It’s funny how wrong perceptions of other countries and languages can sometimes be, like the time I was asked if I could translate Vietnamese, with the idea being that since Japan and Vietnam are both in Asia, maybe the languages were similar. (They’re not.) Then there are people who think Spanish is spoken in Brazil (it’s Portuguese) or who say things like, “You’re Taiwanese? Do you still have family in Thailand?” While there’ll always be some confusion when dealing with other places — who among us hasn’t confused the Hindi and Urdu alphabet from time to time? — it’s important to interact with others with an open mind and fix these mistakes. The Japanese have their share of erroneous perceptions too. I once met a lady who asked me if we had McDonald’s in the U.S., and I taught English to a 6-year-old boy who believed that ninjas originated in the U.S. for some reason. (I was also asked in all seriousness if, because I have blue eyes, I perceived the world with a blue tint.) In the K-On! Movie, the girls of the Light Music Club plan a trip to the U.K., and I love the scene where Yui says, “No silly, we’re not going to England. We’re going to London.”
Mistaken perceptions of other countries are all too easy.