BTW, completely inappropriate language.
I love how clearly this packaging communicates beyond language. Donki (Don Quijote) offers a wide selection of slutty Xmas outfits with corsets, bunny ears, Playboy bunny brand, pink or black. This one clearly is large enough for a guy in make-up.
Another ridiculous English langauge name for an apartment building, Movements. Previously, I profiled Zesty Minami-Koenji, Decent, and one of my favorites Cram Place. As to Movements, I hope they were thinking of musical elements. Of course, that was not the first thing I thought of.
What’s the funniest Tokyo apartment building name you’ve seen?
Today is Tanabata, a Chinese-derived holiday about celestial lovers. It’s also the opportunity to write your wishes on special trees. The tree where I left my wish is our local supermarket. Mine says, “I hope I pass the Japanese language test” (日本語のしけんにごうかくしますように).
Repulsed by monotheism, I’ve recently discovered how much I enjoy Shintoism and any type of Japanese superstitions. If there’s a stack of cards close at hand where you can write a wish, well, why not do it? For last week’s JLPT exam, I not only left this note in my supermarket, but I also left some coins and a quick prayer at our local Shinto shrine.
I love this child’s wish below. When he’s big, he wants to be a hairdresser. What would you wish for? And where would you leave your wish?
Is anyone taking the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency) tests this summer? They are offering new levels 1, 2 and 3. I am challenging myself to study for level 3, which will be really hard for me.
The website for the test is sooo difficult. If you click the link that says in English that you are taking the test within Japan, you get to pages and pages of information only in Japanese. According to the hubb, you need to buy the application form at a bookstore and then mail it in.
Hello, JLPT! Have you never heard of online transactions? Between the language and multiple steps for application, it’s amazing that so many people manage to take the test!
Which readers are taking the test in July? What are you doing to study? Thank you for sharing some tips or encouragement.
I was walking down a narrow street of small shops in an upbeat mood. Rain was just starting to fall, and I noticed a three year old boy with his palms outstretched and younger sister barely standing next to him. “It’s raining, no?” I asked him in Japanese. Excited and wide-eyed, he blurted out to his shop-keeper father, “English?” His father seemed as amused as me by the young boy’s false sense of language comprehension.
An attractive architect, who went to school and worked in the US, recently told me that his wife, after a few drinks, thinks that she understands dinner conversation English, when in reality she is listening to his simultaneous translation.
I see this earnest delusion in my own efforts to understand spoken Japanese. Maybe language learning starts with the will to understand. Even though full comprehension takes much longer.
It’s easy to make hideous mistakes when you are learning Japanese. Switch a vowel or add an extra syllable and you’re innocent remark has quickly turned unseemly. Here’s two examples.
A few months back, my sister-in-law, who loves shoes, was visiting. The expression on her face made it clear that what I thought was a complement had come out terribly wrong.
「けつはきれいです」 Ketsu wa kirei desu.
What I meant to say was, “I like your shoes.” 「靴はきれいです」Kutsu wa kirei desu. Unfortunately, ketsu means “ass.”
Another time, finishing ceramics class, I cheerfully told my father-in-law, 「お触りました」Osawarimashita.
What I meant to say was, “I am done.” 「終わりました」Owarimashita. Both in-laws and my husband stared at me, and I realized I did it again. Fortunately, father-in-law has a sense of humor, and demonstrated “osawarimashita” (“touch” or “grope,” made strangely formal by the addition of “o”) by pinching my ass.
As I stumble my way learning Japanese, I am fortunate to have such a welcoming (and forgiving) family.
My favorite blogger on otaku and manga language, Bangin, has recently released a second typology for seme (攻め) and uke (受け). Apparently new types of Boys Love roles are constantly being created and new words emerging.
The beauty of these top/bottom terms are their endless variety, unexpected reversals and melodrama. Here are two of my favorites. Follow the links to read both posts with over a dozen types:
ワンコ攻め[wanko-zeme]; Sounds cute, doesn’t it? Well, ワンコ[wanko] means a dog here(but it’s not correct) It derives from the fact that they howl ワンワン[wan wan “bow wow”]. At any rate, dogs are so obedient to their masters but they also fawn upon. Yes, no matter how cold 受け is, how many times 受け refuses to accept him, he never gives up, and eventually it comes to pass. It sounds like a relationship between 先輩受け[sempai-uke] and 後輩攻め[kouhai-zeme]. 先輩 means a senior at a company or school, and 後輩 means a junior as well. 先輩 is more superior to 後輩. In such a relationship, 後輩 becomes 攻め…the position is switched, isn’t it?
姫受け[hime-uke]: 姫[hime] means a princess. This type of uke is surrounded by several semes(more than two tops). I can’t think of a better example. Maybe Shibuya Yuuri? He can be paired up with Gunter or Conlad…but he ends up being uke.
These two posts also provide an evolving typology of BL (Boys Love) literature:
- リーマンもの[riiman-mono] or office settings;
- 学園もの[gakuen-mono] or schools;
- ナマモノ[namamono] or slash fiction about movie stars, singers, sports stars and “vocal actors”;
- イロモノ[iromono] or minor characters;
- 兄弟もの[kyoudai-mono] or brothers, often step-brothers;
- ML or men’s love, versus boys or minors;
- ロボやおい[robo yaoi] or robot love;
- 匂い系[nioi-kei] or “smells” type, meaning no sex but plenty of homo-erotic scent (like Water Boys, Ouran High-School Host Club, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, Prince of Tennis);
- 健全[kenzen] or sound, meaning Normal Love (NL);
- 微裏[biura], an abbreviation of bimyou ni ura, which means “slightly porno” and should be no more than kissing
Wow. Thank you, Bangin sensei!
Writing as someone almost entirely untouched by anime and manga, I am certainly inspired to start reading. What about you?:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
Moe Moe (萌え萌え) means very “moe.” Coming from anime & manga otaku or “geeks” (オタク), moe means both fetish and (non-sexual) hobby. Love the ambiguity of Japanese. Wikipedia uses the example of 眼鏡っ娘萌え, meganekko-moe, “glasses-girl moe.” Unlike the U.S., eye-glasses in cartoons and in real life can inspire fetishized desire. For the ladies only, there’s even a Tokyo “eye-glass and suits” male host bar called Love-all.
In Japan, otaku moe has a surprisingly large influence on more general (albeit) perverted culture and into mainstream language. In other words, you don’t have too be an anime/manga fan to appreciate and adopt some of the words and “hobbies” these fantasy worlds generate for adult viewers.
In my Nakano hikikomori moments (ひきこもりみたい)– a reference to Japanese shut-ins who remain locked in their rooms at their parents for 6 months or more– I’ve found the internet an amazing resource for words that are not covered in my college-level Japanese language textbook. Japanese themselves seem to love the discovery and use of new words; my sister-in-law Yoko told me how delighted she was to learn about o-nii-kei (お兄系) from this very blog (and she was the one who introduced me to gyaru-o and Men’s Egg).
In my exploration of moe moe, there’s been no better guide writing in English than a blogger named Bangin (バンギン). He describes his blog, titled “Japanese words of anime fans, by anime fans, for anime fans: On this blog, I will introduce and explain Japanese slangs, Japanese-English words, or 2ch words, or any other popular words among anime fans (or whoever).”
With rain in the forecast for the next few days, I’ll be devoting a number of posts to words, ideas and moe I’ve discovered on Bangin-san’s blog. Of course, any misunderstandings or errors are mine alone. Thank you, Bangin Sensei. バンギン先生ありがとうございました!:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::