Category Archives: JAPANESE

10 Famous Japanese Proverbs

It’s quite likely that you have heard the phrase, “fall down 7 times, get up 8”. But did you know that it originated as a Japanese saying? Nanakorobiyaoki (七転び八起き), which translates to “7 falls, 8 rises” is a very well-known kotowaza (ことわざ), or proverb. Here is our list of 10 more famous Japanese proverbs.

  1. 猿も木から落ちる

Romaji: Saru mo ki kara ochiru.

Translation: Even monkeys fall from trees.

Meaning: Everyone makes mistakes. Monkeys are very good at climbing trees, but even they mess up sometimes. Nobody’s perfect.

Example: If someone makes a mistake, then that’s okay. Even the best fall down sometimes. Even monkeys fall from trees.

  1. 蓼食うも好き好き

Romaji: Tadekuu mushi mo suki zuki.

Translation: There are even bugs that eat knotweed.

Meaning: Everyone has their own likes/tastes. Knotweed is an invasive species of plant that is quite bitter. But there are even bugs that love to eat this plant. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. To each their own.

Example: No matter how strange tasting/looking something is, there’s bound to be someone out there who loves it. After all, there are even bugs that eat knotweed.

  1. 蛙の子は蛙

Romaji: Kaeru no ko wa kaeru.

Translation: Child of a frog is a frog.

Meaning: Like father, like son.

Example: It’s no surprise that the famous singer Enrique Iglesias’s father was also a singer too. The child of a frog is a frog!

  1. 覆水盆に帰らず

Romaji: Fukusui bon ni kaerazu.

Translation: Spilt water will not return to the tray.

Meaning: Don’t cry over spilt milk.

Example: Don’t be sad about things that have already happened, because you can’t go back in time and change it. What’s done is done. Spilt water will not return to the tray.

Note:Ato no matsuri” (後の祭り) is another proverb with a very similar meaning to this one. The literal …continue reading

    

Learning Negative Imperative Sentences in Japanese

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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 flickr.com

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

    

Personal Pronouns in Japanese Grammar

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I don’t believe that I covered this topic in the past. This is one of those basic grammar lesson, and it is very important to know. Today, let me cover the personal pronouns.

photo from Stevie Spiers (Photography) on flickr.com

The major personal pronouns we use in Japanese are:

Watashi (私、わたし) - I

Anata (あなた) – You

Kare (彼、かれ) – He

Kanojo (彼女、かのじょ) – She

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In Japanese, “I” is “Watashi”. However, during our conversation, we often omit the word “watashi”. This is true, especially in less formal conversation. I added the word, “watashi” below, but you can say it without the word

  • Kyo, watashi wa market e ikimashita. 今日、私は、マーケットへ 行きました。(きょう、わたしは マーケットへ いきました。) – I went to the market today.

Similar approach is applied to the word “You”, “Anata” in Japanese.

  • Anata no ie wa doko desuka? – あなたの、家は何処ですか? (あなたの いえは どこですか?) Where is your house (located) ?

This can be said ” Ie wa doko deuka?” without “Anata”

When using “He” , “She” or “Kare”, or “Kanojo”, we do add the pronouns in our sentences.

  • Kare wa John san no oto-to desu. 彼は、ジョンさんの 弟 です。(かれは、ジョンさんの おとうと です。)- He is John’s brother.
  • Kanojo wa watashi no imo-to desu. 彼女は、私の 妹 です。 (かのじょは わたしの いもうと です。)- She is my younger sister.

What if you want to make these pronouns plural. Let me show you how …continue reading