For anyone who remembers Jeff “Pip” Hawley, from Residential Computing Connection at BGSU:
I remember him telling us that the Japanese exchange students nicknamed him Henna Gaijin, which he said meant crazy foreigner. It’s one of only two phrases I picked up from him that semester we were both Senior Lab Coordinators. The other one was “Nihongo o hanashimasen,” (although I believe it’s technically “wo,” but pronounced “o”?), which basically means “I don’t speak Japanese.” Not exactly the literal translation, but close enough.
Since back then, in the year 1999 or so, I’ve learned a few more phrases, and a little of how the language is structured, and a few bits of hiragana and katakana (I can recognize “n,” “to,” “ro,” “no,” and “shi,” from sheer repitition alone). I can introduce myself, and get into a knife fight with the Yakuza, and warn the locals that Gojira is coming. Being that I’m not going to Japan anytime soon, though, I’m not in a big hurry to actually learn the language, although it’s something I want to accomplish someday.
Although I can’t speak or read Japanese, that doesn’t keep me from totally digging on Japanese language and culture.