Lilo & Stitch's Star Trek v1
Lilo & Stitch Go To Japan version 1
Chapter 7: My Neighbour...

419 and 426 were watching Nani’s frantic attempts to catch a taxi.

“Taxi! Taxi! Er… taxi? Stop! Please? Please…”

“That is no way for to be catching brightly-coloured automobile made for temporary transport,” Jumba pointed out. 419 noticed he was holding a suspicious-looking pen-barrel.

“And I suppose you have a better idea?”

“Of cause,” he exclaimed, brandishing the pen-barrel. “I have developed highly sophisticated immobilisation ray, with which I can freeze all things and reek havoc on the entire world!” He shrugged. “Also good for stopping ex-wife from going on annual shopping spree.”

“No way,” Nani countered. “I’ve already had to fix at least three giant holes back home as a direct result of you, and now you want to blow up Japan too?”

“Er, no, just to get taxi. Want I should demonstrate?”

“No! Look, Jumba, I don’t have…”

Jumba pressed the release. A yellowish beam shot out of the end and surrounded Nani, who had turned slightly pale. A moment later, the beam faded, and Nani was frozen.

“Genius, no?”

He pushed the button at the end. The beam, blue this time, surrounded Nani again.

“… time to play along with… what just happened?”

“I immobili-sed you.”

“Why’d ya do that?”

“Because, being frank, you…”

“Hey, why don’t we just go to the depot?” suggested Pleakley.

“That’s actually not half bad!” Lilo said.

“Considering Pleakley’s usual attempts at idea-generation,” added 426.

“And I suppose you know where the depot is?” said Nani, tapping her foot impatiently.

“Er… yeeaano. But I know how to ask!”

 

Pleakley looked around.

Let’s see… Sony… Ghibli… hot-dog stand… Deisunii…

He spotted a sign proclaiming ‘neko-basu’ beside what looked like a bus-stop shelter, and walked over.

“Sumimasen…”[1]

“Hai.”

“Benjyo wa doko desuka?”[2]

The whole shelter burst out laughing. One muttered “Are wa benjyo desu”[3] and pointed to a park with a toilet nearby. Pleakley replied with a quick “arigatoo gozaimasu” and returned to the front door of the hotel.

“Well, that was easy!”

419 was trying unsuccessfully to muffle a chortle.

“I dunno, I don’t see a depot…”

“Stop being such a worry-wart, Nani! Besides, what harm can it be if it isn’t?”

“Heh, the last time he said that, kablooey!” muttered Jumba.

 

“We’ve been going round and round in circles, Pleakley!”

“Well, technically, they’re irregular shapes…”

Nani shot a very dangerous look at Pleakley.

“Er… um… well… I’ll ask someone for…”

“Oh, no, that’s how we got into this mess! I’ll ask!”

She approached a passer-by.

“Excuse me, could you show me the way to the taxi depot?”

The guy just stared at her.

“I thought you said this was one of the most English-speaking areas in Japan!” Nani whispered through gritted teeth.

“How was I supposed to know he’d be one of the only ones that didn’t?” Pleakley shot back. “Maybe if…”

“No! Your ‘honourable’ Japanese language skills got us into this disaster! Look, we’ll just… catch a bus!”

“Only problem is, we don’t know where the stop is,” said Lilo.

“Or where we are,” muttered Jumba.

“All thanks to Pleakley,” said 426 in an undertone.

“Ehmba chuuta,” agreed Stitch.

“Well, I think you’re all being a little too harsh to Pleakley,” said 419.

“You would think that,” muttered 426.

“Knowing Pleakley as long as I have being,” said Jumba, “be trusting me on zis one: we aren’t.”

However, aside to 419, Jumba said, “If you are speaking of Nani, me and 426 are agreeing.”

 

A half-hour later, a little worse for ware, after stopping for directions twice, and Nani finally letting Stitch use his keen sense of smell, which could sniff out American Mustard miles away, they arrived back at the hotel door, with Pleakley bringing up the rear. As he passed the skyscrapers, he noticed that the bus shelter had mysteriously disappeared, however the ‘neko-basu’ sign was still there. He blinked. The bus silhouette on the sign seemed to have ears…

He decided that some of the paint must have chipped off, and the shelter had been a figment of his imagination.

 


Footnotes

[1] ^ Japanese, “Excuse me…”

[2] ^ Japanese, literally “Where is the toilet?”

[3] ^ Japanese, literally “Over there is the toilet.”

Pronounciation note: Desuka is normally pronounced ‘dehs-cow’ or ‘dehs-ka’, and desu ‘dehs’.


Author's Comment

Name that chapter title! Today's chapter title is the front end of the title of the movie My Neighbour Totoro. Why should be obvious to anyone who's seen the movie; for all the rest of you, refer below.

Highly sophisticated immobilisation ray: If there's one thing I've realised over the years, it's that I used to be the master of Deus Ex Bigus Lip-ped Alligatoranus Momentus. (That's an actual literary term, by the way. :p)

For those who don't quite get how this is a big lipped alligator moment: the immobilisation ray appears out of nowhere, hangs around for a one scene gag, doesn't really advance the plot at all, and then we never see it again - rather much like half of chapter 5 (the Romeo! chapter), the chef in the last chapter, and Hamsterviel's backstory sessions in Lilo & Stitch's Star Trek version 2.

(I can almost hear the Nostalgia Critic's voice in my head as I type these words... CRITIC!!!)

'Pleakley' with an 'e': This is the first chapter in which I type 'Pleakley' the way it was meant to be spelt (rather than 'Pleakly').

Neko-basu: It means 'cat bus'. (Yes, seriously.)

The Cat Bus is a character in My Neighbour Totoro. And when I say "character", I mean it's a living bus shaped like a cat (or a giant cat shaped like a bus - either way...) Basically, the idea for this chapter was that the cat bus stop only appears at certain scheduled times, then the cat bus shows up, collects passengers, and runs off, and then the bus stop disappears, with no-one being any the wiser. I thought it'd make an interesting element (and the first hint that things aren't what they seem, for those who haven't seen Cardcaptors - a way to begin to establish that Japan is a land seeped in magic.)

Right now, it just seems to stick out as yet another B.L.A.M., so I'm not too sure if I'll leave it in or take it out of version 2.

“Benjyo wa doko desuka?” Ah, the old mistaken translation gag!

As I've gotten older, I've always wondered how people messing up Japanese on television don't realise they're getting it wrong, especially when they say transliterated words imported from English (like in one episode of The Suite Life - Cody should have been alerted he's saying something silly when he says 'pantsu', that is, pants) or fail to say one (in Pleakley's case, depot is just 'depo'.) It seems to be just some way to show the character up without giving a plausable explanation - at least have the two sentances sound somewhat similar! Anyway, how is it that sometimes they get the grammar perfect for the sentance they're actually saying, when the grammar for sentance that they want to say is completely different?

Okay, okay, rant over! Anyway, as part of Pleakley's continuing personality revision, I think I'll either take this out or change it so that the thing he mistakes it for is a lot closer to the original thing he's actually looking for (although to be fair, "depo" does sound kind of like "benjyo" (toilet).)

Just a note here: the Japanese people at the neko bustop aren't laughing because of the oddity of what he's saying (I'm fairly certain asking for a toilet is a fairly common task) but because it's obvious he's trying to ask about something else, but is mangling the words somehow. Sure, perhaps they should've thrown him a bone. Perhaps I could've written Pleakley a lot less silly as well.

(And yes, Jumba, you are being too harsh.)

--MarkKB

Original author's comment:

Yay, new chapter!

--MarkKB

Copyright © 2013 Mark Kéy-Balchin.