私は日本語の使い方に注意した方が良い。(part 2)

I've gotten some good advice about my posts recently. A few people pointed out mistakes in one of my Japanese dictionaries which I should have caught.

Back on June 16th, I was talking about the muggy weather.
In that post, I talked about the words "survive" and "evaporate", both of which are verbs. The Japanese definitions from jmdict, though, were nouns. Oops!

These definitions were suggested to me:
  • survive - 生き残る
  • evaporate (in the case of sweat) - 蒸発する
Another point was about my post on June 22nd. I was talking about the hot weather again.
I said:
I know some people avoid using the air conditioner at all costs.
Someone suggested to me that, in this case, the best for definition for "at all costs" is 何があっても or 何としても.

It's always great to get your advice! Thank you so much!



Hey! I don't work at the cafe. I'm not in charge! I can't close the cafe. Only the employees can do that.
  • Who will be in charge?
    誰が責任者になる? (from Eijiro on the Web)

That's what this sign means. It's an imperative sentence, asking me to close the cafe.
× Close now.
◯ Sorry, we're closed. Please come again.
  • imperative sentence
    無条件完結文、命令文{めいれいぶん}(from Eijiro on the Web)
If you don't use a subject and start directly with a verb, it sounds like an order.
Study this blog post carefully! <- this is an order
Starbucks may be expensive, but it has two things going for it: no smoking and (mostly) correct English!
  • have ~ going for someone

スポーツ・グラフィック ナンバー題名について

I recently saw this title on the cover of sports graphic number. Japan had beaten Cameroon 1-0 earlier in the week. In the last World Cup game Japan lost 1-0 to a powerful Dutch team and on Friday morning Japan is playing Denmark. All Japan needs to do is draw the match. So far Okada has come up with a good strategy in the last two games. I hope the team plays well on Friday. Go Samurai blue!!!

I also wanted to mention the good use of English on the cover. As a reaction to something or someone's actions we can use the following two expressions: What (noun) e.g. What a miracle! or How (adjective) e.g. How beautiful they played! Note the exclamation at the end so be sure to sound excited.

Also note the structure of the sentence:
What (noun) (subject) (verb) ~~ What a handsome man Cristiano Ronaldo is!
How (adjective) (subject) (verb) ~~ How delicious dinner looks!



Yesterday was the summer solstice. Summer is here.
  • summer solstice《the ~》夏至{げし}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The temperatures matched the season, and it was necessary to turn on the air conditioner.

What temperature do you set the AC at? Right now, I have the thermostat set at 26 degrees. In the late evening, I'll try to turn off the AC and open the window.
  • thermostat 温度自動調節器{おん ど じどう ちょうせつき}、サーモスタット
I know some people avoid using the air conditioner at all costs.
  •  at all costs 費用{ひよう}がいくらかかっても、いかなる代価{だ いか}[代償{だいしょう}・犠牲{ぎせ い}]を払っても、ぜひとも (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I can understand why. First, it's expensive to run it. I never like to see the electricity bill after a month of air conditioning. On top of that, people say it's not really comfortable. I suppose I can understand that sometimes, too. However, a room full of hot and sticky air isn't so comfortable either.

I've heard that Karuizawa is a good place to escape the heat, but after all, my life is in Tokyo. I can't escape Tokyo for four months, so I had better just find good ways to cope with the heat.
  • cope with
    1. 〔困難{こんなん}・問題{もんだい}など〕に立ち向かう
      ・They coped with the onslaught. : 彼らはその襲撃を切り抜けた。
    1. 〔嫌なこと・状況など〕に耐える (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I just imagine that since yesterday was the longest day of the year, the days will be getting shorter. Since I'm getting older, time seems to pass faster. The benefit, I suppose, is that fall will be here before I know it.
  • before I know it あっという間に、思わず
I hope you all are drinking enough water. Don't pass out from heat stroke!
  • pass out 意識{いしき}を失う、気絶{きぜつ}[卒 倒{そっとう}]する It was so hot that I was afraid I would pass out if I worked outside. : とても暑かったので、外で作業をしたら倒れないかと心配だった。(definition and example from Eijiro on the Web)
  • heat stroke 熱射病{ねっしゃびょう}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)


Go Samurai Blue!!!

Unless you have been hibernating for the last week or are suffering from amnesia, you know that the Japan national soccer team eked out a win against Cameroon earlier this week.

