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July 23, 2003



This motorcycle model came with the cell phone I bought the other day. I have no idea what the heck the miniature has to do with a cell phone. Anyway it's something for "lagniappe." It looks good, sure, but actually it's not necessarily what makes me excited to receive. Well, I don't have much interest in bikes. I prefer cars. No offence to motorcycle lovers, but when driving a car, I often feel like motorcycles are nothing but a nuisance. Besides, when summer comes, a great number of "riders" come to Hokkaido to enjoy touring. What a mess! ...oops, sorry. Well, I sometimes see middle-aged or older guys riding Harleys. In no way do I ever think they are cool, but, yeah, it's good to have something to stick with in life.

So, not knowing what to do with it, I toriaezu (without any plan) displayed it in the classroom. Sure enough (really?!), students like it very much, and I promised them that I would give it to a great student. What is a "great student" anyway? I dunno. Maybe, time will solve it, toriaezu.

July 17, 2003


Kiyo's daily japanese

The more reasonable way of reading the kanji "日本" is "Nippon," which suggests ,in reverse, "Nihon" could be the more formal one. Anyway, both are regarded as equally correct and are used equally as well. The choice of which to use depends on the situation or the words that follow, or possibly your mood. When referring to the Japanese language, "Nihon-go" is widely used, and when cheering for the National Team as at the Olympics, it should almost exclusively be "Nippon!"

The kanji "日本" was formed in the seventh century to give the meaning of "the Land of the Rising Sun." It was originally called "Yamato."

Then why is "Nihon" called "Japan" in English? According to a source, it comes from the Chinese pronunciation, Jihpun. Uh-huh.

By the way, as Japan is shortened to "Jpn." in English, there are abbreviated kanji versions of calling other countries in Japanese. I'll show you some of them here.

US 米 (bei, pronounced like "bay")
UK 英 (ei)
Canada 加 (ka)
Australia 豪 (go)
France 仏 (futsu)
Italy 伊 (i)
Germany 独 (doku)

The US is often referred to as "米国" (bei-koku) in the papers or the like. 米 is "rice," and 国 "country." "米" is one of the kanji characters that were applied to liken the sound of "America," so it has nothing to do with the meaning. But, you know, the US is "Rice Country." Oh, by the way, why is "Rice Bowl" called so?

July 15, 2003

Can't be a ...

Kiyo's Japanese Lesson

July 14, 2003

Phone-cam blog?

Oops, sorry for the poorly taken pic.


July 9, 2003


Like other languages, there are regional varieties of Japanese throughout Japan. Naturally, people in Hokkaido speak with a Hokkaido accent, though it's not as distinctive and powerful as other dialects such as Kansai-ben, Nagoya-ben, and Tohoku-ben ("Ben" is "speech," referring to regional accents or dialects in this usage). For better or for worse, most unique expressions in this region, it seems to me, have become unused year by year. As for me, I usually speak standard Japanese. When it comes to the Hokkaido dialect, my wife, a Nagoya native, is now the better speaker. She sounds like a perfect bilingual, I mean, of Nagoya-ben and Hokkaido-ben.

It's interesting to hear my students speak Hokkaido dialect. Some students speak with a strong accent, others don't. Some students intentionally use it to make what they say sound funny. Yesterday, I felt amused to hear this phrase:

なしたの? (Nashita no)

It's the Hokkaido version of どうしたの (Doushita no), or "What's the matter?" Doesn't it sound plain and cool? I suddenly liked this expression.

For its variation, there is

なして? (Nashite)

Can you see it? It's どうして? (doushite), meaning "Why?" I don't know how the sound どう (dou) turned into な (na). Really, なして?

OK, everyone, repeat after me.

Na-shi-te ... Good!

July 7, 2003


Yes, I do have a cell phone. Why not? Never mind, you know, the only funny thing about my possessing a cell phone is that I hardly ever use it. Nevertheless, I bought a new one last Saturday. Sounds stupid? Don't blame me. It's not my fault. (Is it a fault anyway?) My wife said she wanted the newest one, and so, well, I thought it wouldn't be bad to buy a new one for myself, too. You know, today's cell phones are rich in special functions. And my students seem to make full use of them without efforts. It's kind of my duty to keep up with the trend. Forget about the fact that I didn't get the whole picture of the features even with my former one.

My new one has digital camera function in it, like most others. So, what about thinking in the way that I bought a "digital camera," and that for the first time in my life? Even so, a problem lies here - I'm terrible, really terrible at taking pictures. I find it funny myself, but I've never been interested in taking photos, nor have I ever wanted to have a camera. The first thing I do when asked to take pictures for someone is ask how to do it. OK. I'm learning.

So, guys, here is the first picture I took with the cell phone. It's the symbol of my English school, "Hatano English Seminar." Looks cute?

HES mark

It's something I drew on the flip side of a handout for fun when I started the school. The students at the time liked it, and it has lived until now. Be careful when you will draw it. The number of his hairs is six. Nothing more, nothing less. Oh, he doesn't have a name. So I'd appreciate it if you would think of one for him.