I started Hebrew, which is why I’ve been dead on this blog, but I don’t think I can ever properly convey to you guys the sheer cultural whiplash of spending years learning Japanese from Japanese teachers and then trying to learn Hebrew from an Israeli

  • Japanese: you walk into class already apologizing for being alive
    Hebrew: you walk into class, the teacher insults you and you are expected to insult her back
  • Japanese: conjugates every single verb based on degree of intended politeness, nevermind keigo and honorifics
    Hebrew: Someone asked my teacher how to say “excuse me” and she laughed for several seconds before saying we shouldn’t worry about remembering that since we’ll never need to say it
  • Japanese: if you get one stroke wrong the entire kanji is incomprehensible
    Hebrew: cursive? script? fuck it do whatever you want, you don’t even have to write the vowels out unless you feel like it
  • Japanese: the closest thing there is to ‘bastard’ is an excessively direct ‘you’ pronoun
    Hebrew: ‘bitch’ translates directly

I once took a class with a visiting professor from Haifa who told, us midway through the semester, that “you have to stop calling me Professor [Lastname]. It’s making me uncomfortable.”