“If Burger King married Dairy Queen, their child would be Jack in the Box.” This bit of wisdom was uttered by my Japanese son one day when we were visiting the U.S., and it seemed like a very astute thing for a (then) eight-year-old to say. Every parent knows how creative children can be, making up nonsensical new words in ways adults never could, bound as we are by social norms and expectations. The cool thing is, when you learn a foreign language like Japanese, you get to be just as creative, as you twist your new language this way and that, exploring the boundaries just like children do. This “linguistic second childhood” is also useful as a defense when someone wants to know why you’re still watching Gundam or Macross or Evangelion at your age. Since I started learning Japanese in college in 1987, linguistically I’m still only 23 years old!
I’ll ignore the obvious In n’ Out joke.