December 29, 2006 22:43 | Bits / Travel

1 minute english

This morning, I picked up Jeremy, my erstwhile assistant who had been backpacking around Delhi for the last 2 weeks, at Shinjuku station.

As soon as we boarded the Yamanote train, heading for our connection at Shibuya, a Berlitz commercial came on on the advertisement/information screens: "1 Minute English!"

These ads are, by rule, hilarious (check out the german coast guard one if you haven't already seen it; "hallo? vat are you sinking about?"). They usually feature a young foreigner in a suit giving a very quick english lesson.

Today's phrase: "have a cow"

Jer and I sort of stared in disbelief, stunned for a second before cracking up. A moment later, they give us a context, in which such a phrase might be useful...

"If I go drinking tonight, my wife will have a cow."

Welcome to Japan Jeremy. :)


I feel those ads are to make Japanese who do know some English feel that they don't know enough. Most of it makes about no sense.

Agreed. They use totally contextual and or slang/colloquialisms. I am betting they get the 19 year old teachers they hire to come up with this shit and they think it's funny.

Which it is. ;)

The person on the 'have a cow' advert was a complete twat.. That stupid glazed smile and spiky hair - still, I'd probably need to be stoned before I'd do a Berlitz advert too.

The previous bloke with the goatee was even funnier. He used to walk sideways through the door as if the camera man was pulling a gun on him..

The current girly, seems to like waving a lot..