January 17, 2015

Pronunciations

I've heard two examples recently of how the Japanese think English speakers pronounce Japanese names.

In theory every mora in Japanese except ん is what we English speakers would call a consonant followed by a vowel. However, there are three major exceptions to that: す su,tsu, and し shi often drop the vowel sound and get pronounced respectively as s, ts, and sh.

Anyway, in the first episode of season 3 of Dog Days, there's a segment of Nanami and Shinku competing in the Iron Athletics competition in London, and the announcer (I think he's supposed to be English but he sounds Australian to me) pronounces Nanami's surname "takatsuki" as tah-kah-tsoo-kee. The Japanese pronounce it as tah-kats-kee.

The other is in the last episode of Arpeggio of Blue Steel. The US Navy in San Diego transmits a message to Japan informing them that the sub arrived safely. It's addressed to Yokosuka. The Japanese pronounce that yo-ko-ska but the American (and it was an American this time) says yo-ko-soo-ka.

Neither case was played for laughs; there was no feeling of "laughing at the gaijin". But I have a feeling that this kind of error is kind of a brand for English speakers, just like mixing up "L" and "R" is a brand for Japanese trying to speak English.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 09:45 PM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
Post contains 220 words, total size 1 kb.

October 01, 2014

Loner?

In Hyperdimension Neptune, there's a word they keep using to describe Noire that sounds to me like bochi. The subs translate it as "loner" and from context the implication is "someone who has no friends".

It isn't bochi, which means 墓地 "graveyard" (or 点 "dot"). And bouchi, bocchi, and boucchi aren't words, so I'm stumped. What word is it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 04:27 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 60 words, total size 1 kb.

May 28, 2014

Panty Quest

There's a Japanese computer game where the goal is to hunt for panties. Good Heavens! (And they have to be harvested off of girls or they don't count. Double Good Heavens!!)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 06:31 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 33 words, total size 1 kb.

May 26, 2014

furuki

In Fairy Tail, when the king of the spirits speaks to certain people, he uses a word or phrase that they translate as "old friend". That's how he speaks to Loke in episode 32, and at the end he calls Lucy that, too.

What he's saying sounds to me like furuki but I can't find a reasonable entry in the dictionary for it that makes sense. What is he saying?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 05:41 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 71 words, total size 1 kb.

May 03, 2014

Anime is educational!

We learn from anime; it isn't just stale entertainment.

I learned a new word from Hyperdimension Neptunia.

御釜 okama

Nihongodict translates it as "male homosexual" or "effeminate man" or "male transvestite". It's too polite to translate it accurately:

The only male character in the show, Anonydeath, is like this. We don't get to see how he looks because he spends the entire show wearing powered armor.

Oddly enough, that word also means "pot" and "volcanic crater".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 08:30 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 80 words, total size 1 kb.

March 22, 2014

SAY NO!

Where we'd say "Ready Set GO!" the Japanese say sei no. (two beats, not three.)

I've long wondered just what it is that they're saying. The dictionary wasn't of any use. A couple of days ago it occurred to me that it's one word, not two, and now I think I've found it:

性能 seinou "ability, performance"

I suspect at this point its become an idiom and the literal meaning of it no longer matters, but I'm guessing that's what it was. Anyone know if I'm right?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 05:49 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 89 words, total size 1 kb.

February 03, 2014

Why the fascination with Nobunaga?

There are two series this season featuring Nobunaga, and there have been a lot of others. Why the fascination with this historical personage?

I think it's the same reason kids get fascinated with dinosaurs. (I'll explain later.)

Nobunaga lived in the 16th Century, and was a very successful warlord. In his day he conquered a third of Japan, and probably would have conquered all the rest if he hadn't been murdered by one of his top aides, Mitsuhide.

Afterwards, his top general Hideyoshi completed conquest of Japan, and then Ieyasu successfully revolted and established the Tokugawa Shogunate.

And that's where the dinosaurs come in. Lots of people ask why little kids are fascinated with dinosaurs. I think I know: the world of the dinosaurs was completely, totally different from ours, but it was real. It was an alternate path the earth could have followed. Our time would be vastly different without that damned asteroid!

And I think the fascination with Nobunaga is much the same. What if he hadn't been murdered? What if it had been Nobunaga who completed the conquest of Japan, and established a unified government instead of Ieyasu? How different would it have been?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 09:06 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 202 words, total size 1 kb.

December 11, 2013

Iicchatte!

In Mouretsu Pirates episode 26, at 03:29, Marika calls words of encouragement to Courie as the electronic warfare begins. It sound to me like iicchatte! iicchatte! It's translated as "Go get 'em!"

I can see that it's the imperative form of some verb, but I can't figure out what verb it is. Is it the imperative of iku?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 10:02 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 59 words, total size 1 kb.

November 17, 2013

Noddare

Second season of Strike Witches, episode 4, 19:18: Shirley shouts something that sounds to me like noddare. She screams it again at 19:25.

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Coalgirls translates it as "You stupid idiot!" but I don't buy that. I think it probably is the imperative form of a verb that means "Halt!" but I can't find anything in the dictionary that makes any sense. (It isn't tomaru or todaeru because it definitely doesn't start with "t".)

Any idea what it is?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 09:34 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 79 words, total size 1 kb.

October 29, 2013

Fine by me

There's a phrase I've now heard in two places which I think is an idiom.

First: Vividred Operation episode 3, 16:41 spoken by Wakaba.

Second, Mouretsu Pirates episode 26, 06:47, spoken by Witherspoon.

It sounds to me like nozomutokoryo. In Vividred Operation Coalgirls translates it as "Fine by me." In Mouretsu Pirates they translate it as "Bring it".

I get that nozomu means "wish" but what's the rest of it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 07:07 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 73 words, total size 1 kb.

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