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Sigh-onara forever

October 27th, 2011 · 64 comments

Ashley in Ohio has no complaints about the English skills of her Japanese pen pal, but this “thank you” card left her feeling like something must have gotten lost in translation. “Although I’ve been sending her e-mails and cards for every tiny holiday, this apparently hasn’t been enough to satisfy her,” Ashley says. (Ouch.)

Hi. How are you? I'm good.  Thank you write many card to me. But I hope I get normal (long) letter to you. When do you send I ask things?  I told you in my e-mail (I think you don't read it).  I don't want to your friend.  Please never write back to me.  (I searched another US Penpals).  Bye Forever  From Sayaka  Happy Halloween.  Merry Christmas.  Thank you.  and A Happy New Year  Happy Valentine's day!

related: Please don’t sit with me ever again.

FILED UNDER: Clearly a non-native English speaker · painfully polite · thanks (but not really) · way harsh

64 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Bockanalia

    Nothing says heartfelt letter like a Hallmark with a Minnie Mouse sticker. Am I right?

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   aliceblue

      The Minnie sticker should be a clear indicator that this is not a person you will miss.

      Oct 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm   rating: 35  small thumbs up

  • #2   Rhamza

    I think that she forgot a long list of holidays to add to that ending list she had going there. Just saying…

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #3   snee

    Happy Halloween
    Merry Christmas
    Happy New Year
    Happy Valentine’s Day
    FUCK YOU American penpal!

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm   rating: 223  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Nick

      I wish I could like this twice.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #4   shesajem

    WOW. Epic burn.

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #5   Elisha

    Ooooch! That’s awful.

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #6   joe

    i had the same thing happen. a slightly prickly japanese internet pal who traded pictures and stories with me. however i didn’t answer his questions fast enough and he told me not to talk to him again.

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:29 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

  • #7   cringeworthy

    Japanese people are so polite, they always say “thank you”… ESPECIALLY as you are leaving.

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:34 pm   rating: 37  small thumbs up

  • #8   Stephanie


    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:34 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #9   Dusa

    It sounds like she doesn’t like the holiday letters because possibly the sender didn’t write a lot in them? There seems to be more to the story since she had to break up with her via card and not email (possibly not reading the e-mails she sent like mentioned in the card? lol).

    Oct 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm   rating: 28  small thumbs up

  • #10   juju_skittles

    My name is juju_skittles and I am a bad penpal. There, I’ve said it. I didn’t reply to ONE letter from my English penpal – and she had the Salvation Army check to see if I was a missing person! She sent lots of photos of her cat…

    Oct 27, 2011 at 11:18 pm   rating: 39  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   MT

      Hi juju_skittles.
      My name is MT, and I am a bad penpal. I had a penpal once who wrote me quite consistently. I think I wrote back twice. I think the stickers in her letters kind of freaked me out, but now I feel horrible, even though this happened over 10 years ago…

      Oct 28, 2011 at 12:05 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Laura G

      I am a bad penpal too. I had one when I was a kid, and just stopped writing her back after a while. She found me on Facebook a couple of years ago and said that she had heard about a hurricane in my area around when I stopped writing, and she thought I died in it!

      Nov 4, 2011 at 10:50 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

  • #11   Lessons

    This is like every relationship I’ve ever had. Sadly, I’m always the Japanese pen pal.

    Oct 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm   rating: 67  small thumbs up

  • #12   Palomon

    This whole thing seems slightly racist.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 12:57 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   houtini

      What? Where? Paranoid?

      Oct 28, 2011 at 2:46 am   rating: 36  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   nyuu

      Well, for me, it’s not the actual PA card or submission that seems racist. (Not all ESL students are great at grammer after all.)

      It’s the “humourous” comments.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 9:08 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #12.3   cringeworthy

      what? racist because we assume americans are shallow, self-centered and superficial in their correspondence?

      Oct 28, 2011 at 11:20 am   rating: 39  small thumbs up

    • #12.4   ramon

      WOW, relax.. A whole lot..

      Oct 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #12.5   unsatisfied

      “(Not all ESL students are great at grammer after all.) ”

      neither are you, apparently.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #12.6   Canthz_B bang

      Anyone have a grammer two of coke to sell?

      Oct 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #12.7   kermit

      I have a grammer of Kelsey (who probably has coke), but I don’t know if you’ll consider him an acceptable substitute, CB.

      Oct 29, 2011 at 9:20 am   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #12.8   Canthz_B bang

      I’m a-frazier right there, kermit.

      Oct 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #13   Palomon

    I see you ridin’ round town
    With the girl I love
    And I’m like; haiku.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 1:11 am   rating: 188  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   Janellionaire

      Oh. Mygod.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 2:05 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   Brittani With-an-i

      this might be the best comment I’ve ever seen.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   amazon

      I see you ridin’
      Round town with the girl I love
      And I’m like; haiku.

      Your friendly haiku pedant ;)

      Oct 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm   rating: 61  small thumbs up

    • #13.4   snee

      i’ve got this on a t-shirt!
      (amazon’s version)

      Oct 29, 2011 at 7:44 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #14   Somebody Else

    Jess: Oooh, that’s harsh. You don’t bounce back from that right away.
    Harry: Thanks Jess.
    Jess: No, I’m a writer, I know dialogue and that’s particularly harsh.

