Last weekend I went to the local home center to pick up some parts for a speaker system I was rewiring, and as I was on my way out I spied a stand selling taiyaki, the fish-shaped cakes which are beloved of many anime characters (uguu~). This taiyaki was special, though: in addition to the normal version with sweet anko beans inside, the stand offered one with melted camembert cheese, which I couldn’t resist. As I munched my unique Japanese/French treat I realized that I’d never come across camembert cheese before coming to Japan, and as a result I essentially learned the word in katakana, the Japanese syllabary used for expressing foreign words, making me unsure about how to pronounce it in English. There are other examples of this strange linguistic phenomenon: I had zero awareness of the Louis Vuitton brand before coming to Japan, and didn’t even know how to spell it, which caused roars of laughter from my wife, and all my knowledge of Indian food (which is popular here) came through Japanese, too. Isn’t language odd? (It’s even worse…we’ve got a French employee at J-List which makes me self-conscious about pronouncing any French-derived word…)
Taiyaki with melted camembert cheese inside? Score!