Voices on the Wind
Kiss o Kudasai
by Larry Turner
According to Charles Berlitz
you ask for a kiss in Japanese
the same way you ask for anything else:
Kiss o Kudasai.
It carries the connotation,
please descend from your lofty position
and grant unworthy me a kiss—
or a sandwich or whatever.
Will I have occasion to use this phrase?
Not that I’d mind kissing a Japanese girl,
but their use of the English word “kiss”
makes me uneasy,
suggests that kisses.
like forks and pineapples
are foreign to Japanese tradition.
But even in America
I don’t recall ever asking for a kiss.
In my experience, kisses,
like after dinner mints in restaurants,
are either there for the taking
or they’re not.