Saturday, 17 March 2018


With the Trump regime already shrinking the size of National Parks in the United States and selling off public lands plus having installed an interior secretary seemingly antithetical and outright hostile to the notion of preserving the country’s natural and historical heritage, a concerned congresswoman inquired about the future funding for the preservation of the camps where US citizens of Japanese heritage (including her own grandfather) were interned after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Flippantly, the secretary thought it an appropriate opportunity to demonstrate his limited Japanese language skills on the congresswoman and replied, “O konnichiwa.” The congresswoman kept her composure in this rather awkward and insulting moment with the gentle correction, stating that it was still “ohayo gozaimasu but that’s OK”—noting it was still morning time and not yet appropriate to use the secretary’s greeting for good afternoon. Though the secretary later conceded that the sites were an important part of the country’s history and the budget cuts were probably an administrative oversight, it is still unclear if any resolution came from this meeting. Another useful phrase that the secretary might want to add to his vocabulary is moushiwake arimasen deshita, I was crude and am profoundly sorry.