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28

The answer is right on the 警視庁 (metropolitan police department)'s website. Basically it says that it is common to use foreign words as-is if there is no similar cultural counterpart, using sumo and kabuki as examples. Koban is an unfamiliar idea in most cultures, so that's why they decided to go with using "koban" as is. The koban system has been introduced ...


23

I think the word [時間]{じかん} was created in the Meiji era, but the word [時]{とき} is older. So it's definitely wrong that "the Japanese didn't have any interest in clocks (until 1871)". I searched in an old-Japanese dictionary and found the usage of 「とき」 in 竹取物語: [宵]{よひ}うち[過]{す}ぎて、[子]{ね}のときばかりに Here, the word [子]{ね}のとき refers to a certain time which is ...


19

Addendum The word 時{とき} is probably the oldest native Japanese word for "time". This term appears in the 万葉集{まんようしゅう} written in Old Japanese and compiled from poems composed from the 300s through the 700s, completed some time after 759 CE. These are some of the oldest surviving examples of written Japanese, suggesting that this term is quite ancient ...


19

It's like this: Teacher: 「野田{のだ} 努{つとむ}さん。」 野田: 「はい。」 T: 「いわい 隆{たかし}さんですかね?しゅくさんですか?」(the surname reads 祝) 祝: 「はふりです。」 T: 「はふりって読むんですか。珍しい名前ですね。はふり たかしさん。」 祝: 「はい。」 This conversation has actually taken place in my twelfth grade first classroom. Note: People with easy-to-read names don't end up in this kind of awkward conversation very often. Still, ...


18

I'm not sure if this is within the scope of your question, but the following is about highly stereotyped traits of "gaijin-speech" found in manga and net forums. They are explained in pages like this, this and this. Please note that they do not reflect how foreigners speak Japanese in reality. Unsurprisingly, some of them are rude or displeasing especially ...


15

In my experience, the nature of the relationship and the nature of the communication are both important for knowing when/how to use the plain form and to knowing what the use of plain form signals. In written workplace communication, I never see plain form (I work at a university). In written personal communications (things like Facebook or IM), I rarely ...


15

I am too soft-spoken a person to be familiar with cuss words, but here are some examples in no particular order. 「畜生{ちくしょう}」 「くそっ」 「くそったれ」 「てめえ」 「てめえ、この野郎{やろう}」 「この野郎」 「くそ野郎」 「ボケ」 「死{し}ね」 「死{し}にやがれ」 「くたばれ」 「このくそガキ」 「くそ食{く}らえ」 「ざけんな」 「ざけんな、ボケっ」 「ざけんじゃねえ」 etc. Around Nagoya, we have 「たあけ」, which comes from the old, elegant word 「戯{たわ}け」. Stop me now or I'...


15

During the Edo period, villages traditionally had 10 communal activities: 冠 - 成人式 - coming of age ceremony 婚 - marriage 建築 - helping with building/repairing 病気 - helping when sick 水害 - helping during flooding/water damage 旅行 - travel 出産 - giving birth 年忌 - death anniversaries 葬式 - funeral service 火事 - fire fighting However, when ...


14

「[三低]{さんてい}」 consists of: 1.「[低姿勢]{ていしせい}」(low profile): We now must keep a low profile to be preferred by Japanese women in 21st century. We must be polite, non-swaggering and sincere. 2.「[低依存]{ていいぞん}」(low reliance): We shall not rely on our female partners for all the household chores. 3.「[低]{てい}リスク」(low risk): We must choose a career that is ...


14

Perhaps you have to give up on the idea that "there should be a perfect equivalent of hello in Japanese (or in Kyoto)". Different languages have different sets of greetings. Some common phrases like いってきます and よろしくおねがいします are difficult to translate to English. Where you expected hello, you might have heard いらっしゃいませ, どうも, もしもし, すみません or おつかれさまです instead. ...


14

Short Answer: As for the Japanese language, we didn't have such a word and I don't think we should have had. Ancient Japanese only knew as far as India, that means they only knew one "landmass" in their world. Just like the Nile means "river", or the Sahara means "desert", it was not supposed to have a name, except "outside of Japan". Long Explanation: ...


14

We call them 「三英傑{さんえいけつ}」 at least around Nagoya where all of the three are from. https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%89%E8%8B%B1%E5%82%91 Outside of Central Japan, however, you might actually end up having to name the three when talking to people who are not too well-read on Japanese history.


14

The length of a text written in Japanese is usually measured in characters (e.g. 400文字). One often writes handwritten assignments at school/university on 原稿用紙 genkō yōshi (lit. "manuscript paper") which come in standardized sizes, for example 20 x 20 = 400 characters. (See What is the name of paper to train how to write kanji?) So a 2000-character ...


13

Actually 邪 has a long history of being used for its sound alone, going back at least to the Warring States Shakespeare, Zhuangzi: 天之蒼蒼、其正色邪。其遠而無所至極邪。 The sky looks very blue. Is that its real color, or is it because it is so far away and has no end? [tr. Burton Watson] Here the character 邪 is twice used simply to represent the sound of asking a question, ...


