Japanese Mark Twain

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I had a bunch of things to write about here today, but then Tod pointed me at this essay on quitting smoking by Kenji Tsuchiya, a member of the philosophy faculty at Ochanomizu University. It's so funny!

I don't smoke; Tod does. We were both in hysterics reading this. It's in English, translated from the Japanese. There are a couple of grammatical errors, but not enough to be distracting. Kenji is a funny guy. If you like this, I can recommend his other essays, including Did You Know the Origin of Christmas Pudding?.

Here's an excerpt from the Christmas Pudding essay that Tod & I absolutely related to and laughed over:

"Imagine someone is talking to you at the University. Even in a light chat, it is important, in order to promote friendship between Britain and Japan, to carry on the conversation without it being discovered that you don't understand what he says. Suppose you pick up just the words, "How long ?". Success is almost yours, with this small clue. You can easily infer by the direction of his eyes that he is not asking how long the corridor is. You can also infer that he is not asking how long one million miles divided by thirty nine thousand feet is, or how long the Onin-War in ancient Japan continued, using common sense that one usually does not ask such questions in the first part of coversation. By the process of elimination, you reach the conclusion that he is asking either how long you have been in Cambridge or how long you are going to stay in Cambridge. The rest is easy. You can give an answer which fits both of these questions, such as "I came here last September and shall be staying until next June"."

If you bellylaugh while reading this, you've probably lived in a country where you didn't speak the language very well.

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In Japan you can answer all questions with a knowing nod and "so, ne..."

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