Sunday, March 31, 2013


As noted in the comments on the YouTube page for this video, I think it's pretty easy to get this commercial without understanding any Japanese.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The world is getting smaller

It's a little difficult to imagine how hard it must have been to study Japanese, or any other language, years or even decades ago. These days it's easy to lament that learning a language removed from its natural environment is very challenging (and it is), but there are so many more resources available now than there used to be.

I still find myself wishing it were easier to get access to Japanese printed materials, music, and games, but over time progress is being made. In most cases, I think, the issue comes down to a complex web of international copyright law and royalty agreements. That appears to be why it's impossible to shop on the Japanese iTunes store, for example, without a Japanese credit card or gift card.

Anyway, recently Japanese game company Gungho Online Entertainment has begun bringing old Japanese Playstation games to our humble foreign shores by way of the PS3 Store. The games are in their original Japanese, unlocalized, and so there is probably a very small market for them. Still, the comments Gungho has made about not expecting to make much money and just wanting to please a niche of fans are encouraging. I don't know how long this will go on or ultimately how many games will be released, but I am prepared to snap up the more appealing ones for when I actually have time to try them. Last week I bought Favorite Dear: Enkan no Monogatari because it looked interesting and was only $6. Who knows? Maybe there will be some gems in here.

Here's a link to some more info over at Joystiq.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Relatively early on during my time in Japan, I bought a used bicycle. It wound up faithfully serving me for my three years, but naturally I had to refill the air in the tires on occasion. One time, though, that didn't seem to do the trick.

I asked a friend of mine to accompany me to the little repair shop around the corner; I had visited on my own, suspecting that I had a leak (as the air seemed to be draining out in a manner of days), but I wasn't sure how to communicate the fact. The guy seemed to tell me in what I could only describe as a heavy, gibberish accent, that the tire was okay and just needed air.

Long-story-short, I did indeed have a flat and required a patch on the tire's inner tube. But more importantly, I learned a new word that day from my friend: パンク(した)- to get a flat tire.

Ah, yes - "punk" as in "punctured." 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

和製英語: High Touch

Another English Japanese word that took me by surprise was the term 「ハイタッチ」. Apparently Japanese is the only language that uses the expression "high touch" to describe what we in English call a "high five."

I think the reasoning behind "high touch" is self apparent, but I am wondering when and how the change came about. Unfortunately Google search has failed me for once. Wikipedia notes that Japanese is unique in its usage of the expression but doesn't have any further explanation.