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29 May
Learn a little Japanese everyday with the free Japanese Word of the Day Widget. Check back daily for more vocabulary! ベルト (ベルト) belt (noun) そのズボンを履くときはベルトかサスペンダーをつけなさい。そのズボンをはくときはベルトかサスペンダーをつけなさい。Wear a belt or suspenders with those pants.ズボンとベルトズボンとベルトpants and belt茶色の革ベルトちゃいろのかわベルトbrown leather belt革のベルトかわのベルトleather belt Own a blog or website? Share free language content with your readers with the Japanese Word of the Day with Audio [...]
29 May


Grade Level: 1
JLPT Level: 4

Frequency: 55

Bushu (Radical) Info:
ノ (てん)
kana-no
乙 (おつ)
fish hook

Henshall Mnemonic:
less than perfect ten: worth only nine
Stroke Order Diagram (SOD): 2 Strokes



Click the image above to re-display this Kanji On-Yomi Reading(s):
キュウ

Kun-Yomi Reading(s):
ここの
ここの.つ
いちじく
いちのく
この
ひさし
English Meaning(s):
nine

Popular words and/or phrases using this kanji:
Click any individual kanji to view it in a new window. Click the [K] after each definition to look up that character at WWWJDIC; Click the [D] to look up that word in WWWJDIC (the definition is the same but other features exist, like sample usage, variations of the word, etc.)
一一九番   [ひゃくじゅうきゅうばん]
ambulance and fire brigade emergency tel. no. (in Japan) [K] [D] 九   [きゅう]
(num) nine [K] [D] 九   [く]
(num) nine [K] [D] 九つ   [ここのつ]
(n) nine [K] [D] 九九   [くく]
(n) multiplication table [K] [D] 九月   [くがつ]
(n-adv) September [K] [D] 九州   [きゅうしゅう]
southern-most of four main islands of Japan [K] [D] 九十   [きゅうじゅう]
ninety [K] [D] 九重   [ここのえ]
(n) ninefold; imperial palace; the Court [K] [D] 九日   [ここのか]
nine days; the ninth day (of the month) [K] [D] 十九   [じゅうきゅう]
19; nineteen [K] [D] 千九百年代   [せんきゅうひゃくねんだい]
the 1900s [K] [D] The sofware code used to make this page uses the EDICT and KANJIDIC files. These files are the property of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group at Monash University, and are used in conformance with the Group\'s licence.

The SOD image used on this page is from the New Japanese-English Character Dictionary and the Kodansha Kanji Learners Dictionary (see http://www.kanji.org), and is used with the kind permission of Mr. Jack Halpern. This image must not be copied or used elsewhere without Mr Halpern\'s permission. Use of this image without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

The Henshall Mnemonics are the copyright of Tuttle Publishing and are the result of the hard work by Professor Henshall. See the list I used here.

If you are curious about the lexicography shown in the word definitions, visit http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/edict_doc.html#IREF05
29 May


Grade Level: 4
JLPT Level: 2

Frequency: 803

Bushu (Radical) Info:
老 (ロウ, お.いる, ふ.ける, えび, おい, び)
old man; old age; grow old
考 (コウ, かんが,.える, かんが,.え, たか)
consider; think over

Henshall Mnemonic:
old man falls, ready for burying in ground
Stroke Order Diagram (SOD): 6 Strokes



Click the image above to re-display this Kanji On-Yomi Reading(s):
ロウ
Kun-Yomi Reading(s):
お.いる
ふ.ける
えび
おい

