and only when needed… it wasn’t about greeting people’s home cultures at all, or serving… it was just about putting out fires, essentially…)

And I wondered how the airline workers would judge.

At baggage check-in, the man greeted me easily and mid-conversation style in English, and I thought nothing of it.

But, at boarding time, as I was surrounded by passengers speaking a mix of French and English, I wondered how the flight attendants would handle it.

Sure enough, as we were stepping into the plane, the greeting post was using one language or the other, depending on how she judged each individual.

And she always had a happy passenger, so she was judging correctly.

My mother and I have discussed how I am rather European, at least for an American – I have many contrasting aspects of the two cultures that kind of go back and forth for me (I’ll give an example in a moment.).

As I took my own steps onto the plane, the greeter gave me the direct-look evaluation, considered, and then said, “Bonjour.”

I automatically respond in kind.

And I was elated.

I was taken for a French speaker, likely due to the European style of my outfit for the day – fitted half-collar long-sleeved black shirt, scarf, snug – but not tight – jeans, and fashionable winter boots.

People from Texas just don’t dress like that. 😛

Today, in contrast, I am very American in my dress: oversized purple long-sleeved t-shirt, same boots and jeans and scarf, and a beret… an odd combination of the two cultures.

But I don’t have to worry about what language people will use with me today – everyone uses both automatically at the airport.

‘Bonjour, Hello,’ they always say.

And the response determines the language used.

But they always say the French first…, and so I automatically am responding before they are finished with the English greeting…, and so they end up using French with me…, which I like very much.

I don’t often have such an opportunity, and I am grateful that I am embracing it.

Anywho… Montréal is nice, is really, really cold, and is beautiful with the snow everywhere (and gives a new experience for me with everyone acting like the snow is normal and nothing big deal [because it is normal here]).

Snow:

*This first was the airport last night, when we had landed on a boatload of snow… snow was everywhere, including where the planes were driving…(!!!)

Including when I picked up my bags at baggage claim:

Now I am off to Japan.

See you on the other side (literally)!

P.S. This flight is to Japan, now, so they will be using all three languages, and I am delighted. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Si tu savais…

Si tu savais… comment je doute… parfois

Si tu savais….. ce que je ne dis à personne d’autre….

Si tu savais…..

There’s this song by the francophone (I think he’s actually French, but I’m not sure) singer who goes by the mononame Corneille, called “Si tu savais”.

The title means, “If you (only) knew” (the only being a matter of what the phrase is intended to mean by its use).

Those lines were repeating in my head tonight, and had me wondering about the song and about my life.

I don’t know the rest of the words to the song – I first heard it when I knew very little French, so not much stuck, and I still get lost in the rhythms nowadays, because I’d grown so accustomed to doing it when I was back in high school – and so I can’t even guess knowledgeably as to the purpose or meaning of the song as a whole.

I only know my own initial interpretation based on those few lines and the desperate, melodious, melancholy that is the tone of the song, the feel of the music.

To me, he is singing, as I mentioned, in a sort of desperation and pain… either he wants to tell her everything, but he is afraid she won’t want him anymore, or he fears telling her everything, because she thinks he is the best thing ever, but he is telling her in the song how he has faults… or, even, she thinks he is full of himself, and he is telling her how he is not… or perhaps he is telling her how he only shares openly with her, but she doesn’t realize it, nor that it means he loves her… whatever the case, if only she knew… how imperfect and insecure he really is… how much he loves her… if only she knew…

Whatever the case, these lines hit me in a new way tonight – considering the song as though it were based on someone’s real life, I asked myself how it could apply directly to my real life.

When would I say the words, “If only you knew,” in such a manner as Corneille in this song?

What do I not say to anyone else?

What would I want to say to the love of my life and not to anyone else?

What do I wish I could say to others, and not have to worry about being discarded, neglected, expelled, despised, etc. from whatever facet of life those listening occupy?

And it is this last one that really got me the most, I think.

I wish I could share my greatest faults and fears, the way the werewolves do in the Twilight books – just get over it, please… it’s a girly story, sure, but the creativity is definitely there, and you comedy bits are all over the place, making it a true delight even for me, not just an okay story, as so many declare it (mostly after only seeing the movies) – where they can’t hide their thoughts, feelings, emotions from one another, and the whole pack accepts the rest of the pack willingly… they all know the minds of the rest, and they all still respect, love, and care for all the rest (even if some do get on others’ nerves from time to time).

