Saturday, May 8, 2010


barabara, "fall in pieces".

In the first night with my students in Tokyo, some 12 of us went to a local restaurant where young students are major customers. Students were trying their limited language skills, and were excited for being treated politely such as かしこまりました. On the other hand, while expected to be divided into different tables, I was interested to know what word that the polite clerk would choose to express it, and was rather surprised to find out that ばらばらwas the one. I guess that this must be a situation that an employee manual failed to cover.

Eventually the clerk moved two couples to different tables and had our large group settled down in the same place. Her real treatment was far more polite than her word of choice to my mind.