Small children nowadays are sure getting to be more and more hardcore, eh?
The following anecdote posted by Japanese Twitter user @bigboss0930 is equal parts silly and adorable, and it’s been retweeted an incredible 53,000 times at the time of this writing thanks to tickled net users. Incidentally, I also snorted fruit juice out of my nose when I realized the strange thing that @bigboss0930 misheard. I think you’ll agree with me in saying that this post is pure internet gold:
以前幼稚園園児と戯れる機会があって、最後に記念写真を撮りましょうね〜ってことになったんだ。 先生がいつもの掛け声で撮るよー せーのっ！ 『『killing meー！！！！』』 って叫んで撮るもんだから今時の幼稚園は随分とロックになったもんだとビビってたら 【きりん組】だった。—
あるびの (@bigboss0930) June 25, 2016
“Recently I had the chance to play with some kindergartners, and we decided to take a commemorative photo before I left. The teacher told the kids to ‘say the usual’ on the count of three, and they all shouted ‘Killing me!!!!’ as the picture was being taken. I was just getting worried about the state of today’s kindergartens when I realized that they were actually saying ‘Giraffe Class.'”
Now, you may be familiar with the way that kindergartens and preschools are organized in many countries, with each class or grade level being assigned a category such as an animal, a plant, a fruit, and so on for ease of naming. It just so happens that the group in this scenario was known as the giraffe class, which would be called kiringumi (きりん組) in Japanese.
In addition, due to the presence of phonological constraints in the Japanese language which are not present in English, many English words undergo systematic sound changes when pronounced in Japanese or by native Japanese speakers. Thus the English phrase “killing me” would actually be pronounced almost identically to the Japanese phrase kiringumi, even though the meanings are completely unrelated!
Perhaps the funniest part of this whole incident is that as indicated on Twitter, @bigboss0930 seems to be a native Japanese speaker. Why his mind instantly heard an English expression instead of a phrase in his native tongue remains a mystery…though it is kind of fun to imagine a group of five-year-olds head-banging to some heavy metal music and screaming “nap time…is killing me”!