Gaijin Smash

Not Your Mother’s Bingo

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on November 15, 2005

Because you love her.
One day, I was talking to Ms. Americanized in the teachers’ room. I have a Japanese language test coming up pretty soon, so I’m kind of concerned about it now. She was telling me how it’s good to use the media to help with language practice. I said I wish I could do that, but I hate Japanese TV with a fiery, burning passion so it does me no good. She said, “Well, watching American TV helps me a lot, I can learn a lot of really useful things.” I asked her what American TV shows did she watch.
“Oh, I love Sex and the City.” She says.
I wouldn’t call it surprising, not by a long shot, I still found it to be hilarious though. She noticed my reaction. “What? That show has taught me a lot of really good things, not just about the English language, but the culture as well. Sex and the City is my bible.” And if I wasn’t floored before, now I definitely was. “Oh no, don’t do that!” I said. “That’s only a small slice of what America’s like.” She realized what I was getting at. “Oh, I’m not talking about the dirty stuff. You know Carrie is a writer, right? Well, when she’s writing on her typewriter, she uses a lot of colloquialisms and American sayings, things like that. So, I hear things I’m not familiar with, then I look them up and I learn something new.” Oh! Well, that’s actually pretty good. Wonderful actually. I told her this. And once again, Ms. Americanized showed me that as usual, she was capable of upping the ante.
“And the dirty stuff is good too. Hey, you never know when you might need it.”
I have decided that when I do leave this country, I’m taking her with me.
And don’t even THINK of sending me another “You should hook up with Ms. Americanized!” email (fastest way to ensure your email gets deleted). She’s seeing someone. Not me, for the record.


In Japanese schools, bingo is a pretty popular game to play, especially among the younger students. Give them a blank grid and let them fill in English words from a pre-selected list. Then read off the words in random order and the first person to line up 4 or 5 words in a row is the winner. The winner gets stickers or extra class points or a tender loving kick to the ass, whatever strikes our fancy that day.
Whenever a student is one word away from hitting a bingo, he or she will call out “reach!” I’ve heard that this is from Go, something you call out when you’re one move away from victory. Of course, in a Japanese accent, “reach” becomes “ri-chi”, and that sounds very terribly similar to a not-so-nice English word.
I was playing bingo with Ms. Americanized in an ichinensei class. So of course, students were calling out “Sensei! Ri-chi! Ri-chi!” as victory drew closer. In the two plus years I’ve been here, I have not gotten used to that and I don’t think I ever will. Realizing that Ms. Americanized is one of a select few of Japanese English teacher who would actually understand, I decided to talk to her after class about it.
Me: You know, every time we play bingo I always get a little weirded out.”ri-chi” sounds a lot like “bitch”.
Her: (thinking about it) Yeah, it does, doesn’t it!
Me: Yeah, so I can never get used to hearing that, especially from 12-year old Japanese kids.
Her: “Teacher, I’ve got a bitch!”
Me: “Double bitch!”
Her: “Triple bitch!” I told you Japan was fucked up, didn’t I?
One day, her words of wisdom should be immortalized in stone.

Advertisements

37 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 7:04 am

    It seems to me that your posts are becoming shorter and more difficult to see humor in. I don’t pretend to be fluent in Japanese, but I’m not unfamiliar.
    Reach sounding like ri-chi when pronounced by a Japanese kid I can understand… but I have absolutely no idea how you could mentally twist the sound into “Bitch” I doubt even the Russians could turn and R into a B, and they thought communism was a good idea.

  2. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 7:04 am

    It seems to me that your posts are becoming shorter and more difficult to see humor in. I don’t pretend to be fluent in Japanese, but I’m not unfamiliar.
    Reach sounding like ri-chi when pronounced by a Japanese kid I can understand… but I have absolutely no idea how you could mentally twist the sound into “Bitch” I doubt even the Russians could turn and R into a B, and they thought communism was a good idea.

  3. Kerii-chan said, on November 29, 2006 at 7:16 am

    *dying laughing* XDDDD

  4. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 8:58 am

    rick james richi

  5. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 8:58 am

    rick james richi

  6. Arydrall said, on November 29, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Might be from a game, but in Go there shouldn’t be a term called ri-chi. Now, when you’re about to capture a stone, they typically call out ‘atari’ (like the video game company), which will mean one move away from capture.
    Interesting. 😀

  7. Zantetsu said, on November 29, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Agreed, if Japanese can destroy the stereotype of being narrow-minded to western culture she’s the chosen messiah for the job.

  8. Ceres said, on November 29, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Hey there,
    I don’t think Riichi comes from Go. Riichi is from japanese mahjong. You declare Riichi when you’re one tile away from completing your hand, which could also be called as Ten Pai.
    Maybe you should play mahjong sometimes with your collegues, could be entertaining.
    Greets,

  9. Gabe said, on November 29, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    I’m the Jugganaut, Ri-chi!

  10. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    i always thought my kids were saying “ichi”

  11. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    i always thought my kids were saying “ichi”

  12. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    yes, why aren’t you constantly entertaining us!?

  13. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    yes, why aren’t you constantly entertaining us!?

  14. Eric said, on November 29, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Yeah I know how it feels. In High school we had a Korean Spanish teacher. She was trying to get this one girl in class to tell her what beach was in Spanish. So she walks up to her taps on the desk and just starts saying bitch, bitch, bitch! We all got floored! It was even funnier when she offered you a sheet of paper.

