Sunday, November 22, 2015

はやべん (hayaben)

When my students eat lunch early, e.g. between classes in the morning, they call it はやべん.  The はや is short for 早い (はやい, hayai), which means early.  The べん is short for 弁当 (べんとう, bentou), the word for lunchbox.


The Rap






The Game





Saturday, November 7, 2015

不可知論者 (ふかちろんしゃ, fukachironsha)

不可知論者 (ふかちろんしゃ)means agnostic.  A friend of mine, a philosophy major, taught me this word recently during a conversation about religion in Japan.  It's probably common knowledge that Shintoism and Buddhism are the most practiced religions in the country, a large percentage of the population categorizing themselves as having no religion.  

One source, www.japan-guide.com/topic/0002.html, cites several surveys.

This topic came up sometimes when I used to teach adults at an eikaiwa.  Quite a number of my students felt that the scarcity of strong commitment within the population to organized religion played a role in the low crime rate and generally safe conditions in Japan...I don't think they were knocking religion; they were trying to say that few people get violent over God/gods over here.

My friend and I were discussing whether the non-affiliated category indicated more of an atheist or agnostic mindset...She also said that a lot of people might not be familiar with the term 不可知論者, as it may be somewhat of a technical term.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

読書の秋 (どくしょのあき, dokusho no aki)

Literally, "autumn of reading,"  読書の秋 means that autumn is a good season to catch up on one's reading.  As it was explained to me, autumn is an ideal time for this because the temperature is comfortable and life during these months aren't usually terribly busy, for most folks.  Spring, also a comfortable month, is less than ideal for sitting and reading because in Japan, April is the month of new beginnings (new school year, new employment) and is therefore a hectic period.  Summer, a less comfortable month temperature-wise in most of the country (hot!), presents too many alluring activities in the outdoors, e.g. swimming, fireworks, and festivals.  Winter, certainly a time for curling up with a good book or other kinds of pages, is cold and busy when Christmas and the New Year comes around.  And so autumn is the season to read.

There are other _____ no aki sayings.

スポーツの秋 (スポーツのあき, supōtsu no aki) is an expression that tells us that autumn is a good time for sports, as it isn't too hot or cold.

食欲の秋 (しょくよくのあき, shokuyoku no aki) refers to the increase in appetite that many feel as the air cools and autumn foods (persimmon, chestnuts, saury, and grilled sweet potatoes) surround us.

 

Friday, October 2, 2015

ガツリ (gatsuri)

My students taught me this--ガツリ basically means めちゃ, or very, really

For example, "I really want to eat yakiniku!"= 焼肉(を)ガツリ食べたい!(Yakiniku gatsuri tabetai!)

It may be that some younger people use this term a bit different from middle-aged/older people.  My college students taught it to me, and it came about like this:  as a writing activity, I asked them to write letters to their older, future selves.  (This was in conjunction with watching a movie in which the main characters record a video for their older selves; I was trying to give my students a chance for a similar experience.)  As the class sat quietly, contemplating the letter they were about to write, some of them started to ask one another about how old were the future selves to which they were writing.  Some of them were writing to their forty-year-old selves, some a little older.  But one of them said that she wanted to be ガツリおばあちゃん (gatsuri obaachan), which was her term to signify a really old lady.

When I asked around about the gatsuri obaachan usage, most (including high school and college students) said that it sounded a little weird.  Basically, they said that gatsuri is used as an adverb, e.g. gatsuri ikitai (I really want to go), or gatsuri mitai (I really want to see it). 


Sunday, September 20, 2015

目が泳ぐ (めはおよぐ, me ga oyogu)

Literally this means "Your eyes are swimming," which is a way to say "You're lying."  This feels very similar to the English expression, "Look me in the eye and say that"--both statements seem predicated on the idea (accurate or not) that it's hard to look into someone's eyes and lie.  Me ga oyogu  suggests that the person being spoken to can't keep his/her eyes still because s/he is lying.  I've only heard this expression said a few times, always in the form of teasing:  「うそでしょう!目が泳いでいるよ!」 ("Uso deshou!  Me ga oyoideiru yo!")

