Lost in translation - PM gets Japanese translating device (Tokyo Diary)

October 23rd, 2008 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghTokyo, Oct 23 (IANS) Japan is known for its efficiency and clockwork precision but glitches do happen sometimes — like during the joint press conference of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso. Having occupied their respective places on the dais at the Japanese prime minister’s official residence, Aso kicked off the proceedings detailing the nature of his talks. But, within minutes of his opening remarks, he was interrupted by a protocol officer who realised that the leaders were standing in wrong positions.

Singh’s translating device was in Japanese!

Discovering the faux pas, Aso himself came across and offered to adjust Singh’s headphones at their newly exchanged places.

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Netaji’s ashes - the debate continues

There was enormous interest, especially among scribes from West Bengal accompanying the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in whether the Indian delegation would raise the demand of bringing the ashes that some believe to be of INA leader and freedom fighter Subas Chandra Bose to India. The ashes of Netaji, who was believed to have been killed in a plane crash nearly 63 years ago, are still kept in the famed Renkoji temple here.

But foreign ministry officials immediately pointed out there was no question of raising the issue with the Japanese especially when opinion back home was divided. There have been no simple answers to this vexing matter. There was even a demand at one point that the ashes be subject to DNA testing to ascertain their veracity. But that too officials discovered was pointless as the ashes were decomposed. Finally Anita Pfaff, Netaji’s Germany-based daughter, said she too did not believe the ashes were that of her father.

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Hindi in happening Japan street

Roppongi, located in the Minato ward of the city and known for its active nightlife is certainly a happening and frequently visited place that throbs till the early hours of the morning. Locals as well as tourists throng the area which in reality is a bit of red light district though there are numerous bars, strip clubs, restaurants, hostess clubs, cabarets and other forms of entertainment.

An unusual number of Nigerian men work the doors of bars and walk the streets requesting curious passers-by if they were looking for ‘wholesome entertainment’. Interestingly, many of them spoke Hindi. They had spent time in India studying but moved on realising that Japan was a better hunting ground.

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Paper highlights visit through advertorial

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan has been highlighted in the country’s leading English language newspaper The Japan Times with a three-page advertorial that details India’s achievements and the burgeoning relationship between both sides.

Advertisements from Indian eating places, the diaspora and establishments like the India International School in Japan and the India Tourism office here have hailed his leadership qualities. A small insert by a restaurant called Ghungroo that sells Indian wine, beer and rum also could not miss out on the classic “Singh is King” line.

Singh is no stranger to The Land of the Rising Sun as this is third visit as prime minister following an official visit in Dec 2006 and a July trip to attend the outreach session of the G-8 at Toyako, Hokkaido. He has met a different prime minister here each time.

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