Archive for the ‘japanese’ Category

Once you have a dirty mind, apparently you just can’t stop making this sort of connections:


(Translation: Telescope

so boastful

but then it retracts again(1))

Apparently, for some pornographers, telescopes were very evocative of penises.


(Translation: The place we’re heading to now

is the where the telescopes are

on the Yushima hill(1))

Apparently, other pornographers were clever enough to notice that the Yushima hill had plenty of telescopes-telescopes and male prostitutes with their telescopes, and promptly exploited the bad (oh Cthulhu, so bad) pun in poetry.

Earth, it’s such an amazing place to live.

Even without a telescope (to look at the stars)

ETA: Poems quoted in: Screech, Timon, Sex and the Floating World.

(1) This is my own translation, which means: 1) it’s very loose, 2) the innuendo is translated without regard for the literal meaning 3) also, I fail as a translator and human being, and also should never touch any poetry ever with my filthy little fingers that are connected to a mind that hates poetry and defaults to prose immediately, and woe. Woe!


(I wanted to something completely different, but lost the book with visual aids. Can you believe it?)

Bishop of Homoco, or, in the correct Japanese transcription Honmoku, is the assumed name of possibly Hoffman Atkinson (at least according to S. Kaiser; different theories, however, do exist), who in 1879 published the second edition of the non-existent first edition of Exercises in the Yokohama Dialect. The whole book might have started out as a joke; however,  it soon took on a life of its own, occasionally popping up on internet forums to this day, mostly when the silly Asians need to be made fun of:

The reason it’s so important is that it contains the earliest examples of the “Chinese” pidgin, written in a crappy English transcription, such as:

“Am buy worry arimas?” (<— Anbai warui arimasu? <– Are you be ill?)


Cocoanuts arimas” (<— Kokonotsu arimasu <— It’s be nine)

What a joker. NUH-HUH.

(As a matter of fact, I strongly dislike the sort of HURR DURR humour where you use “foreign” sounding absurd and/or offensive phrases to make fun of a language they’re supposed to imitate. Pfff.

Is there a name for that sort of thing? There might be, and I prefer to label things I prefer to avoid)

ETA: You can read the entire book here.  The formatting seems to be pretty bizarre, though.

(Scan ganked from Baacharu nihongo. Yakuwarigo no nazo by Satoshi Kinsui)

Recently, I’ve been reading this book (oh, it’s famous! There’s even an English translation. I didn’t know that, huh). It’s pure escapism, I know. But Chiaki told me to read it, and it’s actually fun.

(Very very snotty, pretentious fun)

(It’s not even pretentious. It’s just that—)

— It’s just that Natsuhiko Kyougoku uses Chinese characters as penile substitutes.

Some people have cars. Some people build phallic monuments, like stelae. Some people actually have penises.

Natsuhiko Kyougoku*, however, uses Chinese characters to reaffirm his masculinity**.

(There’s this whole issue, where Chinese characters are statistically more likely to be used in media whose target are men. According to Smith& Schmidt, “Variability in written Japanese: Towards a sociolinguistics of a script choice”, Visible Language 30, mystery and business novels for adult men have the highest proportion of Chinese characters, and romance novels aimed at women have the highest proportion of hiragana; the highest proportion of katakana is to be found in books aimed at a younger audience. However, why would be mystery novels aimed at men and not both genders is something that’s completely beyond me. LOL, romance, whut.)

But I digress.

Anyway, what he does is (and I’ve only just started the book, so there must be more awesome examples in the next 500 pages or so):

a) to write 摑まる*** instead of 捕まる (meaning: catch, arrest). Not only is it the rarer form of the character, it’s also the pre-writing reform form (摑まる vs 掴まる). Of course, I know that, because I’m brilliant, but, for real, it might have been the first time I’ve seen it used in modern literature.

b) to evilly use the word ubame instead of uba (nursing mother) or something, and furthermore, write it with ateji (??? I don’t even know, really, and personally, I wouldn’t think that 故 is an ateji for “u”. I might just not know though: ateji are not exactly my area of expertise), like that 故獲馬 (as opposed to the typical 乳母、乳母女 — uba, ubame). This is a part of the title though, so there is a possibility that those characters are supposed a profound and, for me, still secret, meaning.

c) to evilly write  検討 with 検闘 (it means to examine), because, obviously, the bigger the better.

d) to evilly write  ごまかす (trick, cheat) with Chinese characters thus 誤魔化す; which is evil and terrible, if you don’t know how to read them****, as this spelling appears not to be present in my Koujien actually (le gasp).

e) to evilly write iwayuru (so-called) with Chinese characters 所謂, which simple and pure evil, and for which there is no excuse.

f) to evilly write 切っ掛け like this 契機 (cue). At least he had the decency to actually use furigana for that one, though.

And it’s only a little bit of the stuff from the first 30 pages or so. Awesome.

(I could of course, just say that he uses the Chinese characters to make the entire text feel old and/or archaic, but where would be fun in that? I prefer penile subsitutes.  As his bizarre Wikipedia page explains:

Kyogoku can use DTP software perfectly, so he freely writes old-fashioned characters and ateji characters with the purpose of capturing old Japanese atmosphere in his novels. However, such characters are difficult even for Japanese people to read.

So, predictably, I’ve no idea about his proficiency with the software, but the thing about the characters? It’s true.)

* Whoa, his Wikipedia page is absolutely bizarre. It just screams NPOV  NPOV NPOV NPOV issues, and also reads like an ad. Great work! ( / sarcasm )

** It would be awesome if it turned out he’s actually a woman. I for one would be ecstatic.

*** This character killed my Anthy. CURSE YOU UBUNTU CURSE YOU.

**** I did, of course.

So, I participated in the programme three times, in Oogawara, Ishinomaki and Sendai; all three times I was the ALT.

Short version: Fun, fun, fun, DIALECTS :D :D :D

Long version behind the cut.


Words I learned today (2)

Posted: August 14, 2009 in japanese, words
Tags: ,

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry anymore.

(It was fun, though, and and and! The essay os done, so)

(Oh, the joys of philosophy of science)

補助仮説 auxiliary hypothesis

反駁 rebuttal

円軌道 circular orbit

離心円eccentric circle

軌道離心率 orbital eccentricity


萎む (しぼむ)wither, shrivel

良識 bon sense (at this point, I had no words)

明晰 one more synonym for “clear”

(Also, I hate Ubuntu JJ with the burning passion of ten thousand supernovas. It killed my FF. My FF won’t let me access Pharyngula. This. Is. Simply. Not. Acceptable.

Fortunately, I found this.

Srsly, something must be done about this though. Hopefully it will involve pitchforks and an angry mob D:

I mean, life without Pharyngula*? IMPOSSIBLE)

(*Did I just discovered where the life come from? Yay)

So, you feel oppressed by the Japanese honorifics? You feel they make you speak in a subservient, obsequious manner? You’re slightly nauseous whenever you have to bow? You feel ridiculous, using all those verbs that suddenly get longer and longer and longer, while you could just as well say the same thing using half as many words? Not to mention, shorter verbs? And what’s the deal with the polite language anyway? Can’t we just all get along (insert “wah wah wah”)?

Well, BAM, you’re linguistically incompetent, at least as far as Japanese is concerned. I’ll now proceed to tell you why, in excruciating detail.

First off, let’s split it up!

(Of course, it would be best to read it all)

1. If your first language doesn’t have polite forms at all, like English, Hebrew or Chinese, etc.

2. If your first language has got some polite language, like French, German, Polish, etc.

3. If you’re just really fed up with all this.