Sunday, April 1, 2007

"Onamae wa"

Some people say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s even harder to teacher an old photographer something new on assignment. But lo and behold I did learn something new the other day.

I was covering another group of Japanese students visiting South School when I came to the point where I need to get names. The South School students were easy but I had the language barrier issue come again with our guests from abroad. After fumbling through my first attempt I asked the groups interpreter how to ask the students their name.

My first Japanese lesson ever. “Onamae wa?” I am told is the way to seek out someone’s name. Then it sounds like I am game show contestant I try to get the last name too. Spinning fingers in a circle and saying my newly learned phrase over and over just drew looks of confusion until the interpreter stepped in to get the last names.

For my efforts I was given gifts of origami and some kind of Japanese cheese stick snack. I hate to think what I would have gotten if I could say a whole sentence.

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