I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Squatters' rights and other notes from a big island

Turns out I'd written a few notes on my phone as well my notebook, with fresh insights to tantalise you all with. You lucky lucky people.

I really struggled to stop saying "Hi" to people when walking in to a bar or whatever. Not only was I saying something in English, but I was saying "yes" in Japanese all the time. Hai!

Waiter service in Antwerp Central -- also referred to as the BBC (Belgian Beer Company) -- was odd, considering I was at the bar. It was cool to be given a hot towel as soon as I arrived, much like onboard the fatcat flights, but being served by a waiter seemed a little unnecessary. But the bar staff didn't serve people, they just poured beer. A waiter would take my order and then tell the barman what it was, who would hand me the beer (because of where I was sitting). I guess it's to make things efficient, but it's certainly a good way of getting rid of one of the worst things about pubs in England: the scrum at the bar, and the intimidation of walking into a place where all the regulars are perched and you have to lean between or over them to get a drink.

I need to look up more about Cantonese and Japanese. They're very very different and if memory serves, all words in Cantonese are single-syllable, and that's what I'm most interested in confirming, because if so that's mental.

The one phrase I wish I'd learnt for Japan was "The bill, please". Standing up, or making the whole writing-something gesture did the trick but still, the phrase would have been nice.

On IRC I just used the word "famous", which brings to mind an episode of Cheers I watched this morning. Sam said "A lot of people may not know this but I'm actually quite famous". Heh.

Last thing for now about language (because I can't remember what "Grammar is king" means right now) -- I think my new favourite word in English is the word "poignant". Just because it must be really bastard odd for non-English speakers to come up against. Why on earth is a word spelt like that pronounced how it is? Crazy.

In BIC Camera I'd gone to the loo. All those vending-machine-bought drinks, y'see... anyway the cubicles had signs on them, in Japanese and English. They said "Warning: these are Japanese style toilets". Do not be fooled by this, it doesn't mean "come in here for a technologically superior toilet experience". The futuristic computerised built-in-bidet-and-air-freshener-with-water-pressure-controls-and-piped-music toilets are only found in hotels and posh restaurants and stuff. No, a Japanese style public loo means your leg muscles are in for a workout 'cos you're about to squat, and you'd best have brought your own paper.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

kaikei onegaishimasu.
(ka-ee-ke-ee oh-ne-ga-ee-shi-mas)