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Off the Hook: Dictionary of African American…

Off the Hook: Dictionary of African American Slang (English and Japanese…

by Randall C. Miller Jr.

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This ridiculous book. The full title is "Dictionary of African American Slang used in: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and many more cities ...." Basically Miller translated a bunch of Black slang into Japanese but lost all the figuration and context in the process, so e.g. "You go girl!" (the book is a few years old) is translated as "Yatta ne!" ("You did good!" or something between "Lucky!" and "Good job!"), or "buster" (as in "a scrub is a guy who thinks he's fly / and is also known as a buster," as in a loser) is "saite na otoko," or "uncool man." "Hit it and quit it" is "have sex and leave." You know? It's fine for translating people's literal meaning, I guess, but it also misses the point a fair bit. But then he spruces it up with pictures of him in his old life in America and his new one in Japan, and little essays in Japanese (with key vocabulary in English) about Malcolm X and Jesse Jackson, and about food (don't use the term "soul food" unless you've asked the people you're talking to if they're offended by the term "soul food!"), and names that you might want to name your little ones (Raheem, Leroy, Gina, Monique), and other stuff you might want to learn if you were a sincere Japanese dropout interested in being Black. It's the weirdest and funniest, but I am not gonna keep it with me for the rest of my life, and it pleases me obscurely that the push to get rid of it finally came from Marie Kondo, she of the Japanese "clean up your life by getting rid of all your stuff!" self-help philosophy. Full circle ne! ( )
2 vote MeditationesMartini | Jan 24, 2016 |
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