i'm traveling in japan with disney on classic (a symphony concert tour with the tokyo philharmonic orchestra, 8 singers, and a crew of japanese folks who have become my dear friends. 28 concerts over the course of two months.)
in japan, the letter U is always pronounced "ooo," and the letter O is pronouced "oh." thus, fukuoka = foo-koo-oh-kah. sometimes the japanese say it so quickly it sounds like three syllables instead of four: foo-kwoh-kah.
how it isn't pronounced is: fuck-you-oka.
living in a culture and country for two months at a time (six months total if you add my time here from 2007 and 2008) gives you hopefully more than a tiny insight into it, and – certainly in this case – brings a special respect for it's customs, food, culture and language.
that said, here are some witty u.s. responses to my and other cast members' facebook posts mentioning fukuoka (i.e. "today i'm in fukuoka!" or "had a lovely dinner in fukuoka today"):
look, if i were back home and had never been to yokohama, or osaka, or masuda, or sapporo, or aomori, or fukuoka, i'd probably be laughing. i'm just feeling protective of...my friend.
- Hey, watch your language
- What did you just say to Japan ?
- Is this an Austin Powers joke ?
- who is oka and why do u want her to fuk herself in Japan?
- Fukuoka? Didn't his 16-year-old girlfriend shoot his wife a few years ago?
- Fuk u ova?
- You just like using that name!
- who's oka? and why are you so mad at her?
and hey, i get just as bent out of shape sticking up for places like gays mills, spooner, spread eagle and bohners lake, wisconsin.