English Meaning(s):
old man
old age
grow old

Popular words and/or phrases using this kanji:
Click any individual kanji to view it in a new window. Click the [K] after each definition to look up that character at WWWJDIC; Click the [D] to look up that word in WWWJDIC (the definition is the same but other features exist, like sample usage, variations of the word, etc.)
敬老   [けいろう]
(n) respect for the aged [K] [D] 元老   [げんろう]
(n) elder statesman; authority [K] [D] 初老   [しょろう]
(n) middle-aged; aging; age 40 [K] [D] 長老   [ちょうろう]
(n) eldest; senior [K] [D] 養老   [ようろう]
(n) making provision for the elderly [K] [D] 養老院   [ようろういん]
(n) home for the aged; old people\'s home [K] [D] 老   [ろう]
(n) old age; age; old people; the old; the aged [K] [D] 老い   [おい]
(n) old age; old person; the old; the aged [K] [D] 老いる   [おいる]
(v1) to age; to grow old [K] [D] 老ける   [ふける]
(v1) to age [K] [D] 老化   [ろうか]
(n,vs) ageing; senile deterioration [K] [D] 老眼   [ろうがん]
(n) presbyopia; long-sighted [K] [D] 老朽   [ろうきゅう]
(n) superannuated; decrepitude [K] [D] 老後   [ろうご]
(n) old age [K] [D] 老子   [ろうし]
Lao-tse; Lao-tzu [K] [D] 老若   [ろうじゃく]
(n,adj-na) (1) young and old; all ages [K] [D] 老若   [ろうにゃく]
(n,adj-na) (1) young and old; all ages [K] [D] 老女   [ろうじょ]
(n) elderly woman; senior lady-in-waiting [K] [D] 老人   [ろうじん]
(n) the aged; old person [K] [D] 老人ホーム   [ろうじんホーム]
(n) senior citizens\' home [K] [D] 老人性   [ろうじんせい]
(adj-na) senile [K] [D] 老衰   [ろうすい]
(n) senility; senile decay [K] [D] 老年   [ろうねん]
(n) old age [K] [D] 老婆   [ろうば]
(n) old woman [K] [D] 老夫婦   [ろうふうふ]
(n) an old couple [K] [D] 老婦   [ろうふ]
(n) old woman [K] [D] 老舗   [しにせ]
(n) old shop; shop of long standing [K] [D] 老舗   [ろうほ]
(n) old shop; shop of long standing [K] [D] 老齢   [ろうれい]
(n) advanced age; senility [K] [D] The sofware code used to make this page uses the EDICT and KANJIDIC files. These files are the property of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group at Monash University, and are used in conformance with the Group\'s licence.

The SOD image used on this page is from the New Japanese-English Character Dictionary and the Kodansha Kanji Learners Dictionary (see http://www.kanji.org), and is used with the kind permission of Mr. Jack Halpern. This image must not be copied or used elsewhere without Mr Halpern\'s permission. Use of this image without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

The Henshall Mnemonics are the copyright of Tuttle Publishing and are the result of the hard work by Professor Henshall. See the list I used here.

If you are curious about the lexicography shown in the word definitions, visit http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/edict_doc.html#IREF05
28 May
Hello Listener, Did you know that every new JapanesePod101 lesson is yours free? Fact: All new lessons are open to everyone for 3 weeks after the publish date. This is one of the major benefits of the Free Lifetime Account. Just sit back and learn. High-quality Japanese audio and video lessons come out every week. But here’s what’s [...]
28 May
Learn a little Japanese everyday with the free Japanese Word of the Day Widget. Check back daily for more vocabulary! 銀行 (ぎんこう) bank (noun) その銀行は閉まっている。そのぎんこうはしまっている。The bank is closed.その銀行は日曜日は営業していない。そのぎんこうはにちようびはえいぎょうしていない。The bank is not open for business on Sundays.古い銀行ふるいぎんこうold bank地方銀行ちほうぎんこうlocal bank Own a blog or website? Share free language content with your readers with the Japanese Word of the Day with [...]
12 May
I’m on the Japan Times Bilingual page this week: “In Japanese, mastery of the space-time continuum is just a few words away.” The intro is inspired by my first ever trip to Japan—an internship with a propeller company. I was … Continue reading
26 Oct
Nosogoshi!  

Violist Nicholas Cords likes his Japanese soba noodles on the quiet side.

On public radio today, there was a segment on a woman who went to Japan to learn the craft of soba-making, only to return to the United States to find it difficult to locate suitable soba wheat.  In explaining the ideal soba, she used the term "nodogoshi" which is the noun form of "smooth-tasting."  It is usually used to describe beer, and Kirin has used it extensively in advertising.

