Like Syntax from Takeshi

05 Apr 2006
Kitano, Takeshi

Kitano Takeshi

This is a picture of Kitano Takeshi (北野武), AKA “Beat Takeshi.” (I always find his Chinese name, Běiyě Wǔ, surreally different from his Japanese name.) My syntax teacher looks a lot like this guy, except for having smile lines around his eyes instead of Takeshi’s perpetual mask of indifference. They seem to share a love of the cigarette.

So sometimes when I’m listening to a lecture on Chinese syntax, my teacher’s visage sends my mind back to a scene in Hanabi, or images of a gangster hanging out with a little boy in Kikujiro. Except instead of spitting out tough guy talk, he’s outlining how the latest cognitive linguistics research affects our understanding of phrase structure. Then he cracks one of his bizarre jokes, and those smile lines seize his face once again, shattering the illusion completely.

I like my teacher, but I’m really not so into Chinese syntax theory. Somehow, though, Takeshi’s Chinese doppelganger helps get me through those classes.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. So what are the latest developments in cognitive linguistics research?

    Personally, I’d think that having a professor who looked like Kitano Takeshi would scare one into paying attention, if only because cute turns in Kikujiro and Zatoichi aside, that guy will fuck you up.

  2. Brendan,

    I was worried someone was going to ask that.

    Don’t come to me for info on cognitive linguistics. Not my thing.

  3. 你老师也半部面瘫? lol

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