文化. Where the linguistic aspects of Japanese culture and the cultural aspects of the Japanese language overlap.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
1answer
86 views

The radical “貝” and its relation to economic characters such as “貨” “資” etc

Preface My recent trip to Japan allowed me to see many Chinese characters i.e., Kanji (漢字) and one thing that caught my attention was an extensive use of the radical "貝"(かい) on words/characters ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

Sei Sei Sei chant

I just finished the manga, Goodnight Punpun Vol. 1 and I noticed several occasions within the work where a character crossed their arms and chanted "Sei". Could someone tell me the meaning of this ...
4
votes
2answers
224 views

How rude is it to speak to a Japanese stranger informally instead of using the polite form?

Are there any native Japanese here that could tell me how rude it is to speak informally to Japanese people I have never met instead of using the polite form? I'm assuming it's more rude the older the ...
0
votes
0answers
98 views

What does “日本の『水文化』” refer to?

I need to write a short essay with this title, but I don't know anything about the Japanese Water culture. Any help explaining the concept, please?
5
votes
1answer
141 views

Confusing use of 減る

Maruko is complaining that mum is buying seaweed as a new year's present. Mum replies: 「のりは食べる機会が多くてすぐに減るからもらったらありがたいもんなのよ。」 There are plenty of opportunities to eat seaweed, and because they ...
7
votes
2answers
171 views

Addressing other members of the same great familly when everyone shares the same surname

Hypothetical situation, let's say we have a great familly meeting, where everyone have the same surname but some members of the familly see each other for the first time. Of course, introductions are ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

“Uncle's jokes !?”

I recently heard about something that would be roughly translated as “uncle's jokes” (the Japanese word for it should be something like 伯父ネタ or 伯父ガル but I can't remember correctly what I heard the ...
1
vote
2answers
140 views

Meaning of にまでなる

まあっ、なんて欲ばりな女だろうね。あんたみたいな犬がねぇ、くわえてた肉を池におっことしたって話が、童話にまでなってるよ。 Come now. What a greedy girl. The story of a dog like you which dropped a piece of meat it was holding in its mouth into the pond is ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Is it ok to start learning Japanese? [closed]

I'm not english, and I find my English to be 'good'. I can pretty much live in an English country with a slight boost of vocabulary and a bit of knowledge about the culture. But of course, I'm not ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

Japanese words with を in shiritori?

I've been playing some しりとり recently at http://www.shiritori.org/ and was wondering why no words with を show up. siritori.net suggests there are quite a few nouns starting with を: を をかし ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Phrase/word for “human to god” love / idolatry?

A Korean friend used a word that I believe was a Japanese loan word, that he said meant a "human to god" kind of love - an 'inferior' being loving or idolizing a 'superior' one. It wasn't a phrase but ...
0
votes
0answers
152 views

Heart emoji in Japanese texts?

One of my friends was on HelloTalk for a few days and recently a female partner sent him a few messages with the heart emoji (three times within an hour) which kind of confuses him. Does this mean ...
5
votes
3answers
173 views

How to politely inform other people of acceptable alternative ways of addressing you?

Being a foreigner often comes with having a name/surname that doesn't quite roll off the tongue in Japanese. So for example if my name/surname is "ABCDEFG", I'd like to say (after introductions) "...
9
votes
1answer
236 views

New Year's Resolution

New Year's resolution should be - 新年の抱負 How do I say, "My New Year's Resolution is X"? For example: 私の新年の抱負は気楽になります。(My New Year's resolution is to be more relaxed) Is it correct? Do ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

How to say “Cultural Identity”

I want to say, "Okinawan people have a very strong cultural identity". Any idea on how to say this concept in Japanese? Would it be 「沖縄の民族は文化のアイデンティティがつよいです。」?
5
votes
1answer
124 views

How many よろしくお願いします to say during job interview?

Let's say I have an interview with 3 people. Each interviewer does self-introduction followed by よろしくお願いします. When they say it I say it too, kind of, in response. Then I say my self-introduction and ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

「この笑顔なくしていいの?」 on a board by the road (photo)

This is a board by the road (similar to tobidashibōya). It should mean "shall I stop smiling?" but seeing this I am not even sure. Does it really mean that? Why? Is it a warning for drivers? Is it a ...
3
votes
2answers
63 views

Is the 300 yen price for a “shuin” stamp linguistically related to お参り?

