Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Car Types!

Just a nice Kanji meaning for the word Tank!

Japanese: 戦車
Reading: sensha
Meaning: tank (the military vehicle)
Kanji: war + car

Here is another amusing word using the car Kanji.

Japanese: 肩車
Reading: kataguruma
Meaning: riding piggyback; riding on someone's shoulders
Kanji: shoulder + car

And here is one that at first glance looks amusing, but turns out to be somewhat disappointing.

Japanese: 車椅子
Reading: kurumaisu
Meaning: wheelchair
Kanji: car + chair

The concept of chair that is a car is amusing, but another meaning of the Kanji 車 is simply wheel which makes this a "wheel + chair", exactly like it is in English, and therefore, not amusing at all.

Bad Kanji!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Round Things in the Air

Just a nice Kanji meaning for the word Balloon!

Japanese: 風船
Reading: fuusen
Meaning: balloon, the kind you can inflate with helium and tie a string to.
Kanji: wind/air + ship

Well, if you don't keep an eye on the kid, eventually they all loose the grip and let the balloon fly away...
just like an air ship, carried by the wind :)

Nice kanji, me like!

The real big hot air balloon vehicle type balloons are this word:

Japanese: 気球
Reading: kikyuu
Meaning: balloon, blimp - the kind you can ride in...
Kanji: air + sphere

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dangerous Pool

Just a nice Kanji meaning for the word Battery.

Japanese: 電池
Reading: denchi
Meaning: battery
Kanji: electricity + pool

Quite the dangerous pool, eh?

When I mentioned this to a Japanese friend, he introduced me to a common family name in Japan, which is kind of similar.

Japanese: 菊池
Reading: kikuchi
Meaning: just a family name
Kanji: chrysanthemum (some flower type) + pool

That's a nice family name... but I like the electricity pool image better :P

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pillow Substitute

I don't think it's extra amusing or something but somehow, I just like this word. Or even the fact there is a word (noun & verb!) for it.

Japanese: 腕枕
Reading: udemakura
Meaning: using an arm as a pillow
Literally: arm pillow

The arm can be your own, or it can be someone else's.
As long as you sleep on an arm, it's udemakura!
I even saw somewhere there is kind of a half pillow with a fake arm extension to give you the ultimate arm pillow experience :P

Good night!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eating Grass

Here is an amusing expression. When you want someone to do something straight away, without wasting time, go straight home, don't take a detour or waste time on the way to look at flowers, this is what you can use (in the negative of course).

Japanese: 道草を食う
Reading: michikusa wo kuu
Meaning: to loiter (on the way); to waste time
Literally: eat the grass on the side of the road

Somehow, this makes me imagine a cow standing on the side of the road, chewing on some grass, and this amuses me. Sue me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Proof of Study!

We all know Japanese people work hard, study hard and do even party hard and there are a few words in the language that show it. Some of which I already talked about in the past. This one is a nice one, pointing at the "study hard" category. I was asked if this word exist in English and couldn't quite tell, I have never heard of it but I'm not a native English speaker.
Anyway, the word is:

Japanese: ペン胼胝
Reading: pen dako
Meaning: the callus one develops on one middle finger after writing A LOT.
Literally: pen callus

I also developed this pen callus sometimes when I was in school, but not enough times to actually have the need to invent a word for it.
There is a similar word, that refers to the traditional Japanese sitting habits.

Japanese: 座り胼胝
Reading: suwari dako
Meaning: calluses (on one's ankles, insteps, etc.) caused by sitting seiza
Literally: sitting callus

I don't have those sitting calluses, since I can't even sit seiza for more than a minute :P
And it has been long since I actually used a pencil/pen, so my fingers are callus-free!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Insulting a Sea Horse

So how do they say Seahorse in Japanese? I found it quite interesting...

Japanese: 竜の落し子
Reading: tatsu no otoshigo
Meaning: seahorse
Literally: the illegitimate son of the noble Dragon, or more simply put, a Dragon's bastard child!

I wonder who was the mother.
A fish? I can't quite imagine a fish "doing it" with a dragon, but a whale and a dragon would probably not give birth to such a small creature. mmm... the mystery remains.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Apples and Frogs

So this is a nice one, a bit obvious and maybe not that amusing but I'm just a sucker for proverbs using nature related content.
So you know the expression "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree", right?
Or in other words "Like father, like son".
This is the Japanese version...

Japanese: 蛙の子は蛙
Reading: kaeru no ko wa kaeru
Meaning: like father like son; the apple doesn't fall far from the tree
Literally: the son of a frog, is a frog.

(insert frog noise here)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Before you could say Jack Robinson

I always though this English expression is a bit odd.
I mean, Jack Robinson is not such a short name, I could slap someone pretty hard before he could say Jack Robinson.
I mean, OK, at least it's not "Before you could say Arnold Schwarzenegger" but it could be way shorter like John Doe or something.
That's why I was felt respect for the Japanese language when I stumbled on this expression with the same meaning, but more logical, in my opinion.

Japanese: あっと言う間
Reading: attoiuma
Meaning: a blink of time
Literally: the time it takes to say "Ah!"

And just like that, before we can say "Ah!", this entry is done!
Aww.... :P

Monday, February 27, 2012

Boom Shakalaka

OK, so we already covered in the past the "MY" stuff.
Take a look at this post right here.
My Car being a private car and My Home being a privately owned house.
Since then I found out there is also...

Japanese: マイ箸
Reading: maihashi
Meaning: washable chopsticks carried in a case (to be used in place of disposable chopsticks)
Literally: my chopsticks

and then there is this one...

Japanese: マイブーム
Reading: maibu-mu
Meaning: something that a person is currently obsessed with or fascinated by
Literally: my boom

Ah! so like... yeah, that kind of boom, so it's not a terrorist jargon :D
So yeah, kind of amusing, I don't think English speakers use that word a lot (boom, not my boom). The only common term with that word is "baby boom", which out of context can also be misinterpreted...
So what is your my-boom at the moment?
Mine is カレーパン and loving Tokyo.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cavemen English in Japanese!

Hi there!
We all know how cavemen used to talk right?
"Me food eat", "Me kill you" and so on.
I encountered a word in Japanese (which is not known to all Japanese people, it's kind of a gamers word I am guessing) and it amused me because of the cavemen speech style it sounds like if you think it's English.

The word is...

Japanese: 未プレイ
Reading: mi purei
Literally: not yet play
Meaning: refers to the trait of not yet playing something (a game...duh)

So it SOUNDS like "Me play" in Cavemen English but has the totally opposite meaning!

Gamer A: Did you see that awesome new game that came out!?
Gamer B: Yeah man! Me play! (未プレイ).
Gamer A: What? you played it already?!
Gamer B: No, man! Me not play. Me play!
Gamer A: ?!?!?

So have you played it? Me play.

Ok, I may have gone overboard.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Evolution in Japan

This word is VERY interesting (to me) and I am glad I bumped into it!
I tried to not reveal too much in the title so you could try your hand at guessing the meaning of this word without the explanation. Let's see if you have any idea what this word means:
(and you won't find it in the dictionary so don't even go there, mu ha ha ha!!!) 

Japanese: ガラケー
Reading: garake-

Well, doesn't ring any bells, right? Even if it's written in Katakana.
So let's try another version of this word that might give you some idea or direction.

Japanese: ガラ携
Reading: garakei

Did it help? No? Have no fear, another, even less abbreviated version exists!

Japanese: ガラ携帯
Reading: garakeitai

So it's something about a cellphone, right? Probably, but what the heck is "gara"?
Let's see the completely full version of the word/expression.

Japanese: ガラパゴス携帯
Reading: garapagosukeitai

So, you'd think that showing you the full version would make everything clear, right? But I bet there are a few people, if not more, that still don't know what the heck does that mean, including me when I first heard it. So here it is ladies and gentlemen, without further ado:

Japanese: ガラパゴス携帯
Reading: garapagosukeitai 
Literally: Galapagos Cellphone
Meaning: old Japanese cellphones, the ones before smart phones came around

And now for the explanation. You know how in the Galápagos Islands, being a remote and secluded land, away from the main continents, a special kind of wildlife evolved, all those lizards and turtles and stuff. The evolution of wildlife in the Galápagos Islands went a different route because well, it had different conditions and no influence from the mainland wildlife.
Japan, being an island itself, kind of had a separate social evolution as well, which explains the huge cultural difference between Japan and the west, but part of this also meant that they had different needs from their cell phones. One example is that they had to have higher resolution since they were dealing with Kanji that the west didn't care about. That's why Japanese companies made cellphones that work in Japan, for Japan but they didn't bother adjusting the phones to work anywhere else.
That is why when I came here, I couldn't use my phone (different network protocols and such) and had to get a local phone.

Now in the age of smart phones, everyone kinda start using the same stuff since smart phones do have a camera and a high resolution and all that so there is no more need to separately develop phones to work in Japan. Kind of like someone suddenly connected the Galápagos Islands to North America and watch all those lizards and slow turtles being devoured by the fast carnivores of the main land...
The same way, now the ガラ稽s are disappearing and being replaced by smart phones.

This was a long one today!
I hope you liked it.
I did!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Infant Driving License

This is a Japanese word, but it's actually English, but actually in English we don't use this word, so it only Japanese, but it's in English, OK?

Japanese: ベビーカー
Reading: bebi-ka
Meaning: stroller, buggy, pushchair
Literally: baby car

Well, it makes sense...a stroller is kind of a baby car, or rather actually more like a baby Taxi since the baby is not actually doing the driving.

Anyway, cute word, not easily forgettable.
Me like.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Very Late Good Morning

I found out yesterday about a very sarcastic good morning greeting that I liked very much!
Since I came to Japan, my sleeping patterns changed quite a lot and there were times when I WOKE UP at 11PM and went down to the kitchen, saying good morning even thought it was already almost midnight.

The normal way to say good morning, as I am sure most of you know, is:

Japanese: お早うございます
Reading: ohayou gozaimasu
Meaning: good morning (greeting)
Literally: (you) are early

Now the sarcastic expression for good morning I found out about yesterday is:

Japanese: 遅ようございます
Reading: osoyou gozaimasu
Meaning: good "morning" (emphasizing it's not really that early or morning anymore)
Literally: (you) are late

I like how changing only ONE syllable in the expression makes such a difference in the meaning. I like how it still sounds polite but actually so sarcastic at the same time :P

Me like very much!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cut & Take Line

I didn't find the next word amusing or funny or anything l ike that, but I decided to write about it because I just liked the fact that this word even exists! Of course we can describe the concept with a few words in any other language but to have it's own word... I found that refreshing, somehow.

Japanese: 切り取り線
Reading: kiritorisen
Meaning: line to cut something off along
Literally: cut take line

You know, those dotted lines that start with a drawing of a scissors. I think it's cool they have a specific word for it in Japanese.
That's all.

Friday, January 6, 2012


So it turns out surfing waves in Japanese is:

Japanese: 波乗り
Reading: naminori
Meaning: surfing (waves in the ocean)
Literally: wave riding

But! I asked a Japanese friend if they use the same word for surfing the web, like we do in English and Hebrew and I assume other languages.
He said that this is only for surfing waves, so apparently they have a different word for surfing the web. Can you guess what it is?

Japanese: サーフィン
Reading: saafin
Meaning: surfing the web (and also waves)

Yeah, so basically they just use the English word for web surfing.
Kind of lame and uninspiring, but <shoulder shrug> I guess a lot of the computer terminology is taken straight from English.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Some Horror... or joy?

So I learned the word for "bloodbath" today.

Japanese: 血祭り
Reading: chimatsuri
Meaning: bloodbath
Literally: blood festival

I won't say anything else...