左手(ひだりて) left hand
左足(ひだりあし) left leg
机の左 (つくえ ひだり )to the left of the desk
右目(みぎめ) right eye
右(みぎ)ページ right page (of a book)
右手(みぎて) right hand
Meaning: before; in front; previous
前書(まえが)き preface [lit. before the writing]
二年前(ふたねんまえ) two years ago
Meaning: behind; after
最後(さいご) the last; the end; conclusion
後書(あとが)き postscript; afterword [lit. after the writing]
中東(ちゅうとう) the Middle East
東(ひがし)アジア East Asia
東京 (とうきょう )Tokyo
You may recognize the kanji for “east” 東 higashi in Tokyo
東京 toukyou. This is because Tokyo means “east capital.”
Nearly all kanji have at least two readings. In this case, 東 can be pronounced higashi or tou. The first, higashi, is the native Japanese pronunciation, or kun reading. Tou is the Chinese or on reading.
In general, when a kanji character is paired with another kanji, you use the on reading as in toukyou.
西口(にしぐち) west entrance
関西(かんさい) Osaka and surrounding area; Kansai
西(にし)ドイツ (historical) West Germany
大西洋(たいせいよう) the Atlantic
東南(とうなん)アジア Southeast Asia
南極(なんきょく) the South Pole; Antarctic
南米(なんべい) South America
北海道(ほっかいどう) Hokkaido (most northern part of Japan)
北(きた)アメリカ North America
北京(ぺきん) Beijing (China)
南北戦争(なんぼくせんそう) the (US) Civil War
We decided to make a quick video with Thanksgiving related words in Japanese. This is a special video since my son edited it for us–thank you Makoto!
Here are the words in the video, plus a few extra.
Turkey 七面鳥 shichimenchou
[Turkeys aren’t native to Japan. There are a few ideas why turkeys are called 七面鳥 (literally, seven faced bird). One is cooking a turkey is a lot of work and 七面倒 shichimendou means “great trouble” or “difficulty.” Another possible origin is the bird’s face has a variety of colors. Thus it has seven faces. Who knows?]
Pumpkin Pie パンプキンパイ panpukin pai
[This is a loan word from English and therefore written in katakana]
Family 家族 kazoku
[家 house + 族 tribe]
Feast ごちそう gochisou
[ごちそうする means to treat someone (buy a meal for someone); ごちそうさま is often said after a meal as thanks for the good food.]
Pumpkin かぼちゃ kabocha
[From Portuguese “Cambodia abóbora”]
Now, let’s look at Yumi’s words in the video:
こんにちは、みなさん konnichi wa, minasan Hello, everyone.
[You can say みんな or みなさん but みんなさん is not considered correct]
パトロンのみなさん、いつもありがとうございます。 patoron no minasan, itsumo arigatou gozaimasu.
As always, thank you so much, Patreon supporters!
[Since the action (the sense of thankfulness) is on-going, we wouldn’t use the past tense ありがとうございました]
Thanksgiving Dayは日本語で、感謝祭といいます。 Thanksgiving Day wa nihongo de, kanshasai to iimasu.
Thanksgiving Day in Japanese is called “kanshasai.”
[While Japan doesn’t have a “Turkey Day,” there is 勤労感謝の日 kinrōkanshanohi Labor Thanksgiving Day. Today it is a day to commemorate labor, production, and general human well-being, but it was based on an ancient harvest festival known as 新嘗祭 niinamesai.]
今日はその感謝祭に関する日本語を勉強していきましょう。 kyou wa sono kanshasai ni kan suru nihongo wo benkyou shite ikimashou. Today, let’s use Thanksgiving Day to study Japanese.
[Literally: today; this Thanksgiving Day; concerning; Japanese language; study; to deliberately do (していく shows doing something deliberately. The いく as an auxiliary verb means “to continue” with purpose.)]
それでは、あしたは家族で楽しい感謝祭をお過ごしください。 sore dewa, ashita wa kazoku de tanoshii kanshasai o osugoshi kudasai. Well, then. Tomorrow, please enjoy spending Thanksgiving Day with your family.
Did you know you can set your Alexa device to answer in Japanese? Same thing with Siri and other AI assistants. While I am certain these commands work for other devices, let’s look at Alexa specifically.
