Category Archives: JAPANESE

Whatcha Gonna Do: Japanese Words for The War on Bugs

Source: Gaijin Pot
Whatcha Gonna Do: Japanese Words for The War on Bugs

When you move into a home in the Japanese countryside, you will soon realize that your house doesn’t belong to you. Although you may be paying the rent and filling it with furniture, the true masters of the domain are the bugs and vermin that have been living there for years. Lurking in your tatami, creeping around the skirting board and scuttling under your fridge, it’s enough to drive you crazy. When you see the umpteenth cockroach creeping its way across your floor, it may be time to declare war on bugs with the latest weaponry you can find!

The first weapon in any bug-busting arsenal should be ホイホイ. This is a kind of gooey trap that kills the pest by sticking it hard to the floor. As most bugs have limited lifespans, they will soon turn to mulch — attracting more bugs into your trap. Cue sadistic laughter — mwahahaha… !

The most common one is called a ゴキブリホイホイ (for cockroaches), but there are also コバエホイホイ (for those annoying little flies) and ノミホイホイ (flea traps). If your target is flying, you may want to try a similar product called ハエ取り紙(かみ) (fly paper) instead.

There is also a ネズミホイホイ (a mouse glue trap), but honestly, the thought of killing a mouse slowly in a swamp of goo seems kind of monstrous. Instead, you might want to try live trapping these wee beasties with a ねずみ捕獲(ほかく)カゴ. These wire boxes are left over the little critter’s hole and snap shut as soon as the animal enters it. There is even a black version so you don’t have to worry about even seeing the animal as you take it to somewhere as far away from your house as possible to release it.

For the fans of alliterative revenge, there is also pest poison. …continue reading


What is Japanese Keigo?-3 styles to know.

Since we are discussing Japanese honorifics(mainly polite language), I would like to go back to some basics on this post to explain what the Japanese honorifics (keigo, 敬語、けいご) is all about.

Photo from zoonyzoozoodazoo on

Japanese honorifics is not all about being polite but also understanding when to use certain form of Keigo(敬語、けいご). There are 3 forms of Keigo that you would want to know.

1. Sonkeigo (尊敬語、そんけいご) = Respectful Language
2. Kenjogo (謙譲語、けんじょうご) = Humble Language
3. Teineigo (丁寧語、ていねいご)= Polite Language

To keep things simple, above is all the basic definition of each form that you need to know. Sonkeigo is for respecting others, while you talk to someone who is older or mainly customers. In customer service environment, this form is used the most. You almost can’t communicate with any customers without using some form of Sonkeigo.

Kenjogo is mainly used to talk about yourself, and Teineigo is the one with “desu” and “masu”that I explained in a different post.

With this in mind, I thought I would explain to you how each verb changes as we change our form of Keigo from 1 through 3 above.

Let’s focus on these 3 verbs to see how the verb changes as we change the style/form of Keigo.

Buy (Kau, 買う、かう)
お求めになる 買わせていただく 買います
おもとめになる かわせていただく かいます
Omotomeni naru Kawasete itdaku Kai masu

1.If you buy this set today, you will save 20%.

Kochirano set o kyo omotome itadaku to 20% off to narimasu.

こちらの セットを 今日 お求めになりますと、20 パーセント オフ と なります。(こちらの せっと を きょう おもとめになりますと、20 ぱーせんと おふ と なります。)

2. Let me buy this set.

Kono set o kawasete itadakimasu.

この セットを 買わせて いただきます。(この せっとを かわせて いただきます。)

3. I will buy the set.

Sono set kaimasu.

その セット 買います。(その せっと かいます。)

Go (iku, 行く、いく)
いらっしゃる 伺う 参ります
うかがう まいります
Irassharu Ukagau Mairi masu

1.Please come to our house tonight.

Konya uchi e irasshatte kudasai.

今夜、うちへ いらっしゃって ください。(こんや うちへ いらっしゃって ください。)

2.Can I come over to your place?

Sochira e ukagattemo iidesuka?

そちらへ 伺ってもいいですか?(そちらへ うかがってもいいですか?)

3.I will come over to your place.

Sochira e mairi masu.

そちらへ 参ります。(そちらへ まいります。)

…continue reading


A Foreigner’s Quick Guide to Japanese Hanko Stamp

If you happen to visit Japan, you’ll notice that they do something really unique when they purchase a car, sign a lease, or write a contract or application; the Japanese make use of a Hanko stamp. It is equivalent to signing the bottom of a document, which is something you might already be doing on a day-to-day basis but instead of using a pen, people in Japan use a personal stamp. Not only is it easier and faster (say goodbye to tired hands), the Japanese also regard Hanko as a significant part of their culture for it has been a custom as far back as 57 AD.

Having a Hanko is Handy if You Live in Japan

If you are a foreigner working or studying in Japan, there are instances where having a Hanko comes in handy. Often you’ll need to sign a document where the space for a signature was intended for a Hanko and your own signature will likely not fit in it. When transacting with financial institutions, you will not be able to open an account or get a cash-card without one. Usually, a Hanko seal has the owner’s name in Kanji inscribed on a circle less than two centimeters across. The stamp is slim and narrow and can easily fit the palm of your hand. As a non-Japanese, you can choose which part of your name to use for your Hanko stamp. This will usually be written in Katakana. Each local ward office has their regulation for foeigner’s Hanko, so if you need to make one for Jitsuin or Ginkōin (explained later in this article), you may need to check with them if other than Katakana letter are acceptable. Just be mindful that the space in a Hanko is quite limited.

Hanko …continue reading


Learning Negative Imperative Sentences in Japanese


When you want to just tell someone, “Don’t talk so loud, please”, how would you say that in Japanese? As a mom, I feel like I use the negative imperative forms all the time with my kids. I know it’s not good to talk to them so negatively, but some days, I just can’t help it! So, in my blog post today, I would like to cover some of the examples of negative imperatives in Japanese.

photo from subtle_3106 on

Don’t come here!

1) Kocchini konaide! こっちに来ないで!こっちに こないで!

2) Kocchini kuruna! こっちに来るな! こっちにくるな!

Just like the way I explained the imperative sentences the other day in my post (here), there are two ways of saying in negative imperative sentences as well.

The first one is pretty standard way of saying it. The second expression is much more manly and more authoritative. Most of the ladies will not use the second expression as they would be using the first expression.

Don’t be so loud!

1) Urusaku shinaide! うるさくしないで!

2) Urusaku suruna! うるさくするな!

Don’t run!

1) Hashiranai de! 走らないで!はしらないで!Hashiranai! はしらない!

2) Hashiruna!  走るな!

Moms will often tell children, “Don’t run!”, but this one will be translated as Hashiranai de! 走らないで!はしらないで! in Japanese. …continue reading