Japanese advice n°5 – Sound words

Sound words are a very characteristic feature of speaking Japanese. They’re classified in 擬音語 giongo and 擬態語 gitaigo. Giongo are onomatopoeic words, that is, words that imitate a sound, whereas gitaigo are words that give a sound to something that doesn’t actually make a sound. The difference is hard to explain, but it’s not really important to understand that well. However, you must know the meaning of many of these sound words since they’re used in daily conversation more often than one would expect.

So, here’s a list of some common and useful sound words! Good thing about sound words is that they usually have no kanji, so it’s easy to write them quickly (at least this is a good thing for me).

1. ぺらぺら – Fluent

英語がぺらぺらだね! You’re fluent in English!

2. ぺこぺこ – Hungry

おなかがぺこぺこ。 I’m starving

ぺこぺこ is supposed to be the sound of a growling, hungry stomach. Saying this is actually considered cute.

3. いらいら – Irritated

あんな人と話したら、いらいらする。 I get irritated when I talk to people like him/her.

4. どきどき – Excited

彼女に会うと、どきどきする! I get excited when I see her.

どきどき describes the sound of an accelerated heartbeat.

5. にこにこ – Smiling

I really wonder who came up with a sound for the act of smiling, but it’s just adorable.

6. キラキラ – Shining

It doesn’t sound very useful, but it’s used quite often.

7. べたべた、ぬるぬる、ねばねば - Sticky

30分で散歩してから、汗をかいてべたべたする。 After walking for 30 minutes I got sweaty and sticky.

The humid Japanese summer is a perfect time to put these words into use.

8. どんどん、だんだん – Gradually

どんどん英語になるはずだ。You are supposed to become better at Japanese gradually.

9. わくわく – Happily

Another cute one. Make sure to have some わくわく time while in Japan.

10. おろおろ – Nervous

I say this word quite often and always get some funny reactions. I wonder why.

 

All in all, there are so many giongo and gitaigo it’s difficult to come up with with a short list. However, try to use this one as an introduction only and then find more on your own.

 

Eduardo H.

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Japanese fans – うちわ

Hello guys! The summer solstice occurred last week so we can officially say the Northern Hemisphere has entered summer! Although, as Elie A said in his last post, Japan is in the middle of the rainy season, it gets HOT when it’s not raining. One of my favorite ways to relieve the heat when I’m out is using Japanese fans, better known as うちわ uchiwa. 

Uchiwa are actually very traditional. Some drawings dating from the 19th century already depicted women using them.

Seiki Kuroda's "Lakeside"

Seiki Kuroda’s “Lakeside”

Nowadays, uchiwa are rather easy to get. They’re usually made of plastic and have pictures advertising products, events and more on them.

ad

I know they’re not an engineering wonder, but trust me, they do make you feel refreshed when walking in a sunny, hot day.

I don't really know what it advertises, but I've been using this one recently

I don’t really know what it advertises, but I’ve been using this one recently

They also come in small and large sizes, but the ones with ads on them are usually medium sized. Large ones can be found in “100 yen shops” and other stores. Traditional, wood ones are also easy to find, but I have a feeling plastic ones are more effective.

And of course, they make very good souvenirs!

Eduardo H.

Eduardo H.

Kenichi Ebina, an internet sensation after America’s Got Talent performance

Internet sensations come and go at an amazing speed sometimes. A few weeks ago, I was talking about DJ Police and this week a talented Japanese attracted lots of attention thanks to his latest performance in America’s got talent. His name is Kenichi Ebina and thanks to his impressive mix of Matrix-like moves and martial arts he’s gotten over 6 million hits on YouTube.

Although he’s been around for many years, it’s the first time a video of him greatly exceeds the 2 million mark and, to be frank, it’s wonderful he’s showing the world that Japanese people can dance too (Believe it or not, some people think otherwise…)

Of course Japanese CAN dance! Just check the "awaodori!

Of course Japanese ENJOY dancing! Just check the “awaodori.

Naturally, he’s also performed in Japan more than once.

And we’ve been so lucky we could interview him earlier this year! In the interview, he told us about the story behind his career as a dancer. Don’t miss it!

Will he make it to the end in the show? Hopefully, he will! After laws prohibiting dancing, dancers in Japan wouldn’t mind some dignifying motivation.

 

Source: http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/japanese-dancer-becomes-internet-sensation-after-americas-got-talent-appearance

Rainy Season Problems

It is now June 24, and Japan is in the midst of “tsuyu,” (the rainy season) which comes every year from early June to mid-July. Being from Seattle, a city famous for its rain,  I figured I should be able to handle this no problem. It turns out that rain here and rain is Seattle are a little bit different, and I have problems.

Problem #1: The Laundry Problem

We do not have a dryer at my house in Tokyo, and I therefore have no choice but to hang-dry my clothes after washing them. This is generally not a problem, and I actually have kind of grown to like the way they smell afterwards. Unfortunately, the rainy season has really thrown a wrench into my laundry-hanging plans. Even though there is a covered area outside my house, the air is so wet right now that my clothes could never dry there. I have been advised to hang-dry my clothing indoors in these situations but I am struggling to find a good way to do that in my room. As my amount of dirty clothes continues to increase, so too does my motivation to solve this problem, but thus far it’s been pretty frustrating and I just try not to think about it.

this doesn't work in the rain

this doesn’t work in the rain

Problem #2: The Heat/Humidity Problem

Speaking of wet air, as I write this blog it is 22°c (72°f) with 90% humidity in Tokyo. In other words, the weather is hot, rainy, and above all muggy. Although it rains frequently in my hometown, we generally experience neither heat nor mugginess. Phoenix, Arizona, where I go to school, is famous for its hot sun but is also a very dry place. Thus, as I am not used to Japan’s climate at all, I arrive to class every day wet from my walk through the rain yet sweating at the same time due to the combination of heat and humidity. While I am able to turn on the fans in my bedroom to keep the air comfortable, my warm classrooms have provided me no respite in the recent weeks and I hear it only gets worse from here.

