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.