In that kind of world, we wouldn’t have to worry about our secrets – everyone would know everyone’s mess-ups, and so we’d kind of have to get over it pretty darn quickly, if we wanted to function in life.

I enjoy that people no longer are allowed or able to judge me by my age (because I don’t give it to them anymore), but I would be willing to give that up, in exchange for all my sins, so to speak, to be washed away from concern of being (1) found out and (2) held against me.

Could you imagine?

I almost can, but not very well… I think I’m mostly just afraid of the idea, because I don’t trust people enough…

J’ai pas trop confiance en eux, en fait…

Post-a-day 2019

Photo Lingo

I helped out on a little photo shoot today.

I always learn something new at these, which is great, but I always enjoy them just for the fun of their being an event: a photo shoot.

Photo shoots aren’t just an everyday nothing, really… usually, they are, to some degree, a little or big to do, an event that requires at least one someone’s best up-do, and then some.

Today’s, though a small shoot, was no different.

Those being photographed were clearly in their best getup for the occasion, make-up done to a T, and several costume changes at the ready.

It was, as I mentioned, an event.

Now, this was fun, of course…, especially some of the silly things that happened throughout the photo shoot.

However, the little nugget of surprise delight and God-granted satisfaction popped up when we had a few quick comments from the photographer to one of the models, who was the husband of someone there.

The photographer was giving a few specifics about how to do something, if that model was doing it, and then somewhat simultaneously asking the model to come throw something in the background of the photo.

Now, the husband of this model, in a moderate accent, said to the model, “Entiendes?”, which is Spanish for, ‘Do you understand?’

The husband then gave an iffy explanation, still in English, of what the photographer had been saying.

I could tell that neither one of them was getting what the photographer had said, not even the English-speaking husband…, and so I went ahead and, in a quick aside, verified with the photographer for myself when he had wanted communicated.

I then, while still standing atop a large ladder, broke into the conversation between the husbands, addressing the Spanish-speaking one pointedly.

I asked him a few questions in Spanish, told him the first the the photographer had said, and then communicated the answers to the photographer in English.

I then explained to the model, again in Spanish, the second topic the photographer had mentioned (i.e. throwing those objects), and asked if he could do it.

He asked for some clarity on specifics, and then readily agreed.

Problem was solved, and amazing photos ensued.

When that model was then in photos, I let him know to tell me if ever and whenever he did not understand… he agreed, and proceeded to check with me on just about everything that was said to him.

At the end of it all, it had become very clear that he was relieved to have had me there, and everyone was grateful for my surprise super-helpfulness in the form of Spanish, whipped out of my back pocket.

Might I point out that I am dirty blonde, pale, and blue-eyed, – obvious German heritage of which, one could imagine, Adolf would have been proud – an outer shell that does not boast a likelihood of speaking Spanish?

But it is situations just like these that send a delighted tickle to my core when they arise, because everyone is simultaneously flabbergasted and relieved that I have this oh-so-unexpected skill.

I love having my languages be of use.

When I went for that “Super” trip the other day, it felt like a relief and a blessing that the person selling turned out to be a German guy, with whom I was able to interact in German… it made things feel ever so slightly more ‘right’, like I was on the right path.

It really felt today that this same sort of thing was happening – the World, God, was making a sign to me that I was (and am) in the right place.

I want photography to be the right place, and it increasingly feels more and more like it is the right place for me to be and to be putting my efforts and my love and my passion right now…, so this whole Spanish thing today was like a super-blessing from God and the World.

So, yay!

Thank you, God.

Thank you, World.

Thank you, Universe.

Help me to continue on this beautiful path that is meant for me to create and travel, that I might share the beauty and the love I have to offer the World. 🙂

……..

In a separate note, I found myself wondering this evening: How can a couple be married, and not really be able to communicate in the same language?

From what I saw today, the one guy’s Spanish is super limited, and the other’s English is very questionable… so, how do they communicate?

Is it really more like the idea of mail-order brides that caught on back when I was little, than a naturally-occurring relationship?

But then, perhaps their language is presence, and words are in the works…

I know fully well that speaking the same language fully isn’t exactly a requirement for wanting to be with someone.

I even had a time (with one of the acrobats) in which I declared this guy and I could not date until we both spoke the same language fluently (though, I didn’t care what language that ended up being), and I, eventually, followed my declaration (after, of course, passively ignoring it, and, essentially, being in an informal but distinct relationship with him for about six weeks)…. (We had a great time, but too many problems began to arise due, mostly, to language issues, but also to cultural differences.)

