5,874 reputation
11343
bio website kanjibox.net
location Kyoto
age 94
visits member for 3 years, 2 months
seen 2 days ago

Many years of living in Japan, none with formal Japanese-language classroom studying, mean I have:

  1. horrible grammar
  2. decent conversational level
  3. pretty good Sprachgefühl...

Gauge my contributions accordingly.


Jul
11
comment What is the etymology of the word プラスアルファ?
I'm with @Matt: the 'mistakenly identified' theory sounds fairly dodgy to me (for a start, why would people mistake a commonly used romaji, for a not so commonly used greek letter??). On the other hand, 'α' is a pretty acceptable variable name for a small, unknown quantity (whereas 'x' would be a more generic unknown).
Jul
9
comment When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading?
@Pacerier: as atlantiza said, it doesn't have much to do with grammar... But as for "can one assign any arbitrary reading to a kanji (in a name)", the answer is a clear and resounding yes. This is true for Japanese as well as foreigners. I believe it is explicitly stated in the naming rules that, as long as you are using kanji from the accepted set, you can assign any pronunciation you want. It is done by parents who want their child to have a quirky name (and endless headaches dealing with administration officials later on).
Jul
3
comment Why are the words for prefecture so complicated?
@sawa: sorry if I was unclear: I did not mean to imply that the suffix necessarily had legal implications (although according to fefe below, it might). In this case, I would say rather political than legal... As you point out yourself, it comes down to politics and communication strategy: I doubt you will find a strong logic behind it.
Jul
3
comment What is the more common pronunciation for the r­ōmaji letter Z in Japanese?
Thanks for the very complete answer. If you don't mind, it would be perhaps good to summarise the relevant part (concerning 'Z'/'zetto'/'zee') at the beginning...
Jul
3
comment What is the more common pronunciation for the r­ōmaji letter Z in Japanese?
Valid point. Damn, why didn't I think of saying 「ドラゴンボールゼットのゼット」...
Jul
2
comment Why are the words for prefecture so complicated?
If my memory is correct, Hashimoto suggested changing 大阪府 to 大阪都, around the same time he was pushing for the merge between city hall and prefectural office (becoming a sort of metropolitan office similar to Tokyo)... Wouldn't that at least provide some explanation for the 都 vs. other suffixes?
Jun
11
comment Why would you use まいります for rain? (降ってまいります)
Tiny formatting suggestion: maybe use 謙譲語1/ 謙譲語2 instead of 謙譲語I/謙譲語II, which are a little difficult to notice...
Jun
6
comment Does バラの寝床 come directly from the English expression “bed of roses”?
Murakami once famously stated that he wrote by first thinking up the text in English and translating it back to Japanese...
May
29
comment Was 俺 ever gender-neutral?
Small note: this is not Rikaichan's data, but WWWJDIC's (freely used by most Japanese translation software).
May
28
comment What does ただいま actually mean?
Almost certainly a duplicate of this one
May
28
comment What does ワソマソ mean?
@sawa: I meant to say that conductorless could have implied nobody aboard, but nevermind. I edited my answer to make it clearer.
May
28
comment What does ワソマソ mean?
@sawa: as I said: it definitely does have a person on board, that does tickets and gates. I honestly couldn't tell you if they are really driving it (I have a strong suspicion that it is mostly automated, but the person might have the possibility to take over if needed).
May
20
comment Is まい as in あるまい really only used in literary texts or TV?
@dotnetN00b: I entirely realise you qualified your remark with this warning and I did not mean my comment as a personal attack. But I do mean it when I say that "say as much as they can with as little words as possible" has very little basis in reality. The closest I can think of, might be the habit of eliding certain sentence components when they can be inferred. But that aside, Japanese is an incredibly verbose language, especially when it comes to some grammar for formal language.
May
20
comment What do you mean, “In Japanese there are no words for ”I’m suffering“”?
@DaveMG: as Chocolate pointed out, the two names are different, and I have met countless Hachikos. (just so you don't go questioning her parents' taste the next time you meet one ;-)
May
20
comment Is まい as in あるまい really only used in literary texts or TV?
Your understanding is very flawed. For the quickest counter-example available, I recommend most 丁寧語 forms (but really, all of Japanese should work for that purpose).
May
17
comment Ancient practise of sneaking into women's bedrooms…?
Absolutely can't help on the Japanese word, but regarding the cultural context and your surprise, I would point you to words like "ravish", their 17th~19th century meaning and the fact that when people said "taking a woman against her will", they often meant "against the will of her father", making "ravish" a common face-saving euphemism for "eloping"... I wonder if your word is not of a similar nature.
May
16
comment What work is left on a map?
"work that makes its mark [in the landscape]" would sound like a good, somewhat idiomatic, translation, no?
May
16
comment How close was the Japanese writing system from becoming abolished after World War II?
+1: JLU doesn't have to be about learning Japanese (au contraire: all learning questions aren't fit for it), this question about the Japanese language seems on-topic to me.
Apr
26
comment Why does furigana occasionally appear as katakana?
worth noting that while 部 is not クラブ, 倶楽部 is (and commonly used in the context of host[ess] clubs)... So the author is playing with that.
Apr
20
comment Anki decks for studying Japanese
Indeed, this is off-topic for JLU. But lucky you, an attempt at gathering such type of resources is ongoing in Meta: meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/756/…