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World Association of International Studies

Post Defense Language Institute
Created by John Eipper on 10/22/11 8:44 AM

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Defense Language Institute (Leslie Robinson, USA, 10/22/11 8:44 am)

I studied Japanese in Honolulu when I was in the Army; later, on Saipan, a Japanese prisoner of war asked me for my watch, since I was "rich." I told him I wasn't rich.

I've also studied French, Italian, German and Russian, but I'm fluent now only in Spanish and Portuguese. I am now studying Russian again; it's difficult but fascinating. I was once fairly fluent in Russian, but I haven't kept up with it.

JE comments: I always knew Les Robinson and I are kindred spirits.  The only language in the list above that I haven't formally studied is Italian. (My German is almost nil, though...not a lot stuck in my brain from one year of "German Reading for Grad Students").

Best of luck with your Russian studies, Les! Next time we meet, we shall limit our conversation to Russian and Portuguese only. We'll talk about the watch incident--what kind of prisoner of war has the chutzpah to demand watches from his jailers?  I admire someone who tries to turn the watch-stealing stereotype on its head.

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  • The Watch Incident (Leslie Robinson, USA 10/29/11 4:29 AM)
    In my post of 22 October, I wrote of a Japanese prisoner of war on Saipan who asked me for my watch.  JE responded:

    "Next time we meet, [Les and I] shall limit our conversation to Russian and Portuguese only. We'll talk about the watch incident--what kind of prisoner of war has the chutzpah to demand watches from his jailers? I admire someone who tries to turn the watch-stealing stereotype on its head."

    He didn't "demand" the watch; he merely asked me for it, since I was "rich" and could get another one. We had an interesting conversation but I can't remember anything else. I'm 88 and my memory is going to pot! I'm not in Alzheimer land yet but I seem to be headed that way. I'm trying to slow things down by studying Russian. I've sold my house and have moved in with one of my daughters. I couldn't take care of the yard any more since my body has gone to pot as well. It's also lonely living alone; my wife died two years ago.

    JE comments:  We love you, Les!  Be well and be sure to keep in touch with your friends at WAIS.  I once read that language study is an excellent way to maintain mental sharpness in one's senior years.  Can anyone give us more details on this?

    Les:  I'm looking forward to having lunch with you someday--at year's end?  Russian for the main course, Portuguese for dessert.  Vodka or caipirinha?  To open up our foreign-language appetites, either one would do the trick.

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