13

I assume you're specifically talking about kanji/hanzi glyphs. (Hiragana are obviously more cursive.) Basically the overall appearances of typical Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji fonts are not significantly different in terms of line width, roundness, etc., just as English "A", French "A" and German "A" are rendered the same. ...


12

I think this is all you need. 午前 AM ・ 午後 PM 日 SUN ・ 月 MON ・ 火 TUE ・ 水 WED ・ 木 THU ・ 金 FRI ・ 土 SAT 先勝 sensh­ō ・ 友引 tomobiki/y­ūin ・ 先負 senbu ・ 仏滅 butsumetsu ・ 大安 taian/daian ・ 赤口 shakkō ¹ モニター display 時刻合わせ sync リセット reset 戻る back 進む forward アラーム alarm ¹ six-day cycle of auspicious/inauspicious days. More info here or on Japanese Wikipedia.


12

Well I don't know about school per se, but every form I've seen so far (Foreign registration, tax, social security, subscription to various utilities...) asks you to not only write your name, but specify the pronunciation using Furigana. See for example this generic contact form: It has a 名前{なまえ} field, split into 姓{せい} and 名{めい} for family name and surname....


11

The safest neutral phrase is ○○ファン (e.g. アニメファン / 漫画ファン / アニメやゲームのファン / etc), which is widely used both by otaku and non-otaku people. This can be safely used with non-otaku hobbies, too (e.g. サッカーファン, 将棋ファン). This is definitely the first choice, for example when you write a news article introducing (favorably) an otaku event in mass media. Other common ...


11

次{つぎ}行{い}ってみよう is a famous phrase used by a Japanese comedian いかりや長{ちょう}介{すけ}. IIRC this phrase caught on in the late 1970's. He used this catchphrase frequently in his TV comedy show, at the end of many comedy bits. (picture taken from here) It literally means "Let's go to the next segment (scene, chapter, etc.)", which is not really funny by itself. ...


11

If the scenario were saying "I don't want anything" in response to someone offering you something (food, drink, etc.), you could also use (私は)[結構]{けっ・こう}です。 → I'm fine/all right.


11

This gesture, typically seen in fiction such as anime, manga, rather old films or dramas, and typically done by young boys, indicates one's pride, confidence, and/or embarrassment. In Japanese fictional works, you'd see characters, usually young boys, do this gesture when they feel proud or confident when someone has praised them or their achievement. This ...


10

Basically it's a joke. Since most otakus supposedly feel more comfortable in 2D world (anime/manga) than 3D world (reality), this guy makes a play on it and says he feels fine in 3D because he comes from a 4D world.


10

Asking someone to speak in plain Japanese is not rude if it's done nicely. However, asking someone to speak in Teineigo seems strange, I would say. Because it sounds like a challenge. Keigo(敬語) is composed of Sonkeigo(尊敬語), Kenjogo(謙譲語) and Teineigo(丁寧語). So, a Teineigo-only conversation sounds like a sorting Keigo quiz or something. How about asking them ...


10

This question is quite broad, but of course child-directed speech also exists in Japanese. You probably know ~さん → ~ちゃん is said to be both children's speech as well as child-directed speech, but it is very very common in conversations with no involvement of children. Doubling à la "wakie wakie" is also common (especially for one mora words). Without ...


10

First, even native Japanese adults can correctly guess the reading of the kanji names of, say, only 90% of students, at most. Quite a few people have names (either first names or surnames) with really unpredictable readings. How do attendance checks in school classes deal with this one issue? Are students' names written in Kanji only? The answer is 'yes, ...


10

According to デジタル大辞泉, the Agency for Cultural Affairs (文化庁) conducted a study on this topic and found that 69.2% of people used お疲れ様 to someone of a higher rank vs. 15.1% for ご苦労様. To someone of a lower rank, 53.4% used お疲れ様, vs. 36.1% for ご苦労様. So I would conclude from this that it is safe to use お疲れ様 to someone of a higher rank, whereas ご苦労様 should ...


9

It sounds like you are referring to Henohenomoheji (へのへのもへじ). It is sometimes used on Japanese scarecrows (かかし) and teru teru bōzu (てるてる坊主) dolls. The name refers to the Hiragana characters used to create the face. According to the Japanese Wikipedia article, the exact origins are unknown, although it has apparently not been seen earlier than the Edo ...


9

If you don't finish your plate, then the leftover food will come to life and this you call もったいないお化け. Apparently, this concept originates in this TV spot and as far as I can tell is also nowadays a common way to encourage children to finish their plate. Telling children that their leftover food will turn into monsters if they don't eat it may sound quite ...


8

While I wouldn't consider it too impolite to ask someone directly whether he or she speaks English, the better strategy might be to ask 英語で質問してもいいですか お伺いしたいんですが、英語で大丈夫ですか or something along these lines. This way, you are asking for permission to speak in English without putting anyone in the situation of assessing their own English skills.


8

I haven't read that book, but 旦 means morning, not evening. I think this "opening up of night" refers to the Japanese word 夜【よ】明【あ】け ("morning, dawn", where 夜=night, 明=open), but I don't know why nightbreak suddenly came in. This kanji is rarely used except in the compound 元旦【がんたん】 ("the morning of New Year's Day") or in several ateji compounds such as 旦那【...


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