Comic: “My Finger is Breeding”

19 finger breeding comic cartoon engrish problems with interracial dating japanese english problems

We have a lot of moments like this. Don’t get me wrong, Ryosuke’s English has improved by mountains over the years.

But sometimes, when I’m concentrating on something else and he’s talking, I can’t understand what he’s trying to say.

Like when he says his finger is “breeding.” And then I get to explain what “breeding” actually means. And then he goes around saying “breeding” on purpose just to mess with me.


Like these comics? Check out my comic books (on Amazon):

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book


My Japanese Husband (still) Thinks I’m Crazy


Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

36 Comments on Comic: “My Finger is Breeding”

  1. This is great! I love your comics to much :)

    I was completely convinced for about 5 minutes the other night that my Japanese friend had to get up the next morning to go to “crime school” instead of “cram school.” When he realized I misheard him though, he went along with it and told me of how he was going to learn to break into cars…

  2. Omg that cracked me up!!!! xD

    Hubby asked me yesterday if I know Burijjiston. I was like HAH? Then he showed me the CM, it was Bridgestone fail.

  3. So funny! haha Love your comics ^^

  4. Lol! Your comics always make my day!!! You’re so talented girl!

  5. Love this! Wording is always difficult.

    My boy has a bad habit of liking almost anything his friends put up on FB, even if he isn’t sure what it is about (his English is good, but slang is always tough).
    So, when I saw that he had liked a video on the lines of ‘You won’t believe this chick’s camel toe’, I decided it was time for a bit of an explanation.

    He turned three different shades of red, and then fell off the bed. Totally adorable.

    • Oh no…. that’s so awkward. And kind of funny.

      Ryosuke also “over-likes” a lot of stuff on Facebook, every once and a while I sit him down and ask him if he actually READ what he liked. He’s gotten a lot better at it, though.
      It’s kind of funny.

      I’m probably guilty of doing the same thing in Japanese.

  6. Did I ever tell you about the time my husband burned his finger?

    I don’t remember.

    Well, one day he was cooking in the kitchen when I hear an “ouch.” Then he calls to me, “Um… honey. My finger melted.”

    I pause and then hurry over, very alarmed and about to call 119 only for him to hold up his finger that has a slight burn mark.

    Then I get it. “No,” I said, “It’s ‘I burned my finger’.”

    He stares at me and shakes his head. “But I didn’t do it on purpose.”

    Confused, I think over it for a moment and realize what he means. In English, unlike Japanese, we use the same phrase for whether we intended to do something (ie. you deliberately burned your finger) or it was an accident (still ‘I burned my finger’)

    But in Japanese the responsibility is put far away from the speaker.

    And I’ve seen this error repeated among many of my Japanese friends. For example, my old room mate who was Japanese once told me, “My finger is cut” instead of “I cut my finger”.

    Ah… fun times with language differences.

    • Wow, that’s a pretty astute observation. I consider myself bilingual, but I have not thought of that difference. True, “I cut my finger” still does not sit well with me after all these years of having learned to say it. Thank you!

    • I have a similar story. I used to say like “I dropped and broke my favorite glass by mistake”. I mean, if I omit “by mistake”, it sounded to me like “I dropped and broke it deliberately”. So, I used to add “by mistake” to the sentences almost always in order to tell “I didn’t do it deliberately”.

      But, I was told
      “You don’t have to say by mistake, it just makes you sounds childish a bit, because it’s very obvious that nobody wants to drop and break a glass, and without your saying by mistake, we think you didn’t do it deliberately”

      • I’m so glad Megan made that observation. It’s one of those things that you don’t really notice until you’ve been in close proximity with someone (with those habits) for a while.
        Ryosuke always (also) lets me know whether he did something by accident or on purpose. I kind of think it is silly – but your explanation makes sense.

        • グラスを落として割った=I dropped and broke a glass. But the Japanese sentence can sound I did it on purpose to native Japanese speakers. We usually say グラスを落として割ってしまった=I dropped and broke a glass ACCIDENTALLY.

          Verb-てしまった sounds like “I did it accidentally, unfortunately or against my own will”. So, if you say 私は私の手を切った, it can come across you cut your own hand on purpose(it can make native Japanese speakers very worried, because it can sound you are mentally very sick and hurt yourself).

          So, because of the Japanese grammatical rule “verb-てしまった” = I did it accidentally / unfortunately /against my own will, we Japanese tend to have the mind-set that we need to make sure that we didn’t do it on purpose.

          • I always use ちゃった (like over-use it) because I was warned about that by a Japanese teacher. I think that’s one of the really interesting points of the Japanese language – different words and ways of saying stuff depending on whether it was accidental, purposeful, you wanted it to happen, or you didn’t want it to happen.

            Japanese has all these complex under-tones!

          • Yeah, verb-ちゃった is the frank form of verb-してしまった, and I also over-use it a bit, because it’s a very useful expression. I remember you said 無くなっちゃった in the TV show(about the T-shirt) :P

            As to English language, I’ve been thinking that the grammar is very simple and easy but the pronunciation is difficult(Easier than Chinese, etc though). Recently, I’ve noticed one more specific factor that makes English difficult language to master. It’s the large number of English adjectives and verbs. Let me explain about it.

            Japanese language doesn’t have many adjectives and verbs because we express by “adverb + adjective” and “adverb(or adverb clause) + verb”, instead of creating completely new adjectives / verbs.

            For example, we say “とても寒い”, and you say “freezing”. Both とても and 寒い are basic words, so, easy to memorize. Even if you don’t know the adverb, you can at least come to know it’s “cold・寒い”(it’s matter of how cold it is). But in English, you’d say “freezing”. So, you need to memorize “freezing”, not only “very ” and “cold, and if you don’t know the adjective “freezing”, you can’t even guess the speaker is talking about coldness.

            As to verbs, 光る can be translated into shine, glitter, glisten, twinkle, sparkle, glimmer, gleam, flash, etc. In Japanese, you only need one verb 光る, but in English, you need 9 + words. In Japanese, we say adverb + 光る. For example, きらきら光る=glitter(きらきら is and adverb/onomatope). Even if you don’t know the meaning of きらきら, you can come to know at least it’s something about light(光), but in English, if you don’t know the word “glitter”, you can’t understand the most important part of the sentence.

            If you study a language very intensively for several years, the grammar won’t bother you any longer. But, the vocabulary does. In that sense, English is very difficult language, because English requires us to memorize a lot larger number of words.

          • You make some good points.
            I’ve actually noticed that a bit recently too.

            English is a very “flowery” language. For some reason – there are like 20 ways to say “cold,” each with a slightly different meaning. It’s almost like using difficult words is a sign of good writing.
            Or something like that.

            Often, when Ryosuke is reading a report, he will ask what certain words mean. The words are complex, rarely used, and seemingly thrown in for no reason. It’s sometimes frustrating trying explain that it means EXACTLY the same thing as “X” – and don’t bother learning it, because basically no one uses that word. Or that word is only used written, never spoken.

            I had a hard time as kid trying to memorize English words – I can’t even IMAGINE what it is like for non-native speakers.

    • I’ve noticed the different tenses and phrasing too. It’s really interesting. That purposeful VS non-purposeful distinction is really fascinating on a day-to-day basis.

  7. That would actually be pretty funny if Ryosuke’s fingers started getting it on and started sprouting mini fingers on his hand.

  8. R and L, they sound the same to us Japanese(T-T)/. Correct/Collect, Right/Light, etc, there are too many such words!. Well, as to pronunciation, I really think Japanese language is the easiest with only 5 vowel sounds and very flat and simple consonants. The easiness of Japanese pronunciation makes us Japanese difficult to pronounce foreign languages, including English.

  9. Hee hee, I still have to be conscious when I pronounce worlds with “l” or “r” that have drastically different meanings (e.g., “clam” and “cram”). I often ask my kids to listen to me to see if I am saying it right. Meanwhile, my wife still has difficulty pronouncing Japanese names with “ry” (like Ryosuke)–“Ryu” becomes “Riu” and “Ryo” becomes “Rio” (de Janeiro?!).

    • Oh no! The R/L sounds are very similar. It’s really easy to make a mistake (and sometimes the mistakes are really awkward).

      I might be like your wife – when I say “Rysouke” Japanese people usually think I’m saying “Yousuke.” Languages are so complicated!

  10. Ha! I recently had a similar conversation. He said crap when he meant crab, and he didn’t know the difference, sounded the same to him (he is working on a project related to crabs at work so after I explained what crap actually means he was terrified he had written crap in a work email, haha)

    • Oh my gosh. Hah. That’s hilarious. I hope he didn’t accidentally write “crap” (because that would be a really crappy mistake, no pun intended).
      It’s really difficult when Engrlish words are written (and kind of pronounced) similarly – but have REALLY different meanings. Ouch.

  11. Cute :)

  12. In a way he is breeding. He’s breeding blood.

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