Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Let's Learn Japanese: Mai Buumu

Mai buumu ("my boom") is a corrupt English phrase used by Japanese people to express something that one has started doing a lot recently, usually for recreation. If you have been spending an uncharacteristic amount of time at karaoke as of late, then you can say, "Saikin (recently), karaoke wa mai buumu desu." The only trouble with this phrase is that Japanese people often misuse the English word "my" to mean "one's own," which leads to all sorts of noun-pronoun disagreement:


Kare wa, mai kaa ga arimasu.

He has a "my car" (He has his own car).

As a result of this misunderstanding of the word "my," my students sometimes ask me strange questions like, "What is your 'my boom?'"

These days, my "my boom" is Taiko no Tatsujin, Namco's festive drum rhythm game. I've been banging the taiko on a casual basis since I moved to Japan, but this spring saw a marked increase in my efforts to become a tatsujin (master). I have been playing the arcade version of the game at various locations on a weekly basis for the past few months, enjoying its therapeutic effects on my mind and body. Pounding a big drum feels good, it turns out.

Two weeks ago I arrived early for a work shift in Gakugeidaigaku (try saying that five times fast...or just one time fast) and decided to kill some time by going to the arcade and playing my favorite Tatsujin song: the Difficult setting of "Super Mario Bros. Medley." I got through the whole thing without any mistakes -- in the industry, we call this a "full combo" -- and was told to enter my name, which I did most proudly.

Today I found myself with time to kill in the same neighborhood, so I decided to play the same song again. (There are only a few songs I can play on Difficult Mode without embarrassing myself...others include the "Mojipittan Medley" and "Polyrhythm" by Perfume.) I had to smile when I saw that my score from two weeks prior was still in the #1 spot for that song. Either I'm really good at that song, or I'm the only person who ever plays it at that particular arcade. Either premise is readily believable.

No comments: