Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Excuse me ma'am...

Something reminded me that my Filipino friend said こわい!! when she saw a baby.
(こわい means "scary" or "to be scared" in Japanese)

I wondered why she was scared of the baby at that time, but soon I understood.
What she wanted to say was かわいい/kawaii/, not こわい/kowai/.
(Yes, かわいい means "cute"!)

You must be careful when you want to say "Hey, you look so cute!" to your Japanese girlfriend. Don't say こわいね!

And one more thing. She told me that it's a little difficult for her to tell the difference between おばさん and おばあさん. Actually, there's a big difference between them.

おばさん/obasan/ is a middle-aged lady but 

おばあさん/obaasan/ means a grandmother, or an old (very old) lady.

This is かわいいおばあさん

We use these words (おばさん and おばあさん) to address a woman with a meaning something like "lady" or "ma'am." The word おばさん also implies that she's old enough, so some ladies don't like to be called おばさん. They would ask to be called by her name instead, or to be called おねえさん/onee-san/.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/kawaii onee-san to, kowai obasan, docchi ga suki?/
Which do you like better, a cute young woman or a scary old lady?

I know your answer!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Usual!

Today I went to the hospital again, and found out that I have hives (urticaria).
They are worse at night, and I cannot sleep well recently. I need to lay myself down on the couch and rest after seeing my husband off. That's why I cannot log-in Skype at the usual time lately.

By the way I often go to the coffee shop near my apartment house.
Since I always order a cup of hot "powdered green tea milk", the cashier lady remembers me. The day I can order like as "Hey, the usual please" (with a wink ; )) would come soon. That is the line that I've been wanted to say!Lol

Do you have a restaurant or coffee shop you frequent?

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/itsumo no yatsu/
The usual.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hanging Out in the Rain

How was your weekend? Yesterday I spent more than 4 hours in coffee shop with my husband. He did some work with a laptop, and I reviewed Chinese words and phrases I've ever learned.

Last Saturday we had a trip by bus. I enjoyed hanging out around an old town.

In Taiwan you can see many kinds of street stalls. Here, a tractor also can be a stall! XD
When we were walking in a farm, I heard the roll of thunder. As I expected, it started raining.
We had only one small folding umbrella, so soon we got drenched. We somehow got to a souvenir shop and bought an umbrella. The umbrella was supposedly for both in fine and rainy weather. But it wasn't good enough to protect against heavy rain. He said; it's still raining under the umbrella.

To say 雨がざあざあ降っている was putting it mildly. The road was almost flooded. We needed to buy not only an umbrella, but also raincoats.

It was lucky to had rain because there weren't so many people on the street. I've heard this street is always crowded on weekends. I could eat some famous foods without lining up.

The rain made us tired, but it was a nice trip. I'm wondering where to go next weekend.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
もう食べきれないよ~ XO
/mou tabekirenai yo/
I cannot manage to finish eating!!/This is too much for me to eat up.

Verb+きれない : too many or too much to finish or complete
数えきれない : countless
待ちきれない : cannot wait
感謝しきれない : cannot thank you enough

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thinking About Pronounciation

In this video,you can learn how native speakers pronounce English.

As you know, you don't pronounce every words as it's written or as a dictionary shows.  That's why I often ask my friends; Um... Can you write it down please? X(

As I live in Taiwan, I spend most of my time studying Chinese.  In Chinese, every each word has a certain tone. For instance, if you say "ma" with high pitch tone it means "mom", but if you say "ma" with downshift tone it becomes "to scold. " Frankly, it's very annoying. They really do not understand what I say if I pronounce with wrong tones. 

In Japanese, you don't have to be strict with pronunciation. Most of the words sound flat. No rhythm, no accent. Does it sound boring for you?lol (But some dialects like Kansai-ben have a certain accent!)

Let me talk about Chinese a little more. There are some rules of changing tones in certain situations. I found that some native speakers, I mean Taiwanese people, even don't realize these rules. Though they have never learnt it, they can speak Chinese according to the rules of changing tones quite naturally. 

It's not a surprising fact, I know. But I thought about my mother tongue.
Are there any changes in pronunciation when we speak?

Oh, I know one; the long vowel. 
Some people had asked me; which is correct? ohayo, ohayou, or ohayoo?
Well, if you've already learnt ひらがな, you would find the answer. 

おはよう(Good morning)

If you put these 4 Japanese letters into alphabets, it must be /ohayou/. But actually, it sounds like /ohayo/ or /ohayoo/. 

"o" of よ/yo/ and "u" of う/u/ are the key. 
They connect and become a long vowel. /ou/⇒/oo/

So we often write おはよー in text between close friends.  "" express the long vowel.  "" is the same as it. Does it make sense?

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/iya daaaaaaaaaaaa/


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

The typhoon was over last night. Now it's very humid. How's the weather in your city?
I'm going to write about the onomatopoetic words as I mentioned in previous post. Here we go.


All of these sentences express that it's raining, but each of situations is different.
When we say 雨がしとしと降る, the rain should be very gentle. It's a kind of drizzle. This onomatopoeic word sounds a little poetic. Imagine that you're sitting by the window and watching outside. You can't hear the sound of rain well. It's very quiet.

ぽたぽた is a sound of dropping water. Perhaps I should say 雨がぽたぽた落ちる rather than 雨がぽたぽた降る. (落ちる is "to drop" and 降る is "to fall.") If you didn't turn off a tap properly, water would be dripping from it. That's ぽたぽた.

The rain is getting heavier. I think ぱらぱら sounds like "patter, patter" in English, isn't it? It also means the rain patters. Or, it means a sprinkle of rain.

Now the rain is coming down in earnest. In Taiwan, I often get caught in a downpour. 雨がざあざあ降る expresses the heaviest rain.

OK, that's all for today. Thank you for reading! I'd be glad if you leave a comment ; )

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Typhoon is coming (again!)

Today my husband is staying at home, though it's Wednesday.
Not because he is sick, but because of a typhoon. It's raining now. I heard a typhoon is going through Taipei city this afternoon.

In Taiwan, as a typhoon comes, everybody watches TV carefully. They are waiting for the official announcement of Typhoon Day-off.
Last night, the typhoon hadn't arrived yet though, the government decided to declare it. So today every citizen in Taipei are suspended from school and company.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/soto ha doshaburi dane/
It's pouring rain, isn't it?

By the way, have you ever heard about 擬音語/gi-on-go/ in Japanese? 擬音語 means "onomatopoeic words. There are many onomatopoeic words in Japanese.


雨が...降る /amega furu/ means "It rains."
These blue colored words are the so-called 擬音語. Have a guess! Which word expresses the heaviest rain? I'll write the answer tomorrow :P

Monday, August 19, 2013

Can you buy your dream with money?

Hello, everybody! How was your weekend?
I went to buy my mom's birthday present last weekend. I'm gonna send it to Japan tomorrow.  I don't like to go to a post office in Taiwan because there're always a lot of people and I have to wait for a long time. The bank clerks speak so fast that I can't catch up, and I ask them to repeat many times. 

This is the birthday card I drew last weekend.  I remembered that 8/8 was Father's day in Taiwan, so I added a message for my dad, too. 生日快樂 means Happy birthday in Chinese. My parents are Japanese but I just want to show them that I've studied Chinese!

By the way, I found a funny commercial in Japan.  I haven't seen it on TV before but my Taiwanese friend who is studying Japanese told me this ad. 

A young man is talking to his boss about 宝くじ.  (You should know this word if you read my past article!) He asked his boss whether he know or not about the lottery, but the boss seems he is not interested in it. 

The conversation is like below;

A young man(bellow is called A): 部長は、ロト7って知ってます?
Boss, do you know "Loto7"?

The boss(bellow is called B): 知らないな。
No, I don't.

A: 一等が最高4億円なんですって!
I heard that the highest is 400 million yen!

B: 興味ない。
I'm not interested in it.

A: キャリーオーバーならなんと最高8億円に
When it comes to "Carry Over", it becomes 800 million yen at the highest―

B: なあ

A: …?

B: お前の夢は金で買えるのか?

A: …Σ(゜ロ゜)

A: あぁ・・・かっこいい・・・やばい、涙出そう。
Ah... How cool he was... Oh no, I almost cry...

A: 部長・・・?

( ゚д゚) (゚д゚ )

Today's *Japanese Word of the Day* is the phrase that his boss said.
/omae no yume ha kane de kaeru noka?/
Is your dream buyable with money? Can you buy your dream with money?

お前 means "you" but you must be careful to use this word. it sounds rude.
You can use it when you speak to a person who is your inferior position.
Or, some people use it when he got angry.

Now you understood this ad, didn't you?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bring Back Memories

I got an email from a girl I tutored in Japan.  It said she got a good score on her English exam.

I had worked as a home tutor for about a year.  If I hadn't moved to Taiwan, I would still be working as one. 

When I think back on my days of working as a tutor, I remember a certain student. 
It was the first day I met her.  I asked her if she could write 私は女の子です in English.  I know it's a ridiculous sentence, but I needed to confirm her level.  She considered it for a while, and  then started to write.  I was surprised at her answer.  She wrote "Me g". 
I suppose that she wanted to write "Me girl" and couldn't remember how to spell "girl".  Gosh. What was she doing during English class in school?

