In the event of non-fluency, panic

There’s an ad on the Tokyo subway for the well-known Berlitz language school that I love:

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Paraphrased: “You’re in a meeting in English, you’re asked for an opposing opinion but all you can get out is a single word – ‘Yes'”.

I love this ad for two reasons.  The first is that this is largely expresses how I feel in a lot of meetings in Japanese. (Record meeting time to date: six hours).

Secondly: just look at those nasty-looking English speakers!  I can’t remember the last time I saw such a great collection of yuppie scum.

I am imagining the guy on the right saying any line from Patrick Bateman in American Psycho with utter authenticity: “Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!”.  The guy next to him is even better, like a yuppie scum version of Dave Spade.  He looks like he’s just finished saying “That’s it non-English speaker, I’m going to go to my car, get my baseball bat and teach you to waste our precious company time once and for all.”

If any of the guys who were in this ad happen to be reading this, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that you look like yuppie scum.  Maybe it’s just a lighting thing.

I think I like the video version even more (with bonus visual metaphor!):

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2 thoughts on “In the event of non-fluency, panic

  1. You totally beat me to posting on those awesome ads. Berlitz has the most direct, but I feel like all the companies have similar themes- learn English or you’ll こまる big-time.

  2. “Yes” seemed like the appropriate answer in that situation anyway. These Berlitz schools have the right idea here. You don’t need the correct answer, just an answer that makes you seem enigmatic. eg:
    Some guy: “Excuse me, can you please tell me the time?”
    Berlize student: “Yes.”

    Perfect.

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