Wednesday, April 30, 2014

suru (する) verbs, part 5

bunkatsu suru, 分割 (ぶんかつ) する--to divide, split

I thought this was a pretty cool example.  I'd never seen them separate the train cars before.  The splitting up starts at about 2 minutes into the video.

In the video below, someone is showing us how to split a PDF file.

I just think it's nice that people go through the trouble of videoing and posting stuff like this, which I'm sure is helpful to some.
bunseki suru, 分析 (ぶんせき) する--to analyze, break down


To tell the truth, I have no idea what he's talking about--I watched for about 20 seconds and moved on.  But even without comprehending his presentation,  I thought that the visual alone might help in remembering this word.

  chikoku suru, 遅刻 (ちこく) する--to be late, tardy

This one just made me laugh. Gorilla Man is definitely running behind schedule. . .

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


This was from last year's TV show, Hanzawa Naoki, the story of a good man trying to survive a corrupt banking world.  I only got around to watching it this year when it reached the internet with English subtitles.  I liked it quite a lot.

The series protagonist is not to be messed with.  His warning to people, his philosophy in business and in life, is embodied in the line "Yararetara yarikaesu. . .Baigaeshi da!"  (やられたらやり返す 倍返しだ!)  Yararetara is in the passive voice, so some of my friends' and students' attempts at direct translation come out something like "If it is done to you, do it back--double payback!"  A slightly less direct  translation would be "If someone screws you, give double the payback." Or if you want to go higher than double--Hanzawa Naoki goes up to jyuu at some point--then something like "If someone screws you, screw 'em back ten-fold.")

-bai (倍) is the suffix for times, as in nibai (二倍, 2 times), sanbai (三倍, 3 times), etc.    If you just say baigaeshi, it's apparently presumed to mean double the payback.  If you want to go higher, then you have to put a number, e.g. san (三), go (五), jyuu (十), etc. before the baigaeshi.

At the end of this video Naoki H. delivers the line:

This is a trailer.

 And this is a website where you can watch it with English subtitles.  To be honest, I don't think that the translators are native English speakers, but I'm not complaining--they did a good enough job that I could easily keep up with the story.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

よろびこ (yorobiko)

I don't think this is officially a word yet, and it may never be. . .I recently learned it from one of my high school students.  よろびこ (yorobiko) is a mutation of よろしく (yoroshiku) よろしくおねがいします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu).  It's one of those words that, right now, maybe only high school students would know.

When I mentioned this to other adults, they recalled that around ten years ago, よろぴく (yoropiku) was the word of the day.  Just a cute alteration of the very-important yoroshiku, I guess.  These adults tell me that yoropiku is "so old."

One of my fellow colleagues at school, when she heard me asking about yorobiko, looked on with some disdain.  I think it's an understatement to say that not everyone here likes the morphing of words and phrases that the younger generation is into.  Personally, though, I find it a bit impressive for its creativity.  As with many things in Japanese culture, the creativity manifests in doing new things with old things.

A couple of links of people using it on their blogs.  (I wanted to check around to make sure that it wasn't only my student using this expression. . .)

Monday, April 7, 2014


Today the new school year started in Japan.  In my two jobs, though, classes don't actually begin for a few days.  I went to one of the campuses, though, hoping to make all of the handouts and mentally run through what the first day of school would be. . .But it was hard.  After spending three weeks in Hawai'i, I'm not in a Tokyo state of mind.  I spent a lot of time today wandering about, having pleasant conversations that put off getting to work.  Just a little before 2pm my friend told me that the Japanese word for procrastinate is hikinobasu

Saturday, April 5, 2014

vocabulary of cherry blossoms

Anyone who spends a spring in Japan surely learns sakura, the word for cherry blossoms; and hanami  (or ohanami, more formally), which is defined as a "cherry blossom-viewing party."  I suppose it would be as accurate to define the hanami as a picnic under the blossoms, often a drunken gathering, for many.  The best time is when the cherry blossoms are mankai (満開, まんかい), or in full bloom.

During my first year here, a good friend (a New Yorker and fellow Beastie Boy listener) once likened cherry blossom season in Japan to Christmas back home, at least in its effect on our temperaments.  People are friendly and sociable even to strangers, and the spirit of the season seems to prompt the expectation of this phenomenon.  The air warms, and so do we.  And people are generous; more than once have I been offered and given free drinks, beer and chu-hai mostly, by fellow hanami-ers who happen to be sitting next to me on the glorious earth under trees topped by an illuminated white canopy.  The giving inspires giving, and before long we find ourselves sharing and talking and laughing.  Whenever gusts of wind blow the petals into a shower falling on us, we let out Oohs and Aahs, as mesmerized by this vision of spring as we would be by any winter snowfall.

The sakura, I've been told, is symbolic of the fleeting essence of life and its beauty, something to be enjoyed and, ideally, grasped for what it is while it remains with us, a temporal wonder.  Sakura and Sakurako are popular names for girls.

Most of these pictures were taken at Yoyogi Park (Yoyogi Kooen, 代々木公園).



The majority of eople in Japan, in my experience, are really good about not littering


Lastly, a music video by Morning Musume with today's vocabulary.  Honestly not the kind of music I usually listen to, but there are obviously people who like it.  For those not yet indoctrinated in the world of Jpop, Morning Musume was a sort of precursor to today's AKB groups, over a decade ago.

Reiwa , 令和, a new era

Reiwa , 令和 , is the name of the era just begun as Emperor Akihito abdicated to his son, Naruhito on May 1, 2019. It has stirred some cont...