Category Archives: WOTD – Japanese

All of the writers on are fluent in Japanese, reading and writing included. Sometimes we come across great phrases that make us think, “now why haven’t I ever heard/read/used that before”. When we find a ripper of a Japanese word that we come across in everyday life in Japan (one that is generally colloquial, or not usually in standard dictionaries), we will introduce it to you in our “Japanese: Word of the day” section.

J-WOTD: 倦怠期

けんたいき (kentaiki)

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

I often hear colleagues at work and other Japanese friends talking about their relationships at home – married or otherwise. Some of the key words used these days seem to be セックスレス(sexless)、喧嘩多発(constant quarreling) and 離婚寸前 (thinking of divorce)…

I’m not going to go to deep into all of those now. However, this recent change in wording used by those around me, juxtaposed against the buzzwords of my university days (ラブラブ、あつあつ 、イチャイチャ etc) is a big contrast, and I suppose shows the age of the people around me, and maybe my age too (not “old”, but half way there I guess..). Continue reading J-WOTD: 倦怠期

J-WOTD: 怪我の功名

けがのこうみょう (kegano koumyou)

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

A “lucky mistake“, or “to come out of a mistake unscathed“. (Literally “Great feat from an injury”)

Once again, I heard this at work today. We had quite a serious mishap a few weeks ago, but we found it and fixed it before our SOX auditors did. It was unlucky (a 怪我, kega) for us, as we made the mistake, but very lucky that we found it when we did and are now able to include measures against doing it again in our operational procedures (hence the 功名, koumyou). It is also used quite colloquially in everyday language, in the sense of “talk about a lucky escape!”. A cool phrase. Should be put to use right away. Continue reading J-WOTD: 怪我の功名

J-WOTD: しゃくに障る

しゃくにさわる (shakunisawaru)

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

“grate on one’s nerves” or when used about a person, “gets on my nerves”
“Being called a ojyo-san really grates (gets) on my nerves”
“He gets on my nerves”, “He is a trying person”


たもと (tamoto)

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

As I was getting my daily dose today of Horie’s trial today on the livedoor higaisha nikki, I came accross the word tamoto. While it literally refers to the sleve of a kimono, it is generally combined with the verb 分かつ (wakatsu) and used to mean “to part ways”.

Example: 宮内被告は…堀江被告と袂(たもと)を分かつ決心をした状況を詳細に語った。 “Miyauchi explained to the court in detail the situation that lead him to choose to part ways with Horie.”

Continue reading J-WOTD: 袂

J-WOTD: 波瀾万丈

はらんばんじょう (haranbanjyou)

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

“Full of ups and downs” This pharse basically means that something has been eventful, but in a negative way.
Examples: 彼女の波瀾万丈な生活にずっとつきあってきたよ。 “I have put up with her rollercoaster of a life for so long”
It can be used for almost anything, even for more formal usages, 波瀾万丈な経歴 means a “checkered career” etc.
One More: 話が時代を超えて展開する時、波瀾万丈の物語の幕が開けます。”This creates an exciting saga as the story jumps through different periods in history”

J-WOTD: 物別れ

ものわかれ (monowakare)

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

I thought this was a cool phrase, and I was surprised that I had never heard anyone use it before yesterday..

Basically points out a situation or a confrontation, or even just a discussion between two parties that did not go well, and ended with no conclusion. It also portrays that the meeting or discussion was a waste of time. This happens so much in Japan, that this phrase will be so useful for me.

end in disagreement, or without any conclusion.
I got a phone call saying the talks had broken down.
Talks between the two countries got nowhere.
remain stalemated

J-WOTD: 実るほど頭を垂れる稲穂かな

みのるほど こうべをたれる いなほかな (minoruhodo koubewotareru inahokana)

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

“Those ears of rice that bear the most grain (people in high positions) should be the ones that bow lowest”
This is a kotowaza.. Heard it used (sarcastically) today about an 偉そうな guy at work, who is supposedly a head of a division, but in fact often is found boasting to his subordinates about how many airline miles he earned on his 6 last business class work trips to the US, and how he often gets upgraded to first class because of how often he uses business class. In this sense, he should be the last person in the company to be saying anything to subordinates (who rarely get to go anywhere, let alone by business class) about how much of a “VIP of the sky” he is.

J-WOTD: 力任せ

ちからまかせ (chikaramakase)

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

“do something in an angry state” (not sure about this… some Japanese person, please leave a comment?)
The kid was angry with his parents, and just kicked the ball for hours in the garden.