Kansai vs. Kanto

One day after work I joined in the conversation of some Japanese guests, and it so happened one was from the Kanto region and two others from Kansai. For those who worry a heated argument would ensue, please be rest assured that the conversation was mostly harmonious, civilized, and filled with laughter, despite differences in opinion. (It was in part thanks to me, who resisted the urge to play them against one another) . It emerged in the conversation that were used to quite different abbreviations for some proper nouns. It is not so relevant, but I have also added the abbreviation we use in HK as well for your reference. Here are a few examples:

(1) Universal Studio Japan:
Kanto: USJ
Kansai: Uniba (no v sound in Japan; all v becomes b)
Hong Kong: ???

(2) McDonald's
Kanto: Makku
Kansai: Makkudo
Hong Kong: 老麥 (trans: Old Mc) /麥記 

(3) 7-eleven 
Kanto: Sebun (Japanese pronunciation of seven)
Kansai: Sebuire  
Hong Kong: Sefen (with special emphasis on the second syllable, and we do not like the "v" sound/7仔 (trans: Little Seven)

And on a different note, when they also split in how they ask which year someone is in at university as well.

Kanto: Nan nen (年)sei desu ka? (trans: Which year are you in?)
Kansai: Nan kai (回)sei desu ka? (trans: How many years have you been at university? [correct me if I am wrong about the meaning of kai)

So just because you are in the same country, it does not mean you can fully understand each other in the first instance. After spending one year in Japan, I am sure I have already missed out on some trendy new phrases. So fellow Hong Kongers, don't be surprised if I look puzzled when you speak to me. I implore you to speak plain Cantonese and avoid trendy phrases.   


Popular Posts