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Fun lesson on Japanese

Letters to Kotoba Zamurai's Little Brother

The Defender of what is right, the corrector of already correct Japanese, That's right, it's "Letters to Kotoba Zamurai's little brother" time!
ๆญฃ็พฉใฎๅ‘ณๆ–นใ€ใ™ใงใซๆญฃใ—ใ„ๆ—ฅๆœฌ่ชžใ‚’ใ•ใ‚‰ใซ็›ดใ™่€…ใ€ใใ†ใ˜ใ‚ƒใ€Œ่จ€่‘‰ไพใฎๅผŸใ•ใ‚“ใซใŠๆ‰‹็ด™ใ‚’ใ€ใฎๆ™‚้–“ใ ๏ผ
seigi no mikata, sudeni tadashii nihongo o sara ni naosu mono, souja "kotobazamurai no otouto san ni otegami o" no jikan da!

Volume 3: Letters to Kotoba Zamurai's Little Brother


LETTER TO KOTOBA ZAMURAI'S LITTLE BROTHER ใƒป ใใฎ๏ผ‘

Dear Kotoba Zamurai's little brother,

HELP!! I am in dire need of advice. My wife keeps insisting our infant son should be called a "new" ji [Editor's note: it is actually ไนณๅ… nyuu ji which is correct]. Since I want to use correct Japanese and stay away from mixing English I am sticking with "ๆ–ฐๅ… shinji" which seems to be more Japanese-like [Editor's note: but it isn't. If you really want to use ๆ–ฐ try ๆ–ฐ็”Ÿๅ… shin sei ji for a newborn]. Am I going overboard?

Sincerely,
ๅฟƒ้…ใƒใ‚ซ

Answer: ๅฟƒ้…ใƒใ‚ซใ•ใ‚“ใธ,

ๅฟƒ้…ใ™ใ‚‹ใช๏ผ Your struggle is much appreciated. The "shinji-newji wars of '02" were fought over just such a topic. There are countless examples in Japanese where English words are katakana-ized when perfectly good Japanese words could be used instead. For example - ใ€Œใ‚ซใƒกใƒฉใ€ (Camera) should of course be ใ€Œๅ†™็œŸใจใ‚‹ๆฉŸๆขฐใ€ and ใ€Œใƒ†ใƒฌใƒ“ใ€ (TV) should quite naturally beใ€Œ็„ก้ง„ใชๆ™‚้–“ใ‚’้Žใ”ใ™ใจๅˆ†ใ‹ใฃใฆใ‚‚ใ€ใฐใ‹ใฐใ‹ใ—ใ„็•ช็ต„ใ‚’่ฆ‹ใŸใ„ๆฉŸๆขฐใ€. So you see you are not alone in this battle.

One fellow started a "De-katakana-ize Japanese Society", but for some reason once he got a dictionary, his society attendance tumbled from the once lofty number of 1 to 0.

Even still, Keep up the good fight!
่จ€่‘‰ไพใฎๅผŸใงใ—ใŸ

ใ€€

Editor's Explanation

ๅฟƒ้…ใ™ใ‚‹ใช๏ผ
shinpai suru na!
Don't worry!
Adding ใช to the end of ใ™ใ‚‹ makes the phrase negative. It is a bit casual so if you are beginner sticking with the normal way to negate (ๅฟƒ้…ใ—ใชใ„ใง) is much better. But the ใช method adds a bit of flavor
ๅ†™็œŸใจใ‚‹ๆฉŸๆขฐ
shashin toru kikai
picture-taking-machine
Once again, our apologies! ๅ†™็œŸๅ–ใ‚‹ๆฉŸๆขฐ is NOT in current use in Japanese I'm afraid. Please use ใ‚ซใƒกใƒฉ.

็„ก้ง„ใชๆ™‚้–“ใ‚’้Žใ”ใ™ใจๅˆ†ใ‹ใฃใฆใ‚‚ใ€
muda n jikan o sugosu to wakattemo,
waste-of-time-(direct object marker)-spend (time)-'to' question marker-understand-even,

ใฐใ‹ใฐใ‹ใ—ใ„็•ช็ต„ใ‚’่ฆ‹ใŸใ„ๆฉŸๆขฐ
bakabakashii bangumi o mitai kikai
stupid-programs-(subject marker)-want to see-machine

Yet again, we ask for forgiveness. ็„ก้ง„ใฎๆ™‚้–“ใ‚’้Žใ”ใ™ใจๅˆ†ใ‹ใฃใฆใ‚‚ใ€ใฐใ‹ใฐใ‹ใ—ใ„็•ช็ต„ใ‚’่ฆ‹ใŸใ„ๆฉŸๆขฐ is NOT in use. Nor has it even been to my knowledge. Please use ใƒ†ใƒฌใƒ“.

ใ€€

LETTER TO KOTOBA ZAMURAI'S LITTLE BROTHER ใƒป ใใฎ๏ผ’

Dear Kotoba Zamurai's little brother,

I've got the basics down, but I want to speak 'cool' Japanese. Can you help?

