Yoku Iwareta: I Get That A Lot.


I’m going to continue to present some of the oddball things in language. One is “yoku iwareru” (or iwareta, past tense) for “I get that a lot.” I’m not kidding: that’s exactly how it should be read.

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San Bun no Ni = 2/3rds

Japanese Expression of Fractions

Although there are other ways of expressing certain kinds of fractions, like hanbun (半分、はんぶん) for 1/2 or 50%, 2/3 would be expressed as “san bun no ni” (三分の二, さんぶんのに). That is, “of three parts, two“. Actually, with Japanese grammar it’s nearly impossible to express this any other way.

Consequently, yonbun no san (of 4 parts, 3) is how 3/4ths would be expressed. Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty simple.

There’s also another expression you should know: gobu-gobu (五分五分, ごぶごぶ), which means 5 parts/ 5 parts, or in “our” language, fifty-fifty. Remember that “juubun” (十分、じゅうぶん) assumes that the “bun” part (for divisions) is 10 parts, and therefore, 5 of 10 parts is half, or 50%, and 10 of 10 parts is all, or 100%. If you’ve put in 100% effort, that’s considered enough. If your odds are 50% success or 50% failure, they’re 50-50, or gobu-gobu.

Practice and quick processing of these words will enable you to understand the message with startling speed, allowing you to focus on other things. – J

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Remembering the Tsunami

Just a brief word. We have reached a year since the earthquake/ tsunami disaster that has afflicted Japan. The crisis is certainly not over for a good many people.  We in the West can mainly wish the best for the people affected and, if there is a way to help, to do so. We must remember nature can affect us greatly and we can’t stop it all. – J

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Sakura Zensen: The Cherry Blossom Front Lines

桜前線 (さくらぜんせん)

Sakura” (cherry blossom) is a word many people know well. Sakura viewing is “hanami” (花見、はなみ), or lit. flower viewing. Outside of a weather context, “zensen” (前線、ぜんせん) would mean “front” in the sense of WWII’s Eastern Front or Western Front in Europe, but here it means weather front

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Pokemon X Samurai Warriors = What The!?

You Don’t See This Every Day

Actually, this is a crossover with Nobunaga’s Ambition, a venerable wargame series out of Japan, but that’s niche stuff. The kind of niche I’m into, mind you. The people are similar, though: it’ll be Oda Nobunaga, Akechi Mitsuhide, Oichi, Takeda Shingenwith pokemon. Holy cow. 

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Jitsu vs. Jutsu: More Than A Shuriken’s Difference


The word jitsu stands for reality and truth, often as part of the word shinjitsu (objective truth, an intangible thing). The word jutsu stands mostly for technique, in the sense of an art, a method, or even a spell. The words majutsu (for magic) and ninjutsu (for ninja arts/ techniques) are two examples.

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Sorosoro: It’s Just About Time


There are actually two distinct uses for sorosoro (そろそろ). The first is as an adverb representing softly, leisurely, gently, gradually, etc. The second is the one to really watch out for: that something will be done soon, in the near future, even if it has taken some time to get there.

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Mushiro: Stating Preferences


“Mushiro” is one of those words that isn’t in everyone’s speaking style, but it’s really good to know what it means and how it’s used. The English output differs because different words fit different sentence situations. The word itself demonstrates the better option among two or more.

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Sensei’s Corner: A Wandering Tale

Lots of Stuff

I haven’t done one of these in a while because it’s hard to get used to the “train of consciousness” type of writing. In fact, I won’t really do that. I’ll break this up into little sections and make it easier to read that way.

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So What Do Foreigners Find Expensive In Japan?

I have to highly recommend this post at Japan Today, not so much because of the story – which I find interesting in itself – but because there’s over 180 comments by people giving their own first-hand impressions. It’s fascinating, and may make good reading for a lot of people.

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