Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Losto in translationo Part 2 - A day in the life of ....

It couldn’t be my alarm clock already !!!!

I'd hardly shut my eyes.. The persistent weird tune woke me from my dreamfilled stupor !!
Reluctantly, I pressed the pause button on the dream i was seeing and semi-opened my eyes. The clock was showing 3am.. After a few seconds of absolute incomprehension i figured it must be the phone. Now who could be calling me at this time? I hunt for the phone from the 6-7 similar shaped devices on the table lying on the table …TV remote, AC remote, bar of soap, Beer Can….and then I remember phone had a cradle. I pick it up.

" Hello??"

The caller " something in Rapid Japanese"

I said "Sorry wrong number" and kept the phone.

I lay down again on my bed and pressed, "Play" on the dream sequence. Too good to last. The phone rings again. Muttering under my breath I cut the call, remove it off the cradle and go back to bed. Almost immediately it rang again.

Lesson Learned - No point removing a cordless phone off its cradle!!!!

"Hello??" i ask politely while gritting my teeth. The caller " Something in even more Rapid Japanese" but i catch something like Sandeepo san, plocesso and something called OC-aah.

It slowly dawns on me- the guy is looking for someone in Tech Support for some OCR process. Having been in Investment Banking Ops earlier I understood the predicament of someone looking for Tech Support guy in the face of a huge crisis. This could be important. This might cause a major crisis in the Stock Markets tomorrow. A company might go bankrupt. People might lose jobs. All because some payment did not go thru and this couldn’t be prevented because the Tech Support guy couldn’t be reached at the given number. I could not live with such guilt for the rest of my life!! But what can a Business Consultant do for Tech Support? The person he was looking for would have been staying in my apt earlier and they had the number in the emergency contact list.

Ok, I figured out so much, but how do I convey this? I remembered the Japanese word for Phone number was Bango. So i tried the best Japanese I could manage "Wrongo bango. Sandeepo san doesnt stay here any moro."

The caller " something in bewildered Rapid Japanese ???"

Me "This is a Hoter-o ( I hope that would mean a hotel) . I stay hereo . My roomo. Sandeepo sano no stayo. Manassilayodo?- that last part in my mothertongue ;-)

I slammed the phone this time. Didnt care about any company going bankrupt. My sleepo is more importanto .

But I dont get sleep for another hour now. The phone rings a couple of times more but I dont pick the phone. My sleep is really screwed up. But at 7am, the merciless alarmclock wakes me up. I'm as groggy as a punchdrunk boxer after 9 rounds of fighting, but somehow drag myself to get out of bed and go to office.


It's a five minutes walk to the Osaki station. Then catch the Rinkai line. The rush hour is at 8-8:30 am range - and though its not exactly Virar fast (Mumbaiites can relate to this) the rush is pretty bad. I go at 8:45 to strategically avoid the rush. People do queue up at times to board a train and allow people to get out first (Mumbaiites cannot relate to this ;-) ). Tennozu Isle (Tennnnn -Oh- zoooo Airu -as per the announcements) wher my office is at, is on area reclaimed from the sea. I'm sleepy thru out the day...
I was determined to find a solution to the “Tech Support Issue”. I met my "Japanese language expert" friend at the cafeteria. Asked him how to “politely” say "You have a wrong number" in Japanese. "Thats simple" He responded. You say "..................................................................................."He completed a sentence that took around two and a half minutes to complete. I gave up. I'd rather learn Tech Support than learn that by heart. "Ok, how do i say that without being particularly polite??" - politeness be damned!

“Hmm, you can say Chi-gao denwa bango” he said.

Good, short and sweet! That I can remember!
Getting out of the office happens only around 8pm. My walk to Shinagawa station passes thru 2 bridges across the canal providing a picturesque view of the skyscrapers around. Shinagawa station is really huge, something like Grand Central NY according to my NY returned friend. Aa huge structure with several platforms, shops and restaurants. There’s even a Nepali run Indian restaurant at the station called Sitar. Of course, with my amazing cooking skills I don’t need to rely on any Nepali for an evening meal. So I walk on.