This  video. . .isn't anything like the context around which I learned the phrase and has nothing to do with anyone lying.  But it's the most interesting video that I came across in looking for visual examples of 目が泳ぐ.  I wish I could've seen my own reaction as I watched it for the first time; I was leaning back in my chair thinking "Oh my goodness," at the same time unable to divert my eyes from watching it.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

親孝行 (おやこうこう, oyakoukou)

親孝行 (おやこうこう, oyakoukou) is one of the terms that comes up fairly often in class, whenever people are talking about family, their parents, their childhood, growing into adulthood. . .When my students look up this word on their electronic dictionaries, the most frequent definition is "filial piety."  When I try to recall situations, or times, in which I've heard anyone ever mention this English phrase, I draw a blank.  So I never advise my students to use the phrase in conversation; instead, I suggest that a clearer (albeit stiff-sounding) option might be "dutiful son/daughter/child."  More naturally, one might simply call an oyakoukou a good son/daughter/child.

The term can be used as a suru verb, e.g. 親孝行したい for "I want to be a good son/daughter,"  "I want to do right by my parents," etc.  To 親孝行する can take many forms.  In childhood, perhaps helping around the house and keeping up with school.  In adult years, it could mean taking your parents on trips or buying them nice things for the home.  Later on in life, it might mean taking care of them in their twilight years.  Beautifully, it can mean whatever each of us thinks it means to be thankful and appreciative to our parents (or to whomever raised us and cared for us).  One of my friends once told me that her parents told her to simply live a happy and healthy life, and that by doing so she would be an 親孝行.

That so many of my students have asked me about this term reminds me of the importance of this aspect in Japanese (and generally in Asian) culture.  I don't mean that only children in Asian cultures are good to their parents; I don't mean that Asian children are any better to their parents than people in other parts of the world.  I imagine it depends on the person, every time.  But it's nice that a word exists to embody this concept, in Japanese or in any other language

Recently, Back to the Future was on TV, and I was reminded of a terrific example for what it means to be a good child to your parent.  I supposed this will only make sense if you've seen the movie; in this clip, after the kiss, when George (Crispin Glover) waves to Marty (Michael J. Fox), I always feel like "Marty本当に親孝行しました!"  What better way could a son do right by his father than to help him become a better man?  God, I love it when a movie gets the moment right.




This scene's got nothing to do with  親孝行, but it's in the movie and I really like it. . .

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

それな~ (sore na)

それな is another way to say 「そうですね」, which is a phrase to express agreement, as in "I agree," "I think so too," "Yeah, that's  right!", "You can say that again," and "I know what you're saying."  (A more casual version of 「そうですね」 is 「だよね」.

At this time, それな  is a younger person's expression.  One thing worth noting is the intonation; people tell me that it should be spoken with a rising tone.  Below are some examples.  The それなs stand out somewhat--




            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


And this was kind of interesting I thought, partly because she slides back and forth so effortlessly between Korean and Japanese.  I don't know much of what she's saying, but it's somewhat heartening to me, given recent tensions between South Korea and Japan.  Nice that there are people who move toward bridging things (which is what I think she's doing, but since I don't speak Korean, I can't be sure).





This is Jpop in its high-pitched revelry:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Galapagos

In my day to day life, the word Galápagos mostly comes up in reference to pre-iPhone cells that a person had to flip open (flip-phones), which are called ガラケイ(garakei), a compound of ガラパゴス (Galapagos, as in the Galápagos Islands) and ケータイ (keitai, or cell phones).  Generally, it seems like people use the term to denote old-fashioned, cheaper and less-than-cool phones, but this article from Forbes nicely explains some of the complexities implied.  

 http://www.forbes.com/sites/jadelstein/2015/03/05/in-japan-people-are-flipping-out-over-the-flip-phone-galapagos-phone-whats-old-is-new-again/

Monthly bills for smart phones in Japan take a bit of a bite; I'm lucky if I pay less than 7000 yen per month, and I use my iPhone considerably less than most of my friends.  I like the article's parallel between Japan the island-nation and the island of Galápagos, even though it kind of scares me to think of things in such a way.  My favorite part of the article is its coining of the phrase "the spiderweb of death" to illustrate a cracked iPhone/smart phone screen.

Galápagos is also used in ガラパゴス化 (Garapagosu-ka, or the Galápagos syndrome) which, according to Wikipedia, "is a term of Japanese origin, which refers to an isolated development branch of a globally available product. . .a reference to similar phenomena Charles Darwin encountered in the Galápagos Islands, with its isolated flora and fauna, originally coined to refer to Japanese 3G mobile phones, which had developed a large number of specialized features and dominated Japan, but were unsuccessful abroad."  (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_syndrome)  




Monday, July 13, 2015

かまちょ (kamacho)

My students taught me this a few days ago, although I can't recall the context in which it came up.  This word, usually written in hiragana, is a fusing of the verb 構う (かまう、kamau, which means to take care of someone or something), and  ちょだい (chodai, or please).  Therefore 構うちょだい (kamau chodai) expresses the sentiment "please take care of me," or something to that effect.  My students inferred that the word portrays someone who doesn't like to be alone.  In other words, a somewhat needy person, someone who wants to be cared for.

There is a song entitled 「かまちょ」,  not really the kind of music I usually listen to, but anyway here it is:



The other result that consistently comes up is the You Tube channel of a young woman who goes by the name せりまかこ (Seri Kamacho, or Serika for short).  Her channel can be found at

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpQZ8F_1wcFAm6fzYz_YNZg

and this is one of the videos on her channel








Friday, July 3, 2015

アイアイ傘 (love umbrella)

Although a phonetic translation of  アイアイ傘 (ai ai gasa) might suggest "love love umbrella," as ai (愛) means love, a kanji writing of the term is 相合傘, which does not use the character  愛.  Enter 相合傘 into a translator (such as can be found at http://ejje.weblio.jp/content/Japanese-English+dictionary) and a definition will come up along the lines of "Umbrella under which a couple of man and woman walk close together."

I learned this from one of the Japanese teachers of English at a school where I  teach.  He had on the previous day seen a couple of our students, one male and one female, sharing an umbrella.  He was good-naturedly teasing them as he used the anecdote to teach me this phrase.  

When I checked for what kind of images this term would procure on the internet, I came across this picture:


And I thought to  myself, Wait a minute, isn't that Yoona from SNSD (aka Girls' Generation, the megapopular Kpop group)?  I clicked to go to the webpage, at 

http://ticket-news.pia.jp/pia/news.do?newsCd=201207250001

and I realized that yes, it was her and her co-star from the drama Love Rain. I saw it sometime last year, and I recall that the yellow umbrella was an important device for the bonding of two main characters.  I don't know if there's an equivalent phrase in the Korean language, but I'll ask some of my Korean friends and/or students.

In the realm of Japanese media, it seems that there's a song called  アイアイ傘 performed by a boy-duet, テゴマス (Tegomass).  The original video was hard to find; the links seem to be largely disabled or deleted, perhaps a decision by their record label.   All I could find was this handheld camera video of a TV screen.

 

It's not the kind of music I generally listen to, but there were some karaoke covers which I found impressive for the singing.

          


                                      


Thursday, June 4, 2015

写メ(しゃめ)

I just learned this from a friend yesterday, a fellow teacher.  We had just finished teaching a reading class, our chalkboard filled by our students with main points and more detailed information about Matilda, the Roald Dahl novel.  Someone had done some incredible illustrations of the chapter "The Platinum-Blond Man."  I was thinking that it would seem a waste to erase everything without first taking a photo, and my fellow teacher agreed.  "So!" she said to the class.  "If you want to, why don't you 写メ?" Half a dozen students took her advice, smart phones clicking away.   Hopefully  they'll remember that they took these pictures when final exams come around.

My friend and fellow teacher explained to me that 写メ(しゃめ, shame)is short for 写真メール, a する verb.  The 写 (sha) is the first part of 写真 (shashin), and メ (me) the first part of  メール (mail).  Technically, it means to take a picture of something and then email it to someone.  But maybe people are using it liberally, ignoring the email half of the definition.  

When I searched it on YouTube, a lot of the top results were pretty pornographic.  Not meaning to judge or condemn nudity or sexuality, but this isn't intended to be that kind of website, so I'm not posting those particular videos.  But if you want to see them I think searching 写メ on YouTube will probably bring some interesting results.  Searching 写メール actually brought me to quite different, more mainstream and family-friendly videos (i.e. lots of commercials with 写真メール in their descriptions, a number of them dating back to 2002).  It seems that 写真メール is the older version of the even further shortened 写メ.  I wonder if 写 will ever become an actual word.


Below is a G-rated video that came up from my 写メ search.  Believe me, this wholesome an example wasn't all that easy to find!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

膝かっくん (ひざかっくん、hiza kakkun)

One of my favorite Japanese phrases is hiza kakkun.  My fondness for it is rooted in several things:

1)  I have loved doing it since the age of nine.
2)  When people do it to me, as well, I can't help but laugh.
3)  This is a prime example of something that can be defined in a single word/phrase in Japanese, but which I think requires a subject-verb-predicate sentence in English.  There are quite a lot of these, and I often find them somehow charming.
4)  As I just learned (from searching for visual examples), there seems to be a sort of trend in making domino-like videos of this phenomenon.

So, first of all, I was taught this phrase some years ago.  One of my students was standing right in front of me, leftward leaning so perfectly as if to be saying, "Hit the back of my knee!  Hit the back of my knee!"  I (gently) used my knee to nudge the student's.  Someone behind me burst out,  「ひざかっくんだ!」。 ひざ, of course, is the knee.  I guess かっくん is what we do to the back of the knee.  As a verb, we would say ひざかっくんする, so it's a suru verb.  My students asked of me the English equivalent, and the best I could come up with was "hit 'em in the back of the knee."

 When I Googled it, the second result was an app on iTunes; someone actually made an app out of it:




In case the description in the screen capture is too small to make out, it's written thus:

Description

It's a silly game.
But very famous game in Japanese kids.
We have made this game as an app!




         --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And then, all of these results came up:

This one is just, you know, how it's usually done.  One person sneaks up on his/her friend.  If the person about to be tapped is standing properly, balance evenly distributed, then go for the backs of both knees.




But here we see Japan, especially Japanese kids, take it to another level.  I feel that the groupness of the culture shines through clear and bright.

       

         

  

 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

_____ ハラ

A followup to the entry about manga kissa...

In the documentary, one of the salarymen mentions パワハラ, literally translated as power harassment, or an abuse of power within a hierarchy.  ハラ (hara), as you can imagine, is short for harassment.  A more common term, which just about anyone who lives in Japan is bound to hear, is せクハラ (sexual harassment).

manga kissa (漫画喫茶、or まんが喫茶、orマンガ喫茶, in hiragana, まんがきっさ)

This is one of those terms that I would probably not have learned in a Japanese language class back home, mainly because the manga kissa (short for manga kissaten) doesn't exist there.  Manga, of course, is comic or comic book, and kissaten is the Japanese word for cafe.  I've only been inside a few times, and the setup was like, they assign you a booth (or sometimes a desk, depending on the place) where you have access to a computer, unlimited soft drinks, and a mountainous library of manga.  If my reading skills had been better, it might've seemed a dangerously alluring paradise, since I like some manga quite a lot.  But I don't want to become addicted and lost in the world of the manga kissa.

Anyway, I feel like it is something to see and experience if you're in Japan.  When traveling to Bangkok, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh, I used to find a lot of internet cafes, which were godsends in the days before widespread wi-fi.  I don't find strictly internet cafes in Tokyo; instead, there is the more lavishly equipped manga kissa.  It can be used just for computer and internet; years ago, when I was in the middle of changing internet providers at home and needed to email a report to work, I used a manga kissa called Manboo, which is huge over here.  I seem to see them everywhere.

Below is a short documentary about one of the darker and sadder elements of the manga kissa.  For me, it was super interesting because I think a lot of this goes on near my house. I just walk past those places and go about my business.



If you're interested in reading the accompanying article, you can find it at
http://mashable.com/2015/03/14/japan-internet-cafe/

Thursday, February 19, 2015

mojibake (文字化け)

Mojibake is the word for gibberish text characters or garbled text.

The first part of the first paragraph in Wikipedia's article on mojibake states:

Mojibake (文字化け) (IPA: [mod͡ʑibake]; lit. "character transformation"), from the Japanese 文字 (moji) "character" + 化け (bake) "transform", is the garbled text that is the result of text being decoded using an unintended character encoding.[1] The result is a systematic replacement of symbols with completely unrelated ones, often from a different writing system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mojibake

The article goes on to specify problems that come up when running Japanese software on an English OS. 

In Japanese, the phenomenon is, as mentioned, called mojibake 文字化け. It is often encountered by non-Japanese when attempting to run software written for the Japanese market.

I've found that this can be a serious issue with living in Japan.  I want English OS machines because, well, computers are hard enough for me to deal with in my own language.  But in setting up internet connections, there are invariably mojibake occurrences.  So far, good, smart, and nice people have helped me through them.  But they can be a frustration.

Someone posted a video on how to get rid of it in a Chrome situation.  I thought that was nice.  The things that people do!





And this person gives an anthropomorphic view of the concept of mojibake:

 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

一発屋(いっぱつや), or "One-Hit Wonder"

Some former students taught me this one.  When I checked a Japanese-English online dictionary, it defined いっぱつや as "one-shot gambler," but I don't think I've ever used that term.  Anyway, other friends here confirmed that it is in fact what we would call a "one-hit wonder," in English.

When I did a search on One-Hit Wonder lists, there certainly was no shortage.  This one, though, caught my attention,
https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-complete-list-of-true-one-hit-wonders-21a953ecc455

the reason being that this list contained the song "Sukiyaki," a.k.a. "Ue o Muite Arukō" originally recorded by Kyū Sakamoto, released in 1961.  To tell the truth, although I've heard various versions of this song, I never knew who the original artist was until tonight.  I never knew that Selena and Utada Hikaru did covers too.  I never knew that it was one of the best-selling records of all time, upwards of 13 million.  The Wikipedia article says that the song went to number eighteen on the R&B charts; I'm amazed that Japan had an R&B chart in 1961!  Even more amazing to me is that the song reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts in  June 1963. . .I never knew that a Japanese-language song had entered the Top 40. . .And I never knew that the song's singer, Kyū Sakamoto, was a one-hit wonder, no disrespect intended to him or to any other one-hit wonders.  Show business sounds like a hard life, and the older I get, the more I respect people who hung in there to make a noise in this world.

The original version:

 

By the late singer Selena:
 

 Utada Hikaru's cover:



4pm's version, which was the first one that I remember ever hearing:



 And this is a reprinting of a list of other versions, as written on Wikipedia:
  • In 1963, Brazilian vocal music Trio Esperança, then child singers, released a cover of the song in Portuguese, called "Olhando para o céu" ("Looking at the sky"), on their debut album "Nós somos sucesso" ("We are successful"). The lyrics in Portuguese were written by Romeo Nunes.
  • In 1963, the Dutch-based Indonesian duo Blue Diamonds recorded the first evident English-language rendering of "Ue O Muite Aruko", featuring lyrics written by Decca Records executive Martin Stellman of Belgium: in the Netherlands the Blue Diamonds' English-language version of "Sukiyaki" charted in tandem with the Kyu Sakomoto original and two versions of the Dutch rendering subtitled "In Yokohama" (see below) with a #13 peak. Blue Diamonds' English rendering of "Sukiyaki" was overlooked in release in both the UK and the US.
  • In 1963 a Dutch rendering subtitled "In Yokohama" was recorded by Wanda [de Fretes]; the title was also used for an instrumental version by Tony Vos (nl). Charting in tandem with the Blue Diamonds English-language remake (see above) and the Kyu Sakomoto original version, these versions reached #13 in the Netherlands.
  • In 1963, Blue Diamonds (see above) reached #2 in Germany with a German-language cover of "Sukiyaki".
  • In 1963, The Ventures did a gentle instrumental cover of the song on its album release "Let's Go!"
  • In 1963, Canadian singers Claude Valade and Margot Lefebvre recorded a French version, "Sous une pluie d'étoiles" ("Under a shower of stars").
  • In 1964 Lucille Starr introduced the English rendering of "Sukiyaki" by lyricist Buzz Cason on her album The French Song: this version would be a 1966 single release by Jewel Akens as "My First Lonely Night" (see below).
  • In 1965, the Hong Kong-based band The Fabulous Echoes (later known as Society of Seven) recorded the song.
  • In 1965, Czech singer Josef Zíma recorded Czech version of the song named "Bílá vrána" ("White crow")www.whosampled.com
  • In 1966, US soul singer Jewel Akens released the song as "My First Lonely Night" as part of his double A-side single "Mama, Take Your Daughter Back"/"My First Lonely Night" on ERA records. The track had debuted on Akens' 1964 album The Birds and the Bees with its earliest recording being by Lucille Starr in 1964 (see above). This is probably the nearest translation to the original; although not a literal translation, it tells a similar story of a lonely man walking through the night, after losing his love.
  • In 1967, the Ginny Tiu Revue recorded this on their self-titled first album.
  • In 1975, the Hawaii-based duet Cecilio & Kapono recorded a markedly different English-language version in their album Elua released on Columbia Records.
  • In 1981, Hong Kong singer Teresa Carpio covered this song in Cantonese.
  • In 1982, a Brazilian humour-punk group Joelho De Porco recorded a cover version for the double album Saqueando A Cidade.
  • In 1983, a collaborative album by Peter Metro & Captain Sinbad with Little John, called Sinbad & The Metric System included "Water Jelly" on the Taxi Riddim by Peter Metro. The melody was adapted to reggae and it featured new lyrics in Spanish and English.[15]
  • In 1983, Finnish singer Riki Sorsa recorded the song with original Japanese lyrics as "Sukiyaki (Ue O Muite Aruko)".
  • In 1989, Selena recorded a Latin-influenced cover.
  • In 1989, Hong Kong singer Anita Mui covered this song in Cantonese.
  • In 1993, rapper Snoop Dogg used the theme from the song for his song "Lodi Dodi" on the album Doggystyle.
  • In 1995, a reggae version by Sayoko both in English and Japanese featuring Beanie Man.
  • In 1995, Jackie and the Cedrics recorded a surf version, "Sukiyaki Stomp", as the B-side of "Scalpin' Party", with "Justine" as the third song on the 7" vinyl EP. They also performed the song as part of their live set, including when they appeared in NYC in 1999.
  • In 1996, Brazilian axé singer Daniela Mercury recorded "Sukiyaki" with its original Japanese-language lyrics. The song was released outside Brazil only, as an international bonus track on her 1996 studio album Feijão com Arroz.
  • In 1996, freestyle trio The Cover Girls recorded a version for their album Satisfy.
  • The Haitian band Boukman Eksperyans used the melody in the track "Sevelan/Sukiyaki" on their 1998 album Revolution.
  • In 1999, Utada Hikaru covered as live recorded from the album, First Love
  • In 2000, solo violinist Diana Yukawa recorded "Sukiyaki" on her best-selling debut album (known as Elegy in the UK and La Campanella in Japan). Yukawa also performed "Sukiyaki" various times on the mountainside where her father, Akihisa Yukawa, died in the Japan Airlines Flight 123 crash with Sakamoto.
  • In 2000, Big Daddy released a smooth retro version which appeared in their compilation album, The Best of Big Daddy (the song had originally appeared on the Japanese release of their 1991 album Cutting Their Own Groove).
  • In the Philippines, Aiza Seguerra and Sir Johannes Mines covered the song in 2013 for the album Eastwood.
  • In 2008, interpreted by Hiromi Uehara and her group Sonic Bloom in the album Beyond Standard
  • In 2012, Sweet Sister Pain released a cover featuring Japanese lyrics on their album The Seven Seas of Blood and Honey.
  • In the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Suntory beverage company released several versions of a television commercial featuring many famous Japanese singers and Tommy Lee Jones each doing part of the song, followed by the title caption "ue wo muite arukou," or, roughly, "let's walk with our heads up."[16]
  • In 2013, Missy Elliott protégée Sharaya J sampled a portion of the original tune, alongside A Taste of Honey's version, for her single "BANJI".[17]
  • In 2013, an Oxford duo SweetnSour Swing recorded and released a special single "Sukiyaki", dedicated to British jazz musician Kenny Ball.
  • In 2014, during his Japanese tour, Olly Murs performed the song in English named "Look at the Sky", featuring lyrics written by Yoko Ono.[18]
 And finally, this is a link to a nice write-up of what the song meant, in the context of its time:
http://www.npr.org/2013/06/28/196618792/bittersweet-at-no-1-how-a-japanese-song-topped-the-charts-in-1963



