Monday, January 28, 2013

Good heart-ism

So recently we got kind of screwed over by Dell in our office. I won't go into boring detail, but suffice it to say took care of us (as we ordered through them) after Dell gave us the runaround on faulty equipment.

Today my boss declared that Amazon was 良心的 (りょうしんてき), and asked me what that is in English. I told him I wasn't sure, and he said "maybe something like 'kind?'" When he suggested that word choice, I was able to surmise what kanji the word uses, and I guess I've heard it before. I'm not exactly sure that 「良心的」has a direct, clean English translation (maybe "fair," "honest," or "conscientious"), but the word itself is a good example of how straightforward some terms can be in Japanese. The kanji are "good" (良), "heart" (心), and 「的」, which is kind of like "~ism" or "~like."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Shugo Tokumaru music video

Joe here, posting after a very long absence. Something has just happened that I feel compelled to share with you. I'm a huge fan of Japanese musician Shugo Tokumaru (トクマルシューゴ). I'm happy to announce his new CD has finally made it's way over to the US iTunes store today! It's called "In Focus?" and it's only $10! (I'm not paid to promote this, in case you were wondering :)

Still having doubts despite my glowing endorsement? Check out this incredibly cool music video which just came out 18 hours ago.

Play it again, Sam!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Up and down







Prayer of Serenity




Thursday, January 10, 2013

Could you repeat that?

It's amazing sometimes how much there is to learn. Earlier I was looking briefly at today's copy of the 日経新聞 (the Nikkei) and I noticed one of the headlines contained a non-kanji character I wasn't familiar with. The word was 「いすゞ」。

I asked one of my coworkers, and it appears I discovered the hiragana version of 「々」. This character is used to indicate repetition of the character before it. For example 「色々」is another way of writing 「色色」。

According to my research, these things are called 「踊り字」or 「繰り返し記号」, though you can call them up by simply typing 「くりかえし」and scrolling through the kanji choices.

Apparently there are separate characters for use in hiragana, katakana, and kanji:

Hiragana - ゝ (or ゞ)

Katakana - ヽ (or ヾ)

Kanji - 

As you can see, unlike their kanji kin, the kana versions can be accented to represent a change in sound, just like normal kana (though the little circle versions don't seem to exist).

Learning something like this now makes me feel a little noobish, but at the same time it's gratifying to know that there are still simple elements of Japanese like this out there for me to discover.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Happy New Year! Just a quick Japanese post to start 2013.

If you follow a lot of Japanese accounts on Twitter or Facebook or other social media, you've no doubt seen a sizable amount of set phrases thrown around the past couple days. One that I started hearing a lot a few years ago (though it's quite possible it was a popular expression before that and I just was unaware of it) is あけおめ.

Japanese likes to shrink, shorten, abbreviate, and compress words and crunch them into nifty little phrases (NG, anyone?). あけおめ is a shortening of one of the two standard New Year's congratulations - あけましておめでとうございます.

Incidentally, the other standard (ことしもよろしくおねがいします) is also going around as ことよろ.

Note that these are casual and probably shouldn't be proffered to one's superiors or elders.