15
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
422 views

Which kana/kanji are used to write Yoshitoshi's death poem?

Browsing for art late at night, I came across this beautiful poem by Yoshitoshi, said to be his death poem: yo o tsumete terimasarishi wa natsu no tsuki translated as: holding back ...
5
votes
1answer
370 views

Can もの be used to imply the value of something that is a こと?

I thought of this question and quickly realized that I already knew a possible example. Japanese band ZONE's most popular song is called 「secret base~君【きみ】がくれたもの~」. The lyrics can be read here or at ...
9
votes
2answers
201 views

[潔]{いさぎよ}い meaning

Can anyone tell me more about 潔い? I've looked in Goo, Alc, Kenkyusha, and Edict, and the definitions refer to "sportsmanlike", "gracious", or "take it like a man". However, I'm doubtful if these are ...
4
votes
1answer
455 views

Why the mixture of *on* and *kun* readings of numbers?

One thing that always puzzled me was why some terms and names that are based on numbers will mix the on and kun readings. I never really understood the rules for that, but it occurs to me that there ...
2
votes
1answer
417 views

What does いなきゃ mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Difference between ~なきゃ and ~なくちゃ What does いなきゃ mean? thanks in advance
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between ~なきゃ and ~なくちゃ

I know what one of them is なくてはいけません and the other one なければなりません, I just don't know which is which, also a few example sentences would help a lot, thank you.
6
votes
2answers
316 views

Why is を used in this situation? 私は先生がネコを好きだと思います

私は先生がネコを好きだと思います Why を and not が twice?
1
vote
1answer
164 views

What is the correct reading for べき乗打切り待機法?

On this page, different readings are give in different dictionaries for べき乗打切り待機法: べきのりうちきりたいきほう in JMDict and ベキジョウウチキリタイキホウ in コンピューター用語辞典. The English translation given in both dictionaries are the ...
9
votes
3answers
505 views

Are honorifics used for dead people?

Are honorifics used for dead people? For example, would チンギス・カン have something after the name (presumably not just a mere さん!) when you're not referring to the dish?
4
votes
1answer
149 views

What is the Japanese song-metric filler?

In English we have some common sounds that are used to fill spaces in songs like "ah" "la" "nah" "oh" "yea". What do we use for Japanese songs? So far I think I have only heard る used.
5
votes
2answers
178 views

Is there a general way to express how you feel?

For example, while I am running I feel great. This makes me feel happy. When doing lots of work for low wages I feel tired. What are the common ways to express my physiological/psychological state?
3
votes
1answer
150 views

How to read いい方

How do you read 方 in 大きいクラスでは、一時間にせいぜい一、二度当たればいい方だ。 In a large class, on a good day, you will be called on at most once or twice.
4
votes
2answers
449 views

How to Convert Na-adjectives and Nouns to the ば-form?

I am practicing the ば-conditional and my main reference right now is the oxford grammar book. It only mentions how to convert keiyoushi or i-adjectives and not keiyoudoushi or na-adjectives. Can ...
6
votes
1answer
189 views

When should I use「かも」 versus 「アヒル」?

My Japanese friend uses the work 「アヒル」when referring to ducks in a public park. However, another Japanese friend uses 「鴨」(かも)in similar situations. In English, as far as my limited knowledge of the ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Expressing “not greater/less than” and “greater/less than or equal to”

I'm having trouble coming up with a way of saying "not greater than 0" and "not less than 0". Would the following sentences be natural/grammatical? If not, in what ways can the following be ...
8
votes
1answer
409 views

Stroke order for han-dakuten

Is there one? Or does it even matter? I personally start at the top and go clockwise. Just curious. Update: I realized the other day that the reason I start at the 12-o'clock position and go ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Should I speak in the local dialect and/or accent of an area? [closed]

I'm planning to go to Tohoku for at least a week, and Lonely Planet, Wikitravel and TVTropes all mention that Tohoku-ben is a bit different from how Tokyoites would speak. TVTropes also mention that ...
5
votes
1answer
312 views

Usage of なんて in this sentence

”正直友達が死んだらこんなにへこむなんておもってみなかった”  I cant understand this sentence.
3
votes
2answers
452 views

General rules in negative adjectives in superpolite form

I have trouble trying to find this specific grammar in text books. I have a negative adjective in polite form: 寒くないです I want to use the superpolite form: 寒くないございます That seems right, but I have ...
3
votes
3answers
688 views

Reconciliation of adverbial ぜひ with its Japanese-English translation

Through this question I want to understand exactly how ぜひ is used adverbially. My problem is that ぜひ is not behaving as I expect it to be. It appears that the English translation does not reflect its ...
5
votes
2answers
185 views

What's the best translation of アタリ in the context of drawing?

I'm reading through a book on how to draw in a classic Japanese manga style. Specifically, the book is about the basics of デッサン, "sketching". They use the term アタリ a lot. For example, this typical ...
5
votes
3answers
254 views

Can でありますように be followed by a verb?

来年は是非明るい年でありますように願うばかりです I hope that the next year will be great for you Is this sentence grammatically incorrect? In what way(s)? If incorrect, why can でありますように not be followed by an explicit ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

How are で and ばかりused in this expression?

来年は是非明るい年でありますように願うばかりです I hope that the next year will be great for you Why is で used in 年であります? Is であります an older form of です? Also, what would the ばかり translate to here? I thought maybe it ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How does this ように work?

今年も良い年でありますように! I hope you have another good year! What is going on exactly where the ように means hope? Does the よう derive from a verb? I would also like to know how to describe this word in the ...
18
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
326 views

Why is the stroke order of も peculiar?

