Thursday, August 27, 2009



"I'm not really sure about that either, actually. It's just that I've seen 'Galileo'.", Kurama Rokurou, "The Forced Return of the 33 Minute Detective"

Eh, while reading detective novels you tend to pick up pieces of information, which are utterly useless in real life. This ranges from specialist words (coming up with 死亡推定時刻 (shibousuiteiijikoku ("Estimated time of demise")) during one of the first conversation classes in the first year at least left some impression on the teacher) to facts about everything and nothing. Sushi made for take out is pressed differently to prevent it from collapsing under its own weight. The bacteria thought to be the cause of periodontitis? Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. Swallowed down some cyanide? Eating loads of nattou immediately might save your life. Something freezing over after you pull it out of the freezer? Just supercooling, nothing special.

So what was my preparation for the visit of prince Akishino (also known as the slightly longer Akishino no Miya Fumihito Shinnou) to Leiden (with a short talk with Japanese students of Leiden University) in light of 400 years of Dutch-Japanese relations on Monday? I watched my DVD's of the Japanese detective drama Furuhata Ninzaburou. Because keigo, really polite Japanese, is like a different sort of Japanese with alternative words for pretty much every verb, but it is used extensively in Furuhata Ninzaburou by the protagonist. It always helps to be extremely polite to your suspects in the hopes they slip up.

Of course, this extensive training program didn't help one bit in real life, as I didn't anticipate princess Kiko would ask me a question using the same keigo, and it took what felt like an eternity to translate it in my head. My reply, the first Japanese sentence coming from my mouth in months, probably wasn't even a full sentence. And certainly didn't contain keigo. And then the pair quickly moved on to the next table. The lesson? Keigo is difficult and not even Furuhata Ninzaburou is going save you in front of a prince and princess.

Today's song: MCYUU - ドラマ ガリレオ+古畑任三郎 (Drama Galileo + Furuhata Ninzaburou)

1 comment :

  1. But you were there. You only got the chance to speak one sentence and the picture they took is probably fuzzy and cuts off half of the people, but you were there ;)