All posts by Beige

J-WOTD: 若い燕

わかいつばめ (wakai tsubame)
wakai tsubame

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

Since antiquity the sparrow has always been seen as a bird of love in the west. It was associated in classical mythology with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and Catullus, the Roman poet, famously used the sparrow as a symbol of true love and spiritual connection to his lover. In Japan the sparrow does not carry the same connotations except in the phrase wakai tsubame which literally means a young sparrow but refers to a younger lover of an older woman, or, 女にとって年下の愛人。 Continue reading J-WOTD: 若い燕

J-WOTD: 左団扇 (ひだりうちわ)

ひだりうちわ (hidariuchiwa)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

uchiwa-1.JPGThe uchiwa is a type of fan, which these days is generally made of plastic and handed out at festivals or in front of train stations for advertising during the heat of summer. Here it is combined with hidari, the word for left, to literally mean to use a fan in the left hand. However, with air conditioners becoming so common these days, you are just as likely to hear the phrase in the cold of winter as the heat of summer because the term carries with it the connotations of living a life of comfort. Continue reading J-WOTD: 左団扇 (ひだりうちわ)

J-WOTD: 逆玉

逆玉(ぎゃくたま, gyakutama)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

koshi-2.GIFLiterally gyaku means opposite and, generally, tama means ball. However, despite it becoming a common enough term over the last decade or so, it is not easy to see just how gyakutama took on its meaning of “to marry a wealthy woman.”

Tama is short for the phrase tama no koshi ni noru (玉の輿に乗る、to marry a wealthy man). Of old tama also meant gemstone or a thing of beauty and it is that connotation that is being used here. Koshi ni noru means Continue reading J-WOTD: 逆玉

J-WOTD: へべれけ

へべれけ (hebereke)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

へべれけ Japanese "Word of the Day" It is December and on the social calendar that means bounenkai 忘年会. These end of year parties are often held for work groups, sports clubs or any gathering of friends who need another lame excuse for a few drinks. With so many of them it can be a period when there seem to be more drunks around than normal.
The most common terms used to describe drunks are 酔う(you、to get drunk)and 酔っ払い(yopparai, drunkard). However, these tend to be somewhat overused. Hebereke, however, is one term that doesn’t get used as often as it might. Hebereke means to get badly drunk and is most commonly seen in the phrase へべれけになる (Hebereke ni naru, to get drunk).
Everyone in Japan should have the opportunity to use hebereke over the next couple of weeks Continue reading J-WOTD: へべれけ

The Suburban Building Boom in Musashi Kosugi

kosugi-7b.jpgMuch has been said about the recent turn around in land prices in Japan over the last couple of years. Since the burst of the bubble land prices have been going down for 15 years but recently there has been an upswing in values in the major cities of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka although values in other regions continue to fall. In Tokyo much of the focus has been on major redevelopments of central city areas amidst a general trend towards central city living. Shiodome is one such area, and the over-hyped and under-berated Roppongi Hills complex another. However, outside of the central city areas one suburb in particular is going through some dramatic changes. Continue reading The Suburban Building Boom in Musashi Kosugi

Olympus has Mao Asada Bopping to Punk Music

Mao Asada shows off the new camera for OlympusMao Asada was a phenomenon last winter, coming from relative obscurity to win the ISU (International Skating Union) Grand Prix Final. However, despite being the best on the adult circuit the ISU rules said she was too young (15 years old at the time) to compete at the Olympics, robbing her of the chance of glory in Turin. With such a sudden rise to fame it is no surprise to see Asada doing endorsements in the media. Nevertheless, what is most interesting about her latest television commercial, for the new Olympus digital camera μ, is Continue reading Olympus has Mao Asada Bopping to Punk Music