Sincerely,
ๆ ผๅฅฝใ‚ˆใใชใ„ๅฅด

Answer: ๆ ผๅฅฝใ‚ˆใใชใ„ๅฅดใ•ใ‚“ใธ,

ๅฟƒ้…ใ™ใ‚‹ใช๏ผ Speaking 'cool' Japanese is easily done by interjecting endings like ใ€Œใ ใœ๏ผใ€ or ใ€Œใ ใ‚ˆใญ๏ผใ€ or saying ใ€Œ่Œใˆ moeใ€ for "obsessed with" or ใ€Œใ‚ˆ๏ผใ€ instead of ใ€Œใ“ใ‚“ใซใกใฏใ€

Take this common conversation as an example. Watch how I 'coolify' the words ever so slightly:

[Editor's Note: While the "coolified" Japanese is somewhat in use, it is very casual and should be used only with close friends who know you are a henna gaijin; Actually it really shouldn't be used at all.]

Normal 'lame' ConversationSuper 'Coolified' Japanese
You: ใ“ใ‚“ใซใกใฏใ€้ˆดๆœจใ•ใ‚“ใ€‚ใŠๅ…ƒๆฐ—ใงใ—ใŸใ‹๏ผŸ
konnichi wa, suzuki san. O genki deshita ka?
hello-Mr. Suzuki-health-past up until now-(question marker)
Hello Mr. Suzuki. How have you been?
You: ใ‚ˆ๏ผใ‚นใƒผใ•ใ‚“ใ€‚ๅ…ƒๆฐ—ใ‹๏ผŸ
yo! su-san. genki ka?
yo!-Su-healthy-question
Yo! Wazup Su?
Su-san: ใ‚ใ‚ใ€ใŠ่”ญๆง˜ใง
aa, okagesama de...
Ah-thanks to you
Ah! Great, thanks.
Su-san: ใ‚ใ‚ใ€ใŠ่”ญๆง˜ใง
aa, okagesama de...
Ah-thanks to you
Ah! Great, thanks.
You: ๆœ€่ฟ‘้ข็™ฝใ„ๆ˜ ็”ปใจใ‹่ฆ‹ใพใ—ใŸใ‹๏ผŸ
saikin omoshiroi eiga toka mimashitaka?
recently-interesting-movie-or similar-saw?
I have you seen any good movies recently?
You: ๆœ€่ฟ‘ใ€่ถ…่Œใˆใƒผใชๆ˜ ็”ป่ฆ‹ใŸใ‹ใ„๏ผŸ
saikin, chou moe- na eiga mita kai?
recently-like so-groovy-movie-saw
Like, have you seen a way cool flick recently?
Su-san: ใใ†ใงใ™ใญใ€‚ๆœ€่ฟ‘ๆญดๅฒ็š„ใช็•ช็ต„ใฏใƒ†ใƒฌใƒ“ใงใฟใฆใ„ใพใ™ใ€‚
sou desu ne. saikin rekishi teki na bangumi wa terebi de miteimasu.
That's right (said when thinking)-recently-historical-program-on TV-seeing
Well, recently I have been watching shows on historical subjects on TV.
Su-san: ใใ†ใงใ™ใญใ€‚ๆœ€่ฟ‘ๆญดๅฒ็š„ใช็•ช็ต„ใฏใƒ†ใƒฌใƒ“ใงใฟใฆใ„ใพใ™ใ€‚
sou desu ne. saikin rekishi teki na bangumi wa terebi de miteimasu.
That's right (said when thinking)-recently-historical-program-on TV-seeing
Well, recently I have been watching shows on historical subjects on TV.
You: ใ„ใ„ใงใ™ใญใ€‚ใ•ใ™ใŒๆ•™่‚ฒ็š„ใช้ˆดๆœจใ•ใ‚“ใงใ™ใญใ€‚
ii desu ne. Sasuga kyouiku teki na suzuki san desu ne.
Good-it is-Just like you-educational-Suzuki-isn't it
Sounds neat. That's just like you to be so educated minded.
You: ๅฎŸใซ่Œใˆใƒผใ ใœ๏ผใ‚นใƒผใ•ใ‚“ใฃใฆใ€่ถ…้ ญใ„ใ„ๅฅดใชใ€‚
jitsu ni moe daze! susantte, chou atama ii yatsu na.
really-awesome-is emphatic-Su-san-as for-like so-head-good-fellow
That's like totally bogus man! Su, you Einstein you!
Su-san: ใพใ‚ใ€ใใ‚Œใงใฏใ€ใกใ‚‡ใฃใจ่กŒใ‹ใชใ‘ใ‚Œใฐใชใ‚‰ใชใ„ใจใ“ใ‚ใŒใ‚ใ‚Šใพใ™ใฎใงใ€‚
maa, sore dewa, chotto ikanakereba naranai tokoro ga arimasu node.
Kind of-Well, then-little-have to go-place-(subject marker)-exists-therefore
Kind of. Well, I have something to tend to and must be going.
Su-san: ใพใ‚ใ€ใใ‚Œใงใฏใ€ใกใ‚‡ใฃใจ่กŒใ‹ใชใ‘ใ‚Œใฐใชใ‚‰ใชใ„ใจใ“ใ‚ใŒใ‚ใ‚Šใพใ™ใฎใงใ€‚
maa, sore dewa, chotto ikanakereba naranai tokoro ga arimasu node.
Kind of-Well, then-little-have to go-place-(subject marker)-exists-therefore
Kind of. Well, I have something to tend to and must be going.
You: ใใ‚Œใ˜ใ‚ƒใ€ใพใŸใญใ€‚
sore ja, mata ne.
Well then-again
See you, then.
You: ใƒใ‚คใชใ‚‰ใ ใœ๏ผ
bai nara daze
Bye-ending of sayouNARA-is emphatic
Later dude.

