February 08, 2012

Majutsu -- baloney

Just messing around and landed on this site: majutsu.net

Care to hear some utter crap?

The letters in the word Majutsu have meaning. "Ma” means pure and "jutsu” means art, so Majutsu means the pure art. The person who practices as a magician is called a Majutsushi. The letters "shi” mean user; thus, a Majutsushi is a user of this pure art.

ma does indeed mean "pure". But that's not the kanji that's used to write 魔術majutsu. The real first kanji 魔 means "demon".

UPDATE: 魔術師 majutsushi means "magician" or "sorceror". The final 師 shi doesn't mean "user". It means "expert" or "master".

This is like all those strange bad Chinese and Japanese tattoos that they used to post on the now-defunct "Hanzi Smatter". I really miss that site.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 03:46 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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December 17, 2011

Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka -- question

I'm working on a review of Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka and I'm including a section on the end about some of the language used in the show. One thing I wanted to talk about is Haruna's transformation spell.

As romanized in the subtitles of the versions I have, it goes like this:

nomobuyo yoshi hashitawa dokeda gunmicha de ribura

But to me the second word sounds like "oshi". Anyway, what they did was to convert a regular sentence into hiragana and then read it backwards. But I'm having a hard time parsing it. Here's what I got:

raburi de chamingu dakedo watashi ha shi oyobu mono

which I translate as:

Even though I am lovely and charming, I am a person who brings death.

Is that right? I think I've botched the last part of it.

The Kira-subs translated it as "Lovely and charming but a harbinger of death" but that seems stilted. And I can't figure out how they get "harbinger" out of the Japanese.


UPDATE: I just noticed that the seiyuu who did Sera's voice also did Junko in Daimaou and Brioche in Dog Days. I sure wouldn't have guessed.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 04:55 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 201 words, total size 1 kb.

December 05, 2011


There's a word or phrase that sounds like dokigenyou that means "Good day" or "How are you" or something. It's used as a greeting. One example is the first episode of Shukufuku no Campanella at about 06:40.

What is it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 09:06 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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November 10, 2011

Japanese -- suru and yaru

I'm a bit confused about the difference between suru and yaru. The dictionary says that they both mean "to do" but it's clear there must be some distinction between them.

Judging the language from how it's used in anime is a bit perilous because anime Japanese isn't really normal. But based on what I've been hearing, it seems to me that yaru is more like "to do to". One of the alternate meanings of yaru is "to kill", for example.

Seems like yaru is just a bit sinister, in fact. Is my impression correct?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 03:39 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 99 words, total size 1 kb.

November 04, 2011

Kore wa Japanese?

I just got a search hit for this question:


I think it doesn't mean anything. It isn't grammatical, as far as I can tell (from my extremely limited knowledge of the language). The sentence construction is gibberish. (Even ignoring "dose" for does.)

(Reposted with a different title. The previous one collided with a category name.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 08:02 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 59 words, total size 1 kb.

October 29, 2011

Another translation choice: kyou

I just spotted another translation choice made differently in Dog Days by Hatsuyuki and by Hiryu. The word is kyou and it's used as a title.

In particular, in eps 8 and 9, Brioche is called D'Arquien-kyou and Yukki is called Pannetone-kyou. Hatsuyuki rather arbitrarily decided that Brioche should be called "Count D'Arquien". Hiryu, on the other hand, made it "Dame".

I think they both blew it. It maybe should have been "Lord D'Arquien", but I can make a pretty good case for it being "Sir D'Arquien". Yeah, historically  in the UK "sir" was for men and "dame" was for women, but there are other implications. Historically a Sir, a knight, was a high level fighting man who owned his own weapons and his own armor. Dames didn't fight.

Brioche fights like an angry buzz saw and Yukki is just as good. Calling them "Dame" just isn't appropriate. Calling them "Lord" (as opposed to "Lady") implies nobility, and implies that they hold positions of responsibility. Which, manifestly, they mostly don't. When they're not in battle and not on the road they mostly just sit around and enjoy the sunlight.

Biscotti is a lot different than Earth, especially feudal Japan. In particular it is sexually egalitarian, and a good portion of the warriors, both militia and regular army, are women. And in that battle the majority of the top commanders for Biscotti were women: Brioche, Yukki, Rico, and Eclair versus just Roland and Shinku. Making those women knights (because they are active fighters) makes complete sense to me. Brioche, Yukki, and Eclair really should have been "sir".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 11:31 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 19, 2011

Jutsu == Jitsu

Sorry about not posting much lately. After six years of doing this, I'm running out of things to say. (I started this blog in October of  2005, a couple of months after I wrapped up USS Clueless.)

I just now confirmed something I'd long suspected. I long wondered whether the Japanese pronounced 術 jutsu as "jitsu". I'd long known of the martial art we call "jiu jitsu", but jitsu doesn't mean that. So was it a case of dumb gaijin mispronouncing it? Or is it a case of Japanese pronunciation drift?

In the second episode of Dog Days, Becky uses the term bojutsu to refer to study of fighting techniques using a staff (i.e. a bo) and she pronounced it "bo-jeets", dropping the trailing "u" sound, as is commonly done in words ending with -tsu.

So it really is the Japanese pronunciation. Given how regular their pronunciation is, it's a bit strange to run into an exception. I wonder how it happened?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 09:41 AM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
Post contains 165 words, total size 1 kb.

October 16, 2011

Japanese -- Kekko?

There's a word I've heard a number of times which, yet again, I can't in the dictionary. Particular instances: Uiharu says it in the first episode of Railgun at about 08:08. It's just after Saten flipped Uiharu's skirt. Saten says "Sorry, sorry. Want to see my panties in exchange?" And Uiharu says "Kekko desu." and doesn't look. They translated it as "That's alright."

Uiharu uses it again in ep 17 at the end when talking about the boy that transferred away. Anyway, if I'm spelling it right, then it isn't in the dictionary. So it might be a contraction or a slang term. What is it?

UPDATE: Surprisingly, it's in the Urban Dictionary. I wonder why it isn't in the Japanese dictionary?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 03:20 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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September 04, 2011


In Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou, what is the word that Peterhausen uses to refer to Akuto? It sounds like araji to me but I can't find it or anything similar in the dictionary. It seems to mean "master" or "lord" or "boss", or  something equivalent.

UPDATE: Never mind, I found it. It's aruji.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 09:30 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 54 words, total size 1 kb.

July 15, 2011


In Dog Days, and a few other times, there are places where someone is presented with an offer or demand,  and they respond kotoaru which gets translated as "I refuse." (There was at least one instance of that in one of the Keroro Gunsou movies that I can remember. I think it was the third one.)

"aru" is obviously one aspect of the copula. Is this 異 the koto? Making it someone similar to saying chigau!, perhaps?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 07:27 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 78 words, total size 1 kb.

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