2009 roundup

Here's a roundup of the blog from the past year.
  • roundup
  1. 一斉{いっせい}逮捕{たいほ}[検挙{けんきょ}]、手入れ{ていれ}
  2. 〔ニュースの〕総まとめ◆【同】news roundup
  3. 駆り集め◆家畜の
According to Google, we've had 1,361 visitors since we started this blog in April.

We've posted to the blog 200 times in 2009. This is the 201st post.

Here are the posts that Google says are the most popular.

In number 3, I was talking about how "both of ok" is wrong:
The second-most-popular post was the beginning of my series about how to use "so":
Our most popular post is one Johnny wrote about the difference between "describe" and "explain":
One of the last things I did this year was devour chocolate cake in Ueno.
  • 食い荒す (くいあらす) (v5s,vt) (1) to devour; to wolf down; (2) to eat some of everything; (3) to work at various things;
I hope that your new year holiday is as sweet as this cake was. We're looking forward to sweetening your English in 2010.



It's late, isn't it? Here's my soundtrack for this late hour: Sigha doing a mix for Hot Flush Recordings. You can download it here; it's the second image from the right.
I've still got a little bit of work left this week. I'm doing some of it now while I listen to that mix. For some people, the holiday has already arrived. For others, there's a bit of the work week left.
× I hope you don't have to overwork this week.
○ I hope you don't have to work overtime this week.
  • 残業 (ざんぎょう) (n,vs) overtime (work); (P); (definition from Edict)
  • work overtime (definition from Eijiro on the Web) 残業する、時間外勤務をする、時間外労働をする、就業時間以上に働く、超過勤務をする、余分に働く
  • It may occasionally be necessary for employees to work overtime in order to finish a particular project. : 《就業規則》業務の都合で時間外に勤務しなければならない場合がある。
  • If necessary, I'm not reluctant to work overtime. : 必要であれば、残業も気になりません。
  • overworked【形】過重労働{かじゅう ろうどう}の (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • This caused the drivers to become overworked. このことで、乗務員は過労の状態になった。
If you have been overworked, I hope you get a chance to rest a lot. I also hope you can find a new boss!

If you have been working overtime, I hope your overtime pay is good!
  • 残業手当 (ざんぎょうてあて) (n) overtime pay;
In the meantime, listen to some good techno from that link above.



It was love at first sight. There she was swimming gracefully, and she was shiny and beautiful. We even got assurance from the fish shop oniisan that it was healthy and durable. I liked it. My son had no doubts it would be a nice addition to the fish tank. My daughter agreed. My wife also approved. Our journey home was smooth as the freeway was not crowded. We even stopped by for Chinese before heading home.

As soon as we got home we followed basic acclimation protocol. When we released her into the tank, she darted around before finding a good hiding place between the rocks. The next morning she was still too shy and hid behind the rocks. My daughter fed the fish in the tank and the newcomer partook in the feeding. "It looks like one of the colorful socks you have, dad." my daughter said. "Let's call her socks." "That's a perfect name." I replied. I observed the other two fish inhabitants and they all seemed fine. Soon after I went to work.

Later on the day I got a call from my daughter. "The shrimp (the other tank mate) is attacking Socks. It is on the verge of death." When I got home, Socks was on her last legs (or fins) Hardly able to move, she lay on one of the rocks. She died soon after. Socks was with us less than 24 hours.

Right before hitting the sack, my wife (sympathetically) said "Poor fish. We shouldn't have bought it. We should have just left it in the shop." Sigh... I agree. Fish keeping is tougher than I thought it would be. R.I.P. Socks.

Useful vocabulary
love at first sight~一目ぼれ
Do you believe in love at first sight?: 一目ぼれを信じますか.

erman officials have offered assurances that the incident will be pursued vigorously. :


head home~家に帰る
It's almost midnight. Shouldn't you be heading home? :


protocol~外交儀礼, 儀典、礼儀作法、慣習
hey are trying to shed some of its stifling protocol. :


on the verge of~今にも~しようとして
I was on the verge of agreeing with him when someone cried, "He's a liar!" :

hit the sack~床に就く
Last night, I hit the sack before midnight. : 昨夜は夜中の12時前に床に就いた。
Let's hit the sack. : さあ寝よう

R.I.P.~Rest In Peace 〔魂などが〕安らかに眠る、〔霊などが〕休まる


「shake hands」と「hold hands」の違いは何?

