Thursday, February 27, 2014

tenjikai (展示会)

Tenjikai ( 展示会、てんじかい ) is an exhibition, e.g. an art or fashion exhibit.  My friend just had one today for his new company.  It was held in Omotesando, one of the more upscale areas in Tokyo.  I had a hard time finding the place, so I was happy when I finally did. . .A lot of stores and businesses in Omotesando and Harajuku are housed in places that don't look like stores or businesses.  This was the front end of the exhibition, which I think could easily pass for a kids clubhouse.

Inside, it looked like this

Lasonic--a boombox for the i-Pod.  It has a karaoke function

a table with built-in speakers, pretty good sound


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

suru (する) verbs, part 2

anshin suru (安心する, する) --to be relieved, to feel secure

antei suru (安定する, あんていする) --to be steady or stable

bakuhatsu suru (爆発する, ばくはつする) --to explode, burst, blow up

I looked around for some visual examples of these words.  For anshin suru, I was surprised at how many pet videos there were.  I guess people like to see their dogs relax.


Friday, February 21, 2014

K.Y. (kuuki ga yomenai)

K.Y. (kuuki ga yomenai) means that a person can't lit. "read the air," or can't tell what's happening with the people in the room.  For example, if the K.Y. person were a comedian and making jokes that no one is laughing at, s/he (the comedian) would have no idea that no one's laughing and might think that the comedy gig is going fine.

In an everyday life example, it might be someone at a party making offensive jokes.  But s/he wouldn't know that people were being offended, and so s/he would be K.Y.

The first time I heard this phrase, several years ago, it was at a nomikai (lit. a drinking party).  There was a guy telling stories about his trip to China, and he went on for a long time.  He thought everyone was fascinated with his tales and details, but when he went to the bathroom, someone said, "Kare kuuki ga yomenai ne. . ." and I asked for a translation.

Anyway, I don't think that K.Y. is ever intended as a compliment, in Japanese.  The closest that I could imagine it to being a compliment would be when used by someone who knows that KY is the abbreviation for Kentucky, if that person like Kentucky Fried Chicken (which here is abbreviated as "KEN-tah-kee," not KFC).

Anyway, some video examples.  From a drama:

 A video I didn't really understand, to tell the truth. . .

 And something else that I didn't understand, because the subtitles were in Spanish.  But I thought the video was visually interesting.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

suru (する) verbs, part 1

A long long time ago a friend gave me a list of suru verbs.  An American, he said that after he memorized this list he started to understand the (Japanese) news.  It's not a very sexy list, but I have faith that the vocabulary is practical.  I have yet to learn all the words, so getting them down visually in this blog is partly for my own sake.

Another friend taught me the Rule of 3, suggesting that it was a helpful thing to keep in mind when trying to remember something.  A former marine, he said that most human brains are wired to grasp concepts up to a limit of three at a time.  Of course, we can all focus on more than three things at once, but doing so compromises one's ability to properly concentrate on these things; in other words, going past three can spread us thin.  He told me that's why, in the military, when they send someone out into the field they try to limit the tasks to three.  He also said that it's an old rule, going back at least as far as the Roman Empire.  I've heard other versions of the Rule of 3 (e.g. in writing, advertising, etc.), but anyway. . .

The first three suru verbs:

aiyou suru ( 愛用する、あいようする ) --to use regularly, to give one's patronage

anji suru ( 暗示する, あんじする ) --to hint, suggest

annai suru ( 案内する、あんないする ) --to guide, lead

shareru / shareteiru ( しゃれる / しゃれている)

A followup on おしゃれ -- there are different verb forms.   

おしゃれ する is a way to say that someone is being おしゃれ.

Another verb, shareru ( しゃれる), can also be used for certain situations.  (Present progressive is shareteiru ( しゃれている ), past tense shareta ( しゃれた ).  My friend was trying to explain to me the nuance, the connotation, and it sounds like shareru would be used, for example, to describe a retro or vintage look. . .She said it can also be used ironically, like when you think that someone is being too ostentatious or blingy.  I have to ask around more about that one.  Nuance is one of the harder things for me to figure out, especially when different Japanese speakers have different conceptions of words.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

おしゃれ (oshare) and おしゃんてぃ (oshanti)

To some of my Japanese friends, this is the singly most important word in the lexicon:
Oshare (おしゃれ, オシャレ ) means fashionable, sharp, stylin, and the like.  It's used to describe clothes, accessories, shoes, handbags, etc. but can also be used to describe places, like cafes and restaurants.

A couple of years ago, my high school and college students taught me oshanti (おしゃんてぃ,  オシャンティー), a newer term meaning the same thing.  

If you YouTube おしゃれ, the results are so dominated by this TV show called おしゃれイズム which, although I haven't asked anybody about this, sounds like a katakana version of おしゃれ-ism.  Here are a couple of samples from the show.  The statuesque lady in the videos is Izumi Mori, a fashion model, actress, and talento.  I haven't seen much of her stuff, but I have quite a few friends (mostly women) who adore her.

Not that I'm trying to promote the show, but if you're interested in it, the website is at

Oshanti brought up some. . .different results:


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