In most hiragana the horizonal stokes are drawn first, but も is an exception. Is there any reason for this?
2
votes
4answers
286 views

Why did this pirate get angry when he was given a bottle?

I was reading this and it didn't make sense to me. This pirate wanted a drink, but the store was sold out. So one of the guys offered to give him an unopened bottle, but it only made the pirate mad. ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

Help with には and にとって

I need help understanding why にとって cannot be used in this circumstance: その仕事は私{には/*にとって}出来ない。 ( * denotes unacceptable) This is what I read: にとって cannot be used when it marks an experiencer ...
5
votes
1answer
341 views

Sound mimesis (or 擬音語【ぎおんご】 or 擬態語【ぎたいご】) of ビ and シッ

Consider this panel: What do ビ and シッ represent? I'm conjecturing ビ is the mimesis for the raised finger, and シッ is the mimesis for the scarf as she turns around.
6
votes
2answers
482 views

How do you know when to use みな or みんな?

Are there any tips for deciding to write みな or みんな? If I'm not sure can I just go with 皆? Also, in speech is there a distinction made? If not, which pronunciation is more common in standard Japanese? ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is gaikokujin more politically correct than gaijin?

While in English, the word "gaijin" is far more common than "gaikokujin", I've heard that in Japanese [外人]{がいじん} has been replaced by [外国人]{がいこくじん} for reasons of political correctness. What ...
2
votes
1answer
198 views

How do I read the kanji in this ad for mascara?

On the train yesterday, I came across this ad, which is just for some mascara or whatever: Sorry it's a little blurry. The text is 凛{りん}と際立{きわだ}つ艶ロング。 I'm just a little unclear on a couple of ...
11
votes
3answers
244 views

Is it appropriate to use [先生]{せんせい} when addressing a ski instructor?

Is it appropriate to use [先生]{せんせい}, either by itself or as an honorific after their name, when addressing a ski instructor? I'm not sure whether it'd be appropriate because: Using 先生 in this ...
5
votes
1answer
651 views

Why do some people use 分からない, when they mean 知らない? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる? I often get puzzled when I ask a question and the other person says 分からない or 分からん, when they seem to understand but they ...
6
votes
3answers
994 views

Reading of years

Years (Gregorian) can be read out in English: A – two digits at a time; B – each digit separately; C – full reading of the number. For example: 2012: "Twenty twelve"; "Two ...
10
votes
3answers
633 views

Why is water polite but ice not?

I was amused by, and interested in, this little sign on a water dispenser in a sandwich shop: The options are that you can have ice only, ice and water, or just water. What intrigued me was that ...
6
votes
2answers
303 views

What is the meaning of お気の毒に and how is it used?

Although the there are several definitions in the dictionary: my condolences that's too bad my sympathies What does お気の毒に literally mean? I'm guessing that it might have something to do with ...
8
votes
1answer
618 views

Why has を been spared but ゐ and ゑ been deemed obsolete?

According to When is the katakana form of wo (ヲ) used?-ヲ-used, を is almost always used only for the particle, and is usually pronounced o (お). There are some dialects where を is pronounced with a ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

Are 勅 and 詔 simply synonyms?

I cannot find a clear difference between these two kanji: 勅 : Imperial decree (みことのり、ショウ) 詔 : Imperial edict (みことのり、チョク) The English definitions for "decree" and "edict" are so similar, I ...
10
votes
1answer
656 views

Reading fractions

In Japanese (and other East Asian languages), the denominator of a fraction is read as a part of the modifier to the numerator: 3分の5 'five that was divided by three' 'five thirds' This ...
6
votes
2answers
215 views

Prefixing `一` to numbers

It seems to me that 千 is exceptional in having it prefixed with 一. As for 一, 十, 百, they work together with 千 to describe the numbers from 1 to 9999, so they compete with one another, or are ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between の代わりに and に代わって

I need help understanding the difference between の代わりに and に代わって. This is how A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar explains the difference: の代わりに cannot be used when "replacement" is ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

How is 信じる being conjugated here?

信じようと信じまいと Believe it or not How is 信じる being conjugated here? I am unfamilar with the stem + まい pattern, if anyone could explain the ins and outs of that, or provide a more literal translation ...
6
votes
1answer
155 views

What is the origin of エンターティナー

Some people use the word エンターティナー to mean 'entertainer'. I suspect this word comes from the English word entertainer. But the accented vowel is "ei", rather than "i". It would be a better ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

What is the origin of イレーザー?

There is a word イレーザー, which means 'eraser'. I suspect this comes from the English word eraser. But the "s" sound in eraser is not voiced in American English, and a closer approximation in kana will ...
2
votes
1answer
212 views

What is the underlying grammar in the difference between `足らない` and `足りない`?

Based on the comments from Tsuoyshi Ito's answer to Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない, 恐るるに足らない/恐るるに足りない is a set phrase meaning "not worth fearing". Based on my understanding of 一段 verbs like 足りる, ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない

The full text is... この魔剣があれば… メルヴィンの言うとおり 竜すらも恐るるに足らない… Is this a double negative? "Even dragons to be not afraid is not enough" = "Even dragons are [will be] afraid".
3
votes
1answer
133 views

Tense of どういうつもりだ…

The full sentence is: 反撃の機会は幾度もあった… どういうつもりだ… "There were many chances to counter attack... what is your intention". But the event took place in the past so why is it not どういうつもりだった… "What was ...
3
votes
2answers
318 views

How do I add an object to noun を します verbs?

When you want to associate a noun を します action (what English-speakers would call "verbing a noun") with a specific noun, what particles are used and where? For example, if I was saying "I study", you ...

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