Friday, February 21, 2014


There are some (actually a lot of!) Japanese words which are difficult to translate to English.

I've written about the greeting お疲れ様(otsukaresama) before.

Today, let's talk about the expression しょうがない(shouganai).

"Shouganai" is very Japanese expression and one of the most difficult words to translate.

I would describe

"I can't do anything, so I give up"

"Shouganai" is used in those situations.

-She was going to coming to our party but her schedule has been changed and she canceled. It's "shouganai".

-The shoes I wanted to buy were sold out when I went to the shop. I should've been there earlier. It's "shouganai".

-I have wrinkles on my face and I don't like them. It's "shouganai".

If the topic is very serious like earthquake or someone's death, you don't say "shouganai".
"shouganai" sounds too light for those serious situation.

When I wrote this topic on Twitter, some people suggested their ideas of translation for it.

"whatcha gonna do?"

"it can't be helped."
"It's not worth complaining about."
"That's just the way it is."

Since I don't really understand the actual nuance of those English words, I can't tell which is the "best answer" but discussing this kind of topic is always very interesting.

Oh, by the way, there are polite ways to say "shouganai", too.



Extremely polite

Having different polite level for one expression is complicated?

It's... shouganai!

Special thanks to Japan This, Billy and Richard on Twitter conversation!

Here is the website about Japan "Japan This". 
Check his informative and cool blog!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day♡

There are three types of chocolate on Valentine's Day in Japan.

Dark, milk and white?


It's 本命チョコ(honmei choko), 義理チョコ(giri choko) and 友チョコ(tomo choko).

As you may know, in Japan, usually women give chocolate to men on Valentine's day.
(It's said that women are shy and we usually can't tell a man we like him, so Valentine's day is a good chance to tell him what we think of him. )

The main event of Valentine's day is giving a chocolate to whom you love.

It's called 本命チョコ(honmei choko).

本命(honmei) means "most important".

We give 本命チョコ to our boyfriends or someone whom we hope to be our boyfriends.

本命チョコ is often handmade or something gorgeous.

At the same time, we have 義理チョコ(giri choko), too.

義理(giri) means "duty" "obligation".

We give 義理チョコ to our male co-workers, boss or classmates.
In the past, it was something like real "duty", but recently we just enjoy the custom, too.

義理チョコ is usually small and inexpensive chocolate.

The emotion "love" is in 本命チョコ(honmei choko) and "thanks" in 義理チョコ(giri choko).

In addition to 本命チョコ and 義理チョコ, for these years, we have new type of chocolate, 友チョコ(tomo choko), too.
友(tomo) means "friend" and yes, it's chocolate for our friends.

本命チョコ and 義理チョコ are given to men, but 友チョコ is given for both men and women.
It's sometimes handmade, sometimes small and cute one or sometimes funny stuff like wasabi in chocolate or something!

To be honest, when I heard about 友チョコ(tomo choko) for the first time, what I thought was "business strategy again" but actually I enjoy the custom a lot now.
I make chocolate with my sons and give our friends and family.

Have you found any interesting chocolate at a store in Japan?
Are you going to make any sweets for Valentine's Day this year?

Happy Valentine's Day!