Japanese-English announcement in the train
"We will soon be making a brief stop at Den-en-chofu. Passengers changing to the Meguro Line, please transfer at this station."
This is a good example of Japanese-English. It gets the job done but it's somehow not quite right.
In this, two different words--"change" and "transfer"--are used in the same sentence for the same idea. The same pronouncement in blunt, fire-from-the-hip English would be "Change here for the Meguro Line." But here there is no room for the critical word "please".
To a Japanese ear, however, what seems natural and right to an English speaker sounds as though it is addressed to a crowd chained together at the ankles. It is insistent. It is too short. It is impolite.
But when a foreigner lives in Japan for a while, Japanese-English's languid, inefficient phraseology begins over time to seem somehow right enough, even sweet…
- Rudolpho B.