Some students who don't like English often make the same kind of mistake, like "I am like dogs. "
I wondered how such a mistake could happen.  And I remembered the first grammar lesson taught in school. 

We were taught "be verbs" like 〜は…です, though I don't think it's correct. I think that's why they write "I am like dogs" as 私は犬が好きです. 
Actually, am/is/are aren't 〜は nor ...です, are they? We put the word です at the end of the sentence to express politeness.  So, "I student" isn't grammatically correct in English, but in Japanese, 私、学生 is not wrong. 
The word は is a topic marker, which shows that the word before は is the topic of the sentence. 

English and Japanese are different languages.  Besides, a word isn't just a label of a certain thing.  A language is a way to capture the world.  A person who speaks in a different language sees the world in a different way. 
That's why I think it's very interesting to learn a foreign language. 

The girl who sent me an email really disliked studying English at first.  I was very happy when she said to me, "It's interesting. "

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/waa, natsukashii/
Oh, it brings back memories!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Hey, why is it always raining when I want to go out for lunch ?!

Yesterday, it started to rain right after I step outside. It was fine while I was in my house. I gave up going out and ate an instant noodle at home. Today I had to go to the post office, but it seems not a good idea to go outside under this heavy rain.

Though it's raining, there are many riders on the road. I don't like riding a motorbike in a rainy day. Well, anyway, what shall I eat today? Can someone bring me delicious lunch?

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/watashi-tte honto ame-onna dawa/

If you are a man, you should say
/ore-tte honto ame-otoko dana/

Both means "I am totally a rain-bringer!"
雨女 /ame-onnna/ a woman whose presence brings on rain
雨男 /ame-otoko/ a man whose presence brings on rain

Think back over the important days of your past, weren't those days always rain? I was often told by friends "Don't bring on rain, OK?" when I was invited to hang out. Or are you 晴れ女(hare-onna)/晴れ男(hare-otoko)?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wanna Be a Good Person, I mean...

I found this ad on the back cover of a gossip magazine. I don't like this kind of magazine, but my husband brought it home yesterday. He said one of his colleague gave him the magazine. Well, there are only two Japanese people in his office, so I can guess who it was.

I've seen their TV commercials in Japan. It's a bit silly but I like them. Can you guess what this ad is for?

BIGマンのツキ講座(こうざ) 第二回(だい2かい)
BIGマン/big man/ is the name of the character, as pictured on the right side of this ad.
ツキ /tsuki/ means luck, especially good luck.
講座 /kouza/ means lectures or lessons. So this is the second lesson by BIGman.

/ii hito ni naritai. a, un ga ii hito ne./
I wanna be a good person. I mean, a person who has a good luck.

We describe a person who has a good luck as 運がいい人. So if you want to say "Hey, you are so lucky!", then you should say 「君ってほんと運がいいよね!!」
Do you get it?

What does it advertise?

This is 宝くじ's advertisement. Takarakuzi is very popular among day-dreamers. You buy a lottery ticket for 300yen, and if you are extremely lucky, you will win a large amount of money. Frankly, I have bought some lottery tickets last month in Taiwan, thinking about what would I do after winning BIG money.

Don't ask me what was the result. The reality is not so straightforward.

*Japanese Word of The Day*
/ikkaku-senkin mo yume janai/
It's not a dream to become a billionaire instantly!!

Maybe most Japanese people don't know how to write 攫/kaku/. Neither do I. So never mind if you can't remember this Kanji.

Do you want to buy 宝くじ?
Tell me if you know an interesting ad or commercial ; )

Monday, August 12, 2013

Turtle Mountain Island

Summer is my favorite season. The blue sky makes me feel refreshed.

I got up at 5 to go for a trip on that day. Honestly, my husband got up at 5 and woke me up.
We were planning to enjoy whale-watching. I was so excited that I couldn't sleep last night. That's why I fell asleep as soon as I got on the ship. The ship swung as if it was a baby cradle.

I don't know whether it was lucky or unlucky, whales didn't appear. But I remember, I saw dolphins swimming at a distance from our ship when I opened my eyes! Though I soon fell asleep again, I'm sure it wasn't my dream. Before I opened my eyes, my husband said, I was opening a big mouth and about to swallow the sky...

Here, you can see why this island was named "Turtle Mountain Island". Now it is an uninhabited island, and you need to make an application to land.

We got to the shore at the tail of the turtle. The water was clear that I could see to the bottom.

