Saturday, September 26, 2009

Facing True 21st Century Complaints (Singapore)

I'm really glad this one-and-a-half-month-old japanese language blog got readers so diverse. I never expected such a thing to happen. Click on the flag counter on the side panel or just look at the picture below:

It's an unusual demographics for an english language blog.

I'm about to start an off-topic line of posts that should be of interest of this unusual readers base.

So, here is my first try.

I'm russian learning japanese. Both nations modernization started in 19th century, even same decades: 1860-1880s. Part of my fascination with Japan comes from the feeling that despite the 20th century turmoils and wars, both Russia and Japan, in different ways, still are a broken traditional societies. And I like to spot differences cause it makes a difference.

To make my point clear: one of the traditional society's striking features, among with paternalistic politics and gender inequality, is that it cares much about how it is seen from outside. Both russians and japanese care.

Looking at mainland China through an exceptional photoblog, I find Chinese no different - both Japan and USSR can provide similar images from 1950-1960s. Chinese commit it on 10 times bigger scale, but it's still the same images of cracked traditional society. Generation later, in 20 years or so, a relics of the chinese traditional society will be broken, same as russians and japanese experienced earlier.

It also happens that last 7 years I live in US and I've many friends in Europe. I must say that english speakers, French and few other european nations care little about how foreigners see them. I attribute it to the fact that they are truly individualistic societies, their traditional values are not just broken, but in fact, they're gone. Including Germany now.

With European influence doomed to shrink in 21st century due to the scary demographics, the question is: What the mid 21st century life will look like for the most of the world population? This is a  question to ask because the majority of word population in Asia will be facing a society change that made most of Europeans and Japanese willing to engage in two major wars.

This is Complaints Choir of Singapore video. Somehow it  blows my mind. Choir singers are of all ages, many races and various faith. They are prohibited by their government to perform on public. However, they didn't go to war against the system or whatsoever.

They found a way to vocal their 21st century complaints in old nation's parliament building. They recorded and posted it on youtube. They truly are from 21st century. And this century may not be as bad as 20th. LOL!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Post Pet Momobin ポストペットモモ便 - Episode 2 Transcript


Momo and Komomo can deliver mail from anyone, to anyone. To anywhere in the world, the galaxy, or the universe. Under the sea, high up in the clouds, and around the corner. To the past, the present, or the future. They both work tirelessly to insure that the important letters of people are delivered, while Komomo also works hard to keep the ever distracted Momo on task.


  • post (service), convenience, service
  • ベン、ビン
  • びん, たよ.り
ポストペットモモ便  posutopetto momo bin

  • ordinal number prefix (-th; -st; -nd; No.); residence
  • ダイ 
consists of two parts,
the top part is:

  • bamboo, bamboo tablets
  • チク chiku
  • たけ take
The lower part is:

  • younger brother; faithful service to elders, order
  • テイ、ダイ、デ  tei, dai, de
  • おとうと  otouto 
Together bamboo and order make 第 - literally means "put bamboo tablets in order".  第二   だいさん number two

  • talk; story; tale
  • ワ wa
  • はな.す、はなし  hana su, hanashi
Kanji 話 consists of two parts, the left part is: 

  • say; speech; language
  • ゲン、ゴン  gen gon
  • い.う、こと  i u koto 
the lower part is mouth, so it's a mouth speaking a stream of four words

  • tongue; reed; clapper
  • ゼツ  zetsu
  • した  shita

the lower part is mouth again, but it's a "dry" 干 mouth, most likely cause it's telling stories too much...

Speech  and dry mouth make a 話 - story together.

  • roof; universe; heaven
  • u

  • mid-air; air; space; sky; memorization; interval of time
  • チュウ chuu
宇宙 - うちゅう - the universe, space
Both kanji are under "roof" but the first one has non-general-use character "from/emerge/go" and the second one has "reason" 由 under the roof - emerging reason under same roof

  • trip; travel; journey
  • リョ  ruo
  • たび  tabi
Now, finally, the transcript: 

第二話 はじめての、宇宙の旅
dainiwa hajimetono uchuinotabi
The second story/episode, The first Space Odyssey.

momobin des deru kai
  • deru でる   出る go out   
  • kuiくいき limit 
  • derukai? no limits

momo to komomo na kyamimo tuke kurerunda ???????

kako kara mirai
  • かこ 過去 past
  • から from
  • みらい 未来 future
umino soko kara uchi o no hatten made
  • umino ??? 
  • そこから sokokara - from here
  • uchi o no  宇宙の  -  in the universe 
  • はってん【発展】hatten  - expand     
    • はってん まで hatten  made - till the end of expansion (limits)

sa, kyo wa doko made yoku no ka na ?
  • さ well, now
  • きょ today
  • どこ まで doko made - how far
  • よく yoku ?????

mo one doko kayo  ?????

hajimete uchi o no tabesutta kudryavka ee
  • hajimete はじめて for the first time
  • uchi o no 宇宙の  in the universe 
  • tabesutta たびする  (past indicative) travel 
wake mo wa kara su
  • wake わけ reason
  • kara から  from
  • zu ず figure
mada dare mo itta kono nai  bachoni
  • mada まだ not yet
  • dore どれ who
  • itta kono nai いった  このない this did not go
  • ba ば place
hitori kiri tsurete ikare anata wa
  • hitori - 一人 one person
  • kiri きり only
  • tsureteiknai つれていかない【連れて行かない】to take someone (of lower status) along
nani o motte wo deshou ka
  • nani 何 what
  • motte もって by means of
  • deshou でしょう possibly
watashi wa  totte wo shiritai n desu
  • totte とって for
  • shiritaindesu しりたいんです【識りたいんです】I want to know
ahh godard sensei ne

professor obviously speaks some kind of slang I can't understand...may be old fashioned samurai??

nanji, sono goto  mu shinan no ga
  • sono goto そのごと this thing 
  • shinan しなんする give lesson
saijo uchi ni dobutsu wa inu daitta nya -
  • inu 犬 dog
sono nawa kudryavka!
  • nawa = namae wa
this phrase about 1957 experiment I can't even get.... so I skip it

soo yokatta ka
  •  yokatta よかった【余暇】thats good
in kudryavka's place

kudryavka san!
ari dare mo noyo
  • dare だれ who
ahh okoteiru
  • okoiteru おこる【怒る】angry
 tigami tigami tigami tigami!
  • tigami てがみ letter
 oshigoto kangio
  • oshigoto お仕事 the job
  • kangio が完了する complete
It took me too long, have to go... if you can fix what I've done wrong and what I did not get (in red ink) please leave a comment! I really appreciate it!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Class Ad, 全席


Fuasuto kurasu no okekusama
ファーストクラス の  おきゃくさま
first class customers
mainichi oshigoto
まいにち【毎日おしごと お仕事
daily work hardly

goku no sem ----> goku rou san
ごくのせん ----> ごくろうさん(ご苦労さん)
extremely  special ----> extremey hmmm

dokono fuasuto kurasu  na no ----> dokoga fuasuto kurasu  na no
どこの ファーストクラス なの  ----> どこが(何処が)ファーストクラス なの
where first class name -----> where first class name

toni kaku namae no -------> toni kaku namae ga
とにかく【何処】なまえ の ------> とにかく なまえ(名前)が
in any case, name is


*red: my impaired japanese hearing was fixed by friend-in-twitter @cyacyai:) ありがと!

  • whole; entire; all; complete; fulfill
  • ゼン zen
  • まった.く  matta ku
 King under cover /\

  • seat; place;
  • セキ  seki
ファーストクラス fua-sutokurasu - first class

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FLCL ending theme transcript

I love FLCL anime. So I tried to make a perfect interactive transcript of the furicuri ending theme but boring html editing made me tired. So here it is: as is. Sounds are the result of a simple hack.

オレンジのスライド映す空 orange no suraida utsusu sora
orenji - orange
suraido - slide
す うつす utsusu, reflect; reflection;
そら sora, empty sky

スポンジのプライドぶらさげて suponji no puraido burasakete
suponji - sponge
puraido - pride
ぶらさげて burasakete - to hung, to suspend

スパイダ- supaida
supaida - spider

生け捕ったその頼エは kike totta sono yokan wa - The apprehension that was caught alive

隠さなくたっていいんだ kakusanaku tatte ii n da - It's okay even if I don't hide it
くす kakusu - to hide
tatte - although, even though, even if
ii - good

色のついた夢見たいな iro no tsuita yume mitai na
iro - color
tsui - just
yume - dream
mitai - like
The rest of the song is here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Japanese Verbs Conditional Forms, ~eba ~ば, ~reba ~れば and ~tara たら form.


Conditional ~ba ば form

This form makes the conditional clause meaning "If", "when" or "in case", and this conditional pattern is called the ~ba-conditional because the conditional form ends with ba.

The ~ba/~eba conditional form is characterized by the final ~u becoming ~eba for godan stem verbs, and ~ru becoming ~reba for yodan stem verbs.

I'm not sure that conditional polite form is well conjugated and if, it's in use at all. When trying to google it, not much pops up. You may need to disregard the polite form below.

Group 1: ~ U ending verbs (godan)

to speak(話) hanaseba はなせ hanasimaseba はなし
to write(書) kakeba かけ kakimaseba かきませ
to listen (聞) kikeba きけ kikimaseba ききませ
to wait(待つ) mateba まて matimaseba まちませ
to drink(飲む)nomimaseba のめませ nomimasimaseba のみましませ

Group 2: ~ Iru and ~ Eru ending verbs (yodan)

to wear (着る) kirebaれば kimasurebaますれば
to see (見る) mirebaれば mimasurebaますれば
to get up (起きる) okireba おきれば okimasureba おきますれば
to get off (降りる) orireba おりれば orimasureba おりますれば
to believe(信じる) shinjireba しんじれば shinjimasureba しんじますれば

Group 3: Irregular Verbs くる (kuru) and ~する (~suru)

to come (来る) kurebaれば  
to do (る) surebaれば  
to study(勉強する)benkyou-suureba べんきょうすれば

Here are few examples:

  • 何すればいいか nani sureba ii ka: "What should I do?" (lit. "It would be good if I did what?")
  • 分かればいい wakareba ii: "As long as you understand" (lit. "If you understand, it is good.")
  • 時間があれば買い物をしよう jikan ga areba, kaimono wo shiyou: "If there's time, let's go shopping."
The ~eba/~reba form is not the only one used to express a conditional in Japanese.

Conditional ~tara たら form

Conditional clauses are also made by the past tense ~ta form with ~ra added: ~tara.

Group 1: ~ U ending verbs (godan)

to speak(話) hanashitara はなしたら hanashimashitara はなししたら
to write(書) kaitara かいたら kakimashitara かきしたら
to listen (聞) kiitara きいたら  kikimashitara ききしたら
to wait(待つ) mattara まったら machimashitara まちしたら
to drink(飲む)nondara のめまししたら nomimashitara のめまししたら

Group 2: ~ Iru and ~ Eru ending verbs (yodan)

to wear (着る) kitara きた kimashitaraしたら
to see (見る) mitara みた mimashitaraしたら
to get up (起きる) okitara おきた okimashitara おきしたら
to get off (降りる) oritara おりた orimashitara おりしたら
to believe(信じる) shinjitara しんじた shinjimashitara しんじしたら

Group 3: Irregular Verbs くる (kuru) and ~する (~suru)

to come (来る) kitara こた  kimashitara きしたら
to do (る) shitara した  shimashitara ししたら
to study(勉強する)benkyou-shitara べんきょうした benkyou-shimashitara べんきょうししたら

The conditional ~ra form can be used in the same way as the conditional ~eba form. However, it can also be used to mean more like "if and when", and it is typically preferred over the eba form when this meaning is more accurate. For example:

  • 日本に行ったら、カメラを買いたい。nihon ni ittara, kamera wo kaitai: "If I go to Japan, then (when that has happened) I want to buy a camera."

The conditional ra form can also be used when the main clause is in the past tense. In such situations, it means "when", and carries the additional implication that the result was unexpected. For example:

  • 喫茶店に行ったら、鈴木さんに出会った。kissaten ni ittara, Suzuki-san ni deatta: "When I went to the cafe, I came across(deatta) Suzuki."

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Rigth Place" by Kosai Sekine Transcript 骨 肉

Discovered Kosai Sekine at @turtlejp 's Musings of the Digital Turtle blog.

Boku wa hitori skoshi kawatteiru
  • hitori ひとり一人】(one, single) person
  • skoshi すこし - little bit
  • kawatteiru かわっている変わっている】- different
Dakara umakuikanai toki mo aru
  • dakara だから so, therefore
  • umakuiku うまくいく to go smoothly
  • umakuikanaiうまくいかない to go badly
  • tokidoki ときどき時々 sometimes
  • toki mo aru ときもある - there are times
Demo, boku wa sore wa fua motto wasuraushinai
  • fuwa ふわ不和 disharmony
  • motto もっと more
  • wasurau わずらう煩う to worry about
  • wasuraushinai わずらうしない not to worry about
  • なぜなら何故なら because
Boku no ma ori no subete no mono ni tadashi ichi ga aru yo ne
  • true/truth
  • ori おり oppotumity
  • subete すべて every(thing)
  • mono もの thing
  • tadashi ただし however
  • ichi いち one
  • aru ある there is
  • ne ね isn't it?
Kono sekai no toko nakaniwa
Boku jishi ni totte mo tadashi ichi ga ru hatsu takara
  • kono この this
  • sekai せかい world
  • toko とこ place
  • nakaniwa なかには中には】some
  • bokujishi ぼくじし me (respectfully) ???
  • totte とって for
  • tadashi ただし however
  • ichi いち me
  • aru ある is
  • hatsu はつ first
  • takara たから that's why
Sou, kono sekai no toko nakaniwa

Boku wa sore wa shinjite ru
  • sore それ that
  • shinji しんじ神事 miracle
  • shinjite しんじて信じて】+る beleive in

The katakana part below kanji means スタッフ神事 staff member.

The first kanji is a combination of a non general use character that means "thorn", combined with "woman" and "stop". The thorn=spine here, stop feels in place too. However, I'm not 100% sure what the first kanji combination means together because of the "woman" occurence. Please leave a comment below if you know...

  • bone; skeleton; remains; frame
  • コツ kotsu
  • ほね hone
The upper part is "skull and vertebrae" and means "bones".
The lower part:

  • meat, flesh
  • ニク miku
  • *
Together they make "the bone that carries flesh", "skeleton".

Japanese Verbs Casuative Form, ~aseru ~ せる, ~saseru ~させる

Causative form are used to indicate an action that someone makes happen. The causative verb means to "make it so". This verb is usually used in the context of making somebody do something.

Japanese casuative form conjugation is very similar to a passive form conjugation. The causative forms are characterized by the final
  • ~u becoming ~aseru for godan verbs, and
  • ~ru becoming ~saseru for yodan stem verbs.
Group 1: ~ U ending verbs (godan)

to speak(話) hanasaseru はなさせる hanasasemasu はなさます
to write(書) kakaseru かかせる kakasemasu かかます
to listen (聞) kikaseru きかせる kikasemasu きかます
to wait(待つ) mataseru またせる matasemasu またます
to drink(飲む)nomaseru のませる nomasemasu のまます

Group 2: ~ Iru and ~ Eru ending verbs (yodan)

to wear (着る) kisaseruさせる kisasemasuさせます
to see (見る) misaseruさせる misasemasuさせます
to get up (起きる) okisaseru おきさせる okisasemasu おきさせます
to get off (降りる) orisaseru おりさせる orisasemasu おりさせます
to believe(信じる) shinjisaseru しんじさせる shinjisasemasu しんじさせます

Group 3: Irregular Verbs くる (kuru) and ~する (~suru)

to come (来る) kosaseruさせる kosasemasuさせます
to do (る) saseruせる sasemasuます
to study(勉強する)benkyou-saseru べんきょうさせる benkyou-sasemasu べんきょうさます

先生学生宿題たくさんさせた。 sensei ga gakusei ni shoukutai wo takusansaseta - Teacher made students do lots of homework.

先生質問たくさん聞かせてくれた。sensei ga shitsumon wo takusan kikasete kureta
- Teacher let [someone] ask lots of questions.

今日仕事休ませてください。kyou wa shigoto wo yasumasete kudasai
- Please let me rest from work today. (Please let me take the day off today.)

その部長は、よく長時間働かせる。sono buchyou wa yoku chyojikan hatarakaseru
- That manager often make [people] work long hours.

Asking for permission

When asking for permission to let someone do something, it is more common to use the ~てもいい (te moii) grammar.


  • トイレ行かせてくれ か。toire ni ikasete kuremasu ka - Can you let me go to the bathroom? (Sounds like a prisoner, even in English)

  • トイレ行っていいですか。toire ni itte moii desuka - Is it ok to go to the bathroom? (much better here)

Letting (somebody) to do (something)

It can also mean to let someone do something. A verb in the causative form can mean either making or letting someone do something. When the causative form is used with あげる (ageru) and くれる (kureru), it almost always means to "let someone do".

全部食べさせた。zenbu tabesaseta - Made/Let (someone) eat it all.
全部食べさせてくれた。zenbu tabesasete kureta- Let (someone) eat it all.

Rough Slang Casuative Form

There is a shorter version of the causative conjugation mostly used in very rough slang. Textbooks usually don't cover this version of the causative verb.Skip it if don't need.

The first part of the conjugation is the same as the original causative form. However, for godan u-verbs, you attach す ~su instead of せる ~ seru, and for yodan ru-verbs, instead of using させる (~saseru) , you attach さす ~sasu.

As a result, all the verbs become an u-verb ending in す ~su.

  • 同じこと何回言わす! onaji koto wo nankai mo iwasu na - Don't make me say the same thing again and again!
  • お腹空いているんだから、なんか食べさしてくれよ。onaka akuiteirun dakara, nanka tabesashite kuryo - I'm hungry so let me eat something.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Japanese Verbs Passive Form, ~areru ~れる, ~rareru ~られる

In Japanese Verbs Case Study - "tsukuru 作る" post, I faced japanese passive verb form for a first time. I'm going to look at this form here.

Passive voice meaning is is [done] (by ...); will be [done] (by ...)
The conjugation for the passive voice is that u becomes areru.
For Godan: [あ-stem] + れる
For Ichidan: [root] + られる

Group 1: ~ U ending verbs (godan)

to speak(話) hanasareru はなされる hanasaremasu はなさます
to write(書) kakareru かかれる kakaremasu かかます
to listen (聞) kikareru きかれる kikaremasu きかます
to wait(待つ) matareru またれる mataremasu またます
to drink(飲む)nomareru のまれる nomaremasu のまます

Group 2: ~ Iru and ~ Eru ending verbs (yodan)

to wear (着る) kirareruられる kiraremasuられます
to see (見る) mirareruられる miraremasuられます
to get up (起きる) okirareru おきられる okiraremasu おきられます
to get off (降りる) orirareru おりられる oriraremasu おりられます
to believe(信じる) shinjirareru しんじられる shinjiraremasu しんじられます

As always, yodan is easy.

Group 3: Irregular Verbs くる (kuru) and ~する (~suru)

to come (来る) korareruられる koraremasuられます
to do (る) sareruられる saremasuます
to study(勉強する)benkyou-sareru べんきょうさられる

Conjugating to the passive form results in the creation of a new ichidan(yodan) verb (even if the starting verb was godan). This resulting verb can be conjugated to give negatives, past tenses, presumptives, provisionals, polite forms, etc., just as any other ichidan verb.

Passive verb usage in a sentence

Passive form is similar in use to English and follows this pattern:

[subject] wa [agent] ni [transitive verb in passive form]

  • Shikata nai. Jibun wa ningen ni chikaku tsukurareteiru no da. It cannot be helped. I am constructed to be similar to a human being.
  • うどんは小麦粉から作られます。udon ha komugiko kara tsukuraremasu . Udon noodles are made from flour.
  • このテレビは東芝によって作られた kono terebi wa Toshiba ni yotte tsukurareta. This TV was made by Toshiba.
Transitive verbs vs. Intransitive verbs
A verb that needs a direct object to complete its meaning. Bring, enjoy, and prefer are transitive verbs.
A verb that does not need a direct object to complete its meaning. Run, sleep, travel, wonder, and die are all intransitive verbs.

Suffering (misfortune) passive form
Japanese has another kind of passive which conveys a notion of misfortune occurring to the subject:

[subject] wa [agent] ni [direct object] wo [transitive verb in passive form]
[subject] wa [agent] ni [intransitive verb in passive form].

  • kono keeki ha amerikajin ni yoku taberarete iru. This cake is often eaten by Americans.
  • watashi wa inu ni te wo kamareta. My hand was bitten by a dog.
Using passive form to show politeness
Japanese sentence is usually more polite when it is less direct. It is more polite to ask a negative question than a positive one. (For example, 「しますか?」 vs. 「 しませんか?」)

In a similar sense, using the passive form makes the sentence less direct because the subject does not directly perform the action. Here is the same phrase in increasing degrees of politeness.

The same sentence grows longer and longer as you get more and more indirect:

どうする dou suru What will you do? (lit: How do?)
どうします dou shimasu ka - Regular polite.
どうされます dou sarimasu ka - Passive polite.
どうなさいます dou nasaimasu ka - Honorific
どうなさいますでしょうか dou nasai masu deshyou ka - Honorific + a lesser degree of certainty.

明日会議行かれるんですか ashita no kaigi ni ikarirun desuka - Are you going to tomorrow's meeting?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How To Set Up A Trap For Your Japanese Friend

Are romaji and kana texts helpful? Or they're an evil invention aimed to deceive students and make their young lives hard?

I think students MUST NOT learn kana-ony version of japanese. This statement is easy to prove. You may like to conduct a following simple experiment:
  1. First, find a native Japanese friend,
  2. Set a trap for him or her: Go to coffee place together and chat;
  3. Ask your friend to explain any japanese phrase to you.
  4. Suddenly, while him or her is confident and relaxed, ask to write the phrase in kana only.
  5. Write something yourself in romaji or kana and ask your friend to read and understand it.
  6. Repeat 3 to 5.
In 8 cases of 10 you will see how hard it is for a native speaker to write and read without kanji!