Sometimes people tell me something like this:
"When I met him for the first time, he told me his name, and then we, uh... なんて言う... held hands?"
× He told me his name and then we held hands.
○ He told me his name and then we shook hands.
  • hold hands(~と)手を握り合う[つなぐ]
  • 表現パターンhold hands (with) (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • shake hands 握手する、手を握る、合意{ごうい}に達する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • How should I shake hands? : どのように握手すればよいですか?
  • Shake hands! : お手!◆犬に向かって言う表現
This evening I must have seen at least one hundred couples holding hands. There was a big Christmas tree, and an endless parade of couples, all holding hands, walked in front of the tree, took pictures, and then walked off hand-in-hand.
  • 手を携えて (てをたずさえて) (exp) hand in hand; (definition from Edict)
Another woman sat at a table behind me. She had a box of Christmas cake on the table, but she looked really upset. She was waiting for a long time, made a phone call, and then walked away with her cake in a plastic bag. I wondered if she had been stood up.
  • すっぽかす (v5s,vt) to stand (someone) up; to leave (something) undone; to neglect (a duty);
I suppose all that hand-holding was cute. It's still hard for me to think of Christmas as a romantic holiday, though. Where I grew up, that was saved for Valentine's Day.



I hear this mistake at least once a week, I think.
× Can you image?
○ Can you imagine?
"Image" is a noun. The most common meaning for "image" is something like "picture".

"Imagine" is a verb. It means to think of something in your head.

There's also "imagination", which is the noun form of "imagine".
  • 画像 (がぞう) (n) image; picture; portrait; (P);
  • 憶う (おもう) (v5u,vt) (1) to think; to consider; to believe; (2) to think (of doing); to plan (to do); (3) to judge; to assess; to regard; (4) to imagine; to suppose; to dream; (5) to expect; to look forward to; (6) to feel; to desire; to want; (7) to recall; to remember;
  • 思う (おもう) (v5u,vt) (1) to think; to consider; to believe; (2) to think (of doing); to plan (to do); (3) to judge; to assess; to regard; (4) to imagine; to suppose; to dream; (5) to expect; to look forward to; (6) to feel; to desire; to want; (7) to recall; to remember; (P);
  • 心に描く (こころにえがく) (exp) to imagine;
  • (definitions from Edict)
Look at this image. It's food that I made a couple of weeks ago. There's Pakistani chick pea curry, which I made using a spice mixture from Pakistan.

There's also spinach curry with potatoes. First I looked at a bunch of recipes on the net. Then I thought about all of the times I'd eaten this dish in Indian restaurants. From that, I used my imagination and tried to make it.

I ate the curry with tortillas and a cup of black tea.

Can you imagine what it tasted like?



The sign in the photo says:
× "Authentic" Lure Fishing Tackle & "Vintage" Outdoor Clothes
  • 好餌 (こうじ) (n) bait; decoy; lure;
  • 毛鈎 (けばり) (n) (fishing) fly; lure;
  • 釣り具 (つりぐ) (n) fishing gear; tackle;
  • (definitions from Edict)
Let's get the basic grammar mistakes out of the way first:
× "Authentic" Lures and Fishing Tackle & "Vintage" Outdoor Clothes
Fishing lures are countable, so you need an "s". If you don't put an "and" between "lure" and "fishing tackle", it seems like "lure" becomes an adverb describing "fishing", which makes no sense.
  • 意味をなす (いみをなす) (exp,v5s) to make sense; to be meaningful; (definition from Edict)
What I really want to talk about, though, is the quotation marks.
  • 引用符 (いんようふ) (n) quotation marks; quote marks; (definition from Edict)
Of course we usually use quotation marks to denote speech.
  • 示す (しめす) (v5s,vt) to denote; to show; to point out; to indicate; to exemplify; (P);
I used quotation marks in the explanation above to show that I'm talking about the words themselves. The maker of this sign doesn't intend to do that.

Maybe the only other use of quotation marks is to signify that we don't really believe what appears between them. It sounds like the shop owner doesn't really think the lures are authentic. He also doesn't think his clothes are really vintage. It sounds like he's running down his own products.
  • 糞みそに言う (くそみそにいう) (exp) to verbally attack (violently); to run down; to criticize severely; to criticise severely;
Maybe you've seen people do this gesture in an American TV drama:

It means that they don't really believe the word that they are emphasizing with this gesture.

You know, I really don't understand the American government. They say they want "peace", but in fact they are expanding the war in Afghanistan. They say there are "just" wars, as if killing could be just. It's hard to believe even a word they say.
正義 (せいぎ) (n) justice; right; righteousness; correct meaning; (P);
情義 (じょうぎ) (n) justice and humanity;
(definitions from Edict)


「get along」と「get alone」の違いは何?