I enjoyed walking around the lake. There was an elementary school and a temple for previous inhabitants.

This is a statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Can you see the light over her hand? Hmm...It's very mysterious!

Chinese style temples are very gorgeous and gaudy. It's very different from Japanese style temple. The colors of the temple looked beautiful with the blue sky.

Look at the shape of this mountain. A woman is lying on her back. The left side is her face.

And this is Snoopy's face! haha Do you understand?

We left the island. The baby cradle brought us back to the port of Taiwan all too soon. I mean, I fell asleep right after I got on the ship again. I think a ship and I have a good chemistry.

* Japanese Word of the Day *

眠くてしょうがない!/nemukute shouganai/
I'm sooo sleepy. I'm extremely sleepy.

※眠い(ねむい) : sleepy

I'm going to introduce one word or phrase of Japanese at the end of the article. : ) I hope you will like it. If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment.

Fireworks Festival in Taiwan

All kinds of jewels got together on the sky!
I hate a crowd but I love to see fireworks. Speaking of summer, fireworks festivals are very popular in Japan. Most of my friends uploaded the pics of fireworks on Facebook lately. You can see many girls wearing pretty Yukata at the festivals.

Last Saturday was a fireworks festival in Taiwan. I saw a few girl wearing Yukata, maybe their Japanese friend gave her or they bought it in Japan as a souvenir. Or, they are Japanese who live in Taiwan like me.

The background music was orchestra. It was a blast! You can see how hot it was, to stand in the excited crowd. Every one gave a glad shout when a firework was set off. So did I.

It lasted about 20 minutes. The couple who sat next to me were kissing and hugging all the time.

It was really hard to get out of the park. The road was too crowded to walk. My husband and I gave up walking toward the exit gate of the park, decided to walk along the riverside way. The light breeze made me comfortable.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

See a Doctor

Last night I couldn't sleep well. I don't know why but since last Friday a few rashes has broken out on my legs. At first I thought I was bitten by a hungry mosquito. Mosquitoes in Taiwan do love my blood, I often serve them my fresh juice. There are 2 or 3 red dots on my right leg at that time. I put ointment on them.

The number of dots gradually increased, it obviously wasn't mosquito's kiss marks. Both of my legs filled with red rashes, and they were still itchy till Monday. Once I scratch them, rashes will be out of control and drive me crazy!!

So I went to see a doctor today. *sigh*

The hospital where I went was very big. Thanks to the hospital interpreter, I didn't have any problems. They did everything for me. (Though it cost really high!!)
At a glance, the doctor said it's an allergy. That's all. I know it's an allergy, it's not mosquito's bites, but allergy of what? She said something dirty caused rashes. So what should I do is, to take 5 kinds of medicine and put 2 kinds of ointment. It will take about 1 week to get well.

Maybe rashes on my legs will be cured by these meds, but is that a real solution? If I have allergy of something, I think I ought to find out the allergens. Or the rashes would break out again and again. After all, what the doctors do is just a temporary expedient, isn't it? What do you think of this?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

About My Hometown

Last night I talked with my parents via Skype. They looked fine. My dog barked at the screen and looked for me behind the laptop. I'm not there, my dear boy!

This is a short movie which introduces my city, Kanazawa. I was born and lived there for 18 years. I always wanted to go far from the hometown. I thought English would take me away from this boring, tiny city. Now, I noticed its beauty.

I hope you will enjoy these videos. I found the video which introduces the landscapes, food, festival, traditional works, and culture in English. If you are interested, please see the movie below.

Maybe it would be good for me to practice listening English.

Monday, August 5, 2013

One Day Trip to Japan

Since my husband and I don't have a long stay VISA and cannot stay in Taiwan over 90 days, we needed to return to Japan last weekend. I wanted to go back to my hometown, visit my parents and my cute dog, but his company didn't allow us to stay in Japan over 1 day.

My dog must be disappointed, too

We didn't have enough time to go back to our hometown. So we went to Okinawa prefecture. Okinawa is the most close island from Taiwan. It takes about 1 hour.

We got up at 5 on Sunday morning. It took about 50 minutes from our apartment house to the airport by taxi. On the way to the airport, the driver spoke with his boss(I'm not sure but I thought so) via transceiver. At first they were talking about us in Mandarin, but once he noticed that I can understand a little Mandarin, they started talking in Taiwanese.

 It was a beautiful day. The sky was blue. I could see the sea a little from the window of the monorail. If we had enough time, we could have been to the beach. But what we did in Okinawa was just shopping and watching movie. The Loan Ranger was a blast!

I found a rainbow cloud in the sky. I thought something good will happen to me.