Category Archives: Japanese



「日本鬼子」(Japan-devils) is a Chinese racial slur for the Japanese.

Leave it to the Japanese to take the insult and make fun of it by turning it into a もえ (cartoon character representing something).

That sequence of Chinese characters can be pronounced several ways in Japanese, including “Hinomoto Oniko” which sounds like a woman’s name. …

Thus, the racial slur has been owned and turned into a cartoon of a warrior woman with demon horns.

Only in Japan.

China Hush has an article on this.

Handy Japanese Web Site Dictionary Tool

Is 朝日新聞社 all Greek… er… Japanese to you? Here’s a useful Firefox plug in.

I’ve used Rikaichan to help interpret Japanese web pages for quite some time. When activated, placing the mouse cursor over Japanese text causes a window to appear with the WWWJDIC dictionary definition. とても便利ね。 (Very useful, isn’t it?)

Install the plugin, labeled “the main extension”, then the dictionary of your choice. If you speak English, choose the Japanese-English dictionary. Dictionaries for Japanese to French, German, and Russian are also available.

Here is a shot of Rikaichan in action. The mouse is over the word 「警官」. Rikaichan shows that it’s pronounced keikan, and that as a noun it means policeman. The word can also function as a の adjective (indicated by adj-no).


There is an optional dictionary for those pesky Japanese name kanji. If this is installed, hold down the shift key before putting the mouse cursor over the kanji, and a list of possible names will appear instead of the dictionary definition.

Why Do I Like to Learn Languages?

The human experience is basically the same for all people everywhere. We are born, we die. We grow up, we grow old. We fall in love, we suffer heartbreak. We marry, we divorce. We learn to love God, we lose our faith in humanity. We have families, we shun marriage. We enjoy friends, we fight enemies. We share humour, we mourn the loss of loved ones. We suffer, bleed, heal, grow old, and hopefully gain wisdom somewhere along the way.

The details of our lives differ from person to person. We have individual strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Paul calls this our individual “packages”, but the whole experience of “being human” is universal.

I enjoy meeting people from around the world, knowing that although our individual preferences may be different, there is a common bond through the human experience. I don’t have to understand a single word of another’s language to appreciate that person’s joy or sorrow. If they laugh, I can share their laughter. If they weep, I can stand in comfort.

As I learn languages, I don’t just learn grammar and vocabulary. Yes, I do find the intellectual processes somewhat interesting. However, symbols and sounds present a rather sterile world by themselves. For me, the true joy of learning another languages comes as I learn to open my mind and heart to a new group of people whom I have not met.

It’s a gateway to new friendships.

In Japan, Signals Are Red and Blue

Just as with the English-speaking world, Japan uses red and green lights to indicate “stop” and “go”. However, the Japanese language does not use those terms. They call the red light 赤い(red)and the green light 青い (blue) even though it’s actually green. I do not know the historic reason behind this, but I suspect that this may be bleed over from Chinese.

赤い信号 青い信号
Akai Shingō Aoi Shingō
Red Signal Blue Signal
赤い信号 青い信号

Push Button Style

Japanese sign next to a pedestrian crossing light that reads 押しボタン式.When I watch Japanese movies I’m often looking in the background at signs and what people are doing. In one anime I saw a sign that I couldn’t figure out.

What It Says: The sign says 「押ボタン式」(おしボタンしき). I understood 押しボタン (push button) but 式(しき) according to the dictionary means “style”. This is misleading.

What This Is: This is a low-traffic pedestrian crossing that remains red until the button is pressed.

Idea Grouping: 式 is used to indicate a subgroup among several possibilities.

“Push button style” does not make sense because this is not how we use “style” in English. We would use the word “type”, “kind”, or more commonly, an adjective or modifying phrase. Here are some examples from the Tanaka Corpus.

漢字 ふりがな 英語
自動式の洗濯機 じどうしきのせんたくき automatic washing machine
ダイヤル式の電話 だいやるしきのでんわ dial telephone
オーストラリア式フットボール オーストラリアしきフットボール Aussie rules football











大盆地のLegoの列車のクラブ」(Great Basin Lego Train Club) はとても大きいジオラマを作りました。沢山の子供はそれを見ることが好きです。




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コンプータ科学にゲームとシミュレーションはとても有用です。有名なコンプータ科学者の中で少しが大学にが模型の列車を作りました。1946年からMITで「Tech模型の列車のクラブ」(Tech Model Railroad Club)は重要の場所です。大学生がコンプータ科学の知識を試験をします。あのウェブサイトであるビデオです:

Yesterday our family went to a model train show.

Model trains is a traditional American hobby. When I was a child my father helped me build model trains. My mother also had model trains. Today children play video games. Not as many people build model trains today.

The model train clubs have clever and talented people. They make many beautiful dioramas for the trains to run through. Dioramas depicting mountains, ravines, towns, local places, old times, and other themes are popular.

People work hard to make the dioramas beautiful and detailed. People even make functional train signals. Small computers, radio controls, electric switching help make the hobby interesting.

Legos are very popular toys among children. Lego trains are fun, but have functionality similar to traditional model trains. Maybe Legos will help keep interest the traditional hobby.

The Great Basin Lego Train Club created a very large display. Many children like to look at it.

They have clever people who made many scenes. I liked the train yard. Here are some buildings that are modeled after real buildings.

Games and simulations are important to computer science. Some famous computer scientists built model railroads in college. Since 1946 the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT has been an important place for students to test computer science ideas. Here is a video from the club web site: (see video above)