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28

Quick related side story: Recently I was with my friend who is much better at Japanese than me. So much so that I won't try in this story to emulate the Japanese he used, because I'd just mess it up. It was a cold day and we were in a liquor store to buy some ice. We couldn't find as much as we needed, so we asked if there was more in back. The older woman ...


23

This question frequently comes up among foreigners in Japan, especially men, as it seems there's a feeling that sticking with 私{わたし} is somehow too "textbook". It's as if using 私{わたし} is an indication of still learning, or perhaps not yet having been integrated into Japanese language and culture enough. Men often wonder if they should use 僕{ぼく}, or 俺{おれ} ...


19

Here are the results from a small poll on Facebook. Six native Japanese replied. The results can be interpreted as: Don't say anything if you don't know them (6 people) If you know them you can ask if they're okay, if they've caught a cold or have allergies: "大丈夫?", "風邪引いたの?", "花粉症なの?", or something to that effect. (2 people) There's no such phrase ...


17

The thing to keep in mind is that this isn't a ritualized situation, such as the 只今{ただいま}/お帰{かえ}り, "I'm back" / "welcome back", call and response pattern. When you come and go from the office or home, there are set patterns. This restaurant situation isn't like that. Specific to your questions, there is no usual exchange between customer and cashier when ...


16

Good question! 「米国」 According to Japanese Wikipedia, the pronunciation of American was メリケン during the Meiji period, and was rendered into kanji as 「米利堅」 Since the first character is 米 (べい、まい、めい) the abbreviation became 米国. This was despite the fact that the full kanji representation of アメリカ is 亜米利加. I suspect it was because 亜 is already used to represent ...


15

I am ハーフ, and for what it's worth the term has never caused me to take offense, nor did it seem like any was ever intended. When I was in elementary school in Japan, if I got into scuffles, the preferred label was 外人, though not even that is necessarily offensive outside of the context of a schoolyard spat. In short, if you aren't immediately offended by ...


13

Not a bona fide answer, in that I am not confident enough to provide you with a reliable example of what you should be saying, but I can definitely tell you how you should not be saying it (despite some suggestions in the comments to your question): Any sentence that starts by a word expressing disagreement. Anything that hints at an actual error made by ...


13

From what I've observed, it varies from shop to shop: by publisher → by author name → by book title by author name → by book title by library → by series number (In case of 文庫 [ぶんこ] (library), 新書 [しんしょ] (library of pocket-sized paperbacks) by relevance/context (in untraditional bookstores like ヴィレッジ・ヴァンガード, 松丸本舗 [まつまるほんぽ]) Also, 文庫 ...


13

There are two different issues to consider here. The first is right-to-left horizontal writing as explained by Axioplase. (Note: Sometimes this is considered a special case of vertical writing, with columns of height one as your wife suggested. This is not necessarily the case. For example, the ー (choonpu) is always written horizontally rather than ...


13

According to Zokugo-dict: Masuo-san refers to the husband of Sazae-san in the popular anime "Sazae-san", Fuguta Masuo. Masao-san lives together with Sazae-san and their parents at their parent's home, and it's come to mean a person who lives at their wife's parents' home. Furthermore, it's become used in a broader sense to refer to a son-in-law ...


12

There is a common phrase for that. ご愁傷さまです - go shuushou sama desu For example お母上が亡くなられご愁傷さまです  I'm very sorry about your mother's death Regarding sending something, there is a special custom in Japan called こうでん「香典」 - giving money to remaining family members with the purpose of offering it to the departed soul. (Originally, this was used as an ...


12

In my understanding, Japanese normally does not interfere with other's personal stuff most of time. So, they don't use those after sneeze. But if influenza is hot during that time, they may ask "Are you ok?". And some people think that silent and unchanged facial expresssions are elegent on sneeze here, so there is some sneeze contest 「くしゃみ対決」 by ...


12

Apologies if you did already realize this, but it seems like maybe your troubles are arising here because you aren't aware of the range of meanings of the word ガキ大将. (You can find it in Daijirin and Wikipedia etc. using the all-kanji spelling 餓鬼大将.) It has a lot of cultural baggage attached -- the Showa nostalgia level is over 9000, for starters -- but an ...


12

Thin it out. すいてください。 Thin out this part. このあたりを、すいてください。 I want this part this long. ここを、このくらいの[長]{なが}さにしてください。 Keep the front. [前]{まえ}[髪]{がみ}を[残]{のこ}してください。 Take about 1 centimeter off my bangs. [前]{まえ}[髪]{がみ}を1センチくらい[切]{き}ってください。 Shorten it in back by about 5 centimeters. [後]{うし}ろを5センチくらい[切]{き}ってください。 Trim a little more. もう[少]{すこ}し[切]{き}ってください。 Trim this ...


