So, I remember as a youth that one of the phrases that reputedly featured in English/French phrase books was ” My postillion has been struck by lightning.”
How often would you have used it?
In James Thurber‘s 1937 New Yorker article “There’s No Place Like Home”, a phrasebook from “the era of Imperial Russia” contains the “magnificent” line: “Oh, dear, our postillion has been struck by lightning!”. Thurber speculates that such a “fantastic piece of disaster” must have been rare, “even in the days of the Czars”.
Er, so an expression that I came up with in Japanese class was “Watashi wa gasorinsutando gai sukidesu.” which you all know means “I love gas stations.”
This is true. The gas station experience here reaches a level of joy that is unimaginable to Europeans and most Americans. Check out:
How often would I be able to use this expression in day-to-day conversation?
So, today I am asked to greet a group of Okinawan business folk
whom are touring the university. At the last moment I am told that they represent the owners of the gas stations on the island!
I am half way through my greeting, in English with interpreter, when I realize I can use, “My postillion has been struck by lightning.”
I say “Watashi wa gasorinsutando gai sukidesu.” to great glee and amazement from listeners.
I can say little in Japanese and the odds against placing something as bats as “I love gas stations” in conversation must be huge.
But I did it!
Big thank you to Aya sensei
Er, I won’t go into the background to this photo but all in all it has been an unusual day.
All I get over here in Francophonia is endless jokes about “my tailor is rich” (thank you for that one Linguaphone) whenever I’m introduced.
Mike Taylor (not rich)
Dude, buy a sewing machine.