Maybe everybody knows that I can't get along without my bicycle.
  • get along without ~なしでやっていく(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
On Sunday, I went to the Cycle Mode bicycle show at Makuhari Messe.
It was really great to see all of the bicycles and bicycle gear. Some people thought it was really great to see the booth babes, as well.
  • booth babe〔展示会{てんじかい}などの〕コンパニオンガール、キャンギャル 表現パターン booth girl [babe, chick] (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
There were a bunch of salivating men standing around taking pictures.
  • practically salivating
    《be ~》よだれが出そうだ、舌なめずりしている◆期待感・好条件・購入意欲など主に比喩的に。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Probably those guys would like to get her alone.
  • get someone alone
    (人)を独り占めする、(人)と二人きりになる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I just thought the way she was staring blankly into space was weird.
  • stare blankly into space ぼんやりと空間{くうかん}[空中{くうちゅう}]を見詰める
  • 気色悪い (きしょくわるい) (adj-i) (1) weird; disgusting; sickening; (int) (2) yuck! (with an exclamation mark); eww!; (definition from Edict)
  • weird 奇妙{きみょう}な、風変わり{ふうがわり}な、変な、変わった (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Somehow I just don't think we would get along.
  • get along with (人)と仲良くする[付き合う・やっていく・暮らす]、(人)と良い関係{かんけい}にある、(人)と気[相性{あいしょう}・うま]が合う、(人)と歩調{ほちょう}を合わせる◆【直訳】人と平行状態になる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • I don't get along (well) with her. : 彼女とは肌が合わない。(example from Eijiro on the Web)



First, I have to admit that the headline of this post might be really broken Japanese. I'm not quite sure how to say that. Someone please email me a better version!
  • broken English
    片言英語 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
What I want to say is that "let's" expresses something that you want to do together with someone else. I've talked about that before on this blog:
I was eating at a nice vegetarian restaurant in Bangkok where I also saw this mistake. Now I know it's not a mistake which is only found in Japan. The sign reads:
× Let's wash your hands <- "let's" is wrong, and there's no period either.
○ Please wash your hands.
I wonder if it would be nice for someone to help me wash my hands. After all, at a salon, people wash your hair. When you get a foot massage, the masseur washes your feet.
  • マッサージ師 (マッサージし) (n) masseuse; masseur;
However, no one has ever helped me to wash my hands, at least not in the past 30 years, I think.

Anyway, everywhere people are worried about the flu, and at least washing hands is a better defense than wearing a mask.

Let's help each other to learn new languages. I've written this post, so now somebody check my headline for me, please!



I took a Japanese test on Sunday at one of the Tokyo University campuses. It was a bit harder than I expected, but I think everything went OK.

It was interesting that there was a cute kid sitting in front of me. I could see his name card. His name was Clarence, he was eight years old, and he was from India.

His legs were too short to reach the floor, and my legs were too long for the narrow seating. Consequently, we kept accidentally kicking each other under the table. I said "sorry" and said "OK, OK" with a smile.

After the test, I asked him how long he had been studying Japanese.

"Two years," he said.

"Was the test hard?" I asked him.

"Kind of," he said.

Another interesting fact was the one English mistake I could find on my answer sheet. It said:
× Check up on your test vouchers.
〜 Check this up on your test voucher.
Check this against your test voucher. <- make sure that this matches the one on the test voucher
  • 証票 (しょうひょう) (n) certificate; voucher; chit;
There are two mistakes. First, I only have one test voucher, not multiple ones. Also, "check up" without an object has a different usage, I feel.
Please check up on the children in the other room. <- verb
How did your check-up at the doctor go? <- noun
  • 人間ドック (にんげんドック) (n) medical check-up; thorough physical examination; (P);
I was also a little frustrated that a test which lasts for only 140 minutes took from 9:30 to 14:35 to complete. Anyway, it was an interesting experience, and there were some beautiful trees on the university campus as well.


「in any case」の使い方

Some people have told me they aren't so crazy about Thai food.
  • not too crazy about ~についてあまり気乗りがしない (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Some said it's too spicy. Some don't like coriander. Others said it's the fish sauce that turns them off.
  • turn someone off from(人)に~する気をなくさせる
In any case, I thought it was super!

Here's the definition of "in any case" from Eijiro on the Web:
  • in any case どんな場合{ばあい}でも、とにかく、ともかく
We usually use it at the beginning of a sentence, followed by a comma and a complete sentence.

In Bangkok, this plate of vegetables and rice was only about ¥100. Great, right?

That's about it for this series about "in" and "case". Just in case you missed the previous posts, here are links to all of the posts in the series:
in case: http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2009/11/in-case.html
in case of: http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2009/11/in-case-of.html
in the case of: http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2009/12/in-case-of.html
in someone's case: http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2009/12/in-someones-case.html


スターバックス コーヒーが「あなたのWISHをかなえます」キャンペーンをやっています ...