It was the first World Cup victory for the Japanese team under Okada's leadership. Hopefully he got the monkey (and the media) off his back. Okada had been under a lot pressure from the Japanese press.

However the next two teams that the Samurai blue have to face are going to be tough matches. I hope Okada can pull a few more rabbits out of his hat. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Go Samurai blue!!!

Useful vocabulary
hibernate ~ 冬眠する、冬ごもりする

amnesia ~ 記憶喪失、健忘(症)

eke out ~

monkey off one's back ~

pull a rabbit out of one's hat ~ 〔手品として〕帽子か らウサギを取り出す

keep one's fingers crossed ~ あなたに幸運が訪れるよう祈っていますよ。/うまくいくように祈っています.-- I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

I don't know if I even have a chance, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Ugh. My least-favorite season has arrived. The sun has gone down, but it's still 27 degrees outside.
× It's so wetty!
× It's so wet! <- this is better, but still not so good
◯ It's so humid! <- this is OK, but it doesn't refer to the heat so strongly, I feel
◯ It's so muggy! <- this is best!
  • humid - 湿度の高い (definition from Eijiro)
  • muggy - 蒸し暑い (definition from Eijiro)
Your sweat doesn't evaporate, but instead makes your skin sticky. You have to be ready for rain at any moment. What's worse, once rainy season is over, the real heat and humidity arrive.
  • evaporate 蒸着 (definition from jmdict)
  • sticky 粘っこい, 粘い, べたべた (definition from jmdict)
  • what's worse さらに悪い[ひどい]ことに (definition from Eijiro)
  • humidity 湿り (definition from jmdict)
Someone I was talking to earlier today said she doesn't even have an air conditioner at home. She says they only use electric fans. Can you survive with only an electric fan?
  • electric fan 扇風機
  • survive 残存
I often think my body was designed for colder weather, but at any rate, here I am in Tokyo. I survived living in Taiwan and already four summers here, so I'll probably make it through this one alive.
  • make it through ~をうまくやり遂げる、~を何とかやっていく、うまく通り抜ける、何とか~を切り抜ける[乗り越える](definition from Eijiro)
I'm not particularly looking forward to it, though.

What advice do you have on how to deal with muggy Tokyo?


OMG! You work for A.S.S.? ROTFL!!!

Look at the first few entries under any letter in an English dictionary and you will find acronym after acronym. In our daily life we are bombarded with them too. Some are world famous, (e.g. IBM), some are easy to remember (e.g. ABC store,) and some stock symbols are even cute/clever (e.g. DNA--Genentech, which is a bio-tech company, AAPL--Apple Inc. )

Then there acronyms that should be avoided at all costs. Case in point is the name of this security company. I am sure Asahi must have some name value in the mind of the Japanese customer. Asahi Security Services is okay too. Problems arose when Asahi Security Services decided to make it into an acronym. Here are some definitions for ass in Japanese.

ass~ (名、俗) 尻、ロバ, 頑固な人, 最低のやつ、ばか, 不快なもの、ひどい結果、

Here are some other commonly used acronyms.
Can you guess their meanings?



I wrote about throwing things out back in April:
A couple of weeks ago, I was throwing more things out late at night. When I went to the garbage collection area in the basement, I found this guitar lying among some broken umbrellas and a disassembled set of shelves.
  • disassemble 分解{ぶんかい}する、バラバラにする (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
× There seems to be nothing wrong with it, without the less-than-attractive green stain it has.
◯ There seems to be nothing wrong with it, [other than/except for/besides] the less-than-attractive green stain it has.
Use "without" when you want to say that something that usually is included is missing. When you mean 以外, use "other than", "except for", or "besides".
  • without ならでは, 無し, なし, 亡しで, なしで, 亡しに, なしに (definition from jmdict)
  • except 除いて, ならでは, 措いて (definition from jmdict)
  • 以外 with the exception of, excepting, except for (definition from jmdict)
I don't really play guitar these days, so I'm not sure what to do with it.
× I could easily live except for it.
◯ I could easily live without it.
I'm trying to get rid of things, but as a musician, I just couldn't leave a perfectly good instrument sitting in the trash.  Maybe I should give it away.


used to と be/get used to の違いは何ですか

Today in class we did a review of 'used to do' and 'be used to doing.' They are very similar in form but very different in meaning and usage. Let's do a quick review on it again.