    –When Harry Met Sally

    Oct 28, 2011 at 2:21 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #15   Quietmarc

    Why would you ask a question (“How are you?”) if you don’t want an answer? How rude!

    Oct 28, 2011 at 7:44 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #16   Ozwald

    Brutal. Clearly she wasn’t getting the English language practise she wanted from those holiday cards.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 8:22 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #17   Daniel

    How do you make emails look like that? What font is it? :p

    Oct 28, 2011 at 8:52 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Rattus


      Oct 28, 2011 at 9:57 am   rating: 22  small thumbs up

  • #18   nami

    The MInnie Mouse sticker effectively plays up the passive aggressive style of this card. The cute demeanor yet the aggression hidden under that mouse’s smile communicates the penpal’s feelings toward the American penpal- “I like you, but I hate you!”

    Oct 28, 2011 at 9:22 am   rating: 15  small thumbs up

  • #19   Jorpho

    This might just be the saddest thing I’ve seen on this site in a long time.

    What a swell way to start Friday!

    Oct 28, 2011 at 9:25 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #20   Juliet

    I don’t really get it, but to me it reads like she expects to be exchanging proper letters with a penpal, not just signed cards and emails. She kind of does have a point.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 10:08 am   rating: 68  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   VM

      I got the same impression. Like she felt she was being treated as less of a -pal than -acquaintance, or worse, as a form of polite duty. If that were the case, the punctiliousness of being noticed at “every tiny holiday” (and doesn’t that phrase have a taste of PA resentment) would be more annoying than silence.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm   rating: 36  small thumbs up

  • #21   Matilda

    I think it’s the “I don’t want to your friend. Please never write back to me.” that got me. A leeetle harsh.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 10:21 am   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   Egg McMuppet

      Yeah that was plenty harsh, but for me the “(I searched another U.S. penpals)” was especially heartbreaking. In other words, Ashley got dumped for somebody else. *Ouchies.*

      P.S. Waitaminute… People still have penpals in 2011?

      Oct 28, 2011 at 10:57 am   rating: 23  small thumbs up

    • #21.2   Kati

      Lots of people do, yes, including me.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #22   Pam D

    when I was a pre-teenager, I had an Asian penpal that sent me a similar letter…. I didn’t get a Minnie Mouse sticker though.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 10:51 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #22.1   Quite Contrary

      I’m sorry. I’m sure the sticker would have made the break up easier.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 1:22 pm   rating: 27  small thumbs up

  • #23   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff


    Oct 28, 2011 at 11:09 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #24   SoupySales

    Gotta give it to Sayaka… Her passive-aggressive English is better than my Japanese (which is non-existent beyond yummy yummy “unagi”). I kind of love this PAN.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 11:24 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #25   PANs_Labyrinth bang

    What, no Pearl Harbor jokes yet? I’m disappointed in you guys.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #25.1   Sesquipedalian

      Only your comment has bombed.

      Oct 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm   rating: 109  small thumbs up

    • #25.2   PANs_Labyrinth bang


      Oct 30, 2011 at 7:10 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #26   ramon

    I’d like to get Sayaka’s address. She sounds unreasonable and a little nuts. I think i could be the dedicated penpal she needs.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm   rating: 50  small thumbs up

  • #27   Hanna

    What got stuck in her craw?

    Oct 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #28   Adam

    It kind of looks to me in that sticker like Minnie is peeing standing up and looking over her/his left shoulder, with her/his tail being the … stream, I guess you would say? That’s all I can see when I look at this letter now.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #29   Nick

    It looks like Ashley accidentally Sayaka, given the language barrier.

    Oct 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #30   Kathy

    Bad pen pal you!

    Oct 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #31   Me

    Hahaha…”bye forever.” If you are reading this Sayaka, 手紙を大好きですね。

    Oct 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #31.1   BrookeDiz

      Me, too!

      Oct 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #31.2   Bob

      just fyi (not a native speaker, but in Advanced Japanese at uni) the particle が is used with 好き.



      Oct 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #31.3   portia


      Nov 8, 2011 at 1:01 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #32   Juniper

    Am I the only one that totally understand the sentiment that is trying to be expressed here? The American penpal obviously only sends short and shallow emails – not the point of penpals at all.

    Oct 29, 2011 at 8:56 am   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #32.1   infanttyrone

      You are not alone.
      No reason to get excited…there are many here among us…
      No, thanks…I have an alibi.

      Oct 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #33   chrispappas

    Parentheses starting on one line with the contents starting on the other? When writing?

    “…my e-mail (
    I think you don’t read…”

    Can anyone shed any light?

    Oct 29, 2011 at 10:20 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #33.1   infanttyrone

      Well, Little Luke, I reckon she must have ditched her English class
      the day they covered greeting card calligraphy.

      Ace your Japanese midterm ?
      Or you’re going the pass/fail route ?

      Oct 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #34   AyeArr

    Is she mad that she is getting too many letters or not enough? I’m confused…..

    Oct 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #35   Mitchy

    Is a former pen-pal a penemy?

    Oct 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm   rating: 28  small thumbs up

  • #36   fricketyfrack

    Not enough. She needs a penpal to practice writing and reading english with a native speaker so she can learn alternate uses for words and figures of speech and informal usage. Cards and little ‘happy random meaningless holiday’ are useless. She needs long letters.

    Nov 9, 2011 at 3:25 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up


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