Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [culture]

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

3
votes
1answer
116 views

Is しかたない a characteristically Japanese response to a question?

It has been suggested in a comment here: How is しかたない an opinion about a product feature? that しかたない might be a characteristically Japanese response to a question (that a Western person might never ...
9
votes
1answer
981 views

Why is ostracism called 村八分【むらはちぶ】?

While doing some reading of old questions, I stumbled upon the term 村八分【むらはちぶ】, which is apparently means ostracism. I'm curious what the 8 parts (八分) are and how this relates to ostracism.
9
votes
3answers
367 views

What are the stereotypical qualities of a gaijin trying to speak/write Japanese to a Japanese person?

There are plenty of stereotypical qualities of a Japanese speaking person trying to speak English, so, would I be correct in assuming the reverse is also the case, and if so, what would the most ...
7
votes
2answers
445 views

Why are Japanese fonts different to Chinese?

I’ve noticed that Japanese and Chinese writing tends to use different fonts. Japanese fonts tend use wider lines and more curves. Chinese fonts tend to use narrow angular lines and there are ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

How to express that somebody apologized on behalf of somebody else

To help describe my issue, let's imagine following situation: A foreigner comes to Japan. He is in the company of a native Japanese person. Suppose they are friends. During the day, the foreigner ...
0
votes
1answer
148 views

What do you say when you want to reject a gift without offending anyone?

If you are offered something that you don't want, what do you say to reject it politely?
5
votes
2answers
348 views

How do Japanese people think/talk about socioeconomic classes?

Every society has its own way of talking about socioeconomic class. In America/Canada, people talk about the "poor", "(lower/upper) middle class", and "upper class", as well as the "1%" and ".1%"; ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

Appropriate terms for indigenous people

I'm often asked about my home country by Japanese people and wish to discuss the unique polynesian culture of the indigenous people there. How do I describe them in Japanese? I understand that this is ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you say “hello” properly in Kyoto?

Rosetta Stone, which I use for learning, uses konnichiwa (こんにちは?) as a generic "hello". But when visiting Kyoto and places around there, I have never heard anyone actually saying it, not even a single ...
8
votes
1answer
233 views

Saying “I have no need for 'that'” ('that = insert any phrase') in three different circumstances and in various degree of politeness

Situation1: My close friends offer me 'something' that of no use for me. So I want to reject it by saying 'I have no need for 'that'. (Situation 1-1: I want to sound really rude to my close friend as ...
5
votes
2answers
147 views

Why do people use the word “くそ”? [duplicate]

I don't know if it's written in hiragana but I have knowledge that kuso means "shit". Why do kids use that term so much? Isn't it offensive or considered a bad word? I am asking this because it's not ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Can i use 戻りました or 帰って来ました after being offline for a long period to say i'm back online?

What do i say when i want to say i'm back online after being offline during a long period of time? Can i use 戻りました and/or 帰って来ました?
1
vote
1answer
102 views

How to answer to 精一杯頑張ってきます?

I was talking with my japanese penpal and he wrote to me 精一杯頑張ってきますよ! after I wrote him おはようございます!お仕事頑張ってきてね! because he told me he was going to work. I don't know if there's an answer or not. In ...
5
votes
1answer
150 views

Does a bear sh*t in the woods? Rhetorical affirmations in Japanese. Is there any?

I could not find anything on this website nor with a (quick I admit) search on Google. Does Japanese have any "yes phrase" (or more technically rhetorical affirmation) used to answer questions whose ...
23
votes
2answers
5k views

Why are police boxes labeled Koban (in roman letters) in Japan?

I understand that the word for police box is Koban or 交番 in kanji, but why is the signage always in roman letters - Koban. My guess would be to make it easier for foreigners to read, but wouldn't ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Correct spelling of “Gemu Otaku”

In studies on contemporary Japanese culture, they use "Gemu Otaku" in the sense of "video game nerd", "game freak". Is this an academic term only or do people actually use this term in Japanese ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

What is the term used for a baby's age at birth?

Is a babies age determined by date of conception or date of birth? What is the term used for determining the age? A Japanese friend told me that a pregnancy is 10 months. I have always used tanjoubi ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

What are the equivalents of millionnaire, multimillionaire and billionaire in Japanese?

I'm talking about the "cultural" ones, because with the yen currency the scale is completely different (millionnaire with yen is only about having approximately 10 000 usd so I don't think it's the ...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

Formality when talking to ex girlfriend

I am a 32 year old American male. I dated a Japanese female from Kobe for three years. She is now 35 years old, married with a baby. I met her in Kobe, where I lived as well. We haven't spoken in ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

Implications of ヒロイン (Heroine) in stories

I've read that ヒロイン , meaning 'heroine', can also imply a romantic interest to the hero pretty much by default culturally in Japan's stories. I can't seem to find any definitive source for this from ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

Is it strange to say おはようございます to family members at home?

My teacher said that it is strange to say おはようございます to parents, brothers and sisters at home. Is it true?
6
votes
3answers
9k views

What does rubbing a finger under one's nose mean?

Ash Ketchum sometimes does this: I'm sure this macro is simply ignorant of some Japanese body language he's using. Another example is here: I can't recall any other anime character who does ...
3
votes
2answers
388 views

Appropriate Honorifics for Fan Letter

I wrote a fan letter to Japanese actors that I admire. It was compulsory to write his name on the envelope, so I just simply put Xさん However, I later noticed that everyone seems to address him as ...
0
votes
1answer
552 views

When you introduce yourself to someone, do you say your first name first, or your last name first?

title says all basically if someone (i'll use the name bob smith as an example) were to introduce themselves, would they call themselves "smith bob" or just "bob smith"
3
votes
1answer
199 views

Naming things after people

European languages seem to name things after people (or people-like things) on a very regular basis. We have everything from 'Mount Everest' and 'Washington, DC' to 'Robert A Welch Hall'. Places named ...
7
votes
2answers
475 views

Respect for the Aged Greeting

Sorry if this is off topic, but today is respect for the aged day in Japan, and I'm unsure how to greet elderly individuals, if at all. What would be the proper greeting? Would one greet individuals ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How to express “being sorry” as a sympathetic feeling?

