I just discovered, via comments in my last post, why everyone was so confused in Japan when they asked what I did for a living, and I said I was a writer. Due to a pronunciation subtlety, I probably was actually saying, "I am a hill." (Sakka vs. saka.)

On other trips, I told people that my Japan rail pass allowed me to ride anything but a rat ("Nozomi," the super-fast train, vs. "nezumi," rodent) and that I was terrified of a lady's tiny, fluffy, pink-ribboned Pomeranian puppy ("kawaii," cute, vs. "kowai," scared.)

My college Japanese teacher told the class that she had worked as a waitress when she'd first come to America, and was baffled for quite some time by her customers' reactions when she asked them if they'd like a side order of lice.

Have any of you had similarly comical misadventures in language?
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