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Note from Dear Leader Khatzumoto: The following post is by Momoko, and not me. Momoko likes to use language that we don’t approve of here at AJATT. It’s like she’s doing that teenage rebellion thing, but like 15 years too late…way to be on time, champ. Um…I actually tried bowdlerizing her text, but…anyway, yeah…
This is the first installment in a new weekly series by Momoko, 「お巫山戯（ふざけ）、日本語で」, or “F***ing around in Japanese”. In it, Momoko will document how she…f***s around in Japanese, with the hope that the links to Japanese media and the irreverent setting will help readers relax a bit, go off on their own as the call of insanity dictates, and screw around in Japanese as well. (And, frankly, since Momoko’s the kind of uptight perfectionist that needs this sort of thing the most…it’s really all for her own benefit anyway.)
I have to admit, one of the most humiliating parts of learning a language is when you realize that even three-year-olds put you to shame—after months or even years of trying to learn the blasted thing. When I go to a Japanese friend’s house and listen to their little ちびちゃん babbling away, my internal monologue usually goes something like this: #@$&*! What’s the word for dinosaur again? hide-and-go-seek? elbow? pee-pee? Sh**! Sh**! Sh**!!! Why don’t I know this stuff?! That snot face is totally owning me!
But fear not, comrades. I’ve got just the thing for our wounded egos. Maybe you suck at Japanese, but there’s no WAY you suck as hard as these
slobbering cretins precious bundles of joy. (Or you won’t in about 2 minutes after reading this.)
I give you: Japanese babies that suck. Even harder than you.
First off, let’s start with …
The title of our first video translates “A baby who can count”. See what you think…
「數字を數える赤ちゃん」? I don’t think so! You can’t just make the same incoherent sound whenever your mom pauses and call that counting. That’s いち、に、さん fool!!
This next baby got one number right…
…and consistently forgot all the nine ones that came before it! Nice. Again, that’s いち、に、さん, not いち、に、じゃ～ん. You just can’t make this stuff up…
I don’t know, folks, but if his parents can claim he can count after that, where, I guess 「數」 is “number” instead of “numbers”, then we all know Japanese. I mean, you know “sushi”, right?
Let’s move on to
Our next little ちび is either color blind or suffers from severe short-term memory loss. You decide:
That’s ピンク、あお、あか bee-atch!
Aww… But let’s give her another chance. In this second attempt, she starts out strong…
…and sharply nose-dives into a long stream of gobbledygook.
Take a look at this scorecard:
|むらさき（紫）||Ｘ||“burakki”? “burki”? Not even close!|
|きいろ（黃色）||Ｘ||“kyo”? C’mon, this is an easy one!|
|はだいろ（肌色）||Ｘ||“pin-pon” （ぴんぽーん♪）, the buzzer sound for a correct answer? “an pan?” （アンパン）, a bun filled with sweet bean paste? Either she’s playing a joke on mommy and is deceptively clever or … not|
|くろ（黒）||Ｘ||“pintu”?! Is she getting colors mixed up again?|
|きみどり（黃緑）||Ｘ||“moo-ee” I think mama needs to stick to the basics for now…|
That’s after, what, two years of Japanese immersion?! Baby, please.
Last of all, let’s take a look at
“What did you eat?” A question so simple, even a two-and-a-half-year-old who had just eaten a pear and is still sitting at the table wearing her bib could answer it, no problem, right? Right?
I love it! First her dad fakes her out: もも（桃）？
She takes the bait: Yeah, yeah, that’s it, I had a peach…
And he’s like: Unh-unhh *you had a pear, baby!!*
And she’s like: Uh, yeah! なし（梨）！
Lol, and then he’s like: Was it good?
And then she looks over at her mom for a hint, like she can’t remember: Ummmm…ye-eah…
Her mom checks: So what did you eat again?
Baby: A pear! A pear, ok, A PEAR!
And she slaps the table like, Yeah! I know what I eat!
… (Two seconds later) …
Dad, playing dumb: I can’t remember anymore…what did you eat?
She forgot?!! Again? After two seconds? Is this baby for real?!
Dad tries to trip her up again: もも？
She’s not going for it this time… She’s smarter than that!
And here comes the icing on the cake… Wait for it…
That’s right, folks, deer. As in Bambi.
She had a pea…DEER.
Sweet Jeebus, this baby’s gone crazy! Watch out, daddy! She’s gonna eat you next before she remembers that stupid piece of fruit!
Hmm… Now let’s see… What did *I* eat today?
6. ジュース… Oh yeah and some
Piece. Of. ケーキ.
As for the rest of you, I know you hippies. You had sushi didn’t you?! Don’t worry, sushi （鮨／壽司） counts. And beer （ビール）. Oh, I’m sorry, *green tea* (お茶（ちゃ））. Hippies.
Aaaaaahhhhhh. Can you smell that? That’s the sweet fragrance of pure ownage.
Savor it, friends, savor it.
Alright, Enough Trash-talking Japanese Babies Already
Um, I’ve said a lot of nasty things here about uh… defenseless babies that I’m not too proud of, things I didn’t mean… I’d like to take a moment to publicly apologize to these babies and their parents and thank them for graciously giving us a peek into their private lives. I mean, seriously, those are some cute kids. ＼(-_-*) 反省！！
It’s obviously unfair for an uncouth, callous American brat like me to pick apart these babies’ skills when they’re still just developing. But my point in doing so, aside from just being an immature jacka**, is to remind us that it’s just as outrageous when we put ourselves down—the Japanese babies inside of us—with ridiculous adult-level expectations.
We need to nurture our own awkward growth with the same patience, encouragement, and relaxed sense of humor these parents show toward their children. They never question that their endearingly forgetful, often incoherent babies will grow into fluent, literate members of Japanese society as sure as the sun rises in the morning. And why should they? Living things grow the way they’re fed.
So as much as you may seem to suck now, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Make sure you baby your Japanese baby everyday.
Now for those pesky three-year-olds… さあ 來い！
Note of acknowledgment. As Ryder astutely noted in the comments below, the “I am better than your kids.” articles by legendary web pirate Maddox, creator of the aptly named The Best Page in the Universe, were indeed an important source of inspiration in writing this article.