Have been watching 日本語で遊ぼ (literally, “Playing in Japanese”) with Layla every day. It’s an awesome show that highlights elements of traditional culture and language in a format that’s fun for kids and interesting to parents (or, at least, interesting to one gaijin dad).
The Japanese introduced is often lesser used, if not bordering on archaic. Today we learned “成らぬ堪忍するが堪忍”, which in English would — I think — roughly translate to “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… so just put up with the status quo.”
I can’t tell you how many times I could have used this phrase while living in Japan. Like, say, when the wealthy yet crazy neighbor would come over and shower me with junk (old pots, broken plates, flat bicycle tires, etc.) because she thought I might find it useful.
I couldn’t refuse the junk.. that would upset her and cause trouble in the neighborhood. But I also couldn’t throw it away again; she would notice, get upset, and that would… cause trouble in the neighborhood.
So I hid two years worth of slowly accumulating junk under the house I was renting.
In a dramatic turn of international fiscal events, it would appear that well-off Chinese men are gearing up to acquire American mail order brides. (Ladies, consider the socialized health insurance!) A hacked version of Skype and some brute-force language translation make this potentially viable.
I was particularly intrigued by the “How to add the foreign woman?” link which, once automatically translated, reveals the touching story of “Qin Xiaomei and joes” wherein Qin Xiaomei and/or joes gushes “We like Jiubie reunion of lovers, the two sides across the ocean, the talk of Tongtongkuaikuai miss each other’s feelings.”
It’s enough to make me as well want to marry Qin Xiaomei and/or joes.
My wife and I have been playing a word-of-the-day game on and off for a year or so. Though the pace is slow, it’s probably been one of the most effective ways of picking and retaining new vocabulary I’ve used; especially now that we’ve moved back to the US.
Yesterday’s word came up while watching Karei Naru Ichizoku, a Kimutaku drama about Japanese business and power in post-WWII Japan.
徹底的（tetteiteiki） — exhaustive
Lots of tetteiteki this and that in Karei Naru Ichizoku. Business, politics, power. Lawyers. Lawyers and exhaustive research into the nether regions of business. 徹底的な研究 of some such product, 徹底的な検査 to prepare for the upcoming trial.. yada, yada. As for me, the drama kind of induced me to 徹底的に寝る。
Here it is. The bible of Japanese grammar; possibly the one reference a serious student of Japanese really can’t do without.
The Japan Times’ A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar is packed with essential, truly useful grammar. Each entry begins with a brief explanation of a grammatical pattern then further illustrated via simple examples. Formation notes and additional dialogue samples elaborate on nuances. Entries are organized alphabetically for quick reference.
When you’re first learning to speak, this reference is a great way to identify and incorporate the speech patterns you hear in conversation around you. I’d been studying Japanese for a full two years before this was finally recommended to me, and my spoken Japanese ability improved dramatically once I began to use the grammar dictionary on a daily basis.