I've got a strong feeling that reading Japanese texts in kana is more difficult than reading "normal" Japanese texts. I think this is true for foreign students as well. But at one condition: you must know the kanji that's in use it the text you read.

My current reading process can be debugged like this:
  • I look at the text;
  • I visually recognize kanji in the text;
  • If I know the kanji meaning it helps a lot allowing me to bypass "internal reading" stage, "internal hearing recognition" stage and "translation" stage". Of course it's for the kanji part only. But it saves a lot of brain power and it's fast!
  • Often, I know the phrase's meaning before I actually read it. In many cases I don't remember kanji phonetic reading but know what the kanji means;
  • After recognizing the kanji inclusions, I look at the surrounding kana to find endings and particles;
  • Japanese sentence grammar structure looks much more logical to me when I see words in their true kanji form.
I know, this may be a temporary state of my mind, but since it helps a lot, I'm going to adjust the way I learn.

My conclusion is following:
  • romaji is a useful invention, let it live.
  • kana-only student books must be destroyed!
What do you think?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Great Japanese Language Learning Tool: Livemocha!

Yesterday late night somebody twitted me a link to Today I returned to find out more and fell in love!

The site is simply great.
And it's free.
And lessons are fun.
And you can find language partners in minutes.
And... ...just too many things I love!

I found 10+ native Japanese interesting in learning Russian! Two were online while I was there, and one got my review of his russian exercise.

The only flaw I noticed was that some tests report "wrong" even if it's right because of double instance of the same word in the test answer choice, but it's so minor, rare and non-important comparing to overall site's idea, implementation and beauty, I don't even care.

This is me, a fresh livemocha fan!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Japanese Kanji for Money 金 銀 見 行 券 札 千


Japanese still use cash more often than americans, so having this note (arond $10) in your pocket helps a lot. There are merchants who're not accepting credit cards, mainly because cc transaction fees are around 5% or even higher in Japan.
To the topic:

  • gold, money, metal
  • キン、コン KIN KON
  • かね、かな kane kana
To me it's a "double jewell" under te roof. More scientific explanation it is "two golden nuggets under cover of the earth". It also said it used to be four nuggets but two disappeared. So this is also kanji for "inflation" - just kidding :).

Blogspot's thumbs for pictures are low res, so click on pictue above to see the note in greater details.

The first kanji that looks like squared "one" 一 in the "mouth" 口 has nothing to do with "one" or mouth. In fact, it is a stylized sun 日. Together with 本 they make 日本 - Nihon, Japan.

The next one is:

  • silver
  • ギン GIN
  • * shirogane
It consists of metal 金 and non general use charachter meaning stop. The second charachter, same as one in "look"

  • see; look at;
  • ケン KEN
  • み.る、み.える、み.せる
is said to be derived from eye 目.
While "look" is an eye on legs that "go", in "silver" it's an eye that turns around and looks with scrunity. Shirogane is white metal that needs careful examination.

  • go; carry out; conduct
  • コウ、ギョウ、アン KOU GYO AN
  • い.く、ゆ.く、おこな.う iku yuku okonau
Derived from a pictogram crossroad, together with "silver" it makes "bank",


  • ginkou
It makes me laugh how the masonic all-seeing-eye somehow sneaked to a Japanese kanji for a "bank" and through it to Japanese currency itself. A Thousand Years Conspiracy! Muhahaha!

Next is:

  • ticket
  • ケン KEN
  • *
It is used on the bank note in it's original meaning: "guarantee of safe conduct". So, 日本銀行券 means "nihon ginko's guarantee of safe conduct" or "guaranteed by Bank of Japan".
There is another kanji for bank notes:

  • tag; paper money; counter for bonds;
  • サツ SATSU
  • ふだ fuda
It consists of a tree and a man on his knees next to it, praying on the tree.

Two biggest kanji on the note are 千円 1000 en.

  • thousand
  • セン SAN
  • ち sa
All together they make 千円札 せんえんさつ san-en-satsu or 1000-yen bill!
The man on the note is: Natsume Kinnosuke (夏目金之助), better known by his pen name Natsume Sōseki (夏目 漱石, February 9, 1867 – December 9, 1916), is widely considered to be the foremost Japanese novelist of the Meiji Era (1868–1912).

Japanese Verbs Case Study - "tsukuru 作る"

I've learned something about Japanese verbs. In this post I want to look at one particular verb:
  • to make: 作る (つくる) tsukuru
in attempt to find out how japanese use it in different situations and in different ways. As well as to find out what I miss.

One thing to say about my native russian: russians have no idea about "sentence's correct words order". They use their own set of noun~endings to mark subjects and objects in a sentence. It is both good (for understanding foreign languages) and bad (for speaking foreign languages). So please don't blame me for "my" japanese translations because they are in fact japanese-to-russian and only written in english for a sake of blogging :).

First, bit of kanji. 作る is made of:

  • make; manufacture; work; production; prepare; build
  • サク、サ SAKU, SA
  • つく.る tsuku
In fact this single kanji is verb's "base" つく. The first symbol in this kanji is a radical of "JIN/hito" means person here. The second one is "non general use" character expressing "make" and resembling a saw. So I'll remember this as "a person is going to make something with a saw."

First, I go to The Ultra Handy Japanese Verb Conjugator to find out related example sentences from and here they are:

いま あさごはん を つくって います
ima asagohan wo tsukutte imasu
now breakfast~wo make~tte is
I'm making breakfast now.
  • wo means that breakfast is a direct object, same as in さかなをたべます。 while subject is an omitted "watashi wa".
  • tsukutte is a ~te form of tsukuru. ~te here is about continuous action. Here what came to my mind before I realized this, and I was wrong: I see no trace of command ~te in this translation. So my guess the better translation is "I'm to make breakfast now". It's obviously broken English one but my goal is to understand how to use the verbs, and it seems much closer to the original to me.
れいぶん を みっつ つくって ください
reibun wo mittsu tsukutte kudasai
example~wo 3 make~te please
Please make three example sentences.
  • mitsu/3つ is a surprise to me, cause I thouhgt three is:
  • 三 san
  • three
  • サン SAN
  • み、み.つ、みっ.つ mi, mitsu
  • I guess that Japanese use kun reading to count things in speech?

アリ は つち の なか に す を つくります 。
ari ha tsuchi no naka ni su wo tsukurimasu .
ant~wa soil~no inside~in nest~wo make
Ants build nests underground.
  • First, I think is wrong again, ~ha is wrong reading unless Japanese use ~wa for humans and ~ha for animals of which me and google never heard.
  • Why soil ends with ~no I could not get until I connected "tsuchi-no-naka-ni" together. Once I did, I've got it: "(in) soil's inside", "tsuchi~no" = "soil's". So it is: Ants in soil's inside~in nest~wo build.
  • And the last, Japanese are polite to ants: tsukurimasu.
この サラダ は トマト と レタス で つくられている 。
kono sarada ha tomato to retasu de tsukurareteiru .
this salad~wa tomato~and lettuce~from made
This salad is composed of tomatoes and lettuce.
  • First, I notice ~to (and) and ~de (from). Please refer to this article to find out why I decided that de=from here.
  • Second, it's a first time I encounter passive verb form. And, it's different from passive respectful "make" 作られる tsukurareru.
  • I try to understand what "tsukurareteiru" is, and look what I read here: Conjugating to the passive form results in the creation of a new ichidan verb (even if the starting verb was godan). This resulting verb can be conjugated to give negatives, past tenses, presumptives, provisionals, polite forms, etc., just as any other ichidan verb.
  • My mind is blown off already, but I keep calming myself down. I try to conjugate it and see this. It works! Isn't it insane?
  • Now I try to understand what this "tsukurarete + iru" means. A verb's te form with iru is used to show present progressive tense. Terefore, my conclusion is that "tsukurarete iru" is "passive present progressive tense", a progressive equivalent of "made off". I don't think a beast like this exists in English. Not much google brings on, besides this wondeful dialog:
...doku ni okosareru kikai tte, dou nan da?
So uh, how exactly does a machine get poisoned?
Shikata nai. Jibun wa ningen ni chikaku tsukurareteiru no da.
It cannot be helped. I am constructed to be similar to a human being.

この はたけ で は むぎ を つくっています 。
kono hatake dewa mugi wo tsukutteimasu .
this field is from wheat made
We're growing wheat in this field.
  • Comparing to a previous one, this one is snap.
  • Except new to me usage of "dewa" as "made of "
  • Except polite present progressive tsukutte imasu.

その わん は じもと の しょくにん によって つくられた 。
sono wan wa jimoto no shokunin niyotte tsukurareta .
The bowl was made by a local craftsman.
  • again, ~ta form of "new-born" tsukurareru (passive make = made) verb
  • and another one below:

この ペン は とり の はね で つくられて います
kono pen ha tori no hane de tsukurarete imasu
This pen is made from a bird's feather.
  • Following two sentences show difference between tsukuraremasu and tsukurimasu clearly.
けっこん する と あたらしい こせき が つくられます 。
kekkon suru to atarashii koseki ga tsukuraremasu .
A new family register is made when a couple marry.

そぼ は つけもの を じぶん で つくります
sobo ha tsukemono wo jibun de tsukurimasu
My grandmother makes her own pickles.
  • while family record is passive and "made = tsukuraremasu", grandmother is active and "makes=tsukurimasu", same below
うどん は こむぎこ から つくられます 。
udon ha komugiko kara tsukuraremasu .
Udon noodles are made from flour.

かのじょ は まごころ を こめて かれ に ケーキ を つくった よ 。
kanojo ha magokoro wo komete kare ni ke-ki wo tsukutta yo .
She put her heart into baking him a cake.
  • Next is a sentence ending with yo:
ゆうしょく に わふう パスタ を つくった よ 。
yuushoku ni wafuu pasuta wo tsukutta yo .
I made Japanese-style pasta for supper.
  • Yo is usually used at the end of a short phrase or sentence. Its nuances are not easy to define, but it generally has two purposes: to emphasize an action, or to brag about one. Note: As in English, to correctly use the "brag" version you have to keep a straight, "no big deal" face.
Well, this exercise main result is that it shows I missed Passive or Respectful Expression form of japanese verbs. I need to learn it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

もののけ姫 Mononoke-hime Transcript

Here I try to boost my vocabulary with a few minutes of Mononoke-hime transript, another masterpiece of Hayao Miyazaki. Not like in the post on Tonari no Totoro Transcript, where I had actually to do much of the job, a perfect kana-romaji-english transcript for Mononoke is available. All I have to do is to turn on and hoover my Rikaichan-mouse to find out the words I don't know. I'm going to watch the whole movie shot by shot while referring the transcript. "Mononoke Hime" stands for "Ghost Princess" by the way.

[アシタカ] Ashitaka:


[カヤ] Kaya:

(older brother - sama)


Choudo yokatta. (exactly fine)
Good timing.

Hii-sama ga, mina mura e modore to ( grand-grandma-sama orders, everyone village turn back)
Hii-sama says everyone is to go back to the village.


Jii-ji mo, sou iu no (grandpa too, like that; no=ga since it's subordinate phrase)
Jii-ji also says so.


Jii-ji ka!? (grandpa say so?)


Yama ga okashii tte...... (mountain (are) strange; ~tte means it's grandpa's quote)
He said that the mountains are strange......

[少女B] (Shoujo B) Girl B:

Tori-tachi ga inai no (bird ~tachi (pluralizing suffix) less na=ga, subordinate again)
The birds have all disappeared.

[少女A] (Shoujo A) Girl A:

Kemono-tachi mo...... (beasts~tachi(plural) too...)
And all the creatures......


そうか 。
Sou ka. (Is that so?)
I see.

Jii-ji no tokoro e itte miyou.
I'm going to check on Jii-ji.

Minna wa hayaku modori nasai (everyone quickly return~nasai, nasai for simple command)
Everyone hurry back to the village!

[三人] (San-nin) The three {Girls}:

Yes sir!


Nanika kuru...... (something to come)
Something's coming......

Jii-ji, nan darou? (grandpa, what seems?)
Jii-ji, what can it be?

[山おじ] Yama-oji {AKA Jii-ji}:

Wakaranu. Hito dewa nai
I don't know. It's not human.


Mura no hou wa, Hii-sama ga mina o yobi modoshite iru (village direction (to),
grand-grandma-sama everybody to call back to get in)
Back at the village, Hii-sama is calling for everyone to return.


It comes......

Tatari-gami da! (cursed god it is!)
It's a Tatari-gami!



Yakkuru, nigero!!
Yakkuru, run (away)!!

Mura no hou e iku!! (village area proceeds!)
It's headed towards the village!!

Osou ki da (to attack intention~da)
It's going to attack!



Tatari-gami ni te o dasu na. (cursed god touch~na)
Don't touch the Tatari-gami.

Noroi o morau zo!! (curse to receive~zo!)
You'll be cursed if you do!!



鎮まれ! 鎮まりたまえ!
Shizumare! Shizumari tamae!
Calm! Calm down!

Sazokashi na no aru yama no nushi to miuketa ga,
Surely you are to all appearances a mountain god of name,

naze sono you ni araburu no ka?
but why do you rampage like this?