“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
I was an American in Japan, trying out my new language skills. So when I saw a young mother cradling her infant, I was delighted to be able to point to her child and say, kawaii, or “cute.” Much to her (and my!) distress, though, the word came out wrong, and instead I said kawaiiso, meaning “how pitiful!”
For Love of Country
I was visiting my French boyfriend in his native country, and while his brother was friendly, his brother’s girlfriend seemed incredibly jealous. Matters didn’t improve when my boyfriend’s brother asked me, in English, how I liked France. Wanting to impress him with my respect for his country—and my grasp of French—I answered, Je t’aime. The brother turned red, the girlfriend stormed off, and it was only after my boyfriend stopped laughing that I learned I had answered, “I love you,” rather than “I love it.”
Open Door Policy
While attending a conference in Tokyo, my boss treated my colleagues and me to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Early in the evening, I excused myself to use the small restroom. After finishing, I tried to open the door but it was sticking. So I gave it a firm push—and it fell straight into the restaurant, crashing right in front of my startled boss. It was a sliding door.
Are you having a bad err day? Or are you always good for a gaffe?