Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

oaji no ho wa do desu ka (おあじのほはどですか): how does it taste?

I was asked this at U-zen regarding my bento box. The use of "no ho" is confusing to me here.

Very polite, asked by persons preparing the meal

Sunday, November 11, 2012

mimi + ate (みみあて): ear warmers

Another good example of a hard word that makes a lot of sense when broken down into kanji

verb stem + mono

Sensei thought us that the objects of a verb can be called by the verb stem + mono. For example, kaimasu (shopping/buy) makes kaimono, tabemasu makes tabemono, etc. At the same time, you can figure out that wearing a kimono is kimasu.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kanji stroke order guide

How To Guess A Kanji’s Stroke Order: Great website about general Kanji stroke order rules.

atashi (あたし): poor girl's watashi

Yesterday, the guys at U-Zen were enjoying my Japanese and wanted to teach me funny/unusual tango. They said "atashi" was used (instead of watashi) by young girls from the country side and that I would sound pretty funny talking like that. They said "atashaa" can replace watashi wa.

From Yuko: "You only hear in old tv shows about farmers life or samurai's old girlfriend from back home etc.  It is definitely a blue collar word. So SSG guys, especially Ayumu, will love it.

"Asha onaka ga suitan dayooooo "
(I'm hungry: I will say this if I'm playing a poor farmer girl in country side)."

Monday, November 5, 2012

kochira (こちら): more Japanese demonstratives

This Japanese demonstratives wiktionary page is great, it adds more to the "ko-so-a-do" rules:

re: object (kore, sore, etc)
no: when specifying noun (kono, sono, etc)
ko: location/place (koko, doko, etc)
nna: to describe the type of object (new!)
chira: direction (new!)

Japanese demonstratives (edit)
* irregular
** regular (long vowel)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

shitsurei shimasu (しつれいします): I am impolite

People say this when they serve you or walk behind you. It means "I am impolite" but you rarely get a free beer out of it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

kankiwamaru (かんきわまる): to be overcome with emotions

Ayumu's mom's friend taught me this one when Shigeta got emotional during his speech after the festival.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

chirori (ちろり): aluminium sake pitcher

"Sake is sometimes warmed and served in metal containers known as chirori" - Wikipedia

(this item on rakuten)

Brian and I saw one at the Saké and Tofu event yesterday.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

ikutsu (いくつ): how many; how old

ikutsu can be used to ask how many or how old. It is used for things that are counted using hitotsu, futatsu, etc.

ex: imouto-san wa ikutsu desu ka.
oikutsu desu ka. (instead of nansai desu ka)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kana stroke order and direction

I know this is a bit basic but I started doing my Genki I exercises again and found that my hiragana and katakana looked like crap. I figured it was time for me to start writing these nicely and found these pages that have a little animated GIF of how every character should be drawn:

Hiragana guide

Katakana guide

ko-so-a-do system

This other blog describes the ko-so-a-do system that the previous post applies to:
KoSoADo — How to say ‘this’ in Japanese

[ko | so | a | do]  +  [re | ko | chira | no | nna | u | itsu | ...?]

That's 28 new words!

Monday, July 2, 2012

koitsu, soitsu and aitsu

Yesterday at Asian-Ya I learned about a way to say "them" which uses the same distance rules as kore (this thing), sore (that thing) and are (that thing over there). You simply substitute the re part with itsu and you are now referring to persons instead of things:

Koitsu: this person
Soitsu: that person
Aitsu: that person over there (person in sight but relatively far, or someone not in sight but familiar to both the speaker and listener)

This is supposed to be crude vocabulary according to my dictionary. 

Kana mnemonic

Hiragana and Katakana mnemonic from Can You Chopstick? These two guides are a great way to learn the two Japanese kana alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. The drawings are not always very representative but they did stick for me. Enjoy!

Random rules

Here are some random little rules that might be useful as you learn Japanese. These were never properly explained in my main book or by my teacher, I found them in other references:

. RU/U verbs: is there a way to determine which is which when a verb ends with RU. I have learned that:
-ARU, -ORU, -URU endings: ALWAYS "U" verb.
-IRU, -ERU: OFTEN (greater %) "RU" verb.
Not necessarily a perfect answer, but it helps with figuring out "U" verbs "on the fly".

. "I" adjectives can usually be converted to adverbs by replacing the last I with KU: OSOI (late) becomes OSOKU.
ex: Osoi desu (it's late) vs. osoku nomimasu (drinking late)

. "nani" becomes "nan" in before d, t and n.

hashioki (はしおき): chopstick holder

Yesterday we went to K-ZO in Culver City and saw their chopstick holders (hashioki - はしおき) which are in the shape of the jewel of the Imperial Regalia of Japan: