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Archive for January, 2011

Every little thing in my ordinary life 42

January 29, 2011 2 comments

his LEXUS just became useless
I just thought I was able to go home earlier than expected a few days ago, but a phone call from my president didn’t let it happen.
‘Hey, I’m sure you have booster cables. The battery of my car has died. Just bring the cables with you’, said he.
Yes. I used to go skiing until I became 29 years old. I have several things like booster cables in my car just in case. I came to help him at the time that he asked. It was so cold outside.
He was already in front of his car and was waiting for me with perfect winter clothes. I just assumed that it was quite easy to boost the battery, so I thought there should be no problem even if I got out in my coat. That was totally my fault.
‘Pull over your car. No. Don’t reverse, just park your car as it is. The battery is in the trunk.’ said he.
His car, LEXUS LS600, has the battery in the trunk because it is a hybrid car. I just parked my car and opened the hood. All we had to do was just connect both batteries. It was a piece of cake.
‘Actually, I don’t know how to put off the lid.’ said he.
At first, we got off the main board of the trunk and found wrenches at the bottom of the trunk. However, we didn’t know why, we couldn’t take them!
‘Okay, I’ll bring my wrenches in my car.’ I said it to him and brought my wrenches in my car. It was so cold that I also put on my coat. We didn’t know how long it took, but finally, we opened the lid.
‘At last. Oh, watch out for the order to connect the batteries.’ said he.
‘Yeah, I know.’ said I.
His car had finally come back to its life. Anyway, such expensive cars become mere junk as long as they don’t work.

He loves Mike
I have a nephew who is just a year old. My sister wants him to be able to speak English, so she shows him a lot of things in English. His recent favorite is Mike Wazowski, a character of a movie ‘Monsters, Inc.’.

Every time he comes to my home, he says ‘Mike, Mike’ looking at the case of the DVD. He smiles at me mimicing Mike’s phrases, such as ‘Think romantical thoughts, you and me, me and you, both of us together’ or ‘Ooh, the love boat is about to set sail. Bong! Bong!’

Incidentally, he likes Buzz Lightyear, too.

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Categories: My diaries

The boughs that bear most, hang lowest

January 28, 2011 6 comments

At first, please watch two footages. I would like you to pay much attention to their bow at a specific time.

Around 1:30

Around 2:30

‘Never take your eyes off your opponent’, Bruce Lee said. However, I think it’s a bit extraordinal case. You can, I mean, you should, look away if you want to bow in a Japanese formal way.

Let me explain how to bow to you. Broadly speaking, there are three types of how to bow, which are called ‘eshaku‘, ‘keirei‘, saikeirei‘.

eshaku
The most casual bowing. You can do it when you run across someone. Saying ‘kon nichi wa(hello)’, etc., you shold bow lightly. It would be better if you dropped your eyes modestly from the person at the moment you’re bowing. It would be no problem for you to stop walking if the person were your friends, your neighbors, or colleagues.

keirei
It is probably the most common way you see at the beginning and the end of meetings. You also have to glance down, not keep looking at the person’s eyes. I’m not sure, but it would be better for you to look at the person’s toes when you’re bowing. One more thing, you should stop moving, stand upright, and look at the person’s eyes right before bowing. Stop moving, standing upright, looking at the eyes, and bowing.

keirei is often used when you bow before your seniors, superiors, customers, clients, and interviewers.

saikeirei
The most formal bowing to show your respect. At ceremonial scenes such as at funerals or weddings, saikeirei is used. You would have to bow to the emperors if you were Japanese. Don’t hold anything in your hands when bowing. Men should have your both hands straight along both sides of your body and women should lay your hand on another hand around below your navel. saikeirei is also used when you want to apologize seriously. I often do saikeirei because I make a lot of mistakes on my work.(just kidding)

Tilted angles are the big difference between the three types of bowing. I just found a good example. Please take a look at this image. If you were an interviewee, I think you would have to learn keirei at first.
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Some people might think it was controversial, though, it was a good example of saikeirei for non-Japanese. I just thought the President would have learned Japanese cultures in advance and tried to show his politeness. Look at the Empress. Her hands are being put on around her below navel.
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Anyway, forget what Bruce Lee and Miyagi-san are saying in the footages. Just glance down your eyes while bowing. That’s what matters most.

Categories: Japanese Culture

Too much respectful way might let someone cast regretful eyes

January 22, 2011 13 comments

It is said that Japanese are able to know or show their positions by changing ways to call someone. My friend who is interested in Japan and Japanese cultures just gave me an interesting topic about which words to add when you call someone in Japanese. I think it become a long article. This time, I’ll show you an example that you might feel strange and find it difficult to understand.

Do you know the words you should add at the end of someone’s name in Japanese? Like the word, ‘Sir’, we have several words, –san, –kun, –chan, etc. in order to show their respect, affections, or familiarity.

