Hello, dear friends. Today is a special edition of Gaijin Gourmet especially designed for you foreign gentlemen living in Japan!
This article isn’t so much about where to eat, but about how to ask your potential date to go out to eat with you!
For many of us foreigners, when speaking Japanese, we have a bit of consternation with hearing and speaking vowels in Japanese.
For examples, “Let’s go out to eat?” and “Let’s go on a trip?” These are, respectively, “Tabe ni ikimashou ka?” (“Let’s go out to eat?” or more properly, “Do you want to go out to eat with me?”) and “Tabi ni ikimashou ka?” (Do you want to go on a trip with me?”)
Get it? “Do you want to go out to eat with me?” is “Tabe ni ikimashou ka?” but, “Do you want to go on a trip with me?” sounds almost exactly the same to the foreign ear; “Tabi ni ikimashou ka?”
“Tabe” is “eat.” “Tabi” is “trip.”
So, foreign guys living in Japan, we must be very careful with our pronunciation with this phrases.
If we are not careful to enuciate correctly, it sounds like we might be saying (to a girl or guy, your choice) “Let’s go on a trip” instead of “Let’s go out to eat.”
Seriously, long ago, I would call some girl and say to her, “Tabe ni iku?” (Thinking, “Let’s go drink beer and eat Yakitori.”)… But my pronunciation was bad, so it sounded like I said, “Tabi ni iku?” (“Let’s go on a trip!”)
She’d say, “OK. I’ll be over in an hour or so after I take a shower and get ready.”
I’d think, “What the hell??? We’re just going to eat Yakitori!….Why do you have to take a shower and get ready?”
Then, an hour and a half later (with me starving and dying for a drink) she’d show up at my door with a small suitcase and a bag and, looking confused, I’d say,
“Hey, why do you have a suitcase? You going somewhere?”
Sometimes, it seemed like those girls were mad at me or in a bad mood after that. I could never figure out why.
That’s a true story and I think it happened 3 or 4 times like that until one of my good friends (a guy) said I had to be careful with “Tabe” (eat) and “Tabi” (trip)….. (I was wondering why he showed up at my door with a suitcase! Yikes!)
Here, all this time I was asking these girls to go eat chicken on sticks and drink booze with me, but they were thinking we were going to some ritzy hotel for candle light dinner and, who knows, a marriage proposal?
I guess you might call this a, “PROBLEM IN COMMUNICATION.”
Anyway, if you ask a girl to go eat a bite and drink with you and she shows up at the door with a small suitcase, you’ll know either:
a) Your pronunciation needs serious work. or;
b) You have a new girlfriend.
That’s me, the Gaijin Gourmet, Mike Rogers, signing off!
This article inspired by my dear friend, Enrico Ciccu… Who asks girls to go on vacations with him all the time.
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