Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ださい!(ダサい, dasai)

「ださい」 means cheesy, corny, tacky, etc.  I think it's a great word to know.

You might find it worthwhile to google it and see what comes up in the image results.  On my side, a picture of the album cover for the Prince album Lovesexy (on which he's quite naked) was the third result, and Jean-Claude Van Damme biting a snake was not far behind.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

頭にきた!(going crazy)

頭にきた!(あたまにきた!) Atama ni kita! = "I /He /She is angry, upset, mad!  has lost it!" 

Of course, who the angered person should be apparent through the context of the situation; as you probably know, personal pronouns are very often dropped in Japanese.

I like this phrase mainly because when I learned it, I imagined Homer Simpson holding his head, an angry "Doh!" coming out of him.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Smoking or Non-Smoking

When you go to a restaurant, most times you'll be asked if you want the Smoking or No Smoking section.  The Smoking section is kitsuen no seki (or simply kitsuen, for smoking).  The No Smoking / Non-Smoking section is kinnen no seki (or simply kinnen, for non-smoking).  Dochira demo yoi or dochira demo ii means either is fine.

Below is a typical example of a waiting list that you'd sign in on if the restaurant is crowded; the relevant kanji is circled in red.


Monday, June 17, 2013

cat's tongue

My apologies for not having kept up with the stated goal of posting one-a-day on average.  June is a busy month for a lot of teachers in Japan, mainly because there are no national holidays and, in my case, schools generally don't have a lot of testing periods in June.  (This means that teachers and ALTs have to teach every weekday and, if necessary, prep these classes.)  でももしわけございませんでした。。。

As for today's word, it came about tonight as we were finishing dinner and settling down to a bit of hot tea.  One of our party sipped it and immediately pulled the cup away from her mouth.  It turns out that she can't stand to drink hot liquids; she's too sensitive to the heat.  She asked, "How do I say [sic] in English?"  In Japanese, the term is nekoshita (ねこした), which translates literally to "cat's tongue." 

We had to disappoint her, as we couldn't think of a single English term that would convey this human condition; we could only express it with a full sentence.  If anyone has any suggestions, please let us know. . .




Tuesday, June 11, 2013

さすが (sasuga) as opposed to やっぱり (yappari)

I was just using 「さすが」 in an email and realized how often I hear this word used.  Usually when I hear it, it seems like the meaning is somewhere in the vicinity of "Ah, just as I'd expect from you."  I checked around a bit, with people I know and on the internet, and it seems generally to be a complimentary term.

A great question came up on a few websites.  What's the difference between さすが and やっぱり?
When I first learned 「やっぱり」, I understood it to mean "after all"--e.g. I'm afraid I can't come, after all.  I have to work.  

This website's explanation of  さすが suggests that it's a complimentary term that emphasizes the uniqueness of a person or situation, i.e. "Only you could have done that."

http://www.yesjapan.com/YJ6/question/3426/what_039-s_the_difference_between_yappari_and_sasuga

And this website offers a scenario in which さすが might used in a negative sense.
http://tangorin.com/forum/435/

You'll have to scroll down a bit to the English explanation, which comes after the French one.
The comment also mentions the casual version of   やっぱり, which is やっぱ.  I hear that a lot.


Monday, June 10, 2013

こわい vs かわいい

 Today one of the other teachers at my school, who just arrived to Japan a short time ago, had trouble with the こわい vs かわいい issue.

Sorry if you already know this--
こわい=scary
かわいい=cute

Found a video about it--

Sunday, June 9, 2013

区役所 ( くやくしょ, kuyakusho )is your city hall in Tokyo

This is one of those practical but less than sexy words:  区役所 (city hall).  The ku part I guess indicates that you're in one of Tokyo's 23 wards. These pictures are of Toshima-ku's city hall.  If you look at the second picture, of the city hall sign, the first two kanj are Toshima, the last three kuyakusho.  City hall is where you get/renew your ID card, where you can register for health insurance, and where you can get information on a host of other things, e.g. where to go for community center Japanese classes (they might not actually have the information on hand but can tell you where to go/call), or where to find pretty much anything in your ward.  Tokyo city halls should have English speakers available to help you at least some days out of the week.



Saturday, June 8, 2013

chubby chaser

Ah man, been slacking off this week.  June is a grizzly month for a lot of people I know, mainly because there aren't any national holidays.  I'll try to catch up.

This is a followup to the ぽっちゃり (pocchari) post--
chubby chaser is でぶせん (debusen) in Japanese. 

I googled it out of curiosity and the first result was
debusen.info

but I'm kind of scared to enter the site, because of the images on its homepage.
All I can say is that there sure are a lot of でぶせん websites out there!  おもしろい!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ぽっちゃり (pocchari)

One constant over the years that I've spent in Japan is the liberal use of the word "fat."  It seems like everyone knows this word, even people who claim not to speak English.

When it comes up in class, I try to offer some alternatives, citing that "fat" can be hurtful.  The other options I suggest are usually heavyset (which arguably isn't a direct alternative to fat, as heavyset could refer to a person's build, as opposed to his/her amount of body fat. . .But anyway, I still put it out there, feeling that it's close enough in meaning and different enough to be a euphemism), portly, and chubby

As I explain that "chubby," I recall to my students my college friend Janice, who preferred chubby guys and who looked forward to having chubby babies because they were so cute.  Once I tell them about Janice and her fetish, invariably at least a couple of students in the class will realize that "Aa, chubby is pocchari in Japanese."

If you're curious, please Google ぽっちゃり.  The results in the Images section should give an idea--

Saturday, June 1, 2013

爆笑 (ばくしょう)

爆笑 (ばくしょう), bakushō,  is a burst of laughter.
爆笑 する means to burst out in laughter, laugh out loud, lol.

Bakushō Mondai (爆笑問題) is a Japanese comedy duo.

TKG, 卵かけご飯 (たまごかけごはん)

卵( tamago ) = egg ご飯 ( gohan ) = rice Kake (かけ, full form かける) means you're putting or pouring egg onto rice, preferably hot steaming...