喉越し【のどごし】 (n) (often of beer) feeling of food or drink going down one's throat; drinkability; the quality of being smooth-tasting

喉越しの良い【のどごしのいい】 (exp,adj-i) (esp. of beer) going down smoothly; tasting good going down; smooth-tasting

Radio Segment:

http://pri.org/stories/2013-10-25/george-washington-ate-soba-noodles-and-la-woman-believes-you-should-too
9 Mar

Changes on the horizon for the YouTube channel, and for us in general.

Back to Japan, back to work, and back to the kind of focus on building something that I haven't had the need for in about a year.

So in that spirit, I'm stubbornly persisting in my "America's Best Japanese Teacher" series, in the hopes that one day it'll pay off. I upped the editing ante for the bulk of this one. Trying to get a handle on Final Cut Pro. Advice always appreciated.





Here's what's up with teh jokes this time around:

It's a Q and A session (Get it? Cause "nine" is "kyuu" and "rays" are "eis?" GET IT?????)

and the questions are all invented. The first one asks why Japanese people use the expression "18-ban" to talk about either something they've cooked, or a song that they sing. It actually means that the dish or the song is their specialty, and there's a really interesting origin for this that we posted about a long long time ago. Check the excerpt, and if you want to, the full original post.

The predominant theory is that this expression comes from kabuki theater, way back in the day (early 1800s) when kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII selected the 18 kabuki plays that he believed to be the best representations of the aragoto style of kabuki. The kabuki plays that are still performed today are taken from these 18. It took me a while to figure out why, of the 18, the 18th was considered the best. But then I realized that the phrase doesn't have to translate as "the eighteenth." It might just be "the eighteen." So when you say your 十八番、 you're not neccesarily identifying the 18th in a series, you're just referencing the idea of the best selection.
In the video, I'm being an idiot and taking it upon myself to decide that this means they're ranking themselves out of 100, and Japanese people, being big into humility ("Allow me to introduce my homely wife and my dumb-ass son.") would never dare to rank themselves any higher than 18.

The biggest joke here is suggesting that you respond to this by saying "It's not actually bad," which would be okay to say if someone WAS really being humble. If you said that to someone who was offering you their "specialty," on the other hand, they would probably NOT きっと喜ぶ*.


In Question #2, I'm asked to explain the word "幼なじみ" (osananajimi) in relation to a picture of two older gentlemen. The word means "a long time friend." Someone you were close with since you were 幼い (osanai)、which means "very young." However, since both gentleman in this picture could be identified, unflatteringly, as "おっさん" (ossan; rude for "old man"), Bobby-Sensei explains that the asker is mistaken the word is actually "おっさんの馴染み," (ossan no najimi) closeness between old men.


And finally a question perfectly matched to this brand of Japanese teaching: It asks about how "Japanese people often use the expression "その場だけの関係 (sono ba dake no kankei)." This refers to a romantic/sexual relationship that is limited to a certain place or time. Like... summer camp. You met someone, you had a thing, but it was never going to be anything outside of the environment it was born in. But since the Japanese expression relies on geography "only at that place," the questioner has assumed that there is actually a place he can go to for such a relationship.

And instead of explaining his mistake, Bobby-Sensei tells him plainly: That place is Roppongi. Off you go."

The end.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas on places I could take this series, and what, if anything, you get from it. How do you think Japanese people will take it? Would it be insulting, or funny, or not even enough of a joke?

*definitely be pleased.
7 May

For Golden Week, I took a trip to Nagano, Gifu, Aichi, & Kyoto w/ a friend visiting from the United States. While we were in Takayama, Laura & I stopped in a nice restaurant recommended by one of the locals. At one point, my friend wanted a taste of my apple cider drink. It was kind of frothy, so I stirred it a bit, and then took the long spoon out of the drink so it wouldn't poke her in the eye.

Apparently, I didn't stir it enough because she proceeded to use the opposite end of her used chopstick to stir the drink, rather than ask me for the long spoon. My first reaction was to shout something like ***GAAAAAH***, then I sputtered something like "what are you doing?!? the spoon is right here! don't use your chopsticks for something like that...they're practically sacred!!" She didn't seem particularly fazed by it, and made it seem like I overreacted.

Well, maybe I did overreact, but it was a good exuse for me to do a little research into the terms used to describe the ways one can violate chopstick etiquette in Japan. If you ever commit a violation, it's good to know a few of these to have a conversation about chopstick-etiquette; my Japanese co-workers seemed to like trying to remember as many as they could.

