Sounds of Japan—Part 1
Before I started studying Japanese, I really enjoyed reading Rumiko Takahashi’s manga. I started reading it when I found the first ten or so volumes of Ranma ½ in the local public library, and I was hooked on the rest of her series after that. I didn’t know much about anime, but when I entered high school, I made friends with a bunch of people who really liked watching anime. We would gather at lunchtime and watch anime DVDs together of various series that we had collected. Anime wasn’t as easily found then, and it was hard to find the DVDs at an affordable price, so most of the things I watched were copies I had bought used on VHS for a quarter apiece.
One day, I got a DVD of Rumiko Takahashi’s Maison Ikkoku. I had really enjoyed the other series, so I watched all the episodes I could find of the series. With dubbed anime, a lot of things are changed to make sense for English-speaking audiences. For example, Japanese idioms and puns are vastly changed, with words like Ql changed to be “two-time loser”… Now that I think about it, “two-time loser” really doesn’t make sense.
However, one thing really made me curious, although it may seem really insignificant to most Japanese people or even other viewers. Every once in a while during the anime, there was a strange sound. It sounded like a horn blowing three notes and I assumed it was part of the soundtrack until I was with my friends watching Ranma ½ one day. I noticed the exact same noise as I watched it, and remember stopping to ask my friend “Did they copy that bit from the soundtrack of Maison Ikkoku?” After that I stopped watching anime as much, and began to study Japanese.