Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Sunday, April 08, 2007

What part of "somewhat" didn't you understand?

The International Herald Tribune doesn't come out on Sundays here in Japan. I'm reduced to the The Daily Yomiuri (or, as I like to put it, the "Gomi-uri" [trash vendor]) Today's top headline 'Amity needed between U.S., Japan, China' -- in quotes because it's the result of a poll of university students in Japan and in China.

What I liked was the poll results pie-chart. Asked "Should Japan, China and the United States strengthen their respective ties?", 60.3% of Chinese students and 46.3% of Japanese students answered "Yes." HOWEVER, 30.4% of Chinese and 42.7% of Japanese answered "Somewhat."


Now, I don't know how it works in China, but here in Japan, a good translation of "somewhat" into Japanese is chotto. And a good translation of chotto back into English is "no (but I'm too polite and refined to say so.)"

In addition, 6.2% of Chinese and 6.3% of Japanese answered "Not really." 2.1% of Chinese and 3.1% of Japanese just sprinted way the hell out on a limb and answered "No."

So how I add all this up: 38.7% of the Chinese students said "no", as opposed 52.1% of the Japanese students. Which rather belies the conclusions of the article. But what else do you expect from The Daily Gomi-uri?


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