Friday, July 27, 2007

Today'a kanji : 鞄

Today's kanji is .

The blue part means "leather".
The red part means "to wrap / to fold".

The leather for wrapping your baggage.

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Monday, June 25, 2007

My boyfriend has a wide face

There are a lot of idioms using a part of the body.
Today, I’m introducing you some idioms with “face”.
Face is "顔 (kao)" in Japanese.

① 顔が広い (kao ga hiroi)

"The face is wide."

This means...
"to know a lot of people having different background."


(kare wa kao ga hiroi kara iihito o shookai shitekureru to omouyo)

"I think he will introduce you someone nice as he knows a lot of different people."

② 顔に書いてある (kao ni kaitearu)

“something is written on your face”

This means…
“Your face is expressing your feeling. I know what you are thinking in your heart.”

(patti ikitakunai tte kaoni kaitearuyo. hontooni ikuno?)

“Your face is saying “I don’t want to go to the party!”. Are you really going to the party?”

③ 顔に泥をぬる (kao ni doro o nuru)

“to apply (paint) mud on someone’s face”

This means…
“to loose someone’s face”


(okyakusan no mae de nomisugite jooshi no kao ni doro o nutteshimatta…)

“I drank too much in front of our clients and I lost my boss’s face…”

When I was checking my dictionary for this blog, I noticed something.
Both in Japanese and English, “face” means “honor” and ”mood”, too. Interesting!
Do you know about other language?
What kind of expression using "face" do you have in your language?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Today's kanji : 宮

The blue part describes "roof"
The red part describes "rooms"

A house with a lot of rooms.

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Who lives in a temple?

Today, let's try mathematical kanji exercise!

Q. Answer the following questions.

eg:(person) + (to move) = (to work)

① (person) + (prize, award) =

② (person) + (anxious) =

③ (person) + (dream) =

④ (person) + (temple) =

⑤ (person) + (for, sake) =

Answer key:

① (person) + (prize, award) = (compensate, recompense)
  Do we have to compensate when we win a prize!?

② (person) + (anxious) = (kind, gentle)
  We can be kind because we feel anxious?

③ (person) + (dream) = (empty, fragile, frail)
  Having a dream is empty… (T T)

④ (person) + (temple) = (samurai)
  Samurai was in a temple?

⑤ (person) + (for, sake) = (fake)
  Doing something for someone is fake!??

These are interesting...
Some of them seem difficult kanji, but maybe not so difficult to remember because of the meanings?? ;)

How to read the kanji...
働く (hataraku) 償う (tsugunau) 優しい (yasashii)
儚い (hakanai) 侍 (samurai) 偽 (nise)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today's kanji : 協

The blue part describes "to gather"
(It looks like "plus" (+), doesn't it?)

The red part describes "power + power + power"

To gether people's power

Can you guess the meaning?
See the comments page for the answer!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Today's kanji : 枯

The blue part describes "tree"
The red part describes "old"

When the tree becomes very old...

Can you guess the meaning?
See the comments page for the answer!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I'm a cat's tongue.

There are many idioms / expressions with animals.
Today, I introduce you some popular idioms using "cat".
Cat is 猫 (neko) in Japanese.

① 猫の手も借りたい
  (neko no te mo karitai)

I want to borrow even cat's hands.

This expression means...
I'm very busy.

I know cats are not helpful at all for my work, but I'd appriciate if a cat helped me as I'm very busy now.

「un. neko no te mo karitai hododayo.」

"You seem busy."
"Yeah, I'm extremely busy."

② 猫糞 / ネコババ

Cat's dropping (excrements)

This expression means...
To pocket, steal something and pretend not to know

Cats cover their droppings with sand.

They seem hide something bad and pretend not to know anything.

kyou kouen de senen hirotte nekobaba shichatta!

Today, I picked up 1000yen and I stole it!

This expression might sound dirty or disgusting.
But actually it doesn't.
Most of Japanese people know and use this expression, but lots of people don't know that ババ(baba) of ネコババ(nekobaba) means "dropping".

③ 猫舌

Cat's tongue

This expression describes...
Someone who cannot eat hot food

Cat's don't like hot drinks/food.

kono ocha atsuine! watashi nekojita nannda.

This greentea is hot, isn't it!
I'm a person who cannot eat hot food.

I've heard there isn't an English expression for 猫舌(nekojita).
Is that right?
Don't you think it's quite useful expression? :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Kanji for your country

As you may know, we usually use katakana for foreign words like "coffee" (コーヒー), "boots" (ブーツ), "Canada" (カナダ), "Julia" (ジュリア)...

But we also have kanji for some countries.
For example, we use for describing France.
means "Buddha", but the meaning of the kanji is not relevant to the country's name at all.
The important point is the pronunciation.
We read "butsu" "futsu" "hotoke".
The sound "fu" of "futsu" is similar to "F" of "France".

