Often when we native speakers are teaching, we get too wrapped up in our determination to teach “real” English to supplant the WASEI EIGO or “Made-in-Japan” English that our students often use without realizing it is not real English. Yesterday, I was meeting a friend who is a hairdresser in Kobe-Sannomiya and as I had a few extra minutes to kill, I dropped into the nearby McDonald’s and tried the Potato-Bacon Pie. After eating the pie, which was very tasty, I noticed the unusual English on the package and it made me think. On the package was the following:
Now, Come Back! KARI KARI outside. TORORI inside. ATSU ATSU mashed potatoes and tasty bacon. Good for your snack time!
Of course we could take issue with the “Now, Come Back!” part but it does not differ so much from “Now back by popular demand!”. so I think we can let that slide, but what was so interesting was the use of many great real Japanese words within the English sentences. I think this was very creative and I cannot see anything wrong with English being open-ended enough to accept some of the local language which can actually be very descriptive especially for people who understand a bit of Japanese and have the pleasure to live in Japan. So I support a limited use of Japanese in English as it can be a great cultural exchange as long as our students understand that by using Japanese in English this way they become responsible to explain the meaning to anyone who looks confused or asks a question. So get ready to explain the crunchiness of KARI KARI, the creaminess of TORORI and the piping hotness of ATSU ATSU and just have fun! Check it out at BACON POTATO PIE.
Teaching English in Japan is really a special experience indeed!