Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year in Japan

New Year's Day, which is called 正月(しょうがつ)/shougatsu/ in Japanese, is one of the most important holidays in Japan!! Some people travel overseas during holidays, but we mostly go back to our own hometown to see families.

Unfortunately, I can't visit my hometown this coming New Year's Day... :'( But instead, I'm going to go back to Japan at the end of January. I can't wait!!

Do you know what we do on New Year breaks?

*Japanese Word of the Day*

年賀状(ねんがじょう) /nenga-jou/ New Year's cards (I found a great video!)

年越(としこ)しそば /toshikoshi-soba/ Soba (buckwheat noodles) on New Year's Eve
We eat 年越しそば tonight! 年越し/toshikoshi/ means "to enter a new year". You know, Soba noodles are long and thin, so it symbolizes "long life".

除夜(じょや)の鐘(かね) /joya no kane/ The bell ringing out the Old Year
People ring the bell on 大晦日(おおみそか)/oomisoka/ New Yea's Eve. I love this holy moment when the bell start ringing. My brothers and cousins used to try to stay up late, and walk to the shrine in neighborhood, ring the huge bell in the shrine. It was really fun.

おせち /osechi/ traditional foods for New Year's Day
Each foods have a special meaning. For example; 黒豆(くろまめ)/kuromame/ black beans, means "healthy life" since the word まめ/mame/ indicates "healthy". It also means "faithful" or "diligent", so people wish "healthy life" and "to be diligent" by eating 黒豆.

Osechi image from Wikipedia
雑煮(ぞうに)/zouni/ A soup with mochi (rice cakes)
It's cooked in various ways according to regional custom. I love it! XD

お年玉(としだま) /otoshidama/ a New Year's gift
Children receive some gift money on New Year's Day. That's why they love this day!

New Year's Holidays is the season we definitely get fat. Definitely.
How do you celebrate New Year? Please let me know! :D

良(よ)いお年(とし)を /yoi otoshi wo/ I wish you'll have a good new year!
This is the common greeting phrase used before New Year.

Okay then... 良いお年を!!! XD

Monday, December 22, 2014


Hey guys! Holiday season has come! :) And my birthday has come!! haha
Are you going to see your family on Christmas?
I'm a bit disappointed that they don't have a winter holiday in Taiwan...
Anyway, let's see how to ask this question in Japanese!

/kurisumasu wa kazoku ni ai ni ikimasu ka?/
Are you going to see your family on Christmas?

*クリスマス /kurisumasu/ Christmas
*家族(かぞく) /kazoku/ family
*会(あ)いに行(い)く /ai ni iku/ to go to see, to visit

Let me tell you more about this verb, 会いに行く. You might already know these verbs: 会う and 行く. 会う means "to meet" or "to see", and 行く means "to go". Do you know "to come" in Japanese by the way? Yes, it's 来(く)る.

行く(to go) and 来る(to come) are often used with other verbs.
They're combined with other verbs to show its direction.

For example, 飛(と)んでいく/tonde iku/ and 飛(と)んでくる/tonde kuru/.
It's consist of 飛ぶ/tobu/ (to fly) and 行く/来る.

Let's see some more examples!

/tomodachi ga hanarete iku nowa, koushuu no sei da/
My friends left me due to my bad breath.
*離(はな)れていく /hanarete iku/ to leave
- 離れる/hanareru/ to separate + 行く

/sonna mono watashi no heya ni motte kuru na/
Don't bring such a thing to my room!!
*持(も)ってくる /motte kuru/ to bring
- 持(も)つ /motsu/ to hold. to have + 来る

/ano hito wa itsumo watashi ni monku wo itte kuru/
That person always complains to me.
*文句(もんく) /monku/ complaints
*言(い)ってくる /itte kuru/ to say to someone, to speak to someone
- 言(い)う /iu/ to say, to speak, to tell + 来る

Okay, that's all for today! Thank you for reading and don't forget to check my blog during holidays, too! ;) See you soon!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sound More Fluent in Japanese ~sentence ending particles part.2~

In my previous post, I explained about a sentence ending particle .

(1) 今日は、寒いです (今日は、寒い)。
(2) 今日は、寒いですね (今日は、寒い)。

It doesn't change the whole meaning of the sentence, but it change how it sounds. In this case, the sentence with sounds much more friendly. brings us closer together!

Oh, I forgot to say that can be used by itself!!

/kyou no tesuto muzukashikatta ne/
Today's test was hard, wasn't it?

/nee. san-ban no kotae nani ni natta?/
Yeah. What was the answer to question no.3?

It's used mainly among women. Maybe because women have better empathy than men? I guess so. In another case, is used by itself to ask for someone's agreement. Here's an example. 3 girls are talking.

A: 私(わたし)最近(さいきん)太(ふと)っちゃって・・・
/watashi saikin futochatte/
I got fat recently..

B: え・・・全然(ぜんぜん)そんなことないよ!ね?
/eh... sonna koto naiyo. ne?/
Well.. I don't think so, do you?

C: う、うん!
/u, un/
Um.. me neither!

I often hear girls say "I'm fat" even if she's in a good shape. And the other girls 99% reply "no, you aren't." But no matter how fat actually she is, the other girl would say "no, you aren't". Right? ね?

Anyway, let's see other sentence ending particles.
(3) 今日は、寒いです(今日は、寒い)。

In contrast to the function of , indicates that the information (今日は寒い) is new to the listener. Or, you want to give advice to him.

/shoujiki ni itta houga ii/
It'd be better to say honestly.

/shoujiki ni itta houga ii yo/
You should say honestly.

