Friday, February 15, 2008

"Hey, sloth! Get up! Today is Valentine's Day!"

Over the summer, a student of mine was in Santa Barbara for an exchange program for three weeks. I invited her and her friends down to my house for a weekend (actually, I invited her and she asked if she could bring a friend, a single friend that somehow became 2 friends, likely thanks to Japanese's lack of plural signifiers for nouns, which leads to students making a lot of mistakes when producing English sentences, though typically they do not lead to the production of additional human beings).

I thought since Valentine's Day has just passed us by, I'd post the picture book she gave me that her older sister wrote and illustrated. I laughed until I cried as I read it and was yet inconsolable for some time afterwards. Her family apparently has some sort of strange obsession with sloths. They think they are adorable, despite the fact that the sloth is really one of the most singularly unattractive of animals in that kingdom. Of course, their depictions of sloths - which extend beyond drawings to actual miniature sloth dolls and even, in December, a Santa Sloth wreath - bear very little resemblance to the actual animal, so their image of the sloth is quite cute. I've scanned in pictures of the book and transcribed the dialogue below:

Boy: "Hey, sloth! Get up! Today is Valentine's Day!"
Sloth: "Good morning... Why are you so..."
Boy: "Oh, hurry up! Let's make a chocolate cake."
A boy took sloth to kitchen.
Sloth: "Why do you want to make a cake?"
Boy: "Well... I want to give it to a woman who I love."
Sloth: "Wow! You are precocious."

Then, they began to cook.

Sloth: "I'll taste the cake to see if it is sweet enough."
Boy: ...Wow... Yummy!!"
Sloth: "Really? Now, I'll taste it, too. ...Oh, yummy!"

They kept eating the cake. they left little cake.

? (both Sloth and Boy, perhaps): "Oh no!!"
Mrs. Slow came there.
Mrs. Slow: "Hello. Are you making something sweet?"
"It smells good," she said.

The boy turn to red.
Boy: "Sorry... I want you to eat that... But..."
Sloth: "Mrs. Slow, would you like to eat this cake?"
Sloth invited her to eat the cake.
Mrs. Slow: "Oh, please. Thank you."
Sloth: "Boy and me made this cake.
Boy said, 'Today is Valentine's Day. I'll give it to a woman who I love.' However, we tasted it too much."
Sloth: "Wow! Sloth! You shouldn't have told her it!"

Mrs. Slow smiled.
And kissed the boy.

Mrs. Slow: "It's so sweet. Thank you."
Sloth felt, "Saint Valentine's Day is a very very sweet day."

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