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

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Is it ok to start learning Japanese?

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
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1answer
80 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 ...
17
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1answer
7k views

Getting your haircut in Japan

I have been living in Japan now for the last 3 months and my hair is starting to look like it needs a cut. But I have never been to a Japanese barbers before so as you can imagine I am a little ...
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1answer
97 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 ...
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0answers
71 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 ...
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3answers
124 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) ...
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2answers
199 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 ...
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3answers
882 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 ...
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1answer
194 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 ...
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1answer
85 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。」?
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5answers
3k views

Is it proper to thank waitstaff, cashiers, etc. for their service?

In my Japanese class we were taught that one does not need to thank a cashier when they check you out or a server when they bring you your meal, but I always feel awkward remaining silent. Was my ...
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2answers
323 views

What was the origin for the term 水{みず}色{いろ} to be associated with youth, adolescence and puberty?

I am particularly interested in the phrase 「水{みず}色{いろ}時{じ}代{だい}」. Did it come from the old manga that used the phrase as its title, or has the phrase been carrying that particular cultural connotation ...
16
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1answer
672 views

What does this ad say? (Connotations of ガキ大将)

This is a frequent problem that I think many Japanese learners experience. You look at some Japanese sentences, and you understand the words, and most, if not all, the grammar, and yet still, it just ...
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1answer
82 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
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1answer
72 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 ...
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3answers
4k views

Will verbal irony and sarcasm be understood and/or appreciated?

It's a topic of debate to what extent Japanese has sarcasm and irony. In any case, Japanese speakers seem to use a whole lot less of it than English speakers. My question is: whether or not Japanese ...
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1answer
284 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 ...
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3answers
816 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 ...
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2answers
58 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 ...
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2k views

Heaven in Japanese

I have found that there are a number of words in Japanese that correspond to "heaven" in English. By heaven I mean the concept of a paradisiacal afterlife. The two most frequent in my limited and ...
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1answer
352 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: ...
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2answers
155 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

Is it ok for non-japanese to refer to themselves as 僕{ぼく} and if not why?

Grammatically speaking it shouldn't be an issue, but I have heard from some people that a non-japanese using 僕{ぼく} sounds really weird. Has anyone else heard this? And if so, is there a reason?
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215 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 ...
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2answers
247 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 ...
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1answer
148 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 ...
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3answers
554 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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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2answers
711 views

Are bookshelves in alphabetical (kana) order in Japanese bookshops and libraries?

How are fiction books such as novels sorted on the shelves at Japanese bookshops? Kana order seems to play a small part but not the whole part. (I'm not asking about nonfiction books since those are ...
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2answers
2k views

How should I start an email when requesting something from someone I don't know well?

In English, there is a certain etiquette to follow when writing a business letter. From what I've seen so far, the same seems to be true in Japanese as well. If I was making a business-related ...
5
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1answer
171 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 ...
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9answers
6k views

What to say after someone sneezes

It's happened several times: I'll be chattering away with a friend in Japanese, and they'll sneeze, and without even thinking about it I'll revert back to English to say "bless you." Is there a set ...
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1answer
266 views

Is it OK to keep saying ありがとう

I was asking a Japanese person for some help and noticed that I kept saying ありがとうございます over and over as they helped me more. Culturally, is it OK to keep saying it multiple times in Japanese? Would it ...
3
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1answer
227 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?
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4answers
585 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 ...
3
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1answer
92 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 ...
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1answer
264 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 ...
6
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1answer
675 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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)?
6
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1answer
238 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) ...
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1answer
206 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 ...
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3answers
885 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 ...
5
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2answers
213 views

What is the best expression used by an employee to appreciate his/her employer?

Assume that the employer gives a presentation to the public audience. After the presentation, you as the employee want to appreciate it. What is the best expression used by an employee to appreciate ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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0answers
144 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 ...
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1answer
225 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?
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2answers
370 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 ...
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2answers
471 views

Is Japanese one of the Buddhist canonical languages?

The languages of oriental Buddhist traditions, be it Theravada or Mahayana, do not always provide complete and entire canonical texts. Up to now, I am aware of Pali, Chinese and Tibetan versions of ...
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2answers
2k views

Did the Japanese have a word for surrender before WWII?

I had always thought that the Japanese didn't have a word for surrender before WWII. It seemed to be plausible given their culture. However, I can't seem to find any solid evidence of this. Is it just ...