Prevalent price (朱印代) for a stamp in a shrine or a temple is 300 yen, although there are exceptions. Wikipedia confirms this Shuin 朱印. I wonder if the amount bears an association of 参百円{さんびゃくえん} with ...
5
votes
3answers
881 views

Is it rude to ask a Japanese person using keigo to speak less formally? How to do it politely? [closed]

This has mostly to do with me not understanding Keigo well, so when I enter restaurants or other service-based businesses, and they talk in Keigo to me, I hardly ever understand, which is why I always ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How to address and greet Japanese people in an english email [closed]

I am aware that in Japanese it is considered to be rude to address other people with just their first name, but I wonder if this is only true for communication in Japanese, of if this still holds true ...
0
votes
1answer
432 views

Heisig story #30 (Nightbreak) 旦, shouldn't it mean “daybreak” instead?

I believe that the tittle already covers my question, but I will explain it better here. When I was reading the Heisig book (Remembering the Kanji, the sixth edition I believe) I came across the ...
-2
votes
2answers
294 views

What is the real meaning of せずに in Japaneses language? [closed]

I don't know anything about Japanese language; I'm just researching about Japan. I got an email that said (This is summery): There is no meaning (concept) for sin in Japanese culture, and the shame ...
7
votes
3answers
626 views

Are there any terms used to refer to people of the anime/manga fandom in a non-derogatory manner?

In the Western world, anime/manga fans are commonly referred to as otaku (Hiragana: おたく, Katakana: オタク). [1] In Japanese however, this is a (mildly) derogatory word for a geek, nerd, or any person who ...
1
vote
1answer
204 views

The usage of 様{さま} (-sama) honorific

I've always heard that 様 is a highly respectful honorific, being used to refer to lords, kings and deities. However, many times I hear people calling someone with 様, without sarcasm or irony, being ...
3
votes
1answer
280 views

Calling someone older brother/sister and the implications on relationships

If a Japanese person calls you older brother/sister(お兄さん, お姉さん), in addition to implying closeness, does it also mean that they are implying a platonic relationship?
3
votes
1answer
99 views

What is the meaning of 絶対零度の怒り?

I'm reading the manga "Fruits Basket". On page 89 of the first volume, Shigure informs Yuki during supper that Kyo will start going to the same high school as himself and Tohru. Yuki responds with ...
11
votes
4answers
830 views

How do Japanese speakers transition from polite to plain form amongst friends?

When you first meet somebody, polite language is, on the whole, the most commonly used form of Japanese. Children may differ, and I understand that not everyone will use plain form, but regardless a ...
7
votes
1answer
823 views

How are twins addressed by their teacher at school?

If two twin brothers attended the same class, how would their teacher address each of them to indicate to whom they were speaking to, since they shared the same family name? Would one be seen as the ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

What do Japanese signatures look like?

Since you often need to write your signature fast it should be something short. I wonder which script, kana or kanji, natives use for writing their signature (in most cases)?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Thank you note to Japanese professor

I just finished an introductory Japanese class, and the class bought a small gift for the professor. I'm planning to drop the gift off at the professor's office, so I need to write a brief tag saying ...
6
votes
1answer
304 views

The “3 highs” and “3 lows” when choosing a husband

Recently I was told about a popular concept among japanese women concerning choice of the future husband. The concept was called '3 高' - three high points, meaning that a good husband should have: 1) ...
10
votes
2answers
265 views

Why was 邪 chosen to spell the names of 伊邪那岐神 and 伊邪那美神 in the 古事記?

I had been wondering about this for a while. Consider the spelling of he names of Izanagi and Izanami in the 古事記: 伊邪那岐神【いざなぎのかみ】 and (妹【いも】)伊邪那美神【いざなみのかみ】 (source) Both of their names ...
0
votes
1answer
370 views

What is the significance of the color white? [closed]

I saw a Japanese drama set in the Edo period and the bride was dressed all in white. However, I thought that in Japan white was the color of death and only corpses were supposed to be dressed in white....
6
votes
3answers
991 views

Is it polite in Japan to ask if someone speaks English? (英語を話せますか?)

