Monday, December 21, 2009

How do you say Merry Christmas in afrikaans?

My two best friends this year are South African. It’s a bit of a cultural clash. A lot of things get lost in translation but we have also a lot in common. It’s funny how two dudes from South Africa can remind me a lot of my friends back in Quebec. When they talk cricket, I imagine a bunch of Pakistani dudes playing hockey. But I can actually kind of understand the whole sport now. Because it is an actual sport. We are not talking about Ultimate Frisbee or bowling here. Cricket is serious shit. But yeah, the passion they exude for their sport is the same as a Habs fan that bleeds bleu-blanc-rouge. But yeah, at first, I didn’t understand a word they were saying. ‘Hey Bru, kak lekker whatever Raah Rahh Rah Rah’ I just nodded and asked for precisions when they were done screaming to each other.

When we came to Japan, we were told this was also for internationalization. Well I’m internationalized now. And for the sake of cultural exchange, we decided to create a club to celebrate our one true love, drinking. Every Thursday we drink and change the world, we talk about how to save the planet and discuss poetry and Renaissance music…. (well at least that’s what I remember on Friday morning). I’m going to Vietnam and Laos with these two clowns for Christmas. As offensive and annoying as they can be, these dudes are really good people. When I go back to Montreal next year, I’ll surely be looking for some guys who have as much drive and determination (for drinking) and hope that my friends will still have what it takes (to tell me how metro I am with my V-necks). If they don’t, I might wanna climb in there (on a plane) and go back to my life of nomihodais and Genie.

(To get a sample of the South African accent, click on : )


Thursday, December 3, 2009


When we got here they asked us to teach American English, which pissed me off a bit. I mean, colour, favourite, centre, right? Well, always being the model employee that I am, I obliged and kept my mouth shut (except for the times where I wanted to talk, eat, drink and you know, breathe and stuff). Whatever, today I get to elementary school and I have to teach English words that the Japanese use in everyday life but massacre. In Japan, a radio is a ra-jio. A TV is a terebi. A lemon is a remon. And salad is saladaa. So yeah, I’m going through the flash cards and then I get to ‘Parfait’... as in parfait the dessert. Well I first said ‘par-fay’ like a dumb American trying to speak French. The next flash card was ‘Gratin’. So I said gratin like an American tourist walking around Paris and acting fancy (with ‘tin’ pronounced like in ‘tin foil’). And then I realized what I was doing. I was denying my roots, yo! Parfait and gratin are French and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna teach them the wrong thing to say. So I came back to those two French flash cards and I said: ‘Look, when you say parfait and gratin, you actually say it better than the Americans, so please, never ever ever change that’. And then I made the flash cards into giant paper planes and threw them out the window. It was a beautiful moment. I felt very liberated, like a girl taking off her bra (Not that I would know how that feels because… you know, I would never wear a bra… except on half moon, Tuesdays and the 2nd and 3rd Mondays of every month).