It also makes the sentence sound soft.
By the way, have you heard "ダメよ~ダメダメ" which is selected as one of the top buzzwords this year in Japan? This ダメよ consists of ダメ /dame/ (not good) + . "That's no-no", in English.

(4) 今日は、寒いです   Is it cold today?
I guess I don't have to explain this sentence ending particle.

I've said several times before, です is just attached to the sentence so as to make it polite. So we usually speak without it when we talk with friends or family members.

(5) 今日は、寒い
sounds a bit strange to me. It's not wrong, but it sounds a little bluntly. Or, it might indicate that the speaker disagree about the idea (今日は寒い). Do you think it's cold today? (Though I don't think so)

It's also used when the speaker found the fact or confirmed something.
And in this case, he speaks to himself.
/sokka, ashita wa ame ka/
Oh I see. It will rain tomorrow.

Then, how do we say "is it cold?" in casual term? Well, we'd simply ask, 寒い?
By the way, in my regional dialect, people say 寒いけ? instead of 寒い?XD

That's all for today! Try using some sentence ending particles when you talk to your Japanese friend! Your Japanese certainly sounds more fluent! :D

Thank you for reading -★

Friday, December 5, 2014

Do you know the difference between いい and いいね in Japanese?

It's getting cold. If you're in Japan, you'd hear people say 寒いね, or 寒いですね each other.

You may know what 寒い/samui/ means, yeah, it means "cold". But what at the end of the sentence means? Do you know? Technically it's called a "sentence ending particle". We really often use it in our daily conversations.

If you're curious, search how often  is used in my blog, by using the search box on the upper right corner. :)

There're several sentence ending particles in Japanese. And it's depend on them that how the sentence sounds. I mean, the same sentence with different sentence ending particles sounds different. It can be a friendly term, a bluntly term, or a question form.

Let's have a look at some examples.

(1) 今日は、寒いです。
/kyou wa, samui desu/

(2) 今日は、寒いです
/kyou wa, samui desu ne/

(3) 今日は、寒いです
/kyou wa, samui desu yo/

(4) 今日は、寒いです
/kyou wa, samui desu ka/

The last sentence (4) 今日は寒いですか is a question form. Maybe you've already learned it before. Xですか means "is it X?". Okay, then I add one more sentence.

(5) 今日は、寒い
/kyou wa samui ka/

It can be used as a question, but it usually indicates another situation. I'll explain it later.

Let's start from the first sentence.
(1) 今日は、寒いです。
It simply means "It is cold today." You know, です makes the sentence polite, so if you're talking with your friends or family, you can put です away and just say 今日は、寒い

Let's move on.
(2) 今日は、寒いです or 今日は、寒い as its casual form.
If we're talking to someone, we tend to add at the end of the sentence to make it sound more friendly. is often translated as "don't you think so?" or "isn't it?" We use it to confirm the information.

In other words, it indicates that you're sharing the information (in this case, the information is 今日は寒い) with the other person.
And it indicates that the other person might already know the information.

a) これはあなたのお父(とう)さんのカバンです。
This is your father's bag.
* You show the bag to the other person. It doesn't matter if he knows that the bag is his father's, but you just tell him the fact.

b) これはあなたのお父(とう)さんのカバンです
This is your father's bag, right?
* You know that he already know it's his father's bag.

Oh, do you remember how to say "give a like" in Japanese? I wrote it in my previous post.
We say イイネ! This words, イイネ, consists of 良い (good) + ね. So it literally means "it's good!" In all cases,  brings us closer!!:)

By the way, we sometimes say いい to refuse something. It's confusing, though.
For example;
Try some Taiwanese stinky tofu. It's yummy.
No, I'll pass.

So if I say いいね, I agree to your idea. But if I say いい, it means I wouldn't like to.
Agree or disagree, that is the question. Haha

Well, I'll write about the rest next week. Maybe!
*Japanese Word of the Day*
「寒いね」と 話しかければ 「寒いね」と 答える人のいるあたたかさ
/samuine to hanashikakereba samuine to kotaeru hito no iru atatakasa/

I said "it's cold"
You reply "it is"
That makes me feel warm

*話(はな)しかける /hanashikakeru/ to speak to someone
 →話しかければ when I speak to, if I speak to

*答(こた)える /kotaeru/ to reply, to answer

*いる /iru/ to exist, to be there

*あたたかい /atatakai/ warm
あたたかさ /atatakasa/ warmth

This is a famous Japanese poem composed by Machi Tawara. You won't feel alone (cold) as long as there's someone to answer. Do you like it?

Thank you for reading! Bye (^_-)-

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Battle Against...?!

Hey, I didn't notice that the previous blog post was my 100th one! Congratulations to me! XD
All your comments and messages have motivated me a lot, thank you guys!!

Today I want to share a funny TV commercial with you!


The Battle Against RIA-JU

*リア獣 /ria-ju/ is basically written as リア充 /ria-ju/ which is mainly used among Otaku. It's kinda internet slang. リア充 /ria-ju/ is abbreviation of リアルの生活が実している人 (The person who's REAL life is good and fulfilling). means "a beast" by the way.

Hey, look!! RIA-JU is coming!!

Run, everybody!! Hurry up!!

Here it comes!! RIA-JU!!

My girlfriend's homemade dish is awesome!!

He's raging on to get "Like"!

Shut up! Who cares!?

I've been so busy that I haven't slept in 40 hours

There you go again, busy-bragging!!

Look, Hashimoto gives a "Like"!
*Hashimoto is one of the common family names in Japan

He gives a "Like" to everything...

Give a "Like" right now, or you'll be hated!!

No, never!!

I'd give a "Like" only when I really like it!!


Do you want to see more? Check these posts!
- How Japanese People Think of English
- Have you met an alien before?
- Japanese Traditional Folktale(1), (2)