May 4, 2008

Why my hashi are not your hashi

My hashi: chopsticks one takes with them to eating establishments to avoid using disposable ones and thus give the environment a break.

My hashi is a Japanese term. At first I was very happy that everyone seemed to be using English when I pulled mine out. "O! Mai hashi!" they would say, and praise my environmentalness--I even got a couple Japanese people in on the whole taking hashi around thing. And a trend seemed to be sweeping the nation: not of actually using the things, but at least knowing the word "my." The English teacher in me was cheered.

After a while, I started to catch on that the meaning of "my" had been lost on the general populace, despite it being a very basic word taught in 7th grade. "Oh! Clay! My car?" they would say as I got out of a vehicle.
"Uh, yes." I would say.
"Oh! My home, Clayton?"
"Well it's my home..."
"Clayton! My jitensha?"
"No, that's mine. Do you see? Mine. Not yours. My bike. Not my bike. D'oh...."

And so life has become a bit of a "who's on first" joke in this county.
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The true cause of the "my hashi" boom: