One day, when I was teaching 5-5 in my Friday school, Miki stopped me and showed me a sheet of paper. Apparently they were English lyrics to some K-Pop song. It was impressive that she actually wrote the whole thing in English, even if she was just copying it. She then asked:
“Hey Diego! Can you translate this for me?”
“Translate? Into Japanese? No way.”
“No, no! Make it into katakana form so I can pronounce it!”
For those who don’t know, katakana is another form of the Japanese “alphabet” here. Katakana is only used when the Japanese borrow a foreign word, like “hamburger”. If you can read katakana, you can mostly understand what English counterpart the Japanese are trying to write, but sometimes it can be really confusing. It’s also a huge pain in the ass trying to “katakanize” an English word because you have to sound out the vowels and translate it according to Japanese vowels. Needless to say, it would’ve taken me forever to translate it.
“I don’t think I can. It’s impossible.”
“Whaaat? Come on…” Miki pouted and went back to her seat. For some reason, I felt kind of bad. I could translate it into katakana but it would just take me forever. However, I had plenty of time to do it in the staff room. So, the next week, I approached Miki:
“Hey, do you still have those lyrics?”
“Here, I’ll translate it for you.”
“What?? Really??? Awesome!!!” She got really excited, which made the trouble worth it. So for half of the day, I ended up translating the lyrics. Here’s her original copy:
And here’s my translation:
On the final day of class, I gave her both copies and she was ecstatic. I’d say it was a nice parting gift. Now no one can say I don’t do anything for my kids, nice or bratty!