Problem #3: The Umbrella Problem

It’s not like umbrellas are a foreign concept in Seattle, but I never owned one, and neither did many of my friends. Weirdly, the concept of this umbrella-free life shocks many Japanese people I talk to. Umbrella logic in Japan is simple: always carry an umbrella when there is a chance of rain (except for sun umbrellas carried by women, but we won’t discuss that now). During my daily commute, the already-crowded streets of Tokyo have become even harder to navigate as large chunks of sidewalk are being taken up by the wide berths required by umbrella-carrying pedestrians (read: all pedestrians). It is not uncommon to see two people tangle umbrellas as they pass each other, or even worse, for a pedestrian without an umbrella to be clipped by a reckless umbrella carrier (carrying your own provides you with a measure of protection against direct contact).

I don't like this

I don’t like this

In a word, Japanese umbrella culture is advanced. Plastic umbrella-bags are provided at the grocery store to keep customers from dripping  water on the floor. Weird pieces of furniture that look like folded up tables sit outside the doors of buildings at my University so people can brush the excess water from their umbrellas onto them. And, of course, this being Japan, umbrellas can be found in a variety of stylish and “kawaii” (cute) shapes and sizes.

The real problem here could just be my continued rebellion against Japan’s umbrella culture. I can’t really even explain my reasoning as to why, but I have yet to buy an umbrella despite the fact that I walk long distances in the rain every day. Maybe it’s because I never had one in Seattle. Maybe I just would prefer to be wet than to carry an umbrella in my hand all the time. Or perhaps it is just that as I am confronted with Japanese people who cannot believe that I would go outside without an umbrella, I feel I must prove them wrong. As people continue to unnecessarily worry about me, I am starting to consider just conforming and buying one.

Problem #4: International Dorm Umbrella Thieves

Although this no longer concerns me since I moved out of my college dorm, a friend of mine who still lives there was complaining to me today about how her umbrella was taken out of the umbrella rack in the dorm’s entry hall. The practice of “borrowing” umbrellas belonging to others from the front hallway of the dorm was all-too-common while I lived there, and wise residents were sure to bring their own umbrellas back to their rooms. Interestingly, there seems to be a sort of accepted etiquette among my former dormitory’s umbrella thieves. Clear umbrellas like those found at convenience stores are fair game to be taken, but colorful umbrellas are somehow still safe. Perhaps there is honor among these thieves…

But enough small talk about the weather! Go read more important internet stuff!

On writing and verbosity

When having to write an essay in English (although the following probably applies to all languages), many people have the annoying habit of purposely complicating their writing. See the following examples (courtesy of an anecdote by theoretical physicist Richard Feynman):

“The individual member of the social community often receives his information via visual, symbolic channels.”

“The medical community indicates that a program of downsizing average total daily caloric intake is maximally efficacious in the field of proactive weight-reduction methodologies.”

Those familiar with academia will instantly recognize the one of the reasons behind the incomprehensibility of the above sentences: the wish to look smart (in the readers’ eyes). However, people guilty of the former forget (or do not know) that in writing, like in technology (e.g. the iPhone), simplicity is king: write succinctly, always.

I mean, just imagine if the following celebrated gaming moment used excessive verbosity:

““My dear sir plumber journeyman, I wish to express my gratitude towards your person and personal quest to aid the individual popularly known as the princess; alas, the present misalignment of the constellations have resulted in a most unfortunate situation: it appears the ruler of the kingdom, the person in whose sake you have embarked on a most dangerous and perilous journey, is currently missing from this location. Rather, the whereabouts of this city state’s said lawmaker most likely reside in an unknown locale; however, it is to your great fortune that I, your ever humble servant, have some limited yet descriptive knowledge of the architecture of the edifice our great blueblood could potentially be in: it is a building whose origins clearly reside in feudal times; initially used with defensive purposes in mind, said constructions now also function as places of residence for important aristocracy.”

Somehow, the original is easier to understand

Somehow, the original sentence is easier to understand

And if you haven’t yet deciphered the meaning of the two hieroglyphs above, they say “people read” and “doctors say a good way to lose weight is to eat less.”

Accident would happen always, in life.

You would NEVER EVER FEEL SO CRAZY when you’ve used a hour or above to prepare something to share but once you press the ‘publish’ button and everything turn to a blank page..!! ‘WHAT??!!’   
– Finally this have happened on me today TWICE!! in a day
Untitled
 
Arghh…..
So,this would be my 3rd theme I’ve write for this blog today.
Okay…
Just forget about it. No ‘undo’ or ‘reply’ button though, so don’t let the pass effect any of you.
Hmmm…..
Then, let’s talk about ‘effect‘.
 
In reality, sometimes may loss of self-esteem during those critical adolescent years contributes to issues like drug problems or chronic depression. I understand, and especially for people like us who come so far from home and friends to a place we don’t recognize at all.
 
But people encourage that do not be misled by others, especially general conference. Because everyone deserves to live in his/her dreams. Just need to talk with someone when faced problem, cause to share out and problem solving.
 
Do you know,
-Steve Jobs -> brave -> law of attraction -> change -> believe -> inspire -> goals?
-Chance: Japan has located to the top rank about  most ingenious home designs.
-………..
-……
Speak to yourself, “if you’re not going to do so who will?” A sentence which spoken by.. someone I found from a blog. 
And he/she say..
1
 
Everything are just depend on how you think of it. To enjoy or to move hard?