Gaikokujin: Kamakura iki wa docchi no ho-mu desu ka. /Which platform is for Kamakura? Josei: Nani de iku n desu ka. /Which train are you taking? (What are you going for?) Gaikokujin: Kankou desu. /Sightseeing. Josei: Nani de iku n desu ka. /Which train are you taking? (What are you going for?) Gaikokujin: E? Keshiki wo tanoshimi’nagara yukkuri mawaritai. /Eh? I’d like to take my time and enjoy the scenery. Josei: Sou, soreja, donkou ne. /I see, then I recommend the “donkou.” Gaikokujin: Doushite? Watashii, ikitai, hayaku. /Why? I’d like to go right away. Josei: Donkou de yukkuri ikitai no? Kyuukou de hayaku ikitai no? Docchi yo. /Do you want to go by donkou, which takes longer, or go quickly by express? Which? Manga Explanation: Scene 1. In Japanese “nan de” is not only used to ask for a reason, but is also used to inquire about the way something is carried out (In this case, the means of transportation: train or car, express or ordinary rail service, and so forth). *“Donkou” is a casual expression for ordinary trains, which generally means trains that stop at all the stations. Scene 2. The foreigner thought he was asked about the reason for his trip to Kamakura, whereas the woman meant to ask about the means of transport – whether he wanted to go by express or take the ordinary train. At many stations the express train stops at a different platform from the ordinary train platform. Scene 3. The foreigner is frustrated at being asked the same question twice, and thinks he’s being asked to give specific details of his trip. The woman interprets his answer to mean that he wants to take his time and look at the scenery, so she recommends that he takes the “donkou” (ordinary train). Scene 4. The foreigner takes “donkou” to mean “don’t go.” The woman is irritated by his vague replies.
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