Friday, January 13, 2006

Sapporo... No, Sa-Poor-Oh

So over the break in Chicago I went to Stir Crazy, which is a pan-Asian chain restaurant, and I ordered a beer before dinner.

"I'll have a Sapporo (Sah-po-ro)"

"Sapporo (Sa-poor-oh). So one Sapporo beer."


So I was faced with the same questions I encountered a month ago at a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco. Why do some non-Asians accent the second syllable in "Sapporo?" And why do they insist on correcting me with the incorrect pronunciation? This happens a few times a year, but the worst is when it's at a high-end Japanese restaurant and some non-Asian, non-Japanese speaking waiter "corrects" you with an attitude.

Sometimes I just want to say, "Hello, white dude, YOU'RE the one that's saying it wrong."

Another amusing pronunciation error I encountered were at restaurants in South Korea that served fajitas. Since there isn't a large Hispanic population in South Korea, most South Koreans don't know that the "j" is a "h" sound. Also there is no "f" sound in the Korean language, which is typically replaced by a "p" sound. So they say "pah-jee-tas."

"I'll have the chicken fajitas."

"Chicken pajitas (pah-jee-tas)?"


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