I used to (verb) means I did it regularly in the past but no longer do it. For example,
I used to live in San Francisco (that's before but now I live in another place)
I used to play basketball with my friends on the weekends but I don't do so anymore. (I played basketball before but I no longer play basketball)
There used to be a Sunkus in my neighborhood but it closed down. It is now a gift shop.

There might be things that you didn't do before but do now. In that case, use 'didn't use to'
I didn't use to use a PC everyday but nowadays I carry one with me everywhere. (I use a PC everyday now but it wasn't so before)
I didn't use to eat fish and vegetables often but I do so everyday now.
There didn't use to be condominium complexes in my neighborhood but now there are too many of them.

I'm used to something means it is not strange or new for me.
After be/get used to we have to v~ing or a noun. For example,
When I went to Thailand I wasn't used to the humidity. (be used to [noun])
When I went to Thailand I wasn't used to eating the spicy food. (be used to v~ing)

Note that being/getting used to something takes time. It doesn't happen overnight.
Shortly after I arrived in Japan, I wasn't used to driving on the left. It was very strange for me. (0% familiarity)
After a lot of practice driving on the left became less strange. I got used to driving on the left.
Now it is no problem at all. I am used to driving on the left. (100% familiarity)
If I go back to the U.S. I will have to get used to driving on the right again. (future tense of be/get used to v~ing)

How would you answer the following questions:
When you first started working, what weren't you used to doing?
What food did you used to eat that you don't eat anymore?
What would you have to get used to if you moved to South Africa tomorrow?


メッシ! メッシ! メッシ!

There are superstars and then there are (the superstars of) SUPERSTARS. Professional athletes have long wowed fans and spectators with their awesome skills. From Babe Ruth to Mohammed Ali to Pele to Michael Jordan, a long list of superstars played on a level that inspired awe. Add Lionel Messi to that list of Superstars. Don't you know him? If you don't, I am sure he will soon be a household name during the upcoming World Cup event much like David Beckham was when Japan hosted the World Cup in 2002. Messi, an Argentinian, plays for FC Barcelona.

Last month, in a quarterfinal Champions League match against a strong Arsenal team, Messi single-handedly beat the team. He scored not once, not twice, not even thrice, but four times. This young man is head and shoulders above the rest. He is in a class of his own.

Check out the youtube link of the game. The commentary is in English. How much of it can you catch?

Useful vocabulary
awesome~ 畏敬[畏怖{いふ}]の念を抱か せる[起こさせる]、荘厳な,
awe~ 畏敬(の念)、畏怖
a household name~ どこの家庭{かてい}でも通じる名前{なまえ}、 誰でもよく知っている名前{なまえ}、おなじみの名前{な まえ}、有名人{ゆうめいじん}
*She immediately became a household name when she won the gold medal. :
single-handedly~ 人の手を借りずに、独力で、単独で、自力
thrice~ 三度、3倍に、3回、3重に
be head and shoulders above~ 〔身長を比較し て〕頭と肩の分だけ~より高い
*X is head and shoulders above its competitors in the personal computer market. :
in a class of one's own~ 《be ~》別格{べっかく}だ、比類{ひるい}が ない、断然優秀{だんぜん ゆうしゅう}だ、際立っている、ずば抜けている



I realized that "celery" isn't so hard for Japanese to pronounce correctly. That's because it doesn't have an "si" or an "sy" sound in it. A lot of people change that to the Japanese-friendly 「し」 sound. You should review the post I did the other day:
However, I do have a good example for you about why you need to be careful. Someone I know was telling me about her customers. She was saying that they don't respect her as a professional sometimes, such as when it comes to their own children. They always want her to look after their children when they are at her workplace.
× "They think of me as their shitter."
◯ "They think of me as their sitter."
shitter〈卑〉トイレ、便所{べんじょ}、下痢{げり}〈卑〉う そつき (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)
sitter 付き添い人、看護人{かんごにん}、ベビーシッター (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)
Fortunately, the truth wasn't as bad as it sounded, even though it's not so good. Imagine if you told an employment agency you were looking for a shitter.
  • employment agency 人材紹介会社 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
× There are many shimilar words.
◯ There are many similar words.
I hope you all find looking at hydrangeas...
× ...as relackshing as I do.
◯ ...as relaxing as I do. <- pronounce it like ree-LACK-sing, with "sing" like "sing a song"
  • hydrangea 紫陽花