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April 30, 2006

The Abduction Issue

Bush denounces N. Korea for abduction

I, as a Japanese citizen, would like to thank Mr. Bush for meeting with Mrs. Sakie Yokota, the 70-year-old mother of abductee Megumi Yokota.

April 28, 2006


A Slight Change in Habits Could Lull You to Sleep

Are you a good sleeper? I sleep about 7 hours a night. It's once in a blue moon that I have trouble going to sleep, like when worrying too much about things or excited about the next day's enjoyable activity. Oh, I couldn't sleep well the night before a school outing as a kid. Though I'm not the type who can sleep anytime anywhere, fortunately to this day I haven't suffered from insomnia.

I hear when you can't get to sleep, simply lying on the bed, without worrying about not being able to sleep, makes some sense. It can at least relax your body and mind. Better than nothing. Yeah, you can sleep when real sleepiness comes to you. Wait until then relaxing. Even if it doesn't work, it won't matter much. You can manage to spend the next sleepy day (maybe). Then, you will be able to have a good sleep the next night! Don't worry. You're still young, um, kinda. No, no, don't think about your age. Who cares? --- That's what I say to myself when having a bad night. ;)

Still if you have a hard time going to sleep, as the article advises, read a dull blog like mine. It could work. ;)

April 25, 2006

Smileys That Make You Smile

Hey, did you like the song of Doraemon? Many of you may not know what Doraemon is like. After posting the previous entry, I remembered there's a smiley representing the character, and found one on the Net. He looks like this:


Wow, it sure is Doraemon! To see Japanese smileys (or 顔文字: kao-moji), you don't have to tilt your head to the left. Just look at them vertically. Can you see the face? Haha, Japanese smileys are kinda reader-friendly.

Since we are on the subject of Japanese smileys today, I'll show you some other funny ones.


It's cute, isn't it? Can't recognize it? Actually, it's Snoopy!




Darth Vader. Wow...




Prime Minister Koizumi...

OK, Adiós! (^o^)/

April 23, 2006

Sleepy Sunday

It's Sunday morning. Speaking of Sunday morning, when I was a kid, I used to get up early and watch animations on TV. I couldn't wait to get up and turn on the TV. Looking back, I find it amusing myself that I was able to get up early on Sundays expecting something fun, besides animations, would happen for the day, while my parents, or adults in general, wanted to sleep late.

One of my favorite TV cartoons was "ハクション大魔王" (Hakushon the Genie). "Hakushon" is the typical sound of sneezing in Japanese. The funny-looking genie was summoned whenever someone sneezed near the bottle and he granted a wish. But he was so clumsy that things never went as expected, and messed up. A slapstick comedy I really enjoyed watching.

Though I no longer watch anime now, I know Japanese anime are very popular abroad. And I came across this interesting site introducing Japanese anime songs in other languages. A great site for anime otaku, huh?

OK, today's theme song is Doraemon!

April 19, 2006


A high school senior suddenly shouted in class:

"What on earth is this word that looks very much like 'weekend'?!"

The word was --- "weakened".

April 17, 2006


Hi, everyone. Welcome to Kiyo's Japanese Class!

Today, let's memorize a cool sentence. Are you ready?


(nihon en niwa en ga nai)

The first "en"(円) is, as you already know, Japanese currency. The second "en"(縁) is, uh, well, it's hard to explain. "縁" is a Japanese concept that means something like someone or something is linked to someone or something by fate or something like that. ... Hey, are you with me? Try thinking in Japanese and get the feel of the expression. Now, you happened to come to this website and became a reader. I think that's because we had some kind of 縁! This word is widely used and often used without given a serious thought.

"縁がない" is "no 縁." So, the meaning of the sentence is like "Japanese yen don't come to me." Sounds cool?

OK, repeat after me,

Nihon-en niwa en ga nai !


Memorizing good sentences goes a long way in learning a foreign language. ...What? Um, you don't have to wonder if today's sentence is a good one. I-I-It's w-w-worth m-m-memorizing. Keep it up!

Well, that's all for today, guys. See you next class, uh, in some foreseeable future, maybe.

April 16, 2006


When you hear the word "yen," you first think of Japanese yen? I didn't know "yen" has another meaning: a strong desire! Wow. Suddenly, I yenned to know if the two words had something to do with each other. Though I don't deny I have a yen for (Japanese) yen, if the origins were just like that, it could be a funny story that would possibly be funnier than normal jokes.

Well, this page suggests the two seem to have the same origins, from Chinese (Mandarin) yuán! And its "Word Origins" part says "yuán" means "a desire for opium." Opium! Hmm, Japanese yen is so addictive like opium that people have a yen for yen? Come on, my stupid assumption makes sense? No, no, あり得ねー (impossible)!

Ahem... sorry for my idle talk. Seriously, "yuán" seems to have another meaning: round. The kanji character for the currency is 円 (en), meaning "circle." That's it. OK, that's it, folks.

One US dollar is 118 yen as of today.

April 13, 2006

Banana Again

Mieko-san wrote about bananas in her April 11 entry. Reading it, I remembered I had once blogged about bananas, too.

