Nihongo of the Day: 成らぬ堪忍するが堪忍

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.


Princess Layla

I’ve been waiting for just the right photo to use with this post title.

And here it is, straight from the Japanese photo studio, compliments of Jiji!


I am told that she was allowed to have as many pictures taken in as many costumes as she (or rather the grandparents) wanted.. for free.

But then each print cost 7,000 JPY, roughly $70 USD.

This is the most genious business model I have ever seen.  I just hope Jiji didn’t have to take out a loan.


Got a note from Japanese Grand Papa (“Jiiji”) in Nagoya.   He and “Baaba” have been obsessed with getting clothes for Layla.  A couple of days ago he apparently spotted a cute little Santa outfit and, without a second thought, whipped out his wallet and snapped it up.

Walking proudly out of the store he noticed that a number of people shopping with dogs in tow.  Looking around he also noticed that the store mannequins were… dog shaped.  He made his way back to the sales counter and asked, tentatively, “This wouldn’t happen to be a dog outfit, would it?”

“Of course” replied the confused sales clerk.

Fortunately Jiiji returned the outfit.

What does the “g” in “gDiapers” stand for?

Genuine?  Green?  Actually, I’m pretty sure it stands for


Yes, while I’m for saving the planet and all, I think that the makers of planet-friendly, biogegradable, flushable gDiapers should have a large warning on the box:  May cause toilet to explode at 3am.

Granted, it’s my fault for not reading the instructions.  But then again, I’m a guy.  A guy with a baby.  Like I’m going to read diaper instructions.  If not a warning, the gDiaper people should at least be guy-conscious/guy-friendly and include a picture on the box indicating that the included swizzle stick is for helping the diaper break apart in water; not for ramming vast quantities of diaper down the nether regions of the toilet.

A simple drawing of an angry diaper-prodding guy with a big slash through it would suffice.

Jealous Teddy

Ever since Layla came along, our dog Teddy has been “Uncle Teddy”.  We were a bit worried at first, but he’s been great.  Layla is always the first person to be greeted when we come home.  And when Layla cries, Teddy makes sure to come and get us.  He’s a big, orange furred, over-protective uncle.

But, he does get a little jealous at times.  And when we’re spending too much time focused on little Layla, he’ll occasionally butt in to remind us that he’s there.  Which means we have a lot of snapshots kind of like this:

Sorry Ted!  I’ll pick up a fresh bag of pig ears for you this week.

Fighting Layla

I’m not sure if this is a something-babies-do thing, or a Layla thing, but lately she has been holding her fists up in a “put up your dukes” pose.  Here the look on her face seems to say “Oh, I am so going to have fun kicking your ass.”

Sixteen years and I could be in big trouble.

Pensive Layla

Layla is pondering about how best to launch a cutting-edge web 2.0 app running on a Gentoo-based LAMP stack.. even though the management, sales, and technical teams are bickering like alley cats over a puddle of spilt milk.

Either that or she’s trying to figure out where stuffed doggy Julien got off to.

It’s hard to tell.  Same face.