Friday, November 20, 2009

Lesson Two: Math

We watch American TV!

I try to find something that will be easy for Yoko to understand. I forgo Cribs, and knowing how much the Japanese love their quiz shows, pick Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

I quickly realize that I'm going to need to explain Jeff Foxworthy. "Do you know what a redneck is?" I start. "I think every country pretty much has them. Like they talk funny and don't have teeth? They have lots of cars in their yards? They've been married three times and still have the same in-laws?"

Yoko clearly isn't getting it, but she keeps saying, "Okay. Okay."

It's a lost cause, so I pause the show when the 5th grade math question appears on screen. "What is the cubed root of 8?" I read aloud.

Yoko looks at me questioningly. I draw the square root symbol with my finger, and her face lights up. "But it's the cubed root," I explain. "Cubed is like 3 of something."

Yoko does some math quickly out loud in Japanese, while I try to figure out what the root of 8 is so I can multiply it times 3.

"How do you figure out what the root is?" I ask no one in particular. I know what a square root is, but what's a plain root?

"Two," says Yoko. "Answer is two."

"Are you sure?" I reply. Seems unlikely that a foreigner who barely even understands the words in the problem would be able to do the calculation.

I press play. Jeff Foxworthy reveals that the 5th grader has gotten the question correct. So has the contestant. So has Yoko.

"Are you kidding me?" I shout. "Asians are now good at math in ANY LANGUAGE! I'm TOTALLY IMPRESSED."

Yoko beams.

No comments: