Friday, 21 June 2013

Nihongo with Michael and Carol

A pose after tutorial. Dr Nakamura is of course, the guy in front
 (centre). Can you see those famous moustache?
THIS post is dedicated to Michael Lee, Carol Wong, Andy Kwan and all the others who formed the inaugural cohort taking Japanese Studies at NUS FASS -- Class of 85. Michael Lee, Carol and Andy were responsible for making life so brilliantly interesting for me. We dominated the NUS pool with our laughter, and we dominated the buses with our chatter. We had student passes then and we delighted in taking "cracko" bus rides from one terminus to the other -- "laughing all the way" like "Jingle Bells".

Memorable lines from our Nihongo class:

Tsuki, tsuki, tsuki -- which means, "next, next, next" made famous by Dr Nakamura who went round pointing his moustache (sorry, I mean finger... but he has the most wonderful jet black moustache) at each of us in rapid succession for answers to his questions (in Japanese of course). If you so much as to utter "er, er, er" he would impatiently point to the next person. If the next person also went "er, er, er"... Tsuki!

Dr Nakamura speaks very good English -- and with an American accent. But being a very good Japanese language teacher, he refused to speak a single word in English. And if you needed to ask him questions, it better be in Japanese, or he would not answer. So by the time you had the question translated to Japanese in your head, the tutorial had ended.

The next most quotable line was made famous by me actually. It was during Japanese history lecture, taught by Dr Yung (from Hong Kong) in English. I was conscientiously taking down notes and I had one statement that went:

"The emperor was on the phone for a 100 years..."

My notes were borrowed and copied by five other students who also had "the emperor was on the phone for a 100 years..."

We had a very good laugh over this... to be on the throne for a 100 years is quite a feat, what more on the phone!

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