  15. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    To the first anonymous: I can understand how he can get the R to sound like B. I took Japanese for two years and quite often when the teacher said something with an R it sounded like a D or a B to me…. oh, and by the way, Communism is a good idea in THEORY, but not at all good in practice. The idea of everyone being equal is quite a good one, don’t you agree?
    Ok, sorry about that, I just had to rant a little. Anyway. Awesome again. Hilarious.

  16. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    To the first anonymous: I can understand how he can get the R to sound like B. I took Japanese for two years and quite often when the teacher said something with an R it sounded like a D or a B to me…. oh, and by the way, Communism is a good idea in THEORY, but not at all good in practice. The idea of everyone being equal is quite a good one, don’t you agree?
    Ok, sorry about that, I just had to rant a little. Anyway. Awesome again. Hilarious.

  17. Gennai said, on November 29, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    Ya know, I’ve always wondered this bcuz maybe I missed something in your past writingsm why do you call Her Mr. Americanized when she should be called Mrs. Americanized?
    (Az’s Note: I think you meant Ms. Americanized, and she’s not actually married, which is why she isn’t Mrs. Americanized.)

  18. Saiyanka said, on November 29, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    You should hook up with Her ;]

  19. Richard said, on November 29, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    God Bless Japan!

  20. Mr. Bomberman said, on November 29, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    Another nice post, my man!

  21. Neil said, on November 29, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    I coulda sworn it once said “B-ichi” for “one away from Bingo”. Maybe it has been this long since I read the original article when it came out?

  22. Zenthor said, on November 29, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    No, it’s not B-ichi. The only reason why I know that it IS reach is from Dragon Quest 8.
    I am a nerd.

  23. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    from first anonymous:
    thanks 5th anonymous for the clarification, and you’re thinking of socialism, which is actually a very noble ideal. Socialism is when the people who are in a higher social position willingly re-appopriate thier wealth for the good of the people. Communism takes everything from everyone and re-appropriates it for the good of the government or party.

  24. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    from first anonymous:
    thanks 5th anonymous for the clarification, and you’re thinking of socialism, which is actually a very noble ideal. Socialism is when the people who are in a higher social position willingly re-appopriate thier wealth for the good of the people. Communism takes everything from everyone and re-appropriates it for the good of the government or party.

  25. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    It did used to say “B-ichi”~or something like that; anyways it was a B, not an R..I’m confused.

  26. Anonymous said, on November 29, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    It did used to say “B-ichi”~or something like that; anyways it was a B, not an R..I’m confused.

  27. Kata said, on November 29, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Yeah, it was originally Bingo-ichi goes to B-ichi. Why’d you change it, Az?

  28. Brodie said, on November 29, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Well I guess you’re lucky to have someone like Ms Americanized…Imagine the school without her…no one to relate to…you’d most likely go insane

  29. Azrael said, on November 29, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Well, obviously I changed it because it was wrong.

  30. HiEv said, on November 30, 2006 at 5:00 am

    Ceres had it right. It’s actually “riichi” from the Japanese version of mahjong, and it basically means that the next tile you use will be a win for you. Calling “riichi” gets you extra points if you win. See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahjong#Ready_hands
    It’s used quite a bit in the “life or death mahjong” games in the anime “Touhai Densetsu Akagi – Yami ni Maiorita Tensai” (“Akagi” for short.) See:
    http://anidb.info/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=3446

  31. Kelldroth said, on November 30, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    To Anonymous:
    I do not have time to explain to you the distinctions between socialism and communism (they are inter-related policies, one of economics, one of politics), but suffice to say, your definitions are utter bull shit. Do not speak of what you do not know, or others might reveal you for the fool you are. Take a basic political science course, then make your “enlightened” claims instead of throwing out elementary school propaganda as truth.
    To everyone else, good day and great work as always Az!

  32. Kosetsu said, on December 1, 2006 at 7:30 am

    Well, damn. Everyone made all the MahJong corrections on this entry while I was studying up for exams.
    Oh, well. I still have something to add: why and/or how did your kids, who are only in Middle Schoolers, learn a moderate-skill level gambling term from a game played typically played by 45+ yr. men and/or the Yakuza?

  33. Anonymous said, on December 3, 2006 at 11:38 am

    i think i know what he meant by “these words shall be forever engraved in stone”.
    Rest in Peace
    Here Lies
    Great Teacher Azrael
    “I told you Japan was fucked up, didn’t i?”

  34. Anonymous said, on December 3, 2006 at 11:38 am

    i think i know what he meant by “these words shall be forever engraved in stone”.
    Rest in Peace
    Here Lies
    Great Teacher Azrael
    “I told you Japan was fucked up, didn’t i?”

  35. anonymous said, on December 5, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    You should hook up with her. Who cares if she has a boyfriend? It’s her who decides who *she* wants to be with.. not you.

  36. katiiis said, on December 8, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    So the title of this and the fact that you’re from SF makes me suspect you’ve been to Bada Bingo with the Sisters on Eureka- of course, I could be wrong.
    The real point- I was recently directed to your site for afternoon amusement on slow days, I notice that all of these seem to be repeats of older entries, does this mean you are no longer in the JET program and are back in America or have you signed on for a new stint and will be coming out with horrifyingly funny new stories regularly?

  37. Runs With Scissors said, on January 2, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    hah. I like the ongoing hiss fest about communism and socialism. such heated passions people! lol ^___^


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: