Pop Culture Words

Pop Culture Words

Strong (Iron) Man


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

鉄人
tetsu jin
Strong (Iron) Man

tetsu iron
jin man, person

地下鉄 chi ka tetsu - subway (not the restaurant!) [B]
鉄道 tetsu dou - rail road (iron road) [I]
大人 otona - adult [B]
火星人 ka sei jin - Martian [I]
外国人 gai koku jin - foreigner [B]



...And just out of warranty!

SUGGESTED USAGE:

無敵の鉄人ボブは夏の小雨で錆びた。
muteki no tetsujin bobu wa, natsu no kosame de sabita.
Bob, the invincible Iron Man rusted in a light summer sprinkle.

ABOUT SUGGESTED USAGE:

無敵 mu teki - invincible, unrivaled (no enemies strong enough to challenge)
ボブ bobu - Bob (a tough sounding name like the Fonz)
natsu - summer
no - shows possession It was a light sprinkle OF the summer
小雨 ko same - light rain Another and perhaps an easier way would be to say, 'karui ame' (light rain)
arrow
de - in He rusted because of being IN the rain
arrow 錆びた
sabita - rusted from sabiru

しぶい子供 Sophisticated Child

しぶい子供
Sophisticated Child


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

しぶい子供
shibui kodomo
Sophisticated Child

しぶい shibui elegance, unobtrusive sophistication, cool
子供 ko domo child, children



渋柿 shibu gaki - sour persimmon [A]
渋滞 juu tai - traffic congestion [I]
子犬 ko inu - puppy [B]


Given a chance, little Frank can push the boundaries of kindergarten culture.

SUGGESTED USAGE:

フランクちゃんはしぶい子供なので、シナトラしか歌いません。
furanku chan wa shibui kodomo nanode, shinatora shika utaimasen.

Little Frank has such a touch of sophistication about him, he only sings Sinatra.

ABOUT SUGGESTED USAGE:

フランク furanku - Frank
ちゃん chan - chan is mainly used for girls, but can be used for small boys as well
しぶい shibui - Shibui is one of those words that is hard to grasp especially for gaijin! It implies a man who has a state of coolness about him. Elegance and a kind of maturity that everyone can instantly recognize.

Some examples of men who are shibui (according to Yumi!) are:
Dustin Hoffman
Roger Moore
Charles Bronson

and in Japan one of my favorite actors who may be considered to have that shibui-ness about him is:
Tamura Masakazu (better known as Furuhata Ninzaburou the detective)

ので node - therefore, so...
シナトラ shinatora - Sinatra whose first name is shared by our hero (Frank)
しか shika - alone, only this Always is paired with a negative verb. nihongo shika hanasemasen. (I only speak Japanese)
歌いません utaimasen - not sing


フィーバー Disco Fever

フィーバー
(disco) fever


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

フィーバー
fi-ba-
(disco) fever

フィーバー fi-ba- fever (from the English)




- No Kanji! [B]


Thus Herbert began a new craze which made the older generation shiver...

SUGGESTED USAGE:

ねえ、ねえ、最新のダンスしっている?フィーバー、フィーバー!
nee, nee, saishin no dansu shitteiru? fi-ba-, fi-ba-!

Hey, do you know the latest dance? Fever!

ABOUT SUGGESTED USAGE:

ねえ、ねえ nee, nee - hey you used to get someones attention when you have something you want to say. Casual
最新 sai shin - the newest, latest saishin no ryuukou (latest fashion)
no - possessive
ダンス dansu - dance yep, from the English
しっている shitteiru - know a more polite form of Do you know? is shitteimasu ka?; An even more polite form is gozonji desu ka?
フィーバー fi-ba- - fever from the 1970s disco craze comes this timeless and ever-so-useful Japaglish


ポンコツ Piece of Junk

ポンコツ
junk, junky, piece of junk


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

ポンコツ
ponkotsu
junk, junky, piece of junk

ポンコツ pon kotsu junky; Used to described old cars and machines that are in less than perfect condition.




There are no kanji - [B]


nandakke?!

SUGGESTED USAGE:

ぼくの車は何だっけ?ポルシェか、ランボルギーニか?あっ、そうか、ポンコツだった!
boku no kuruma wa nandakke? porushe ka, ranborugi-ni ka? aa, souka, ponkotsu datta!

My car, what was it now? Porsche? Lamborghini? Ah, I remember, it's a... piece of junk!