Bananas used to be a very expensive fruit in Japan when I was a kid. Or it may be that that was a limited phenomenon observed only around me. I don't know. It's already a remote memory. Anyway, being able to eat bananas was one of the most exciting events for me as a kid. And while all this was going on, the day finally came when I had a chance to eat bananas as many as I liked. After that, I grew tired of bananas and they were no longer a special fruit for me. Little Kiyo lived happily ever after. (No, no)

After blogging about the fruit, I had a bunch of comments from banana haters from around the globe (well, maybe). That taught me there exists a phobia about bananas. There is no accounting for tastes? Hah, this is a proverb I learned in high school English class whose Japanese counterpart (蓼食う虫も好きずき: tade kuu mushi mo sukizuki) I learned for the first time too!

Well, this post may draw a lot of comments from those who have the phobia from entire universe again....

April 10, 2006

Beautiful and Strong

Phew, I'm too busy today. So for now, please see this TV commercial video and appreciate something. (What?) Oops, I'll go away....

April 7, 2006


I don't know when I first heard about this, but somehow I've vaguely believed it. It is that rabbits will die if they feel lonely. Maybe I didn't doubt it because the animal, to me, presents an image of a fragile little thing.

And today, I happened to find out it isn't true. (Sorry, the page is written in Japanese. Oh, but I bet it is a good read for my Japanese-learning friends. hehe) The adviser says that loneliness alone can't lead to a rabbit's death, although it can be a case that rabbits would die of some disease from lack of vitality and appetite caused by loneliness. The same holds true with other pets, too.

Aha, rabbits are not alone.

April 5, 2006

April 4

7th graders:

"You know, March 3 is Hina Matsuri. It's a day for girls."


"And May 5 is Children's day. It's a day for boys."

"Yep, so what?"

"3-3, 5-5, then 4-4 should have some meaning. Hey, it's April 4, isn't it?"

"Oh, today is 4-4!"

"So, it must be 'Gay Day' today!"

Well, kinda...

April 4, 2006

White April

It's been snowy for the past couple of days. Everything outside is white. Beautiful! Beautiful? Noooooooooo! Why the hell do I have to shovel snow in April?

New Year's classes started yesterday, and as if to celebrate the day, man, a snowstorm blew up. A lovely start of the year, isn't it?

The weather was almost damping down my enthusiasm for the new year. But almost all of my students came to class in spite of the snow and wind. Good students! Oh, "damping down someone's enthusiasm" can be expressed as "出鼻をくじく (debana wo kujiku)" in Japanese. "出" is to go out, and in this case "put something forward," and "鼻" nose. "くじく" is to spoil or damp down. Damping down the nose put forward! Ha!

I'm looking forward to the real spring.

April 3, 2006

Thinking in Japanese

When you speak English, you think in English. When you speak Japanese, you think in Japanese. Does that affect the way you think? How, and how much?

Clive's comment on my previous entry suggests something important, profound, and mysterious at the same time, about language learning.

He says it's much easier for him to comment in English than in Japanese. You may think it's a natural thing because English is his native language. But, he continues, it's not a language problem. Yes, he can communicate with me in Japanese. His Japanese is outstanding for someone who has never lived in Japan. He even has a handle on Kansai-ben! ;)

Then, what is the point? It's made clear from his following words:

when I think in Japanese,I'm just no good at thinking of things to say

I know what Clive means. I think there sure is a kind of change in mind-set when using another language. When I use English, I unconsciously turn on "the English switch" in my head. You know, I hear a clicking sound! (Oh, no more April Fools, eh?)

English and Japanese are such different languages. And one of the biggest differences is word order. The common English sentence begins with the subject and the verb follows, while the verb comes at the end in Japanese. That means when you speak Japanese, you have to use the subject-object-verb pattern and think that way. I'm not a specialist in linguistics, and I'm not quite sure how much impact this kind of shift has on your mind-set, but this difference must be significant.

My guess is that Clive has reached a certain stage in Japanese learning, an advanced one, and faces some "mind-set barrier." I'm sure he will break it by commenting more on my Japanese blog. ;)

Oh, me? I'm no good at commenting either in English or in Japanese. Ha ha!

April 1, 2006

Fresh Start

OK, it's April 1st. New Year!

Now I'm trying to remember the days when I enjoyed blogging as if it was part of my daily routine. I used to sit down in front of the PC in the morning without having any specific idea beforehand for the day's entry. Then I typed some words, and that was forming an entry. Oh that reminds me, I once achieved a perfect month! I was on a blogger's high in those days. Good old days.... No, wait, I have to get back into blogging!

I write whatever comes to mind. That's my blogging style. It may mainly be about the English and Japanese languages, cultures, toilets (oops). I don't even categorize my posts (out of laziness...no,no). This is where I freely chat away in English, a foreign language, and I like it. If you like it, then it's much better.

Incidentally, though I've never been a Japanese teacher, whenever you want to know something about the language, feel free to ask me.

Now I'm repeating this phrase: 継続は力なり

Well, folks, this is no April Fool. hehehe. ;)