Home > Focus on Japan 2003 > Onaka ga Ippai… or Whatever

Onaka ga Ippai… or Whatever

July 8th, 2003

Another language story: during the same homestay I mentioned in the Batman story, I was having lunch with my host mother and several of her friends–four middle-aged, kindly mothers living in a small, countryside town.

Upon finishing lunch, I wanted to say “onaka ga ippai,” or “my stomach is full,” a traditional statement indicating that the meal was enjoyable.

But I mistakenly transposed the initial vowels for the two main words in that sentence, and said “inaka ga oppai.” That roughly translates to “the countryside has breasts.”

Everyone started laughing aloud, and I had to ask someone to explain to me what I had said. At least I learned new vocabulary from it. I had never heard the word “inaka” (countryside) before.

Side note: my host mother had a pot holder in her kitchen that read “Joy Joy Cock.” (In Japanese, for some reason, the word “cook” is borrowed from English, but is pronounced closer to “cock” than “cook.” Why, I have no idea.)

Categories: Focus on Japan 2003 Tags: by
  1. September 21st, 2009 at 09:31 | #1

    I made this same error once when I lived in Japan. It was nice to have another laugh over it…

Comments are closed.