Tag Archives: term

Easily misunderstood Japanese word: でぶしょう (debushou) is not about being fat

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone in Japanese and the word “でぶしょう” came up. In my mind I put together the word でぶ (debu), an insulating word for “fat”, and しょう (症), which can act as a suffix that means a sickness or condition, like in the word あがり症 (agarishou) which refers to… Read More »

Japanese Slang Word: 「鬼〜」 (Oni~)

When studying Japanese, especially if you don’t live in Japan, there are always blind spots which can develop in your learning depending on what materials and methods you use to study. One area that I’ve found difficult is slang, because many of the materials I use (especially books and TV dramas) tend to not use… Read More »

The trouble with insufficient samples: The Japanese word 偉い (erai) and it proper usage

When learning words in a foreign language, the only way to get a full understanding is to gather data from as many sources as possible: dictionaries, media (fiction/nonfiction) and of course as many real-world situations as possible. I see this is as chiseling away the various subtleties of this word little by little until you have the… Read More »

問題 (mondai): a very problematic word in Japanese

In this post I’d like to talk about the Japanese word 問題 (mondai), a very useful word which has several meanings. The first meaning, possibly the most common, is “problem” in the sense of something that is not going according to plan. A: 大丈夫ですか?             [Is everything OK?] B: ええ、問題ないです。… Read More »

Japanese word “koso” (こそ) explained in detail

The word “koso” in Japanese, usually written in Hiragana as こそ, isn’t exactly a frequent word in Japanese, nor is it necessary in order to express most things in the language. However, there are a few common usages which are good to learn, regardless of your level, and you may even be able to employ a… Read More »

Expressing state in Japanese with “ni aru” and “ni natte iru”

In Japanese, the expressions “にある” (ni aru) and “になっている” (ni natte iru) are used to express the state of something. “にある” is often used with words like 状態 (joutai, “state”), 状況 (joukyou, “state”) or 傾向 (keikou, “trend). Take this example sentence: 体は睡眠状態にある。 The body is in a state of sleep. Here you can think of this… Read More »

Japanese useful word: 大変 (taihen)

The Japanese word “大変” (taihen), made out of the characters for “large” and “change”, and is typically used for two related meanings which I will go over in this post, along with example sentences. The first is to express something is extreme, and can roughly match with english “very” or “terribly”. When using it as an… Read More »

Japanese 調子 (choushi) – a useful term to add to your lexicon

The Japanese term “調子” is quite a multifaceted word with seven definitions in the dictionary, as well as a handful of expressions and compound words that use it. In this post I’ll talk about the usages of it that I have heard most, and I feel are most likely to be useful. The primary definitions for… Read More »

Useful Japanese slang word: 微妙 (bimyou)

Japanese is filled with many slang terms and there are entire dictionaries documenting these, so if you search you can quickly fill up on hundreds of slang words. So I typically don’t focus an entire post on a slang term unless I hear/use it frequently enough to warrant such a treatment. The word 微妙 is… Read More »

Guessing a difficult Japanese word from it’s Kanji: 表面張力

I recently heard the word 表面張力 (pronounced “hyoumen chouryoku”) on a science-related podcast and at first I was completely clueless but after hearing an example usage or two I managed to guess the meaning. I’ve mentioned this in another post or two, but one of the great things about Japanese is that you can guess word… Read More »