This is a part of my family tree. You can see red and blue arrows. At first, please take a look at red arrows.
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My younger sister has her husband. He is so kind and loves my sister. I am younger than him, but he has called me oni-san since he got married to her(a red arrow from her husband to me). It might sound strange to you. On the other hand, I’ve called him by his family name, like ‘Weasley-san'(another red arrow from me to her husband). To me, he is my younger brother-in-law, althouth he’s older than me. There are other ways to call instead of oni-san, which are ni-san, aniki, oni-, etc..

Incidentally, when it comes to the pronunciation, there’s no defference between ‘older blood brother’ in Japanese and ‘older brother-in-law’ in Japanese, oni-san. However, you can see the defference when the two words are written.

This is an ‘older blood brother'(We have another way to write, but this is the most common way, I think).
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This is an ‘older brother-in-law’.
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The first kanji in the older brother-in-law is like a prefix. It contains a meaning ‘in-law’. When you write oto-san(father-in-law) and oka-san(mother-in-law) in kanji, you need to add this word. The pronunciations of oto-san(your father and your father-in-law) and oka-san(your mother and your mother-in-law) are the same as well.

Second, please look at the blue arrows. My sister’s husband has his younger sister. She is single and older than me. What do you think how I needed to call my sister’s husband if I got married to his younger sister?

I would say, oni-san(older brother-in-law). I would call him oni-san, and he would call me oni-san if we were under such a situation. It won’t happen, though, it should be strange to you.
※However, things have been changing these days. Some people would call his/her brother/sister-in-law by his/her first name with –kun, –san, etc.

I will write which is the most formal way between –san, –kun, –sama, and –chan. I don’t know when I will finish it, though. lol

Categories: Japanese Culture

Every little thing in my ordinary life 41

January 20, 2011 4 comments

From scratch
I had a RAKUGO lesson last Saturday. I already finished writing my script as I said before, however, my teacher didn’t like it. According to him, my script wasn’t RAKUGO at all. After the lesson, I watched a lot of RAKUGO storytellings on YouTube for a few days so that I became able to catch what the teacher was trying to say to me. I didn’t comprehend it at first. I just thought all I had to do was just add funny but sometimes trivial topics. The problem on my way is that audiences probably find it difficult to understand the story itself.

I revised my script and made it simple. I just added common conversations or some small talk into the story instead. The teacher read the script and became satisfied with it.

Japanese customs I haven’t known
Did you remember my colleague is a member of JCI? JCI has a lot of chapters nationwide. Each chapter also holds parties to celebrate the new year. Members exchange each business card and greet each other.

‘Just help me with a ton of thank-you letters,’ my colleague said to me. ‘Entering all the guests’s addresses into the software, printing them on the letters, pressing each stamp on each letter, and put thank-you cards into the envelopes. They’re what I must do. The problem is…I need today’s postmarks on all the letters!’ It was 6:30 in the evening. ‘Hey, it’s impossible! The post office closes at 8:30!’ said I. ‘Don’t give up! We can make it!’ said he. Wondering when his task had became my task, I just started helping with his tasks.

While my friend was entering guests’ addresses into his computer, my subordinate and I were putting stamps on the envelopes. He bought a lot of sheets of stamps in advance. They were not common ones, but seasonal and special ones. No difference on the prices between them, though.

‘How come you didn’t buy ordinary stamps? It’s a bit laborious to separate stamps from sheets.’ I just asked. He told me that you needed to put such seasonal and special stamps on envelopes when you sent someone special letters, such as thank-you letters or invitations. ‘Then, would I need to put such special stamps on envelopes if I sent my wedding invitations to my guests?’ asked I. ‘Some guests should think that you know what being polite is all about. Oh, watch out how to put. You must put stamp along the edge of the envelope, horizontally and vertically.’ he answered. Actually, my subordinate was not good at the task. She sometimes put stamps leaning a little to left.

Unfortunately, my friend wasn’t able to meet the deadline. He sent them at the following day.

Categories: My diaries

Eating wild boar didn’t bore me

January 15, 2011 2 comments

Have you ever had botan nabe before? I had an opportunity to have it in Tokyo at the end of last year.

At first, let me explain several Japanese words to you. Nabe is one of Japanese cuisine which the Japanese prefer to have in winter. Literally, nabe itself means a cooking tool like a pan, a saucepan, a pot, etc. so that you can boil ingredients such as vegetables or meat.

This is a nabe.
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On the other hand, the word nabe can also indicate cuisine during conversations. If your friend said, ‘What’s for dinner? Nabe would be nice, wouldn’t it?’, your friend would think about nabe as dishes, not as a cooking tool.

We have many kinds of nabe in Japan, such as motu nabe(vowels of cows or pigs are into it), chiri nabe(fish is into it). In the case of botan nabe, wild boar meat is used. The word, botan, is one of flowers, peony. After chefs slice the boar meat, they put the sliced meat on a dish and decorate the meat like a peony.

