Thursday, December 29, 2005

Today's kanji : 忙

Today's kanji is .

The blue part describes "heart / feeling".

The red part describes "to die".

My heart is dead.

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Today's kanji : 花

Today's kanji is .

The blue part describes "grass".

The red part describes "to change".

Grass changes to...

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Today's kanji : 働

Today's kanji is .

The blue part describes "people".

The red part describes "to move".

People are moving.

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


When we write an e-mail in English, we usually use 3 or 4 kinds of emoticons like :) :( ;) .

Compare to that, in Japanese, there are so many kinds of emoticons and we often use them to express emotion or even just for fun.

One of the reason that Japanese people like and use emoticons a lot is that the code for Japanese language is different from English one, I guess.
There are many signs (marks, codes) in addition to Japanese letters (hiragana, katakana, kanji).
So, it’s easy to “develop” new emoticons.

The following emoticons are basic ones.
You can tell what kind of emotion they describe easily.

(^o^) (; _ ;) (>_<)

Also there are some emoticons that I found on internet.
Try to use them for e-mail!!

○| ̄|_
I’m tired….


§ ̄∠ ̄§
Prime minister Koizumi.

Sir,Yes Sir!

(゜-゜ )(。_。 )
Ah hah.

Chu… kissing… ☆

_| ̄|○)) ((○| ̄|_
Japanese style “greeting”.
Prostrating oneself.

((((((/_ _)/
Giving a present.
“Tsumaranai mono desuga doozo.”
(“It’s not a nice present, but if you like, please receive it.”)


If you know interesting emoticons, let me know!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Today's kanji : 宿

Today's kanji is 宿.

The blue part describes "building".

The red part describes "person".
The green part describes "futon (bed) ".

Person and futon(bed) in a building.

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Today's kanji : 貧

Today’s kanji is .

The blue part describes “divide”.
The red part describes “money”.

To divide the money.

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Do you know why Nintendo is named Nintendo?

Nintendo is 任天堂 in kanji.
(nin) means “leave” “entrust” “let”
(ten) means “sky” “heaven”
(do) means “store” “shop” “company”

A company leaving their business to sky.

This name is from Chinese poem
(jinji o tsukushite tenmei o matsu)

This poem expresses…
If you’ve done everything you can, what you can do is just leave the matter to sky (destiny).

I’ll research other Japanese company names’ history!!

Nintendo's official website (Japanese)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Are your friends tired?

I’ve heard that Japanese language has most varieties for greeting of all language.

When you meet people in the morning, you would say “ohayoogozaimasu”.
When you start eating, you would say “itadakimasu”.
When you leave home, when someone complimented the meal you cooked, when you meet your child’s teacher, when you enter someone’s house…
You would choose and use “the best” greeting for each situation.

In most of Japanese elementary school,
there are posters “Let’s greet with loud voice!”.

Yes, greeting is very important in Japan.

I think, people sometimes use greetings too much, especially in business or formal situation.
If they use their own word instead of routine greeting, it would sound more friendly and interesting.

But in my opinion, basically greeting is convenient and good way to communicate with people.

Recently, some greetings have some different meanings.
Have you ever heard “otsukaresama”?
“otsukaresama” is a very interesting greeting…

Basically, this greeting is used in office.
“o” expresses “polite”, “tsukare” means “tired” and “sama” is “Mr. / Ms.”.
“otsukaresama” is like “I understand you worked a lot.
You must be tired! Please don’t work too hard!”.

What a thoughtful greeting!

When you meet your co-workers or boss in office, when you start talking with your co-workers or boss on the phone…
you would use “otsukaresama”.

Recently, “otsukaresama” is also used between friends, couple and family.
When you meet, talk on the phone or send an e-mail during or after work, most of people say “otsukaresama”, even if they don’t work together.

In my opinion, there are two reasons for that.

First, there isn’t common greeting to use for casual situation (close friends, boyfriend / girlfriend, family etc.) even though we have so many kinds of greetings!
There are greetings “konnichiwa” (hello) and “konbanwa” (good evening).
But we usually don’t use them for casual situation.
Especially for young people, the greetings sound like formal.
So, we became using the convenient and thoughtful greeting “otsukaresama” out of office, too.

For another reason, I guess most of people know that their friends, boyfriend / girlfriend and family are tired.

“Of course I understand that you worked a lot.
Of course you must be tired.
I’m tired, too!

Let’s try not to work too hard!!
Let’s try not to do overtime too much!!!”


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Yes, whale is unbelievably big!

Each kanji has “radical”.
“Radical” of kanji is standard for classification kanji.

For example, kanji with radical “月” usually describe body parts.
Like (arm) (bowel) (breast) (skin) (lung).
Kanji with radical “木” usually describe something regarding wood.
Like (branch) (Japanese cedar) (pillar) (desk) (wood).

There is kanji “魚”.
It’s “sakana”, the meaning is fish.
Also this kanji is used as radical.
The kanji with radical “魚” usually describe name of fish.
In my dictionary, there are 73 kanji with radical “魚”.
The reason/history of each kanji is interesting…

iwashi : sardine
(fish) + (weak)
Sardines are eaten by big fish very easily.
Also they go bad quickly.

kujira : whale
(fish)+ (1,000,000,000,000×10,000)
Unbelievably big fish
( is a unit for counting)

same : shark
(fish) + (cross)
Sharks copulate (have sex) unlike other fish.

saba : mackerel
(fish) + (blue)
The back part’s color is blue.

tara : cod
(fish) + (snow)
Cods come in when it’s the season of snowing.
The fish is white like snow.

One more kanji with “魚”.

sushi : sushi
(fish) + (delicious)
Sushi is delicious!!