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I’m in love. I just discovered my new favorite kanji. The simplicity, the straightforwardness, the sheer pictorial common sense beats those unconvincing explanations about how 目 really does look like an eye, 日 like the sun, and 木 like a tree, and 女 like a woman (ok, they may be on to something with the last one). And this miracle kanji is kannuki (かんぬき), meaning a “bolt” or “latch” (Also refers to a 2-on-1 wrist-hold technique in some martial arts).  Brilliant.

==> 閂

See the resemblance?

So I haven’t been good about updating this, but so it goes. At any rate, here is an expression not to be forgotten:

恩着せがましい (おんきせがましい) = Unfortunately no neat, one-word definition exists for this term (though some dictionaries list “patronizing”). It is used to describe someone (critically) who says things in a way that lets you know he is expecting you to know that he is doing you a favor.

So the next time your mother goes on about the troubles she endure to bear and raise you, you can respond with おんきせがましい!With the added benefit of her not knowing what you said.

Neat article in the Japan Times on aphorisms, saying, etc. Well worth a read:


おままごとをする – to play house

Here’s a good one:

新興成金(shinkōnarikin)= “nouveau riche”

Those that can read the kanji for their meaning will get it right away, it’s fairly literal:

新: new

興: by itself means “entertain” or “revive” or “interest,” but in combination with the above graph, “developing/emergent”

成: become

金: $$$

I came across this expression today. Could not find it anywhere, so had to ask around.

いっさいがっさい – apparently it is synonymous with 全部. In other words, “all.” Of course, issaigassai is much more colloquial than zenbu.

人材 (じんざい) — capable/talented person

This is a good thing to be if you’re looking to expedite your Japan residency status. According to Mainichi, a government committee is looking at making the immigration process easier for foreign researcher and people with technical expertise by implementing a point system. Rack up enough points, and you qualify for residency. Japanese language ability is also taken into consideration. But now, we can boldly proclaim–“It’s ok, chief, we’re jinzai, let us stay.”

Check out the English-language version here.

公然わいせつ (こうぜんわいせつ) — Public Indecency

This is pretty self explanatory. 公 is the public element of this equation. Same one you find in 公衆電話 (こうしゅうでんわ) “public phone/pay phone.” What brought this one on? Well this is for what Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, primarily of SMAP boy band fame, was arrested. His condition was described as…well how about a double whammy for the word of the day:

泥酔 (でいすい) — Dead Drunk, messy drunk, etc.

泥 is literally “mud” or “mire”

酔 by process of elimination means “drunk, sickened, etc”

This is the condition the abovementioned Kusanagi was found in according to Mainichi. And now you posess the necessary vocab acumen to read the Japanese story.  Interestingly enough, the English version actually seems to have more information on the arrest, and it features a far less flattering photo of the idol. Is Mainichi doing his publicist’s job? But that may be another story altogether.

勘弁 (かんべん) — pardon/forgiveness

This is usually used along with a suru in a supplicatory manner. As in 勘弁してくれよ!– “Give me a break!” or “spare me,” or something along those lines.

恥じる (はじる) – to be ashamed/feel shame.

As in 恥じて顔を赤らめる – “Blush with shame”

Think of it as your heart (心) pumping blood to your face until your ears (耳) get red.