So you see just by applying a few 'coolified' grammatical tricks, one can instantly become "Mr. Cool"

Just to be safe, don't use these words to your father-in-law,
่จ€่‘‰ไพใฎๅผŸใงใ—ใŸ

ใ€€

Editor's Explanation

่Œใˆ
moe
be overly fond of something
Popularized by Internet chat rooms, message boards and the TV show ้›ป่ปŠ็”ท densha otokomoe is used by otaku types but if you say it to the average Japanese, you may get a blank stare unless they watched densha otoko!
่ถ…ใƒปใƒปใƒป
chou
very
slang for ใจใฆใ‚‚ - ่ถ…ๅคงใใ„ chou ookii - very big
ใƒใ‚คใชใ‚‰
bainara
Bye
Bye + Sayounara

ใ€€

ใ€€

LETTER TO KOTOBA ZAMURAI'S LITTLE BROTHER ใƒป ใใฎ๏ผ“

Dear Kotoba Zamurai's little brother,

I wanna be a ninja but I am against violence. What should I do?

Sincerely,
้š ใ‚Œๅฟ่€…

Answer: ้š ใ‚Œๅฟ่€…ใ•ใ‚“ใธใ€

ๅฟƒ้…ใ™ใ‚‹ใช๏ผ This problem is actually more prevalent than normally reported. Look in your phone book for a local ้žๆšดๅŠ›ๅฟ่€…ใ‚ฏใƒฉใƒ– (look under "hi"). Talking to others in a similar predicament is often helpful. Me, well, I appreciate a good slap on the wrist occasionally. Must be the samurai blood in me. Even still, I feel for your problem.

Anyway, to help give you practical advice here are a few common remedies:

  • As mentioned above seek out other nonviolent ninjas
  • Buy a ton of Nerf throwing stars (ใ‚„ใ‚ใ‚‰ใ‹ใ„ๆ‰‹่ฃๅ‰ฃ) - Don't get just one. They get all soggy and don't throw worth a flip in the rain. And you know as a ninja you will spend a lot of time in the outdoors.
  • Buy a hot pink (if you are a lady ninja ใใฎใ„ใก) ninja suit or a pukey green one (if you a man) - sorry I couldn't tell by your nickname. I can't tell you how often people have written back to me saying just how helpful this piece of advice was. I mean, I don't care how nasty of a fellow you run across; who would want to attack someone in a pink or pukey green outfit? Really.
  • Work on a goofy smile under your mask. As a ninja you will of course have to 'look' mean, but that doesn't mean you have to 'feel' mean.
  • At the end of the day, call all your 'enemies' (whether they be opposing daimyos or common assassins) for a great, big group hug. This way no one's feelings get hurt.

Oh, and don't worry too much about training. By following my recommendations the chance of you actually needing any fighting skills is next to nothing.
่จ€่‘‰ไพใฎๅผŸใงใ—ใŸ

ใ€€

Editor's Explanation

้š ใ‚Œๅฟ่€…
kakure ninja
hidden ninja
Also see ้š ใ‚Œใƒ•ใ‚กใƒณ
้žๆšดๅŠ›ๅฟ่€…ใ‚ฏใƒฉใƒ–
hibouryoku ninja kurabu
Anti-Violence Ninja Club
I am not sure exactly what he is talking about. I looked through all the "hi's" and couldn't find a single reference to this club. Of course I do live in a small town...
ใ‚„ใ‚ใ‚‰ใ‹ใ„ๆ‰‹่ฃๅ‰ฃ
yawarakai shuriken
soft throwing star
I suppose this may exist. Go by your local Nerf store and see...
ใใฎใ„ใก
kunoichi
Female Ninja
This is actually an interesting word. If you look at the kanji for woman ๅฅณ and draw it out, you start with ใ then the katakana ใƒŽ and then finally ไธ€ (ku+no+ichi)

ใ€€

Editor's Final Apology
While accuracy in reporting is our number one objective, pulling people's leg may occasionally trump accomplishing our number one objective. It kind of depends on our mood and the position of the moon. Still, as they say in Japanese - there is no excuse - ็”ณใ—่จณใ”ใ–ใ„ใพใ›ใ‚“ใงใ—ใŸใ€‚


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