Posts Tagged international cursing

May 14, 2004 – The worst word I know

Tonight I went to Hobgoblin pub in Shibuya. It is a pretty cool pub with a wide selection of food and drink. Everything is bilingual so it is popular among foreigners.

During the evening I was talking to different people in the crowd. An attractive young Japanese woman started talking to me in English. Let’s call her Keiko for the sake of the story. Keiko and I were discussing studying languages and noticed that usually the first words people want to learn in a new language are the “bad” words. She had an impressive knowledge of English curse words. I told her that I knew a few good ones in Japanese as well. She asked me to tell her the worst word I knew in Japanese.

Some time prior to this, The Penpal and I had the “what are the bad words in your language” conversation. We went through the usual ones, and then she taught me an absolute shocker. This particular word is not commonly heard anywhere, and is extremely rude.

I told Keiko that I knew a really, really bad word, but didn’t want to tell her what it was. This made her more curious. I tried to back out and tell her that she would likely be offended by the word. Keiko assured me that she wouldn’t be offended. I tried to change the subject. This make Keiko even more determined, and insisted that I tell her the word.

At this point I thought “why not”, leaned in and said the word into her ear. She instantly looked shocked, not just regular shocked, but shocked like someone had just slapped her grandmother.

“WHERE DID YOU LEARN THAT WORD!?” she asked incredulously. I told her that a Japanese friend had taught me the word. She still couldn’t believe that I had the nerve to say the word, and found the next excuse to leave the conversation.

To all of the travelers and language exchangers out there: when someone asks you to say the worst word you know in their language, don’t. Also, if you insist that someone tell you the worst word they know, don’t be shocked when it is worse than you expected.

No, I will not tell you what word it was. I learned my lesson already!

(almost complete rewrite of original post to add more detail)

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