Samantha speaks English?!!

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
  • Bewitched
  • Combat
  • Columbo
  • Kojak

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!  =)

I Dream of Jeannie


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. keith
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 04:50:31

    Very funny but understandable. I never watched ‘I Dream of Jeannie” in Japan, but i do know that I can’t watch Moomin in English, or any other Japanese show. It has to be in Japanese, because the dubbing is just wrong. Even if I don’t know what the original voices sound like, i can tell that it isn’t right. 😉

    I think the most confusing for me was “Little House on the Prairie” as we first started watching it in Japan.


    • Birdie
      Feb 05, 2012 @ 21:12:12

      I’m with you on all counts!! Watching Japanese cartoons dubbed in English… well, they’re just… strange! Isn’t that funny though? You’d think it wouldn’t make much difference, but I guess for us it does, ne?

      Must admit though… the first time I heard Papa Ingalls’ voice (Michael Landon), it gave me the warm fuzzies! (^^)


  2. keith
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 14:29:51

    I agree about Papa Ingalls voice. The worst thing is the Miyazaki films because I can’t watch them in English – even though i don’t know the voices, visually I need the Japanese language to be heard while looking at the scenery and such. Even a movie like Kiki’s Delivery Service – the background is so Japanese to me, the hills, the grass, etc – I have to watch in Japanese. And don’t even get me started on Lupin III (which I have to say Lupin San-sei, not Lupin the third.) 😉


    • Birdie
      Feb 23, 2012 @ 17:13:42

      Wakaru, wakaru! I was at a friend’s house and they put in Totoro… in English. It was like, “NO~~~~! This is not right!!” 🙂 Guess it’s difficult though to watch it in Japanese with English subtitles if little ones are watching, too, ne? BTW, have you ever been interested in vocal work/vocal acting? Seems like you’d be good at it.


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