11

I've researched a bit and it seems that such expression doesn't really exist in Japanese. There is a kind of explanation for this: In the Western societies, there used to be a belief that sneezes could release one's soul, therefore putting it in danger because it could have been "captured" by lurking evil spirits; or it was believed that the mouth opened ...


11

I think テロップ is right. It is also called スーパー. As for its extensive use, it seems to have started in TV programs in the late 1980s and 1990s such as 探偵!ナイトスクープ, 進め!電波少年, and 天才・たけしの元気が出るテレビ!!, and became widespread under the influence of these TV programs. The most typical Japanese comedy style consists of 1. Someone saying/doing a silly thing (ぼけ) and 2. ...


11

Matt's answer is right enough, and Axioplases's description does have historical accuracy, but I felt differently enough to propose another answer. First, here is the truck in question, with the words カンガルー便 written on the side, "backwards". Note, though, that the text for the parent company, Seino, is the "right" way round, presumeably because it's in ...


10

俗語辞書(ぞくごじしょ) (slang dictionary) says that that word was formed because of the radio program called 社会の窓(しゃかいのまど) around 1948-1960, which tried expose anything about society/community. And people start to called zip fasteners 社会の窓, because it is a hidden place for men. Also when zip fasteners are opened in any place other than the toilet, they called it ...


10

In my 故事ことわざ辞典、「木を見て森を見ず」 is from English phrase "You cannot see the woods for the trees". And regarding plural form, 「木」 can mean many trees in Japanese, since Japanese grammar does not always have plural form. And also In 国語辞典、explanation of 「木を見て森を見ず」 is 一本一本の木に目を奪われて全体の森を見ない意から using 一本一本の木, which means each tree instead of 一本の木 (one tree). ...


10

Japanese here. I find it fine to say ありがとう for the first two, although どうも is more common. Not saying anything is perfectly acceptable. You can also nod, which is very common. When you leave the restaurant, it is common to say ごちそうさまで~す or ごちそうさまでした. If you are female, ごちそうさまでした would be more common. It is perfectly ok to leave without saying anything. ...


10

AFAIU, 音沙汰 doesn't limit what the media of communication is. You could refer to email, facebook etc when using 音沙汰. 連絡 is more "materialistic" than 音沙汰. Or more bureaucratic. 音沙汰 is I guess more "dramatic" than 連絡. Basically you can use 連絡 for insignificant things as well as significant things, but 音沙汰 is more natural when it's used for significant ...


10

So I'm wondering, is this just a reporter's ham-fisted attempt to inflate the human drama by painting a picture of a cruel and uncaring Japanese culture that exacerbates eating disorders? There could be several reasons I can think of: The Japanese woman who said this might of meant it "metaphorically" rather than "literally", in the sense that there ...


10

I would say the expression お世話になりました is spot on. Especially since you are trying to express gratitude for guidance, which is contained in the word 世話 "looking after; help; aid; assistance". Moreover, お世話になりました is formal and certainly suitable for a corporate environment. To adapt it to your situation, you could say, e.g. 長い間お世話になりました。


9

Since no-one else has answered, let me try to chip away at the edges a bit. Disclaimer: I am not a native speaker, not young, not single, and not even an ex-player, so my intuitions might be quite far from those of hip young Tokyoites. There is the phrase 良い雰囲気になる. It literally translates to something like "arrive at/be in a state such that there is a good ...


9

Perhaps this site may be of use to you. For each section there is a brief description and explanation of the choice of symbols/characters used. The characters used for kaomoji may represent: Eyes (usually obvious)(may be covered by arms/hand) Ears (may be absent) Nose (may be absent) Mouth ( ∀ and ▽ in your examples are mouths) Limits of the face ...


8

In Tokyo, currently, people comfortably ignore other people's sneezes. Of course, when your family (or a close friend) sneezes, it is common to ask 風邪ひいた? (caught cold?) or something like that. However, this is equivalent to asking such questions to your family member trembling or looking pale. A common Japanese experience in the US: when they sneeze, ...


8

To answer the last part of your question first, 数 is part of this for it's pronunciation, not meaning. This is called ateji, which is when kanji are used to phonetically represent words. 寿司 (すし / sushi) is a common example of this. Translations that follow are my own. According to the Japanese Wikipedia page for 数寄者, 「数寄」originally held the same meaning as ...


8

Japanese has negative, positive, and neutral terms for flirting. There's 'husband/wife hunting' 婚活, 'stalking/creep hitting' ナンパ, 'puppy love flirting' 初恋の人の話しをする, and everything in between. What would probably fit best for you is: デートに誘いたいんじゃなくて、友達として本当に可愛かったから言っただけだよ。. This means, in a kind of sweet/genuine tone (thus the ん): "I'm not trying to force a ...


8

I think this question is relevant: What do you mean, "In Japanese there are no words for "I’m suffering""? Also a little googling leads to a quote where this is clearly being used metaphorically by the speaker (presuming this is even an accurate quote/translation and not made up): Captain Sasaki of the Yokahama Guards: "There is no ...



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