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お巫山戯、日本語で: Japanese Babies That Suck…Even Harder Than You

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series お巫山戯、日本語で

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 …

Counting!

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

Colors!

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:

あお(青)
みずいろ(水色) No response
あか(赤)
ピンク
むらさき(紫) “burakki”? “burki”? Not even close!
ちゃいろ(茶色)
きいろ(黃色) “kyo”? C’mon, this is an easy one!
オレンジ “o-chu-u-u-u”??!
はだいろ(肌色) “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) “pintu”?! Is she getting colors mixed up again?
みどり(緑) “MOO-eeee!” Lovely.
きみどり(黃緑) “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

Food!

“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?

Baby: ええと・・・わすれちゃったぁ!

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…

Baby: し・・・しか(鹿)?

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?

1. 林檎(りんご)
2. サンド
3. カレーライス
4. サラダ
5. バナナ
6. ジュース… Oh yeah and some
7. チップス

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.

Final Score

Babies: 0
Us: 5

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.

Series Navigationお巫山戯、日本語で: Secrets of Japanese Potty-Training Revealed! >>

  31 comments for “お巫山戯、日本語で: Japanese Babies That Suck…Even Harder Than You

  1. April 28, 2010 at 19:07

    You are so funny man. I love this stuff 🙂

  2. April 28, 2010 at 19:46

    か、かわっ!

  3. Shea
    April 28, 2010 at 20:59

    かわいい

  4. April 28, 2010 at 21:28

    Cute kids 🙂

    I feel much better now.

  5. smitch
    April 28, 2010 at 23:14

    great xD

  6. April 28, 2010 at 23:40

    That was pretty awesome. I should have seen how you were going to wrap that up. But you got me. Well done.

  7. TheArtofBreath730
    April 29, 2010 at 00:17

    hmmm… I’m really lookin forward to this series (^^)

  8. Drewskie
    April 29, 2010 at 02:04

    コーヒー

    Done. If I had had anything else this morning I probably wouldn’t have completed my list.

    Also, that little girl forgets/remembers Japanese words JUST LIKE I DO. It’s a little weird. She got all quiet, and then just started with the fragment she managed to hang onto–し・・・し・・・・and then the guess, しか!

    And then the “show answer button,” and then the “Again” button.

    Great article, Momoko! I’m glad to hear this is a series.

  9. Ryder
    April 29, 2010 at 03:41

    This reminds me of Maddox’s criticisms of children’s painting.

  10. April 29, 2010 at 04:11

    AWESOME! Thanks for the snortcoffeeoutmynose laugh & encouragement. xD

  11. d4veg
    April 29, 2010 at 05:49

    おもしろいですよ。
    I love how your posts are always filled with harsh humour yet encouraging at the same time. Keep up the jocularity. I’m looking forward to future posts.

  12. Raven
    April 29, 2010 at 09:47

    This is very hilarious! I haven’t seen the videos yet (dang office firewalls!) but the way that Momoko writes is very inspiring. I’m looking forward to the next installation. Thumbs up!

  13. LolMonster
    April 29, 2010 at 13:07

    163.14.136.79/ETD-db/ETD-search/view_etd?URN=etd-0711107-195521

    So this is kinda off topic but I found this extremely interesting Master Thesis someone did on っていうか. You should check it out.

  14. Dan
    April 29, 2010 at 16:41

    Cheers, this is really encouraging stuff. I realised recently that even if it takes you 5 years of immersion to finish the kanji and get to the stage where you are reading, speaking and listening with ease, you have still probably outstripped every native speaker who has ever lived. Adults rule.

  15. e_dub_kendo
    April 29, 2010 at 22:50

    Grown ups rule, babies DROOL!

  16. Sebastian
    April 30, 2010 at 00:19

    かわゆす

  17. Jes
    April 30, 2010 at 05:43

    It’s so great to hear from Momoko again. (^。^)/ もっと読めたい。

    It feels like you’re taking down the myth that baby language acquisition owns. Anyone can do anything better than a baby…except maybe make a joke out of everything and be gobsmackingly adorable at the same time.

  18. アメド
    April 30, 2010 at 06:46

    This reminds me of how many times I’ve failed in Japanese before there was any huge major improvement in it. You start of like a baby (Failing many times but always coming back) until you’ve improved more and more until one day. You suddenly get passed the failures and success comes. Honestly and this is true for any case, you will fail millions of times and I mean millions before true success comes. This is especially true of languages.

    I’ve gotten passed the point of beating myself up for not being fluent in Japanese when in reality I’ve become so close I can feel it. I think one huge difference between babies and adults is that, “adults” are suppose to fail or do anything wrong while babies fail many times, do stuff wrong all the time but don’t get criticize for it. If this was only the same with adults. But failure is apart of a success.

  19. April 30, 2010 at 14:54

    yo Khatz モモ=桃each=桃

  20. April 30, 2010 at 14:56

    opps i miss read. Good article. that baiting thing confused me haha

  21. chad m.
    May 2, 2010 at 06:25

    i enjoyed your article momoko, please write more often!

  22. Snyblind
    May 2, 2010 at 19:42

    Those kids are so cute:)
    Awesome post, looking forward to the series:D

  23. Sarah
    May 3, 2010 at 04:50

    Hahahaha this just made my day AND gave me a confidence boost!:D thanks Momoko & Khatz 🙂

  24. May 4, 2010 at 07:22

    Yes this was indeed a confidence booster. Yesterday before work I went to the Farmer’s Market near my house. There were a bunch of kids there and I saw how much they sucked at English, you never think you really sucked that much but you did more or less. While I don’t have a parent to keep throwing Japanese at me every minute I have an adult brain, so I can find my own “parent” through vids / music / etc. and just play them all day. Keep it up everyone!

  25. May 22, 2010 at 18:08

    The babies had trouble with the answers but I couldn’t even understand the questions 🙁

  26. Drewskie
    May 23, 2010 at 14:29

    Ochamocha, however old your Japanese project is—starting from the moment you began immersion—is exactly how old your inner Japanese child is. Don’t frown at that baby, man!

  27. Amanda
    May 25, 2010 at 18:07

    This was a really good article. 🙂 Thanks for putting things into perspective.

  28. August 6, 2010 at 10:10

    lol! She said アンパン because her mom put the crayon on top of a picture of アンパンマン

  29. Kimura
    November 5, 2011 at 07:48

    Fridge Brilliance: The reason the girl went 「わすれちゃったぁ」? She knew Dad was pretending to わすれる, and was imitating him. Still no explanation for 「しか」 though…
     

  30. H4
    August 2, 2014 at 14:49

    That last one is so cute! I love her! Reminds me of my niece, but a Japanese version. And more forgetful.

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