ABOUT SUGGESTED USAGE:

ポンコツ ponkotsu - junky This word may have come from the word for the large hammer blacksmiths use to pound metel. If you know something else, please use the comment button below and let us know.
ぼく boku - I BOKU is used mainly by boys and men; Adding a の NO after BOKU makes it mean [my]
kuruma - car
何だっけ nandakke - What was that? the KE at the end is often used to impress on the listener that the answer is on the tip of your tongue.
ポルシェ porushe - Porsche
ka - or used with lists of this or that...
ランボルギーニ ranborugi-ni - Lamborghini
あっ、そうか a, souka - Oh yeah [I remember]! the small っ TSU shows a sudden stop as if surprised.
だった! datta - was Although the car is still a piece of junk, since the person finally remembers what he was thinking of, he uses a past tense.


位置について、用意、ドン! Get ready, set, go!

位置について、用意、ドン!
Get ready, set, go!


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

位置について、用意、ドン!
ichi ni tsuite, youi, don!
Get ready, set, go!

位置 ichi place, placement, your mark
用意 youi ready, prepare
ドン don the sound of a gun fire


一位 ichi i - first place [I]
意見 iken - opinion [B]
専用 sen you - exclusive use [B]
意味 imi - meaning [B]
注意 chuui - warning [B]
用心棒 you jin bou - a body guard [I]

SUGGESTED USAGE:

位置について、ようい、どんぐり!
ichi ni tsuite, youi, DONGURI!

On your marks, get set, ACORN!

ABOUT SUGGESTED USAGE:

どんぐり donguri - acorn Instead of ドン! we replace it with どんぐり which means an (oak) acorn. Has the same sound starting out.


Once I was the announcer for a race between Japanese students and some English teachers. As the runners lined up I shouted, "ichi ni tsuite..." and everyone got in position. Then I shouted, "youi..." and everyone prepared to begin the race. But when I yelled, "DONGURI" the foreigners all took off with precision and speed, but the Japanese took one step and then fell to the ground laughing! I still feel a little guilty for that. Sorry guys.

隠れファン Closet Fan

隠れファン
CLOSET FAN [the fact you like something is kept a secret]


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

隠れファン
kakure fan
CLOSET FAN [the fact you like something is kept a secret]

隠れ kakure hidden, conceal
ファン fan a fan (of something)



雲隠れ kumo gakure - disappearance [into the clouds - like a ninja] [A]
隠れん坊 kakuren bou - hide-and-go-seek game [B]
証拠隠滅 shou ko in metsu - destruction of evidence [A]
ファンクラブ fan kurabu - fan club [B]


Big John is a mite pickled they never made a sequel.

SUGGESTED USAGE:

実は猟師のジョンはバンビの隠れ大ファンだった。
jitsu wa ryoushi no jon wa banbi no kakure dai fan datta.

In reality, Hunter John was a huge Bambi fan.

ABOUT SUGGESTED USAGE:

実は jitsu wa - actually, really, in reality
猟師 ryou shi - a hunter
ジョン jon - John [name]
バンビ banbi - Bambi

雪だるま Snowman

雪だるま
snowman


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

雪だるま
yuki daruma
snowman

yuki snow




雪合戦 yuki gassen - snow fight [B]
雪かき yuki kaki - shovel snow [I]


The biggest difference in Western and Japanese snowmen is Japanese yuki daruma have only 2 parts - head and waist. They have no legs! The hat in the picture is a bucket.

SUGGESTED USAGE:

雪だるまのフロースティは、夢だったフロリダ旅行に行きましたが、それは悪夢に終わった。
yukidaruma no furo-suti wa, yume datta furorida ryokou ni ikimashita ga, sore wa akumu ni owatta.

Frosty the snowman's Florida dream vacation ended in a nightmare.

ABOUT SUGGESTED USAGE:

yume - dream just like the English, it can also mean what you dream about for the future
フロリダ旅行 furorida ryokou - Florida trip
行きました ikimashita - went past tense and -masu form of 行く iku
ga - but..
それは sore wa - as for all that...
悪夢 aku mu - night mare lit. bad dream
に終わった ni owatta - ended in


雪女 Snow Woman

雪女
Snow Woman


The word:

Closer look at the kanji:

B = Beginner | I = Intermediate | A = Advanced

雪女
yuki onna
Snow Woman

yuki snow
onna woman