The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Wednesday, November 27, 2002
DECODING KIKKOMAN: That Japanese "Kikkoman" cartoon that's been circulating so rapidly through the Net -- if you haven't
seen it, imagine a frantic sequel to "Fish Heads" -- has now been subtitled for English viewers. I don't speak Japanese, but my multilingual friend Debbie Shamoon informs me that the translation does correspond to the original lyrics, "if a bit ineptly." A lot's been left out, "including all the puns, which can't really be translated. For instance, 'Show You' is a pun on 'shoyu,' or soy sauce."

She also explains why one character is suddenly shown hanging dead from a tree: "The cat committed suicide over the shame of not knowing to put soy sauce on his omelet as well as his fried eggs." (Which is kind of a cliché, don't you think?)

All of this is nice to know, but I have to admit it lowers rather than boosts my appreciation for the film. I preferred it when it was completely incomprehensible -- an inscrutable Eastern mystery, if you will. I suppose that makes me an Orientalist.

Fortunately, my world faces no shortage of inscrutable mysteries, and not just from the Far East. In a couple of hours, we're supposed to catch a plane to Texas. I've studied our tickets good and hard, and I still don't see how we're going to get from Baltimore to Houston via Newark.


posted by Jesse 10:18 AM
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