The first time I walked into a Japanese Starbucks, I thought I was ready. It’s pretty easy, really. “Large” translates to “Grande,” in some bizarro Italian-English-Japanese-word hybrid, and “coffee” is just a bastardized pronunciation of the same: “ko-hee.” Even “Hot” is, well, “Hotto.” So it’s not rocket science. Coffee’s just about all they sell, so they’ll definitely figure it out. Anyway, that’s what I thought. Continue reading “Navigating a Japanese Starbucks”
At first, you might think the Japanese place great importance on addressing others properly. After all, it’s a nation where even elephants get called Zou-san. That’s Mr. Elephant to you.
The reality is that this naming convention works flawlessly until someone who looks “foreign” enters the scene, at which point thousands of years of custom go straight out the window. Continue reading “The Great Japanese Name Switcheroo”