Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Studious children

I was riding my bike to the pool today, and while walking my bike up a narrow sidewalk (with woods on one side and a guard rail on the other), I came across three small children (around age 7, two girls and a boy).

As I walked past them, they gathered around me as though they expected me to talk to them. Two of them were holding simple study materials, like kids' math workbooks from the 100 yen shop. I said, "Oh, have you all been studying?" (it was a weird place to study - just along this random road, not near any houses... they brandished the workbooks as though they were taking a survey and wanted to ask me something!)

girls: "... could we ask you a question? blahblahblah.... (unintelligible)" (this was all in Japanese btw)

I leaned down closer, to hear their question. "What?"

girls: "How do you say 'uta' (song) in English??"

me: "What? Buta? (pig)?"

girls: "No, no, how do you say 'uta'?"

me: "What??? Futa?? (lid)?" I was not trying to be funny... just couldn't hear them so well!!

girls: "No, no, UTA. UTA."

me: "Oh! *Song*" (I said it with my real accent, not katakana)

girls: "*Song* Song... song... (they copied my accent as best they could) ... (one girl pointed to the other) She was trying to sing an English song just now, but she couldn't remember it."

me: "Oh - Was it... Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream? (singing)"

girls: "No, no... "

me: "Hmmm... was it... Twinkle, twinkle, little star? (singing)"

girls: "That one, that one!"

me: "Shall I sing it for you? Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are, ... (etc.) "

girls: "Wow, sugoi!! cool! (etc.)"

me: "Well, bye-bye, good luck with your studying! You are all very studious. Bye-bye!"

The little boy had been standing back a bit throughout all this, and as I started to push my bike away, he started to cheekily and loudly try to sing Twinkle twinkle, as it had sounded to him with his little-boy mind. "CHINKO !, CHINKO !, ..." (chinko is a little-kid's word for Willie, wee-wee, in other words pe n!$ ) (trying to avoid weird googling here...) The little girls started to laugh.

me, stopping and shouting back: "Noooooo!! Aaaaaa!! Not Chinko! Twinkle... *twinkle*!! It means kira-kira!"

girls: "Oh, that's why it's Kira-kira, hikaru!" (the Japanese version of Twinkle twinkle)

me: "Yes, yes!! Twinkle, *twinkle*.. NOT chinko!! Well, bye-bye!"