Category Archives: Japanese

Greetings from a distant riverside

If only the poets of Chinese Antiquity had had video chat, right? 渭樹江雲i.ju.kou.un Literally: Wei river – tree – large river – cloud Alternately: To miss, to think fondly of, or to worry about a friend who is far away. … Continue reading

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Suddenly, given the bird

Imagine if it did just literally “stand up,” though! 足下から鳥が立つ(Ashimoto kara tori ga tatsu;“A bird takes flight at one’s feet”) Definition: An expression of startlement. Something happens suddenly close at hand, or someone abruptly begins doing an activity, especially if … Continue reading

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Vignette: the Vampire’s Visit

(The Kid has been practicing writing Japanese every day for a couple of years now. These days he writes enough to fill about 3/4 of a wide-ruled notebook page – with each row of characters taking up two lines for … Continue reading

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Ooh, yeah; uh, no?

有耶無耶u.ya.mu.ya Literally: exist – [interrogative particle] – not – [interrogative particle] Alternately: Vague; unclear; noncommittal; unsettled; indefinite; obscure. It’s not clear whether something is, or is not there, or in a certain state, etc. Notes: 曖昧模糊 and 五里霧中 are both considered … Continue reading

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How about umeboshi?

Benign when it’s just a matter of taste 亭主の好きな赤烏帽子(Teishu no suki na akaeboshi;“The master’s favored red hat”) Definition: When someone with power (e.g. the head of a household) has some odd or nonstandard tendency, everyone under them has to follow … Continue reading

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The preferred state of Mucha

無我夢中mu.ga.mu.chuu Literally: nothing – self – dream – middle / inside Alternately: Utterly absorbed in something; a state of deep concentration or focus. This is usually positive, but it can be negative, as in losing oneself in something; losing control … Continue reading

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Personal growth vis-a-vis other people’s persons

Don’t pick your nose; just pick your friends! 益者三友、損者三友(Ekisha san’yuu, sonsha san’yuu;“Three beneficial friends, three harmful friends”) Definition: There are three kinds of friends who are good for you and three kinds who are bad for you. The beneficial kinds … Continue reading

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A compassionate landslide

磊磊落落rai.rai.raku.raku Literally: “many stones” – “many stones” – fall – fall Alternately: Generous; tolerant; forgiving; not stressing over little things. Notes: This is a phrase that creates emphasis by doubling: 磊落 (rairaku) on its own has the same meaning. 豪放磊落 … Continue reading

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“Our chain of love”

…but hard to shake once taken on 子は三界の首枷(Ko wa sangai no kubikase;“A child is a binding for all time”) Definition: A connection with a child is a strong bond that affects you for your entire life. Even after the logistical … Continue reading

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The bread and butter of foreign affairs

As long as it doesn’t devolve into something like the Butter Battle Book? 内政干渉nai.sei.kan.shou Literally: inside – government – dry / ebb / interfere – ford [a river] / involve Alternately: Interference in another country’s government or domestic politics. Interventionism. … Continue reading

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