The other day I went out to a seafood restaurant with my wife and daughter, who are visiting from Japan. As they looked to me to help them decide what to order from the menu, I discovered a strange linguistic gap in my brain: I was almost completely ignorant of fish names in English. My awakening as a lover of seafood occurred after I arrived in Japan, and as a result I could tell you the subtle differences between saba and hokke and aji, though I had no idea which was which was what on an English menu, and what we should order. Like all Japanese, my wife assumes that I know every word of English automatically because I’m a native speaker, and she can’t understand how gaps in my knowledge could be possible. In the end we got sushi and were very happy with it.
I learned to love fish in Japan, and I often don’t know fish names in English.