Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu – Happy New Year! I’ve been back in Japan for a week now after a very relaxing, though active holiday in Australia, and it was fantastic catching up with everyone I was able to see. After nine months living in Japan, it was also very valuable to take a step back and get some perspective and reflection on how the last year has gone, and to set a game plan for the next stretch.  Already, though, the Japanese-learning demons haunt me once again…

Some good news – I started the year with a win! As fans of Heroes will know, “yatta” means “I did it!”.  For the canonical lyrical reference to yatta, please also see the craziest music video about a word ever. In a sign of the times, my favourite Japanese translation website also translated “yatta” as “w00t”. I don’t know whether to cheer or cry.

So, on to what I was yatta-ing about. I recently ordered a copy of Presentation Zen from Amazon.co.jp. As luck would have it, when my book arrived this morning, I was out. And when you miss a package delivery, this is what you get in your letterbox instead:

Oh dear. The last time I got one of these, I got one of the guys at work to help me reschedule the delivery time. This time, however, it was the beginning of a long weekend in Japan, and I was pretty keen to get my book, so I gave it a shot and rang their phone number.

Of course, there’s no English option. Here’s how the conversation went.

Pleasant Automated Female Voice: Konopigo arpeggio Pelican Delivery Company burble murble bumble honored customer. Speekle splort input your mobile phone number please. [Silence]
Me: (Slightly relieved that it sounds like I got the phone number correct,  enter my phone number)
PAFV: Thank you. Mumble grackle confirm. (Reads my phone number back). Blurkle yes, press “sharpo” cabble. Blurkle no…
Me: (Presses the “sharp” (hash) key.)
PAFV: Hooble google gabble. Spackel input your quankle number please. [Silence]
Me: Err… (enters an important looking number on the delivery slip)
PAFV: Excuse me, hobble dobble bingle. Brangle doo. Rinka input again please. [Silence]
Me: Okay… (picks another important looking number)
PAFV: Thank you. Hooble gooble shooble. Rickle input your quijangle number please. [Silence]
Me: (Tries the first important-looking number again)
PAFV: Thank you. Wankle shamp gangleon blurn. One, today. Two, tomorrow, three…
Me: (1)
PAFV: Potify graqua drangla, time spackel makel bobble. 12:00 to 14:00, press…
Me: (I cheat and use the handy timetable provided on the docket.  At least I can read numbers.)
PAFV: Thank you. Bongle damgle yutter. Wera yuta kobina using chogo. [Disconnect].
Me: (Experiences a deep sense of uneasiness that I don’t know exactly what I just did, but I hope I didn’t order my book shredded or something).

Well, strike me down if I didn’t get a knock on my door at the appointed hour with the very book in question:

Hoora…. uh, w00t!

There’s nothing like moving to a foreign country with very foreign language to lower the “satisfying achievement” bar – often, to below ground level.

Now I’m off to read my book, whose delivery time I rescheduled all by myself, while drinking a drink whose name I cannot yet pronounce.


5 thoughts on “Yatta!

  1. I had that same yatta!/w00t! feeling the first time I managed to order a pizza to be delivered AND actually got what I wanted… Good times!

    How did nihongo no shorokushiken go???

    Rach x

  2. Bah! Stupid new workstation bookmark loss!

    I mean, hello again.

    I only just realised yesterday that I had been told that you would be in the country around/after/approximately at christmastime. That was the last I heard of it. 😦

    Now you’re back in japan. How am I supposed to taunt you about PointDexter when you’re in Japan?!

  3. 宅急便の受け取りができるようになったのなら、これで思う存分買い物できるね。


  4. @Rach: Hmm, the exam went… “okay”. We’ll find out in a few weeks, I guess. At least it was an excellent excuse to splash out on a Wii post-exam. Either way, just having the exam as a goal to shoot for served its purpose.

    Man, I can cushion failure like a bad-ass.

    @MDB: Yes, it was a pretty quick visit – I was planning to drop by and see everyone, but it didn’t quite pan out, unfortunately. I did get to have a most excellent Australian Sunday BBQ with Matt and Joel though. We ate steak and everything.

    Oh yes, and please tell me more about how you’re defiling the rotting corpse of my legacy! I am intrigued.

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