Click to View Bigger
SETTING UP ALEXA IN JAPANESE
If you have a newer Alexa device, you should be able to set it to Japanese using your Alexa App. First generation Echos do not support Japanese, unfortunately.
Open the Alexa App on your phone.
Click on the bar icon to the top left and choose “Settings”
Carrying on a conversation (in any language) isn’t just about getting your ideas across. It is also about showing the other person, the speaker, you are listening. This is especially important in Japanese since it is used all the time.
In English, we might say, “Oh, really?” or “Is that so?” or “Uh huh” to show the speaker we are interested and understanding what he or she is saying. This video lists several important 相槌 aizuchi for showing you are interested or agree with the speaker.
Aizuchi to show Attention
Let’s first look at 相槌 aizuchi that could be considered positive. None of these fully imply the listener even agrees with the speaker. But the listener is interested, engaged, and understanding what the speaker has to say.
Here are the main words (there are many more):
はい yes hai
While this means “yes,” はい is often used in conversation to show attention and interest.
This is sometimes written as えー. This is a common substitute for はい with generally the same meaning. I’m listening and I’m interested. When said with a rising tone, it can show surpise or disbelief.
うん yep un
This is a less formal but common way to say “yes.” As mentioned above, saying this doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with the speaker, but just that you are showing interest.
なるほど I see naruhodo
When the listener explains something you didn’t previously understand, you can say, “I see” or “I get it” or “indeed.”
さすが As expected… sasuga
This means “as one would expect” and is often used as a compliment. If the speaker says an accomplishment, compliment him or her with “I knew you could do it.”.
すごい！ Amazing! sugoi!
すごい means “amazing” and can be compared to the slang word “cool” or “awesome.” When the speaker says something amazing, use this.
そうですね。 That’s right. sou desu ne.
Also shortened as そうだ, this literally means “That is so.” It shows mild agreement, but it could also just be used to show interest.
うそ (surprise) No way! uso
This literally means “lie.” When said with surprise, it means “Really?” but when said with disbelief, it can mean “I don’t believe that.”
うそ (disbelief) I don’t believe that. uso
Depending on how you say this, it can show agreement (with shock) or disbelief (also with shock).
ほんと (I) swear; really; (I’m) telling the truth honto
This can be used to agree with the listener. I swear. That’s for sure. I’m telling the truth. This literally means “true” or “fact.” In less colloquial circumstances, it really has a う at the end: ほんとう.
ほんとに really; truly honto ni
The adverbial form can be used to confirm what someone said is really true.
まさか It can’t be…; no way; you don’t say masaka
This is usually said when the listener suddenly realizes what the speaker is saying may actually be true despite it sounding absurd. It can’t be…
信じられない I don’t believe it
Literally, this means “I cannot believe.” but this can also be said when believing but not wanting to believe. I can’t believe (he did that).
ありえない impossible; no way arienai!
This means impossible, but again, it may simply show the listener is shocked by what she hears.
おかしい That’s odd; funny; little strange okashii
This means “odd” or “strange.” Something’s funny about that.
なんかへんな Something’s wrong with that; that’s odd nanka henna
Frank introduces Obaasan to his friend, Sushi. He learns Sushi is actually something to eat. Frank is saddened by this unexpected turn of events
Chapter Four: Sushi is Something to Eat – Click here to download – DOWNLOAD AUDIO
Japanese Reader: The Fountain of Youth 若返りの水 – SLOW – Click here to download – DOWNLOAD AUDIO
Japanese Reader: The Fountain of Youth 若返りの水 – NORMAL SPEED – Click here to download – DOWNLOAD AUDIO
IN THIS ISSUE:
NEW READER: Frank and the Obaasan & The Fountain of Youth
Laughs, Jokes, Riddles, and Puns
Prefecture Spotlight: Kumamoto
Etymology: Mizu ni Nagasou
Phrase of the Day: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
Kanji Spotlight: JLPT N5 Kanji Numbers
Grammar Time! Plan To: yotei; tsumori
Frank and the Obaasan Reader, Grammatical Notes, Kanji Notes, and English Translation
The Fountain of Youth