Tag Archives: 芸者

Japanese words in English

2 Aug

Often words or expressions from one language become part of another language. And sometimes the meaning of the word gets changed.

In Japan, alot of words of foreign origin are used in the Japanese language. Many are used quite differently in Japanese than they are in their country of origin.
For example, パン (pan) is Japanese for bread. It came from the Portuguese word “pão“, which means “bread”. And 「カステラ」 (Kasutera) is the Japanese word for a type of cake that was introduced from Portugal called “Castella“.

There are many others. From English, Japan uses words like 「アイスクリーム」 (ice cream) and バスケットボール (basketball)*.
*(Foreign sports usually keep their original name in Japanese. An exception is 「野球」 (“Yakyuu“) for “baseball”. (lit. “field globe (ball)), which isn’t called by it’s English name because it was introduced to Japan during WW2 when America was considered an enemy.)

Some words are shortened. Such as テレビ (Terebi) for “television”. And some words have morphed into something unrecognizable to English-speakers, such as 「スキンシップ」 (skinship) for “bonding”.

But it works the other way too.
America (and other countries as well, I’m sure) have adopted Japanese words into the English language. Some have retained their original meaning. But others are used with totally different meanings than the “real” Japanese meaning.
And many “Japanese words” in English are pronounced so differently that a Japanese person wouldn’t recognize it.
For example,
★ 「アニメ」 (anime: Japanese animation)
★ 「マンガ」 (manga: Japanese comics)
★ 「オタク」 (otaku: is used as “fanatic” overseas, but “a Trekkie” is closer to the Japanese meaning)
★ 「カラオケ」 (karaoke)
★ 「さようなら」 (sayonara: farewell (not used in Japan in cases when you’ll be seeing the person again before long))
★ 「台風」 (taifuu: in English, the pronunciation morphed to “typhoon”)
★ 「きもの」 (kimono)
★ 「寿司」 (sushi: isn’t “raw fish” (that’s sashimi). Sushi is vinegared-rice with a topping (such as sashimi))
★ 「(お)酒」 ((O)-saké)
★ 「すき焼き」 (sukiyaki)
★ 「相撲」 (sumo: Japan’s national sport)
★ 「芸者」 (Geisha: aren’t prostitutes)
★ 「歌舞伎」 (Kabuki)

A promo poster for a Kabuki show

A promo poster for a Kabuki show


★ 「班長」 (hanchou: morphed into the English “(Head) honcho“)
★ 「津波」 (tsunami)
★ 「人力車」 (jin-riki-sha: morphed into the English “Rick-shaw“)

I’m sure there are more. This is all that I could think of off the top of my head.
Do you know some other instances of Japanese words being popularly used in English (or another language)?

News

23 Jun

Today, my oldest daughter leaves with her school class for a field trip to 京都 (Kyoto).

They’ll travel by 新幹線 (Bullet train) and stay in Kyoto for three days.

My daughter’s very excited! But, as for me, I always have mixed feelings whenever my kids go on a field trip…I’m happy that they get to see many great places and experiences—but I can’t relax until they’re back home safe!

Kyoto is gonna be nice for her to see. It was once the capital of Japan and is very traditional. Kyoto still has many 芸者 (Geisha) (or 芸妓 (Geiko) as they’re called on that side of Japan). There are still Geisha in Tokyo, but not as many as in Kyoto.

I can’t wait to see the pictures my daughter takes on her trip!

Next month, my second daughter’s class will take a three-day trip to 新潟 (Niigata).

**********************

Last month, my wife started a small vegetable garden on our porch.

Last week, we ate (strawberries) from her garden and tonight we had a salad with ピーマン (green peppers) and トマト (tomatos) from the garden.

They were delicious!

**********************

It was raining all day yesterday. Probably due to that 台風 (typhoon) that hit the Philippines.

I hope it doesn’t hit Japan! (By the way, did you know that typhoon is from a Japanese word…in Japanese, it’s 台風 (taifuu)).

Anyways, the weather forecast for Tokyo this week:

June 23:

June 24:

June 25:

June 26:

June 27:

June 28:

June 29: