Prime Minister Abe and President Donald Trump lock gazes in long, awkward handshake
rocketnews24.com -- Feb 13
Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe is currently in the United States for series of meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. On the agenda are discussions regarding the two nation's deep economic and security ties, but as is always the case when world leaders meet, the pair also made time for a photo session.

And so Abe and Trump recently sat down on two tastefully designed White House chairs in front of a crowd of reporters, with a particularly large contingent of Japanese media organizations present. In the video below, through the near-deafening roar of shutters snapping a voice can be heard asking, in Japanese, if Abe and Trump could shake hands for the cameras.

Abe translates the request, and he and Trump clasp hands. As each photographer tries to capture the moment, the Japanese reporters call out "Kochira onegai shimasu," Trump, not knowing what the phrase means, asks Abe "What did they say?", and things get a little awkward.

Abe once again translates, telling Trump the reporters are saying "Please look at me." "Ah!" responds Trump, who then obliges…by gazing intently at Abe.

But what the Japanese reporters really want is for Trump, and Abe too, to look at their cameras, not each other. Judging that something has gotten lost in his translation, Abe attempts to explain by example, first by breaking eye contact with Trump and looking to the cameras. When that doesn't work, he simply points to the reporters, but this, too, is to no avail, as Trump continues looking at the prime minster while placing his left hand over their handshake, forming a hand sandwich.

All of this highlights a linguistic characteristic how the Japanese language handles reported speech. In Japanese, when repeating someone else's words, the norm is to handle the situation as a direct quotation and keep all the pronouns as they were originally said. Translated from Japanese into English, the reported speech would be "[They said] look at me" instead of changing it to "[They said] look at them."

News source: rocketnews24.com
Nov 23
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 39-year-old man for molesting a woman inside a carriage of the JR Saikyo Line last year, reports Nippon News Network. (tokyoreporter.com)
Nov 23
The Japanese Olympic Committee and city of Sapporo announced Wednesday they will enter a dialogue process over a potential bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. (Japan Today)
Nov 23
Tokyo Metropolitan Police are searching have arrested eight persons, including an organized crime member, in the robbery of gold valued at nearly 100 million yen from a shop in Taito Ward earlier this year, reports NHK (tokyoreporter.com)
Nov 23
A team of Japanese researchers has found a new drug combination that reduces amyloid beta protein, believed to play a key role in causing Alzheimer’s disease, by using stem cells derived from patients, Kyoto University announced Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Nov 23
The Yokohama family court granted a request by a daughter of Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara to nullify her parents' right to inherit her property in the event of her death. (Japan Times)
Nov 23
The government sold land in Osaka to school operator Moritomo Gakuen for a highly discounted price based on faulty data estimating the cost of removing industrial waste left in the plot, a government watchdog on spending concluded in a much-awaited report released Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Nov 22
The Imperial Household Agency said Wednesday the wedding ceremony of Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, and her classmate from university days Kei Komuro will be held on Nov 4 next year. (Japan Today)
Nov 22
Subaru Corp. will introduce a series of all-electric cars in Japan as early as 2021, sources said, as competition intensifies between automakers looking to develop eco-friendly cars in response to stricter global emissions regulations. (Japan Times)
Nov 22
The government will draw up a fiscal 2017 supplementary budget for additional spending of some ¥2 trillion, including for setting up nursery facilities to accept 320,000 children on waiting lists ahead of schedule as pledged by the ruling coalition in the Oct. 22 general election. (Japan Times)
Nov 22
A woman employed as a costumed performer at Tokyo Disneyland was awarded labor compensation after developing a disorder that caused acute pain in her arm, the park's operator said Wednesday. (Kyodo)