As preparation for my trip, I am re-learning my Japanese. I imagined a scenario which I am not sure if it is okay to ask. Is it polite to ask someone if they speak English or are people offended by ...
1
vote
1answer
281 views

Equivalent of “That said, Carthage must be destroyed” in Japanese

"Ceterum censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam," the famous phrase with which Cato the Elder used to finish all of his speeches, no matter how unrelated the topic was. It was probably an effective ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What are valid responses to the expressions 「はじめまして」 and 「よろしくおねがいします」 used in introductions?

I came across a learn-Japanese book from the 1980s and wanted to know what you guys think. The book gave a general formula for introduction and here is how it goes: Someone says their name with any ...
2
votes
0answers
147 views

When did LOC adopt modified Hepburn?

If I look in Google Ngrams, I see that the transliteration "honbu", meaning HQ, basically didn't exist until 1964. But it didn't surpass "hombu" until 1976. I believe Modified Hepburn was introduced ...
4
votes
1answer
234 views

What is the implication when a girl refers to herself using “うち”? Is it meant to be more or less feminine? Neutral? Tomboyish?

I realize it is a kind of Kansai-ben but how does it compare to the other forms of "I" in terms of how they want to represent themselves?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Accepting compliments (without rejecting them)

I find it much more sincere to accept compliments and show how grateful I am rather than to belittle myself. Therefore I would like to know some phrases in Japanese to accept compliments and show my ...
1
vote
2answers
419 views

How to say “person who is consistent” (in romaji) ? Is it a Japanese principle?

I have seen a documentary about a mangaka who would draw her own manga from start to finish and the documentary described that she was applying a Japanese principle of doing things alone, at your own ...
3
votes
2answers
452 views

Please help me understand [予習]{よ・しゅう}

tl;dr The word 予習 is strange to me. Is its usage related to cultural difference? Does the user's knowledge of the material have something to do with it? I've always had trouble understanding ...
2
votes
1answer
133 views

How do I translate the names of types of school, without reference to the US school system?

Whenever I see Japanese school years translated to English, either in vocab lists or in manga/anime translations, it's always with reference to the US school system (i.e. n'th grade). As I'm not ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What to say at the cash register in the convenience store

I just came back from Japan, it is my first time, so I found myself in the situations, that I wasn't prepared for. At the convenience store I noticed natives tend not to say much to the staff at all, ...
5
votes
1answer
173 views

Cartel, syndicate, anti-competitive practice

I've heard this story from several foreigners in Japan: I hired Japanese Company A for a service. I didn't like Japanese Company A, so I went to Japanese Company B in the same industry and tried ...
3
votes
1answer
212 views

Can 交番 (koban) be used for old British-style/Dr Who police boxes?

When Dr Who is translated into Japanese, do they translate police box as こうばん? I've seen こうばん in Japan, and they aren't anything like old British police boxes, so if that's how it's translated, is ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does Japanese TV News and magazine programs have “mandatory” subtitles/legend?

(I never thought I would ask one of these questions and even considered if it was off topic but this is a very distinct feature of the language as it is really used. Is it due to some characteristic ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

Would educated Japanese people without special training be able to understand Buddhist mantras/真言?

A well-educated speaker of Hindi (a modern descendant of Sanskrit) who doesn't have any special training in Buddhist (or Hindu) liturgy would probably be able to more or less understand the following ...
2
votes
1answer
348 views

What are the reasons for the huge amount of loanwords in Japanese?

It seems that Japanese has far more loanwords than any other language I've heard spoken. I understand that English is far-reaching and a global language, but are there many known reasons that English ...
-1
votes
1answer
96 views

Place to find name popularity rankings? [closed]

Is there any kind of public database to look at popularity of given names?
7
votes
1answer
393 views

What do you call the small wooden plates that people write wishes in and hang on some stand in a shrine?

What do you call the small pieces of wood(?) where people write wishes on and hang them on some stand close to where you tie folded o-mikuji (おみくじ)? Or are they also called おみくじ? Related question: ...