This month Starbucks is running the wish on a red cup campaign. Coincidentally, my lesson this week is about the grammatical usage of wish. Let's take a closer look at how to use wish in a sentence.
  1. I wish I (simple past verb) ~ I wish I had a big house.
  2. I wish I (past perfect verb)~ I wish I hadn't drunk so much.
  3. I wish (somebody) would/ wouldn't (verb) ~ I wish my husband would help me do the dishes.
Take a look at the Starbucks poster. The second ornament in the third column reads "I wish I had a puppy." We use wish + past verb to say we regret something, that something is not the way we would like it to be . The reality is that I don't have a puppy but in a perfect world I would have one. Here are some more examples:

Using can
(Reality) ~ I can't play the cello.
(I can't play the cello and I regret it) I wish I could play the cello.

Using be
(Reality) ~ I am not strong.
(I am not strong and I regret this) I wish I were strong.

Next, let's look at when to use wish + past perfect. We use this when we wish something had/hadn't happened. We are sorry that it didn't happen. For example, I went shopping and made an impulse purchase. I bought a 300,000 Yen coat on my credit card and now I can't afford to pay for it. I wish I hadn't bought the coat.

Here is another example: My friend who is a stockbroker tells me to buy XYZ stock but I don't listen to his advice. Six months later, the stock is 80 times the original price. At that moment you are thinking... Ooh, I wish I had bought XYZ stocks.

Last but not least is the I wish (somebody) would/ wouldn't (verb) form. We use this to complain about a situation or to complain about things that people do repeatedly. For example, your partner never helps around the house but of course you would like him/her to. ~~I wish my husband would help around the house.

My wife snores at night and I can't sleep.~~ I wish my wife would stop snoring.

So, what are your wishes this holiday season? I wish...

impulse purchase~ 衝動買い(したもの)

stockbroker~ 株式仲買人


「in someone's case」の使い方

At a very large weekend market in the suburbs of Bangkok, there were some women trying to raise money for a charity.
  • 金を調える (かねをととのえる) (exp) to raise money; (definition from Edict)
  • 慈善 (じぜん) (n,adj-no) charity; philanthropy; (P); (definition from Edict)
I was talking about "in the case of" yesterday.
Think about that while looking at the following sentences.

The woman on the left looks really excited about what she is doing.
× In case of the woman in the middle though, it seems she is confused.
× In case the woman in the middle though, it seems she is confused.
In the case of the woman in the middle though, it seems she is confused.
In other words, there's a woman in the middle of the photo, too.
× In the case of her, it seems she is confused. <- don't use "in the case of" followed by a pronoun
In her case, it seems she is confused.
  • in someone's case (人)の場合
The sign she is holding isn't quite right. It says:
× Donate for helping illtreated children.
○ Donate to help ill-treated children.
  • ill-treated child 被虐待児 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
However, in the case of philanthropists, we can forgive a few small mistakes, right?
  • 慈善家 (じぜんか) (n) charitable person; philanthropist;

「in the case of」の使い方

I've talked about "in case" and "in case of", so today I want to talk about "in the case of". Here's the definition from Eijiro on the Web:
  • in the case of ~の場合{ばあい}は、~について言えば、~ついては、~にしてみれば
"Of" is a preposition, so you have to follow it with a noun, like this:
  • in the case of __(n)__, (sentence).
You can also reverse the order, putting the "in the case of" phrase at the end. In that case, don't use a comma.

Someone gave me some nice vegetables on the weekend. Having recently tasted a lot of Southeast and South Asian dishes, I had those flavors on my mind. However, this is Japan, and my vegetables were Japanese ones.
× I have to be honest -- I love Asian food, but in case of Japanese food, I find the flavors are often a bit too weak for me. <- what's the emergency?
× I have to be honest -- I love Asian food, but in Japanese food's case, I find the flavors are often a bit too weak for me. <- Japanese food is not a person, so apostrophe "s" cannot be used
○ I have to be honest -- I love Asian food, but in the case of Japanese food, I find the flavors are often a bit too weak for me.
Maybe it's because I'm a vegetarian that a lot of Japanese food has a weak flavor for me.

Anyway, in order to make my noodles, I used a whole Japanese citron, a lot of Japanese powdered chili pepper, red scallions, and some fresh spinach. The soup also had seaweed bullion and sweet cooking rice wine.
  • 長葱 (ながねぎ) (n) scallion; shallot; green onion; spring onion;
  • 柚子 (ゆず) (n) (uk) Japanese citron (Citrus junos, Citrus ichangensis x Citrus reticulata var. austera); yuzu;
  • みりん sweet cooking rice wine
It didn't taste so much like Southeast Asian food, but it was pretty yummy.