Monday, March 17, 2014

suru (する) verbs, part 4

bougai suru (妨害する、ぼうがいする)= to barricade, disturb

In the two videos below, this verb is being used to describe people who get in the way of emergency vehicles.




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boushi suru (防止する、ぼうしする) = to prevent, keep in check

 And the speaker in this video shows us how he prevents dehydration in his wonderful bird


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boshuu suru ( 募集する、ぼしゅうする) = to recruit, collect

And this is a recruiting video for the group Morning Musume.  It's not my kind of music, but culturally I think they deserve recognition as being the precursor to AKB and all of its offshoots.


飲み放題 (nomihoudai)

Also important in the language of nomikai is nomihoudai, or All-You-Can-Drink.  The nomi- part of it means drink, while the -houdai is the all-you-can.  (Tabehoudai, All-You-Can-Eat, is the other essential to know in dining out.)  I sometimes hear people abbreviate nomihoudai as nomihou.

An average izakaya charges maybe ¥1200-1500 for two hours.  Western foreigners often go nuts over this in an "oh my God I can't believe it" kind of way, at least at first; I certainly did.  Every American I know here cannot fathom an American establishment implementing nomihoudai and staying in business for long; just the nearest college population alone would set off bankruptcy alarms.  But of course we probably exaggerate in our minds the extent to which our home country is alcoholic.  

I've seen a few blogs and vlogs about nomihoudai and I agree with them that generally the Japanese people I know don't go all out to get their money's worth in this situation.  It's just usually the more economical option if you're going to be drinking for a couple of hours.  And, being of Asian descent myself, I don't think I'm being unfairly stereotypical or a self-hating racist when I say that Asian people, on average, don't drink as much and probably can't tolerate as much alcohol as some of the larger-livered people from other parts of the world.  (I don't mean it disparagingly to anyone, and I know there are a lot of heavy, hard-slamming Asians in this world. . .)  Anyway, it is nice that the Japanese food and drink industry can offer this and continue to offer it.

Some videos about it--the first two are by a couple of fellow expats I've never met.





About the following video, I agree with almost all that's said. . .Only things that are different in my experience are:  1) the nomihoudai deals I encounter are a bit less than the $35 that he mentions early on in the video (but maybe it's because I usually go to less expensive places),  2) I don't see beer vending machines much any more, mostly only in hotel lobbies, and 3) in parts of Tokyo there seems to be a visible effort for the law to discourage underage drinking.  It's certainly not a "crackdown" or any such thing, and undoubtedly teenagers are drinking, but things don't seem to be as lax as they were ten years ago.  All that said, I'm not disagreeing with Moteki Texan in what he's saying, just saying that we encounter different things, have different experiences.





 And this video is for the dancing

Saturday, March 8, 2014

飲み会 (nomikai)

This was one of the early and important words when I moved here.  Nomikai (飲み会, のみかい ) is usually translated as "drinking party" among my Japanese friends.  There's a lot of drinking in Tokyo, but I don't know that more alcohol is drunk per capita than in, say, the state of Michigan or the city of Moscow.  I don't know statistics on this.  But I feel comfortable in saying that there's been drinking (of alcohol) at every get-together I've had with friends in restaurants, izakaya and, of course, bars.  



Having a pretty great  train/subway system helps a lot.  Whenever my friends from back home come to visit, they're always sort of giddy over the fact that they don't have to drive home.  To have the freedom to drink as much as one wants. . .

I do have friends here who don't drink.  Not all that many, but they live.  The nomikai system can be financially tough on non-drinkers because generally people here split the final bill equally.  This may be unfair to those who don't eat or drink much, but it's part of the group ethic, I think.  And it can be liberating, in more than one way.  But not everyone is into it.  One of my (Japanese) friends who doesn't partake in drinks of merriment regularly says to me "I paid a lot for my Oloong tea tonight" when others (especially girls) aren't listening.  Of course drinks generally drive up the bill, so I take his point.  Generally, a night out at an average izakaya or restaurant seems to cost me in the neighborhood of 3000-4000 yen; of course, at theme places or more extravagant settings it'll be more.  To the drunken, I guess this sits as par for the course or better.  But for teetotalers, I can see how it would seem expensive.  Heavy drinkers know that it's a bargain for them, and I've known a few who take advantage of the night.

My first year here I didn't want to rock the boat or cause ill feelings, but now when I'm at a nomikai where there's someone who doesn't drink, I don't mind coming out and saying (no doubt because I'm drunk, as I do drink) to everyone that the non-drinkers should pay a bit less.  It feels like the right thing to do.






Saturday, March 1, 2014

suru (する) verbs, part 3

bengo suru ( 弁護する、べんごする ) -- to defend, testify for

I like the word testify.  It reminds me of this now-classic RATM song.  Sweet that someone put Japanese subs on this version.



benkyou suru ( 勉強する、べんきょうする) -- to study


Today was the first time I've seen this lady (below) reciting Japanese on You Tube waves; she sure has a lot of viewers.  It's the video that came up at the top when I You Tubed the kanji for benkyou, I guess because of its title and number of hits.  As I started watching, at first I didn't know if I should continue till the end, but in the middle of it she breaks out a rather large slice of pizza.  I have to admit, it made me laugh.



 This is one of the verbs learned pretty early on by most people learning Japanese.  I'm sure I learned it in class, but I don't remember learning it.  I do remember hearing it in the anime below, though, because it was the first time I heard the word benkyou used outside of the classroom/textbook.  They used to air this show on the Japanese cable network back home, a long time ago, and I watched it once or twice.  It was back when I used to get really excited hearing a word I'd learned being spoken in the outside world.  I'd practically jump out of my seat, "I know that one!"

Anyway, this anime is about a boy named Kintaro who's cycling around Japan in search of new experiences.  He's a good-hearted guy but so uncool around women, especially beautiful women.  He loses control, although not in a dangerous way.  When he gets worked up, he'll cycle furiously repeating to himself "Benkyou benkyou benkyou!"  He often uses "Benkyou ni narimashita!", which basically means "I learned something," or "It was educational," etc.

Just to warn you, the humor is a little erotic.  It isn't a violent eroticism, but definitely at least PG-13.  (For those outside of America, PG-13 is one of the categories to which movies are assigned in the ratings system.  It means "Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13"; the PG originally meant Parental Guidance suggested.)  It's also unapologetically cheesy.  The Japanese I find somewhat easier to understand than a lot of other anime, perhaps because it's everyday life (instead of robots or pirates or some of the more otherworldly themes that populate much of Japan's animated realm).
 





benshou suru ( 弁償する、べんしょうする) --to compensate, repay for loss


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...