Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Never Fails

So this actually happened back in February, but I forgot to add it to the blog until now.

I was getting dressed in the locker room at the gym one day, and a man came up to me and asked, in English, "Are you American?" to which I responded, "Yes I am."

Then he asked me in English, "How long you in China?"

At that point I responded to him in Chinese, "Wo shi qu nian shi yue lai de" ("I arrived last year in October")

However, after I said this, he looked like he didn't understand me, which made me start worrying: Did I say a wrong word? Did I use the wrong tone?

Anyways, I said it again, in Chinese, a bit more slowly and deliberately, to make sure that I said it correctly, but he still didn't seem to understand me.

At that point I asked him, "Wo shuo cuo le ma?" meaning "Did I say it incorrectly?"

He looked as if he still didn't understand me, and when I was about to say something again, he said to me in English, "I don't know much Chinese, I am Japanese."

Apparently he was just a Japanese businessman doing business in Huzhou. :$


  1. They all look the same to me too. Call me when you get a second. Doesn't really matter what time it is here.


  2. now that is humorous right there. And if YOU can't tell any difference, the rest of us Americans are forever clueless! Ha.

  3. Most of the time I can tell, but sometimes I can not.

    Guess you can not tell the difference between minorities. I can with some, but I don't know which is which. When my French/American friend met me and my wife, after a while he asked her, "are you Hui Chinese?", to which she responded yes.:

  4. Oops, I left out the part about Hui Chinese being indistinguishable from Han Chinese, besides religion. Even my wife does not know how he knew it. And we never discussed religion with him or his wife, ever.