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editorials>>Pen-Pal Fun

During my 2001 work/study program in Japan, one of my supervisors and another student went on a day trip to an all-girls high school in Otsu city. Their job that day was to help the students write emails to pen-pals in Australia. The students were given a packet of papers that had english phrases that they could insert into their letters or use as examples, some of which are copied directly below...

  • I'm 185cm tall. I sometimes knock my head against the doorframes of Japanese houses because they're so low. I am, however, at an advantage on crowded trains.
  • I'm rather thin. So, my friends have given me the nickname "the bean sprout".
  • I wear my hair long even though I'm a man, just like a rock musician!
  • My hair is short, and sometimes I'm mistaken for a boy.
  • I like to wear my hair braided. I suppose I look like Anne of Green Gables?
  • One of my favorites--> I have completely smooth eyelids and my eyes are like slits. I don't like the way they look myself, but they say for an oriental it's all right.
  • Another good one--> Though Japanese are said to belong to the yellow race, I have a fair complexion.
  • I'm a round-faced girl. Maybe you'd call it a funny face. My friends say that my face has a familiar look to it.
  • It is impolite to write an unexpected letter; I hope you are not too surprised that I write this unexpected letter to you.
  • I live near the mountains, and perhaps for that reason I'm overwhelmed by the natural grandeur of the four seasons.
  • I'm called "Doctor bug" because I like insects so much. Someday, I want to go to the tropics, and collect lots of rare insects.

And many more....I was laughing pretty hard reading the worksheets that my supervisor brought back with her. Of course, you see this kind of stuff all over Japan, on store signs, clothing and commercial products--usually very amusing. For more interesting 'Engrish', go to!