A common criticism of the Japanese language, people and culture is that there’s no irony. There’s no real comedy. You’ll hear this from gaijin who couldn’t order pizza over the phone in Japanese.
And, to be fair, because I am a bit of a gaijin-basher, Japanese people who don’t know English, or do “know” English but couldn’t actually successfully read a WikiPedia article on reggae will do this, too. They’ll go: “American [=English-language] humor just isn’t funny”.
Both these perspectives are pleasantly unburdened by cultural knowledge, solid evidence and linguistic expertise. And both are wrong. Anyone who’s ever watched the The Daily Show or Peeping Life or Salaryman NEO or Reddykyulass or Doug Stanhope knows that there’s no shortage of humor anywhere in the world and certainly not on either side of the Pacific Ocean.
It’s funny if you understand it well enough to get it. And if you don’t get it…you just don’t understand enough yet. No biggie. ‘Cause, like, think of even the lowest level of humor, lower even than slapstick — punnery: you need to have a vocabulary large enough to know a bunch of homophones and synonyms to even realize that there’s a pun going on (let alone enjoy it). We tend to think that, I dunno, theoretical physics is the highest level of human thought. And maybe it is, but humor’s pretty far up there.
We tend to see humor as a spontaneous, natural, creative, original, “you’ll know it when you see it” sort of thing. But I would submit to you, at least anecdotally (which is the only way I ever submit anything to you, right?), that humor is actually something we learn. Maybe not all humor, but a lot of it. Humor actually has a certain structure to it and even cues; there are systematic patterns to its irregularity, order in its chaos. Especially initially, we learn what is funny by having it explicitly pointed out to us, and seeing people laugh at it. And it’s not necessarily funny to us the first time, but thereafter we find it funny because we get it; we “get” the joke.
Again, this goes against our intuitive, matured perspective of humor; humor seems natural and implicit and original and “out there”; the jokes we like are the fresh ones, not the stale ones. Truly funny stuff seems to resist categorization and analysis. But perhaps that’s an illusion.
Having said that, I’m again taking a very big topic I really know nothing about and reducing it a few paragraphs of supposed insight and it’s not working out too well so I’ma stop musing right here. ← This is the spot where I stopped musing. Suffice it to say that, humor, sarcasm, wit and all that are based on a foundation of cultural and linguistic knowledge, and this foundation can be, well, given to you.
Spontaneous (“spontaneous”) behavior, emotions and reactions can emerge from more explicit, deliberate “training”. That’s the idea behind chick-sexing, many types of martial arts training (kata, dummies), MCDs and all that good stuff.
Growing up, my heroes were the Vulcans of Star Trek, a people who had purged themselves of all emotion. My feeling was that people would be happier and healthier and more productive if they didn’t have emotions. There are a couple of paradoxes in the preceding sentence and I’ve left them in there deliberately. It took me until relatively recently to realize (or rather, accept after a lot of convincing from certain authors and speakers) that emotion could be useful, that it could be something of value and not just an excuse for women to be unreasonable…
↑ Misogyny alert. Dang, I wanted to make that one funny but it just came out sounding bitter! LoL. This is what happens when geeks are allowed to write non-technical material on the Internet.
If nothing else, we learn better with emotion. Things that have emotional content and context are much easier to understand, internalize, remember and reproduce. Part of the reason why language textbooks suck so much is because there’s no feeling. Nothing that moves or matters gets discussed there, just plain, dry, bleh. And the converse of this is why video-game playthroughs and even cheesy melodramas and B-movies can be so good — lots of emotion.
So, over the past few years, I’ve gone around collecting the meanest, wittiest, snarkiest, saracasticest, back-handed-compliment-est Japanese I could find. And I’ve collated it, translated it into English and then compiled it into a clusterhump of amazingness that I call:
The Emotional Sentence Pack, or ESP for short.
BYCNHTMA: because you can never have too many acronyms.
So Why Would Anyone Even Want This?
For more or less the same reason why you would want My First Sentence Pack. The key words here are ease, convenience and, to quote a Simpsons episode, “can’t somebody else do it?”. Sure, you could go figure out how to be angry, snarky, hyperbolic, emotional, witty, petulant and sarcastic in Japanese on your own — you totally can; I did. In fact, I recommend it; it’s great fun. Independence is noble. But if you can’t be bothered, if you don’t want to put in the effort, then consider this the equivalent of paying somebody to do your homework for you.
A kid once asked me: “when will I get funny in Japanese?” Well, the answer to that question is: pretty much as soon as you’re done with this sentence pack (lol).
No, but seriously…
Do you want to be the wit of the party?
Do you miss being your funny self in English?
Do you want to go beyond being straightforward and polite and start doing some verbal ninjutsu?
If so, then this pack might be for you..
Who’s It For? Who Should Get the Emotional Sentence Pack (ESP)?
The ESP is for you if:
- You want to learn (get used to) Japanese
- You are learning Japanese
- You want to “get” Japanese humor — especially the spicier, more acerbic kind
- You want to be funny in Japanese
- You want to be witty, ironic, sarcastic and Alanis Morissette in Japanese
- You want to be emotive in Japanese without sounding…stupid (thus avoiding the Japanese version of the funny phenomenon, that comedian Godfrey describes, of foreigners who don’t know how to swear in English properly…because there is a wrong way to do it; even swearing has conventions)
Who’s It Not For?
- People who are already native-level in Japanese
- People don’t want to know any Japanese
- People who want to go it alone
Don’t MCDs (Massive-Context Cloze Deletions) Make Sentences Irrelevant? Didn’t The 10,000 Method Sentences Die?
The answer to the first question is no. The answer to the second is yes. MCDs re-orient how we work with sentences; they change how sentence packs are used. And as a result, MCDs actually make sentence packs even more useful by allowing us to absorb and internalize them both more deeply and more effortlessly. “More effortlessly” — that sounds funny, but you get the point! Ultimately, the point is to get the language inside your head, inside your body — to turn the language, as we Japanese say, into part of your “blood and bone” — and MCDs, combined with sentence packs, accomplish this in spectacular fashion.
Sweet! How Can I Get Mine?
The Emotional Software Sentence Pack (ESP) comes in two flavors, basic and deluxe. Basic’s cheaper; deluxe is more value; deluxe is a total steal — you’re screwing me over by getting it! Both are based on engaging, for-native-by-native subject matter that’s actually fun and funny and interesting and relevant to your life, because how many times are you going to read a textbook that shows you how to say you’re a student with two brothers and a younger sister before you want to shoot yourself? Exactly. This sentence pack will actually make you laugh, a “funny haha” laugh — not a bitter, jaded “haha WTF has my life come to that I’m reading this stoopid textbook” laugh.
Timebomb Pricing: Unlike other AJATT products, there is no limit to the number of people who can get it on the Emotional Sentence Pack (ESP). However, the price is always increasing, automatically and permanently, like an upward-ticking timebomb. So it starts low and keeps going up until it reaches a final resting price. Then it rests for some time. Then it starts rising again.
Here, try this experiment: check the price now, and then come back and check it later, maybe even as little as a quarter of an hour later, and see how much you could have saved. And then realize that you’ll save that and more by acting now rather than later. Early action is always richly rewarded; such is the AJATT way.
Sexy Satisfaction Guarantee
Buy it. Try it. No likey? No payey. Just ask me for a full refund. No fuss. No hassles. Just be like: “I love you, Khatz. You’re so pretty and smart. I just want a refund for the Emotional Sentence Pack (ESP). I promise I’ll be back soon”, and AJATT staff will run your refund for you with a smile 😀 . We know you’ll be back, baby 😛 . We know.