My journey back from office takes exactly 35 minutes. I reach home. Dear readers; this abode of mine, is a sterling example of space optimization. I’ll tell you how this works. Take an average sized PVC pipe. Divide its interior into a “Barbie doll accessories set-size” Kitchen, Bedroom, Shower and Loo.. Install a TV, DVD player, Microwave, fax machine, Washing Machine and dryer in the remaining space – and voila! You have my apartment. Space becomes a issue if you are trying to cook. Storage space is premium and flat surfaces tend to attract stuff. So, what if the pickles jar is on the Fax machine and the Rice cooker on the Washing machine? What if the cornflakes packets line the outside of the Shower room wall? This is a pretty comfortable home for me now.

I switch on the TV and surf the channels. The govt channels are some 11 in number, predictably only Japanese. In fact, even with Cable TV there are only a few in English. However, there are 4 channels, which show English movies, sometimes Japanese dubbed but not always. However, trailers are always in Japanase. In the last month, I’ve seen several Horrywuddu movies such as Dai Hardo, Joorasic Parko and Waaaird Waaaird Westo. Also there’s CNN and BBC to quote the latest tally from Iraq. MTV seems to have 99% Japanese content with some hiphop thrown in at some time. As the soulful Love songs in Japanese pregnant with feelings and emotions are lost on me, I go check out the Sports channels. Baseball, Basketball, Golf and American Football. Got to work out something by the time World Cup starts in March. Here is a country totally Americanized sports wise.

Well, but then you have the Internet for entertainment. A lightning fast connection is something you appreciate if you have waited hours for a download via a BSNL line. The advantage? Streaming content – without much buffering. Youtube has most of the KBC 3 episodes uploaded so managed to catch up on those. Also most Indian Hindi channels are streamed online so that no Software engineer’s wife would miss her daily dose of the Saas bahu capers.. Also, the news channels such as CNN-IBN, NDTV, and Times Now have streamed content so that you can track what is the latest on Abhishek and Aishwarya.

I fix up my dinner- Japanese salmon fried in specially imported Kerala Fish Masala . Awesome!! I salute my own cooking skills, then call wife to report on the success of the same (I ‘ve to keep this on for another month before she joins me here). I check my blog; comment on a few others and go to bed.

2:30 am…..Dejavu! The phone rings. It is the one for Sandeepo san. I almost forget my lines. “Chiii-……….errrr???? “gooo” What was it??"

I manage to remember in the nick of time

“CHI - GAVO DENWA BANGO!!!” I shout it into the phone triumphantly.

”Oh, I hav the wlong number??” he replies…. in English.

I slam the phone….

PS: Sandeepo san, whoever you are - if you are reading this- please update your contact number at your company

PPS: If any of you know any Sandeep or anyone who might call himself Sandeepo when in Tokyo, (u never know) ask him to do the above urgently.

PPPS: This was just a weekday. Await more travelogues on my weekend trips


Twilight Fairy said...

aah flaash san.. the word I needed to use most often in tokyo was sorry/excuse me (sumima san) - either to say sorry because I didnt understand them or to move them out of the way when I would be running to catch a rushing train and ppl wd just not budge.

If nothing else fits.. use this. :)

flaashgordon said...

@Twilight:thnx !! btw thts sumimasen !!And if u dont understand u can say "moichido itte kudasai" (repeat it plz)- but then that doesnt stop hm from callin agn :-((

Twilight fairy said...

Yeah ...sumimasen it is.. I did think it might be exactly that..but then as u know "sorry jee" also sounds equally possible with "san" :p :)

DD said...

"Manassilayodo" ROTFL! Awesoem post!

mathew said...

ayyo chiricho maricho..tokyo adicho policho aano!!! :-P

I can understand ur predicament because I face almost similar situations with a different language though!!