This is a peony.
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momonjiya was the restaurant I visited this time. It’s running its own business since 1718, in Edo era. Now that the 9th owner has been leading it.
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As you come closer to the restaurant, you can see a boar hanging on the wall of the restaurant.
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You can find several wild animals’ fur at the entrance of the restaurant. Starting from the left, a bear, a boar, a Japanese deer.
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I ordered a cuisine featuring three wild animals, bear, Japanese deer, and boar. Unfortunately, the staff didn’t decorate the wild boar meat like a peony this time. null

This is raw deer meat called sashimi. It was so delicious and tender.
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In general, the meat becomes hard as it is boiled, however, boar meat turns more tender. It’ll be about time for you to eat it in ten or fifteen minutes.
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Now that we have more delicious food such as beef or pork, so maybe wild boar might not be your thing. However, people living in Edo era had no chance to taste both beef and pork at that time. Wild boar meat should be one of luxurious cuisine for the people those days.

Categories: Japanese Culture

Maybe the word ‘otaku’ will appear in OALD in the future

January 13, 2011 3 comments

At the end of last year, I had a chance to go to a maid-cafe again. I went there in 2009(This is the article about the cafe). This time, I chose another one.

Once we entered the cafe, one of maids extended her hand and said, ‘You are required to pay money to enter this country’. Country?! This maid-cafe seemed to treat itself as one country. ‘Do I need my own passport?’, I nearly said a totally-like-an-old-man lame joke.

It was one maid’s birthday when we visited. Luckily(?), we obtained a chance to listen to her song. She stood on the stage surrounded by customers who should frequent the cafe, and was singing a song. Another maid was showing off her ota-gei.

Have you ever heard of the word in Japanese, otaku? I don’t know how I could precisely say otaku in English. A nerd? A geek? People who are strongly interested in something, especially things that common people don’t get attracted, such as animations, computer games, etc.? I think people once used the word, otaku, when they were making someone derogatory, however, it would become normal to use the word when you want to admire someone who possesses vast and deep knowledge.

Recently, people has started calling a sort of dance that otaku do ota-gei. It literally means otaku‘s entertainments.

The maid’s ota-gei reminded me of a famous otaku(I don’t know if I should call him otaku), Mr.okailove. He is a famous guy in a specific scene, Nikoniko-douga(footages service on the Internet like YouTube). He uploaded his ota-gei with his friends.

I luckily found out his film on YouTube. Please take a look at it.

Comparing his ota-gei to the maid’s one, I must say her ota-gei was not impressive.

Surprisingly, their each dance has each name. I just checked their names. O.A.D(Over Action Dolphin), Rosary, Thunder Snake, Muramasa, Amaterasu, Electrical Thunder(not an electrical parade in the Tokyo Disney Land), Romance…etc. Sadly, I don’t know the differences on each dance. I don’t know which is which.

His other footage was also broadcasted in Korea. During the TV program, he was taking a bath which was filled with a ton of cokes. I hope people living in Korea would not have a misconception about Japanese customs. Japanese don’t take such a bath.

Getting back to the topic about the maid-cafe. There were a lot of customers at the cafe. Most of them have their own favorite maids. They were happily talking with maids and pleasantly choosing the maids’ photos. Of course they’re NOT for free.

Incidentally, most of maid-cafe forbid their customers from taking photos, and post such cautions at the entrance. For the people speaking English, the cautions are kindly written in English. However, the sentences were full of misspelled words and grammatical mistakes. I should have transcribed them for this artcile. Oh, I have to say that my English is disastrous as well.

Categories: Japanese Culture

Every little thing in my ordinary life 40

January 8, 2011 2 comments

Missed two funny dreams
If you were a frequent reader in this blog, you might know I have a bit strange category in this blog called ‘funny dreams’. I had not had any dreams for a few months, however, I’ve finally had two dreams. But sadly, they were gone. I remembered that one of my friend, who was Japanese and an extremely advanced English speaker, was a sniper in my dream. After he did his job in my dream, he phoned me and said; ‘Hey, H.P. you should stop learning English any more. You have no talent. You are a lack of go tuki ryoku.’ I woke up and wondered what in the world go tuki ryoku in Japanese is. There’s no such words in Japanese. Go means ‘five’, tuki means ‘stick to, stick together, etc.’, ryoku means ‘power, ability, mettle’. I totally didn’t know what this dream was.

Other dream I had was totally gone.

No time to…
I went eating wild boar meat in Tokyo at the end of the previous year. I took several photos of it and was supposed to write an article about it. Sadly, I have no time to do it for now. There are a lot of things that I need tweaking. One more thing, I am definitely not able to come up with a good title of the article. I would like you to wait.

Categories: My diaries
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