Though I was born in the States, my missionary parents brought me back to Japan when I was just four months old. (They had first come over in 1964 and I was what many missionary families referred to as a “furlough baby.”)
Hearing both Japanese and English all day, every day was normal growing up. My parents and brothers spoke both languages in the house. Media-wise, well, there was FEN (the Far East Network) which was for the military families living in the Kanto Area. Other times, my mother listened to Japanese radio shows. And the TV shows I watched were all in Japanese.
There were quite a few American TV shows on, too. Let’s see, to make a short list of a few…
- I Dream of Jeannie
- Gilligan’s Island
And all these characters on TV, (Gilligan, Jeannie, Samantha, Columbo, etc.) they ALL spoke Japanese, just like us.
Then we had to go to the States for my parent’s furlough. (I was all of four… I remember excitedly telling my friends in the neighborhood, “You know what? We’re going to America!!” After all, it was a foreign country to me.)
I recall sitting in front of the TV one day… my mom being the only other person at home and she was doing something in the kitchen. A rerun of Bewitched came on. Samantha appeared on the TV screen and she started talking to someone… IN ENGLISH!! I turned to my mother.
Me – “It’s wrong. Something’s wrong.”
Mom – “What’s wrong?”
Me – “Her voice is wrong.”
Mom – “Sweetie, this is what her REAL voice sounds like. We’re in America, so they’re all speaking English… this is the original sound.”
Me – “But it’s WRONG!”
Poor Mom… what else could she say, right? =)
Here’s a bit of what my world was like. If you understand Japanese, enjoy! Even if you don’t understand Japanese, it may be a little entertaining… or hope it is anyway! =)