I have heard stories that space is hard to come by in Tokyo and u feel like staying in a space ship...

by the way I kill time by the watching the countless malayalam movies in youtube...

and in the mean time enjoy ur meeno poricho!!

silverine said...


This is a Hoter-o ( I hope that would mean a hotel) . I stay hereo . My roomo. Sandeepo sano no stayo. Manassilayodo? ROTFLMAO

”Oh, I hav the wlong number??” he replies…. in English.

That was too good!!!

Anonymous said...

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mythalez said...

lol .... well the japanese r interesting ppl ;)

flaashgordon said...

@twilight:ok, will try sorry jee next time :-)

@dd :thnxx maashe, keep visiting :-)

@matthew: Space ship- tho there's neither space , nor ship. btw does utube have mallu movies entirely??i thot only smaller clips.do mail me at flaashgordon@gmail.com

@silverine:thxx ma'am. looks like funny incidents just follow me

@pooja: thanx ma'amo! keepo visitingo

@mythalez: sure they are. But more so are us Indians, believe me

Mishmash ! said...

".....”Oh, I hav the wlong number??” he replies…. in English."

Is it really true that japanese cant pronounce "R" and instead they say "l"..like "blake" for "brake"...i remember seeing some movie, i think it was 'crash', not sure though.


Sandeep Pai said...

Awesome posto :-) .... Thankfully am not in your place...I know a namesake in Tokyo and will definitely convey your mesg over to him. Wishing you some sleepy nites ...

Sandeep [:o)]

flaashgordon said...

@Mishmash: the Japanese dont have either r or l sounds in their language actually- those are often pronounced interchangingly :-))I think in Crash, the woman driver was Chinese

@ Sandeeposan: Hope its not u they were lookin for. Did u just come back from Tokyo by any chance? Must be ur friend Sandeepo then

naveen said...

Hey...try "Sayanora.."Soft Sayanora is polite... harsh Sayanora means..."Get Lost".. Else just speak in Malayalam... There can't possibly a place in world where you can't meet a mallu...rite??

flaashgordon said...

@naveen: yeah !! Simple sayanora,will do? would try that sometime :-))

venus said...

this was HILARIOUS !!
I'm laughing alone sitting in 5 ft high walled cube alone :)
did any of your p/pp/ppp script calls get answered yet?!?

Supremus said...

HAHhAHAha! The ending was a clincher. Sigh, Japan. Japan hi rahega!


junoesque said...


LOVED this one..please do throw in some pix of yr PVC pipe sized abode...i did find an indian restaurant run by a bangladeshi, in the byelanes of tamachi...playing "ek pyaar ka naghma hai" in the quiet japanese night..was surreal hearing it from a distance..to say the least..

Ravi Ananthan said...

hilarious! :)

manuscrypts said...

sorry, nothing to do with the post, but Nav arch in cochin would have to be cusat, right? when?

Kusum said...

lol, this waso hilariouso!

flaashgordon said...

venus: thnxx ma'am ..well no pps got answered but then i mailed the apt mgmt and asked them to find sandeepo san. they confrmed he'd been stayin earlier. They've mailed him abt the issue i guess. Hope for the best :-))

supremus: hehe thanxx boss

junoesque:yeah, guess i shud add some snaps now. And yeah tht song tht time and place mustve felt great. most indian restaurants here are owned by bangladeshis or nepalis :-)

manuscripts: u got me !!the place is right. When ? well i cud say , my previous life ;-)

Kusum: thnxxo. finally u did commento :-))

Rajesh Mohan said...

was waiting for ur new post naveen..
expecting more..

Synapse said...

post ugrananello!

flaashgordon said...

@rajesh: thnxx man. keep visiting

@synapse: do keep visting. ive checkd a few posts in ur blog too..do write more the med coll days

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