Take off

Good Evening, Good Morning, Good Night. Where ever you maybe this is my blog for my year abroad in Japan. So far I've been in Japan for 5 days so to catch you up on things I have some excerpts from my written journal that I'll share. This is from inside the plane from Taipei to Japan with a little editing.

I'm about an hour outside of Japan watching some advert-travel television. Its amazing to hear the announcers on the plane giving instructions in four different languages. For the multilingual its a lot of repeated nonsense. Its strange also how sometimes one language is left out. In the safety instruction video the voice is Chinese with English subtitles but what about the Japanese? All they get is a message at the end that says look in the safety instruction booklet please. I'm constantly taken aback by the Stewards switching between languages with ease. It always throws me off as I try and listen intently to the Chinese and suddenly hear a much harsher understandable voice in English. My reaction is a simple head nod and a smile. Many of the passengers I've met know English as well. I overheard one student talking about how bad her English was very articulately (ahhh... modesty a fleeting American concept, so polite and yet so deceiving). Reality has again left me awe struck at how global this language has become. From airports to train stations to random television advertisements, English has seemed to sneak its way into everything. The international flight seems to be a special place where languages are constantly being juggled to satisfy everyone. Not only language but units of measurement. Looking at the overhead bins I noticed they had weight limit in kilograms and pounds. All of this is amazing and international but all I can think about is how the hell are the English units system sticking around and being used on this plane? Was there some kind of accident where somebody confused kilograms with pounds and they had to rewrite everything to include both? Is the metric system that hard? I look to see the stats for how much farther we have to go and it reads 300km. How far is that??? Luckily they have this information in miles too.

To note I think the idea of having multiple languages on board is great but it ends up being hierarchical with Chinese being the main language obviously on China Airlines flight. I have no beef with the metric system, in fact I wish it were taught and used more in schools. Oh yeah I'm in Japan lets get to that...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I am anxious to get a young American's view of Japan, and you are a good writer, so this will be fun to tag along.