Our textbook is titled Japanese for Busy People, vol. I, and the lessons are organized around situations that a businessperson would want to handle. (A very early unit concerns exchanging business cards.) Each unit has a theme, like “Express gratitude,” or “Make a telephone call,” or “Order food at a restaurant.”

With more than a little nod to James Thurber’s “There’s No Place Like Home,” I remixed some of the unit themes into

Japanese for Busy Terrorists

  • Ask for telephone numbers
  • Describe what is inside a building
  • Talk about numbers of things or people that exist in a particular place
  • Talk about schedules in detail
  • Ask someone to do something for you

Japanese for Busy Counter-intelligence Officers

  • Talk about nationalities and occupations
  • Talk about where you live, where you work, and who your acquaintances are
  • Talk about the times of meetings and parties
  • Talk about what you are doing now
  • Forbid someone from doing something