Kanji for countries is often used for headlines of newspapers.
I'm posting some countries' kanji and the meaning of the kanji.
If you would like to know other kanji, let me know!

: Japan (sun)
: U.S.A (rice)
: U.K. (English)
: Russia (dew)
: Germany (alone)
: Italy (a sage from a legend)
: Canada (add)
: Australia (luxury)
: India (stamp)

(bei daitouryou hounichi)
President of the U.S.A is visiting Japan

(nichi ei kyoukai)
The Japan-British Society

(i wain)
Itarian wine

Note:These phrases are usually used as written language.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today's kanji : 兄

This kanji as a whole describes "a person who has huge head".

A Child who should have a "good brain" is...

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Today's kanji : 嫌

The blue part describes "woman".
The red part describes
"the hand + two rices = feel dissatisfaction".
(If it was just one rice, it should be easier. Why do I have to carry two rices? ...)

My girlfriend complains all the time!

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

NOVA's telephone number

NOVA is the biggest English conversation school company in Japan.
(They have 500,000 students now!!)

I remember NOVA’s telephone number, because it’s very easy to remember.


Can you guess why the number is easy to remember?

The reason is that in Japanese we can use number as “sound”.
In this case,

3 is “mi” : we say “mittsu” for 3 when we count something
2 is “ni” : 2 is “ni” in Japanese
4 is “yo” : we say “yottsu” for 4 when we count something
9 is “ku” : September is “kugatsu”
2 is “tsu” : 2 is “two” in English, “two” sounds like “tsu

0120 is a common number for toll-free dial.
You can read 324929 “mi ni yokutsuku”.

身によくつく(mi ni yokutsuku) means “you learn a lot”.

Most of companies are trying to find a telephone number which customers can remember easily, right?
Do you know any other telephone numbers which have meaning like NOVA?

There are some other companies’ numbers.
If you don’t understand the sound, let me know!

REVE21 (Company for wig)
783640 : 悩み無用 (nayami muyoo)
“You don’t have to worry.”

Staff service (service for finding employment)
022022 : オー人事 オー人事 (o- jinji o- jinji)
“Oh Human Resources! Oh Human Resources!”

OCN (internet service)
506506 : コールコール (ko-ru ko-ru)
“Call call!”

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Today's kanji : 神

Today's kanji is .

The blue part describes "altar / shrine".
The red part describes "lightning".

That's, so to speak, lightning in the shrine.

Can you guess the meaning?

See the comments page for the answer!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ears on the wall.

There are a lot of idioms using a part of the body.
Today, I’m introducing you some idioms with “ears”.
Ear is " (mimi)" in Japanese.

① 耳が遠い (mimi ga tooi)
"The ears are far."
This means...
"cannot hear very well."

(watashi no chichi wa mimi ga tooi.)

"My father doesn't hear very well."

② 壁に耳 (kabe ni mimi)
"The ears on the wall."
This means...
"It's difficult to have a "secret meeting". There could be someone who is listening to what you are talking about behind the wall."

(kabe ni mimi dakara kokode sono hanashi wa yameyoo. kuruma no nakade hanasanai?)

"Someone might listen to our talking, maybe we shouldn't talk about it here. How about talking in my car?"

③ 耳が痛い (mimi ga itai)
"My ears are hurts."
This means...
"Someone's indication is very accurate and it's just what I have to improve."

(osake no nomisugi wa kenkoo ni warui yo.)
(mimi ga itai yo...)

"Drinking a lot is bad for your health."
"Yeah... I agree with your idea. That's exactly talking about me..."

Do you have similar idioms or expressions in your language, too?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Problem with sinuses

As you may know, there are some (actually lots of) words that is very difficult to translate to another language.
In my experience, the most difficult English word for translating is “sinus”.

One day, maybe three years ago, my British friend asked me to go to a drugstore with him.
He had a problem with his sinuses and wanted to buy a medicine for that.
It was my first time to hear the word “sinus”.
He explained a lot about “sinus” , but I had no idea.
Finally we looked for a dictionary.

In my dictionary (my dictionary is named “Genius” which is the most famous dictionary in Japan.) there are some translating.

(とう ・ tou)
(ろう ・ rou)
湾曲(わんきょく ・ wankyoku)
湾曲部(わんきょくぶ ・ wankyokubu)

… I still had no idea.

We gave up and went to the drugstore and showd the pharmacist the translation.
But! She had no idea either!!

The interesting point is that we don’t have the “idea” of sinus.
Of course we sometimes have a problem with our nose, throat and ears, but we don’t think the organ “sinus”.

Ask your Japanese friends if they know sinus and if you find a good Japanese translation, let me know please!