A very "whoops" Japanese moment

There’s a guy who I met in a Discord server who loved all things Japan.

Sometimes he’d talk about the Japanese language, or about its puns, or about its artists. Perhaps he’d share his favourite anime and manga. He’s the type to announce his entrance with a friendly “Konnichiwa”, and the type to teach others about Japanese culture when he gets the opportunity to. He always shares his knowledge in English and in a simple manner so everyone in the chat could understand; I appreciate and respect him for that.

On a particularly boring day when this guy wasn’t online, I proposed that we play a game similar to Shiritori, but in English. Person 1 starts with a word, then Person 2 continues with a word that starts with the last two letters of Person 1’s word.

Pancake -> Kettle-> Leather, and it continues.

We played for twenty minutes or so. It was pretty darn fun and intense.

A few hours later, the Japanese-loving guy comes online. I told him that we played a game similar to Shiritori but in English, and he seemed interested. We played the same game together for a while.

“Hey, how about we actually play Shiritori in Japanese? I know a bot that has a Shiritori command. We could use that to regulate our game.” I suggested. He said he has never actually played Shiritori in Japanese before, so I figured it was a good opportunity for him to try it out.

So we did. We brought in the bot to a private server, and we started up a Shiritori game. My friend was to go first and say a word that starts with ち, after the bot said でぐち.

Silence.

Friend: WHAT
Me: Read what the bot says. “Next word starts with: …”
Friend: THIS IS IN WEEABOO
Me: Yeah

Me: oh.

And then I realized that he can’t read Kana.

Friend: I DONT SPEAK NIHONGO
Me: AHHHHHHH I’M SORRY

Friend: NEITHER OF US DO

And at this point, this was me.

He went and kicked the bot out of the server.

I ended up not telling him that I could read Kana because I didn’t want him to feel embarrassed, so I apologized and we started playing Shiritori in Romaji. He didn’t understand the rule where if you end with an n then you lose, and he made minor mistakes like continuing a word that ended with “tsu” with “su”, but it was pretty fun anyway. When I lost by saying “riron (理論)”, I accepted my defeat, but he said:

“Whatever, I’d continue. Idrc about winning as much as just learning new words”

So we continued like that, playing Shiritori in Romaji, and teaching each other new words.

The end.

P.S. A while later, I told him that Kana is pretty easy to learn compared to Kanji (which he said was a nightmare) and that he should go try it out. Perhaps we’d be playing Shiritori again in a week or so. :]

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This was a good clue to him not knowing kana :b


Let him know about Wanikani and Tofugu’s guides for Hiragana/Katakana! ^^

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Takes one to know one…

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Yikes.

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I feel like just by the way he was acting and what he talks about is enough of an indicator that he doesn’t actually know any meaningful Japanese, but hey i’m no social expert.

Y’Know

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Now that I think about it, not only kana, but 28 levels of kanji and vocab. :joy:

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@jprspereira @OhKieran

:joy: Yep, I don’t quite know how I didn’t see the flying red flags of him not being to read Kana. If I had to blame something, it’s because it was late at night and my brain wasn’t functioning properly. Or maybe I’m just that oblivious. Hopefully the former.

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Or maybe you just thought he was being considerate to people on there who might not know Japanese?

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I have just learned what Weeabo means. Is it the same as Otaku?

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Yes, but with more hate in your heart when you say it.

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Kind of? “Weeaboo” is known for being derogatory towards people who obsess over Japanese culture, or stereotypically, the people who speak in romaji, like: “ooo kawaii ^-^ senpai suki”, but it’s used in very many situations now, and some people use it to describe anything Japanese related.

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Aside from that, otaku(definition 5 in this case) is an actual Japanese word that sometimes can refer to people with obsessive interests in other areas too(or at least I’ve definitely seen it used that way), while people mostly just tend to use “weaboo” to refer derogatorily to people obsessed with Japanese stuff(in a way the person using it considers disrespectful, I think?) and it’s also not a Japanese word

Well, that’s how I’ve seen it used, anyway(not saying you don’t know that, but figured I’d add it since @emucat was asking for an explanation and it’s not really exactly the same thing)

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Yep, that’s what I believed and still believe. He really does sound like he knows his stuff when he talks about Japan, and I figured he truly wants to share his passion with everyone else. I still believe that, even knowing that he can’t read Japanese at all, which is also why I believe he’ll pick up Kana if I push him a little.

Then again, I’m still a bit confused as to how I didn’t consider he couldn’t read Kana because of what people pointed out before, plus:

a) I haven’t seen him ever use Kana or Kanji in any of his explanations whatsoever (he could’ve also encouraged other people to learn Kana), and now that I think about it,
b) He said that he has only ever played Shiritori in English, which is peculiar if someone as passionate about Japanese culture knew what Shiritori was.

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I’ve seen “weeaboo” and “weeb” used to refer derogatorily to anyone who has any interest in Japanese culture, especially anime, manga, even games. It’s actually so prevalent that people who hold those same interests call each other weebs derogatorily. It’s a meme already tbh


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I know a guy who watched over 10,000 anime episodes in Japanese with English subtitles and even claims to understand spoken Japanese but he can’t read a single kana and doesn’t even know how to read romaji. For example, he pronounces isekai as isekei. He can’t speak it either.

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Welp. If his reasoning for understanding spoken Japanese is that he can understand anime characters talk sometimes, then I’d be moderately to highly doubtful. Though, understanding spoken Japanese and being able to read are two entirely different things, so even if he can’t read and if he actually CAN understand, then good for him!

Maybe you could try and convince him to try out Kana so you have a buddy to learn with.

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It would be wonderful to have a buddy to learn with but sadly, he’s not interested in the language. He only likes anime.

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Ah, that’s a shame. I can relate to you too, since I’ve got friends like that as well.

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There once was a fellow from Philly
whose Japanese knowledge was eerie
But then I’m surprised
when I realised
he can’t play kana shiritori

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Beautiful, just like you.

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