Tuesday, October 20, 2009


(PICTURE: A kamikaze pilot during WWII.)

I was talking to Paula's husband Yuya the other day and WWII came up. Yuya started to talk about Japanese fighter pilots who would commit suicide by smashing their planes into ships. I said, "Oh you mean kamikaze pilots." When I said kamikaze he started to laugh and asked me to repeat what I said. I said, "Kamikaze?" Again he started to laugh and said, "It is pronounced kami-kaze." I then said, "No, it's definitely pronounced kamikaze." It then dawned on me: I was telling a Japanese person how to say a Japanese word.

There are so many words in English that are really from other languages. It never actually occurred to me before that this wasn't an English word. The English teacher in me immediately wanted to correct his pronunciation...although I was clearly the one who needed to be corrected.