I stumbled on a great YouTube channel the other day.
This guy, who goes by the name of Ken Tanaka, claims to be a white American who was adopted by a Japanese family and spent his entire life growing up in Shimane prefecture. Now, in his early adulthood, he’s returned to the United States to search for his birth parents – Jonathan and Linda Smith.
At first I was skeptical – it seemed like too perfect a basis upon which to build yet another amusing YouTube narrative. But after watching a few of his clips, his extraordinary Japanese ability coupled with his perfect understanding of the Japanese-English speech disfluencies made me doubt my skepticism. After all, there really isn’t anything that implausible about his story, right?
Well, as it turns out Ken Tanaka is in fact an actor named David Ury – an actor who’s apparently worked as a University Japanese language instructor in the past.
In a rather graceful “admission of guilt,” when word got out he responded by putting together yet another funny video in which he went to meet “This David Ury” – determining that they were in fact long-lost identical twins! 😆
Anyway, most of his channel is really quite amusing – almost a sort of Japanese Borat – but the one link I really wanted to share was this second video, “How to Speak Japanese Without Saying a Word.” To someone deeply familiar with the Japanese language and mannerisms, his description of using “heeeeehhhhhh?” to respond to anything and everything literally had me on the floor laughing.
This third video might be more amusing to native English speakers – yes, they really do abbreviate First Kitchen that way 😆
(BTW, Remi’s accent is clearly from Kansai. 懐かしい、な! 🙂 )