Here are the ones I could find. I put a star next to the ones that seem to be the most common or at least widely recognized terms. (It seems that no one had even contemplated my friend's particular violation, so maybe I should invent a new one: 混ぜ箸 maze-bashi ("stirring chopsticks"). Otherwise, it's probably a combination of (3), (5) and (13).)

*(1) 迷い箸(惑い端) mayoi-bashi ("wavering chopsticks")
口に運ぶ料理に迷い、箸先を料理に向けて迷い動かすこと。
being indecisive about bringing food to one's mouth, that is, moving the tips of one's chopsticks over different plates before deciding which to choose

(2) 移り箸 utsuri-bashi ("transfering-chopsticks")
ある料理に箸を付けたり、付けようとしたにもかかわらず、気が変わり他の料理へ箸を移すこと。
in spite of having touched food with one's chopsticks, changing one's mind and moving the chopsticks toward another dish.
also defined as: helping oneself to two side dishes successively (instead of eating rice in between)

(3) 涙箸 namida-bashi ("teardrop-chopsticks")
汁物料理の汁を箸先から落としながら食べること。
dripping liquid (soup, sauce, etc.) from the tips of one's chopsticks

*(4) 突き箸 tsuki-bashi or 刺し箸 sashi-bashi ("penetration/stabbing-chopsticks")
料理に箸を突き刺して食べること。
stabbing food with one's chopsticks

*(5) 探り箸 saguri-bashi ("searching-chopsticks")
汁物料理の御椀の中で箸を使い、かき回して具を探すこと。
using one's chopsticks to find a food one likes by rummaging in one's dish, pot, etc.

(6) 寄せ箸 yose-bashi ("drawing near-chopsticks")
遠くの食器を取る際に箸を使い手元に引き寄せること。
using one's chopsticks to draw a bowl closer

(7) 空箸 sora-bashi ("empty-chopsticks")
一度、箸を付けた料理を食べずに戻すこと。
touching food with one's chopsticks, then removing the chopsticks without having taken the food

(8) 重ね箸 kasane-bashi ("pile-chopsticks")
同じ料理ばかりを食べ続けること。
continuing to eat the same dish, i.e., not alternating between types of dishes

(9) 椀ぎ箸 mogi-bashi ("tearing off-chopsticks")
箸先についた料理を口でもぎ取ること。
using chopsticks to tear food away from one's mouth

(10) 持ち箸 mochi-bashi ("holding-chopsticks")
片手で箸を持ちながら器を持つこと。
taking hold of something (e.g., a bowl) while simultaneously holding one's chopsticks

*(11) 指し箸 sashi-bashi ("pointing-chopsticks")
箸で人や物を指すこと。
pointing at something with one's chopsticks

*(12) 渡し箸 watashi-bashi ("traversing-chopsticks")
箸休めの際、箸置きを使わずに食器の上に箸を置くこと。
resting one's chopsticks across the top of one's bowl, like a bridge

(13) 洗い箸 arai-bashi ("washing-chopsticks")
汁物料理に箸を入れ、洗うこと。
sticking one's chopsticks into broth, etc., to clean them off

*(14) 舐り箸 neburi-bashi ("licking-chopsticks")
箸をなめること。
licking one's chopsticks

(15) 噛み箸 kami-bashi ("biting-chopsticks")
箸を噛むこと
biting one's chopsticks

(16) 掻き箸 kaki-bashi ("scooping-chopsticks")
料理を口に掻き込むこと。
shoveling food into one's mouth
(17) 握り箸 nigiri-bashi ("grasping-chopsticks")holding two sticks together as one would grasp a knife to attack *(18) 仏箸Hotoke-bashi ("Buddha-chopsticks")
standing chopsticks up in a ricebowl (resembling joss sticks) *(19) 箸渡しhashi-watashi ("chopstick-transfer")transfering food to another person's chopsticks (apparently, the action is frowned upon because it resembles the rite of transfering a deceased family member's bones. Fair enough!)>>NB: Not to be confused with 橋渡し 【はしわたし】 (n,vs) bridge building; mediation; intermediary; through the good offices of, etc. Phew! That's a lot to remember! Did I miss any?
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