Convenience Stories: R vs L

Many foreigners are working part-time in convenience stores in Japan. As long as you can speak basic Japanese like greetings and number, you can easily get accepted if you apply for konbini job. Even though, konbini job description is not as simple as pressing buttons on cash register.

Before coming to Japan, I have already been able to speak in conversational Japanese and read a little bit of kanji. My problem is I don't really read, I mean I'm lazy, so I don't read hiragana and katakana fast and don't know difficult kanjis. The first trouble I got is when I was learning to record the numbers of unsold newspaper. It is super easy for me now, but oh my god at the first time, phew, I had to match many times the name of newspaper and the one written in the form. So tired. My eyes. There is a newspaper called スポーツ報知 (supootsu houchi) and I just knew few weeks ago that I always read the kanji wrong, I thought it was supootsu tsuuchi 😓

Well, konbini job really forces me to read more Japanese. But you know, most difficult thing for me until now, is... differentiate between R and L.

In my konbini, we sell coffee and the customer has to buy the cup from cashier and there are two sizes, regular and large. R and L.

In Japanese, there are no 'r' and 'l'. Their own 'r' is not really 'r', it is like between 'r' and 'l'. And they pronunce R as 'aru' and L as 'eru'. They pronounce regular, 'regyuuraa', and large 'raajii'. And I always mix up, until now. 

Sometimes, when the customer said she wants 'eru' cup, I think it is R since Indonesians pronounce R as 'er'. And it's hard for me to say 'regular' and 'large' in Japanese-English way, but if I said in normal English pronunciation way, they sometimes don't understand 😭

So what I do, if I'm not sure what cup they choose, I will just ask,

"So you want the big cup?"

"Is it the small cup?"

Safe.

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