So, they very well could be that way, where words are not the language of the now relationship, because they just absolutely hit it off without the words, but the words are in the plans for the future of the relationship.

I dunno… anything is possible, but I know that I, personally, need to speak the same language fluently as my partner in life, whatever language that may be.

Post-a-day 2019

Cultural Villainy

This afternoon/evening, I found myself discussing various voice and talking style stereotypes in American English and in Japanese (from Japan, of course*).

It all started with seeing the film “Aladdin” in the cinema this afternoon, and then, over ice cream afterward, we veered onto Disney music and its composers a lyricists (and how amazing some of the greats are[!!!]).

Then we branched into the Japanese versions of this music, as the friend with me is Japanese, and she grew up only hearing the Japanese language versions of the songs.

We discussed differences I had found in the music, and why I thought each one was so… now that she has been living in the US for about a year, she saw exactly what I meant and genuinely understood.

“Colors of the Wind” sounds somewhat stressed and so compounded and busy in Japanese, yet the English sounds so open and contemplative, filled with deep breaths and space through the notes and the words… there are just too many syllables in the Japanese, and too many consonants in between all the vowels…

An American likely would be appalled at hearing the Japanese version of Scar’s voice, because the voice doesn’t match the type of villain that he is… it is not entitled and brooding and, almost like serial killer style, the voice of someone who is biding his time until his plot can unfurl perfectly to his advantage – until, at last, he is granted his dues, as Scar says.

To American ears, the Japanese Scar in pathetic and angry and holds no weight behind his short-man angry yelling of a voice, desperately hoping someone will listen to him and do what he wants others to do.

And yet, to Japanese ears, the Japanese Scar is exactly right: He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ voice and has that same ‘bad guy’ and ‘villain’ manner of speaking… the English version would sound just ‘American’, and have nothing special tied to it for Japanese ears.

And my friend was able to see and hear just these things, and mainly because she has become accustomed to hearing so many different ways of speaking that people have here in English (unlike Japanese English in Japan, which is pretty much always the same).

And, somehow, I found the whole situation to be fascinating and utterly fulfilling… I had never really thought quite so much and quite so pointedly about the translations and the voices of actors until today, though it certainly was not my first or, even, tenth time considering it all.

It had me feel an almost silly passion for Disney and, in particular, “The Lion King”, and yet I couldn’t find a reason not to care so much about it all – I love languages and music and seeing things in new ways, and these Disney movies had huge impacts on my childhood and, therefore, my life as a whole… they are a part of me… and I care about and love myself.

So, I guess I get to love those Disney films, too, silly little perfect details and all. 🙂

By the way, I went into “Aladdin” with an attitude of its being a different film and perspective of the same story as the animated version…, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film – it was wonderful(!).

And it was filmed in Jordan(!)… how cool is that?!

I don’t often go to cinemas these days (in the US, anyway), but I am glad I went today – it was a lovely experience. 🙂

*Does Japanese have a culture of native speakers anywhere else in the world?

Post-a-day 2019

Some Nights

Some nights, we are calm and at ease, for we know we have accomplished our expected tasks for the day.

And some nights, we are not, because we haven’t…

Tonight is one of the latter “some nights”… The thing is, though, I’m actually really interested in all of this research I’ve been doing for this paper… I just don’t want to hassle with putting it all together in a paper… you know what I mean?

I think I do, anyway…

Well, back to the paper organizing, so I can get to the actual writing… which is due to be turned in and then presented tomorrow… oops 😛

Hashtag I’mANutJob, right?*

*If you haven’t seen it, check out Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s skit on hashtags… that’s what was on my mind just now with that line. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Lingo-bot Life

Occasionally, I feel a bit lame and down about my seemingly lessened and lowered Japanese skills.  But then I have experiences like tonight, where, when speaking with a Japanese man, he was unable to come up with the right Japanese words immediately or at all – we all take longer to process, when we aren’t using a language all the time; even native speakers.  When it happened tonight, I told of the many times I, myself, was unable to come up with an English word while living abroad.  When immersed in one language, it id much more difficult to recall another, native or not, language.  So, I just need to immerse myself more often in each of my languages, and that will help significantly – it is all still there; it just needs a bit of encouragement and exercise.  😛

Not that this is news to me – it was merely a welcomed reminder.  🙂

Post-a-day 2019