I'm surprised this question hasn't been asked already so in case I just missed it in my searches please point me to it. Is there a general way to express "being sorry" not when apologizing of course, ...
-1
votes
1answer
513 views

“weather today fine but high waves” - what is the Japanese for this?

This is a famous phrase from the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese war. It is used in modern times such as by Shinzo Abe after he called a snap election a couple of years ago. You can research ...
5
votes
1answer
769 views

How do you tell your parents and siblings you love them?

In English we describe the affection you have for your parents and siblings as "love", however this is vary different from the feelings of romantic love, things like limerence and sexual arousal, ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What are the most common words for “to attack”? [closed]

The concept of "attacking" is a vary broad one, with a lot of nuance to it. What are the most common/practical words used to describe attacking in Japanese; and what are the nuances to each? Also, I'...
5
votes
3answers
331 views

What exactly is a 生徒? [duplicate]

The word 生徒(せいと) means "pupil", but what exactly is/was a 生徒 in Japanese culture? And how is a 生徒 different from a 学生? And in what context would you use the word?
4
votes
2answers
237 views

How does 十中八九 break down to mean 9 times out of 10 when there is 八 in the phrase?

十中八九 is one of my favorite phrases. I don't use it that much, but it is still one of my favorites all the same. Almost every dictionary I have used translates it as "nine times out of ten," which I ...
4
votes
2answers
217 views

Other than はじめまして, what can we say in our introduction?

Other than はじめまして, what else can we say at the beginning of our introduction when meeting someone for the first time? Also, what else do we need to say when introducing ourselves other than our name ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

A formal/informal way to say I don't want anything

I was told that is ok to use 何でもないが欲しいです。 in an informal setting for "I don't want anything." Is this correct? And what is an expression I can use in a formal situation?
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Does ピッとGo mean anything?

Probably it is more cultural question than the language one, but I can't figure out if ピッとGo is just a name for the Times Car point program and does not mean anything or is a some kind of play of ...
0
votes
0answers
86 views

来年受験 - What does taking an exam in the coming year mean in this context?

In this doujin that I'm reading, a character - Hinata - comes to his new friend's volleyball practice. When an excited Hinata asks if he could join in their practice, the club members crowd around him,...
8
votes
3answers
693 views

How to respond to a compliment by a boss?

I have learnt a few ways to humbly accept or decline a compliment, including え、まあ...... (with the hand gesture), まだまだです and そんなことはありません. However when the compliment comes from a boss, I am afraid that ...
8
votes
1answer
328 views

What should I say when a senior colleague is leaving before me?

When leaving before a senior colleague does, people say お先に失礼します, and the senior employee responds お疲れ様でした or ご苦労様でした. お疲れ様でした is also usually said when a colleague of the same seniority is leaving. ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a word to express “the rain of sakura petals”?

I think it's a good question given the season. I was watching the petals of cherry flowers falling down in the typical "pink shower" after the full bloom and wondered: is there a word that expresses ...
0
votes
1answer
446 views

Another language question regarding tomodachi

my college product line for next year is currently called Tomodachi. however because someone owns this word in the USA I was hoping to find something similar. Americans really like the 'dachi' part ...
1
vote
2answers
497 views

Can I use 西 as my last name

My last name/surname is West. Can I just write it as the kanji 西 nishi? It means West but it's also a last name. If not, how do you write West in katakana?
18
votes
3answers
3k views

How do attendance checklists in Japan deal with multiple possible name readings?

Even though there are several recurring, easily guessable family name readings ([田中]{たなか}、佐藤{さとう}、田村{たむら}) in Japanese, there are usually many possible readings to people's names Kanji, especially ...
3
votes
2answers
142 views

What are common familially intimate names?

In both family units you often find special intimate names being used between members according to their role. You have intimate familial names like 'mama' and 'papa' for parents, and words like '...
4
votes
1answer
682 views

Would a Japanese person say “Yay, no school!” or “Yay, no classes!”?

Quick question about word choice, but do the Japanese more often refer to school sessions as "school" like most in America, or "classes" like some parts of Europe? Also what words would be used most ...
1
vote
1answer
333 views

How to introduce yourself as an Exchange Student? [closed]

I'd like to know with which name an exchange student will be called (first name or last name), when he/she joins a class at an average Japanese school. On the one hand, it may be the case the "...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What does it say on my Japanese alarm clock? [closed]

I bought an alarm clock (good clocks with AA batteries instead of button-like) with Japanese characters and found it difficult to understand, even with a dictionary. Could someone explain what is ...
1
vote
1answer
778 views

The uses of おはよう, こんばんわ and おやすみ

How should I use ohayō, konbanwa and oyasumi? As a greeting or as a goodbye?
4
votes
2answers
235 views

What is the term for not making eye contact?

I have read in numerous publications that making direct eye contact can be considered rude and offensive but I am unable to identify a term associated with it.
3
votes
1answer
166 views

What is the name of “grass” used to garnish a bento (takeout meal)?

I have a piece of "grass paper"? included in my meal, want to know it's purpose. It isn't edible, and could be a choking hazard. I also don't know what it is called.
3
votes
1answer
113 views

What is the name for each day of the Obon Festival?

The Obon festival consists of the arrival, celebration, and departure of ancestors.