Friday, February 6, 2015

Yamato Nadeshiko

According to the Wikipedia entry on "Yamato Nadeshiko":

Yamato nadeshiko (やまとなでしこ or 大和撫子) is a Japanese term meaning the "personification of an idealized Japanese woman", or "the epitome of pure, feminine beauty".[2] It is a floral metaphor, combining the words Yamato, an ancient name for Japan, and nadeshiko, a delicate frilled pink carnation called Dianthus superbus, whose kanji translate into English as "caressable child" (or "wide-eyed barley").
The term "Yamato nadeshiko" is often used referring to a girl or shy young woman[6] and, in a contemporary context, nostalgically of women with "good" traits which are perceived as being increasingly rare. However, Nadeshiko Japan is also widely used as the name for the Japanese national women's football team.

For a certain  generation of people, the term is synonymous with a certain Fuji television drama.  It's about a flight attendant who grew up extremely poor, the result of which is that she's resolved to marry a rich man.  It's also about a talented but timid math scholar who has given up his career goals to take over the family fish market when his father dies.  The two characters meet, of course, and they love an hate each other.  There are other characters; although some of them are kind of iffy during the series, they pretty much all turn out to be likeable (to me).  This is a link to drama.net, where you can see it:

www.drama.net/yamato-nadeshiko

The theme song is "Everything" by Misia, who has been called (by some of my students) Japan's greatest soul singer.  Below is a video and compilation of some scenes from the show:


Note:  Yamato Nadeshiko is not to be confused with another drama, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, which I've never scene but which comes up high on Google and other search engine results.


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...