Wednesday, May 22, 2013


jeje, (to indicate that one is surprised)

130522Many TV or radio programs have used and repeatedly discussed on this word, although I have not yet had a change to hear people practically use it in a real communication. Apparently this word is originated in a dialect, and used by a heroin in a on-going TV drama. If indeed that this expression becomes popular in the near future, it would prove nothing but the power of influence by the mass media.

I reacted to this word with a strange feeling, as ジェ is how people call my name in English...


afureko, "after-recording"

Visiting Japan and talk to people, one can always learn some fresh vocabulary. This time, the first such word to me is this one. I am sure that the English word which it represents does not communicate with most English speakers. 130521In truth, it refers to "voice over". More specifically, it indicates a type of passionate practice by people who dreams to become a radio actor to practice their skills by applying their voice to existing anime pictures.

It seems that there is a word which has a longer history in this context. That word is プリレコ or pre-recording. It is a way to produce motion pictures by preparing the voice part first. In fact, I have used プリレコ method many times to create my own short presentations, and found out that it is rather easy and convenient.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


fuuga, (a store name).

130516This is a store sign near my residence. I pass it a few times a day, but always have a difficulty to read it. Eventually I decide to pay a little attention to it, and realized that it has Romanized characters beside it. However this Romanized characters should be properly written as fuuga or fūga. I expect that it must refer to the word 風雅 (elegance), but I am not completely sure as this word normally would not be written in kana.

A store name should be simply and clear. Obviously this store chose a different principal -- it prefers to cause a visitor a little confusion and challenge them for a educated guessing.


mase, (a form of conjugation).

Walking on the street, various different types of expressions are heard --- those who are living here naturally became to ignore words without special meanings, but those who are visitors tend to pick up much more. Here is a such example: a student walking besides me asked what does it mean with ませ in いらっしゃいませ. As we have enough time to expand a discussion, so I brought up the topic of verb conjugations and how it works in the word ます.

It is always a sensitive judgement as how much grammatical discussion is necessary for a language learner. However, I am a believer that it is not only useful but essential for an university student to always realise language rules behind expressions.


iki-zukuri, a fish served alive

130515This term refers to a unique way to serve a fish or other seafood. It emphasizes that the prepared dish being fresh -- it is such fresh that the item presented to a table is still alive, part of them still moves. At a recent class, a student reported a link to a video clip where not only the meal at the dish, but even the fish with the remaining body was swimming at the water tank.

At a typical Japanese table, this dish would be considered purely a  gorgeous meal, and a special treat. But for many with little knowledge, this way of cooking may be extremely out of the context, often unimaginable, or even can not be tolerated. Every one likes a good meal, but in deed the expectation could be very much different.


Thursday, December 9, 2010


waifu, wife.

This year again, two Japanese scientist received the Nobel Prize. TV news reports them from various angles. The family life naturally became a popular topic, and interestingly enough, both of them refer to their wives as ワイフ in Japanese. Particularly because the way of their speaking are extremely gentle and polite, their manners made this choice of word stands out.

When I started to learn Japanese, I was told by my teacher that the correct way to refer to one's wife was 家内(かない). Later, I realized that some one tend to use 妻(つま) in order to avoid the traditional color from such a word. A few years ago, I was surprised to hear my colleague with a high education referred his wife in 奥さん. Now, there is a new variation jointed to this list.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


nau, "now".

Each year on this day, Dec. 1st, the announcement of "new words of the year" becomes a major news from Japan, a wonderful way to reflect the changing of the language in this rapid moving time, and to see in how little we know of the current trends in Japan. This year, among the Top Ten, more than half of them never became my knowledge, and なう。 stands out. The official site states that this became popular due to the use of Twitter, and the reason that people like it seems to be that it is written in hiragana, not in katakana as for normal foreign words.

In the Japanese class, I still have to explain to students the difference between ね, よ, な. Then, here is なう, in a total different context. To my mind, the charming point for the use of なう is because that it is placed at the end of a sentence. It is such "not" Japanese, and in a certain degree, it destroying the order of the language.