When you live in another country for many years, you naturally pick up the values of the people around you. That’s part of why I’ve come to respect the concept of kinben (diligence and hard work) a lot, and why I probably obsess more about cleanliness than I might have before I came to live here. I’ve also picked up another habit: making bad jokes in Japanese called dajare, which are common among middle-aged guys over the age of 35 or so. The other day I ate at a restaurant that featured all-you-can-eat freshly baked bread (pan in Japanese), and afterwards I was compelled to say onaka pan-pan (“pan pan” being the sound of a person slapping their bursting stomach indicating they’re full). Or my observation that the Pyramids in Egypt are giza giza, which means “zig-zag” in Japanese, funny (?) because of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Or when my wife said she couldn’t drive my standard transmission car (referred to with the English word “mission”), so I observed she was “Mission: Impossible.” These jokes seem to waft up from my subconscious brain without any awareness on my part. You should hear my family groan.
I make bad jokes in Japanese, like “mission: impossible.”