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.
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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
Here are five kakkoii fighting phrases you might hear in anime Japanese or read in manga. Listen for them when you get to the fighting scenes.
Please note, all five of these can be rude–they are, after all, fighting words. Be careful how you use them, but saying them to your close Japanese friends could be fun.
Let’s get started with some Anime Fighting Phrases in Japanese…
Bring it on!
The かかって comes from a word that means “to start,” “to deal with,” “to handle.” こい is a somewhat rude command that means “come on!”
I accept your challenge!
When you are ready to take up the gauntlet, say, 「うけてたつ！」
I’ll never lose!
Said when things are not going well for the bad guy and he is about to lose. もん is an ender used for emphasis. もんか is used for creating rhetorical questions when the speaker actually believes the opposite is true. “Am I about to lose? No way!”
I’ll get you for this!
The bad guy is lost and he knows it. He is in an embarrassing retreat, but to save face, he says to the victorious hero, 「おぼえてろ！」 Literally, this is “I’ll remember this.” It can mean, “You’ll be sorry!” or “You’ll regret this!” or “I’ll get even someday!”
This is also pronounced ちきしょう. Literally, this means “livestock” or “beast.” When said when upset, however, it is a light curse. Dammit! Hang it all! Darn!