Questions tagged [culture]

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

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2
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2answers
282 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 ...
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1answer
123 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?
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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 ...
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2answers
655 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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
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1answer
256 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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6k 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, ...
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1answer
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"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 ...
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1answer
2k 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, ...
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1answer
2k 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'...
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3answers
361 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?
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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 ...
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2answers
601 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 ...
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3answers
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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?
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1answer
109 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 ...
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96 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,...
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3answers
1k 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
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1answer
397 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. ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
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1answer
976 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 ...
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2answers
737 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?
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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 ...
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2answers
158 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 '...
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1answer
836 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 ...
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1answer
640 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 "...
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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 ...
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1answer
2k 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?
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2answers
347 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.
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1answer
227 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.
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1answer
136 views

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

The Obon festival consists of the arrival, celebration, and departure of ancestors.
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39k views

What is the Japanese meaning of the name "Kakka"?

In Man In The High Castle (S2E04 I believe) a character is referred to in Japanese as "Kakka". Is this a common name? And, does this name have a specific meaning? If so, what?
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147 views

Are 頂きます and ご馳走さま used when eating in public?

I have heard these words used when dining in a person's home, but I am not sure if it's appropriate to use them in a restaurant.
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3answers
3k views

No word for "time" until 1871?

In a German newspaper article an interviewed professor says: For a long time the Japanese didn't have any interest in clocks: Until 1871, there hadn't even been a word for time and therefore no ...
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2answers
597 views

Saying かわいい to a guy

I have two questions about the famous k word in japanese. I have seen this conversation between a guy and a girl and was a little bit puzzled by the girl's answer: Guy : xxx-ちゃんはかわいいです Girl : ...
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1answer
775 views

What is the connotation of calling someone "Kozaru Shichinosuke"?

What is the meaning of calling someone "Kozaru Shichinosuke". I know it's the title of a kabuki play and the name of the hero, however what's the linguistic connotation here? Is it a phrase used in ...
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2answers
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When angry we shout "F***!", but what do 日本人 shout?

I have to ask, when you kick a Japanese boy in the nuts or whatever, ignoring the obvious sounds a human makes when entering into such a state, what bits of language will they impulsively shout in ...
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1answer
262 views

How do Japanese people mark checklists?

I'm wondering, how would a Japanese person fill out a Yes/No checklist? For example, say I have a list of things to remember. I'd mark them as such: Get spare key ・・・・・・・・・・・・・・ Y Remove items from ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the general patterns of child-directed speech in Japanese?

In English, parents usually talk to their kids differently from how they usually talk. The words they use when doing so usually ends in -y. For example, "kitten" becomes "kitty", "I" usually turns ...
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1answer
992 views

What does 次行ってみよう mean?

I haven't done too, too much in-depth research on this one, but a general search seems to show that this is a joke or a meme. Either way, I'm very interested in knowing a bit more about the context of ...
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2answers
654 views

What does 在日 stand for?

I've been checking out some japanese music videos lately and stumbled upon some videos of Miyavi, a japanese guitarist. In all his videos he seems to receive quite a lot of criticism in the comments, ...
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1answer
547 views

Saying "Hello" to family members?

On lang-8 I read a message from a Japanese speaker who said that 「今日は」isn't used among family/friends, but mainly for strangers. To this end I need ask, what is a common way to say "Hello" to family/...
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What is the difference between アジア and 大陸?

Particularly I was looking at how I might express the idea of "asian pop culture" アジアの大衆文化 or 大陸の大衆文化. Having looked in the dictionary these two seem valid ways of communicating "asia" but I was ...
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2answers
975 views

Under what Japanese honorific should manga/anime fans address manga-ka/anime directors?

I speculate that there might be some sort of spectrum of the honorifics to use for manga-ka/anime directors. For example, I think one might be able to get away with addressing younger, and more, for ...
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1answer
608 views

Special Katsudon table with a light?

Based on the text below, apparently there is a special type of table in some Japanese restaurants made for eating Katsudon. どうしてレストランのテーブルにデスクランプがあるんだろう。 デスクランプのあるテーブルを挟んで座るって、なんだか取調室を連想させる。...
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3answers
147 views

Meaning of 夕陽の中を

Maruko's sister has a new teacher. She is complaining that he is far too enthusiastic: Sister quoting teacher:「『体をきたえたい者は、オレについてこいっ』なんて言っちゃって、グラウンドを走っちゃってるのよ」 "Follow me if you want to improve ...
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1answer
85 views

Meaning/significance of ほおに手をやる

The girls are discussing whether the temporary teacher will remember their face, and then: 「名前はどうかな」 「どうかなァ...」 (the ellipsis is as written in the book) たまちゃんがそうつぶやいてほおに手をやった。 "How about my ...
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3answers
2k views

To what extent, if any, was meifumadō an element of Japanese Buddhism or culture?

In the famous manga of Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼), the protagonist walks the path of meifumadō (冥府魔道), the road of hell, symbolized by the twin demons of the bull and the horse, in his quest for revenge....
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1answer
466 views

The radical "貝" and its relation to economic characters such as "貨" "資" etc

Preface My recent trip to Japan allowed me to see many Chinese characters i.e., Kanji (漢字) and one thing that caught my attention was an extensive use of the radical "貝"(かい) on words/characters ...
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1answer
425 views

Sei Sei Sei chant

I just finished the manga, Goodnight Punpun Vol. 1 and I noticed several occasions within the work where a character crossed their arms and chanted "Sei". Could someone tell me the meaning of this ...