Let’s Chat – the Japanese Way ^^

Posted on February 27, 2017 | genkijacs

Have you ever caught yourself boasting that you are fluent in a language and then suddenly feeling ashamed when your friends ask you to help them translate what their foreign exchange partner had texted them online? – You are not the only one.

Among all the possible grammar, expressions and vocabulary, internet slang is often the most difficult to understand for non-native speakers as it develops and changes incredibly fast. To some it may seem as though there are new words and expressions every day. Japanese is no exception to that.

Like in many European languages, abbreviations are often used on chatrooms, blogs etc. These abbreviations may be short for English words as well as Japanese ones. Here are a few examples:

→ コピペ – "kopipe" → copy and paste
→ GJ → Good Job
→ うp – uppu → upload
→ おk → OK
→ wwww – equivalent to LOL

Inventing new words on the internet is also just as popular among Japanese people as it is nearly everywhere else. Just have a look at the following examples:

→ ググる – "guguru" → to research something on Google
→ ゆうつべ – "yuutsube" → Youtube
→ カワユス – "kawayusu" → (derived from kawaii) to be cute

However, there is one aspect about Japanese internet slang that will never appear in European languages: Using different kanji to abbreviate the writing progress. This part might be the most troublesome for foreigners since we have a tendency of trying to make out the meaning first before thinking of the bigger picture. Yet, in order to understand these slang words, knowing the reading comes in handy. Would you recognize the following expressions?

→ 今北 (now north???) – "ima kita" → 今来た。 (I just got here.)
→ 裏山C (backside mountain C???) – "urayamashii" → 羨ましい (to envy)

Of course, there is a lot more to learn about internet slang words in Japanese as e.g. the kaomoji that you might have read about in one of our previous entries.

If you really want to master your Japanese friends’ online messages, tweets etc. the best way to learn all of it is to ask either them or another native speaker. (Though even Japanese people might not understand all of the expressions used online.)

Japan Fever!

Posted on February 13, 2017 | genkijacs

As much as this country, its amazing culture and wonderful people always warm our hearts, it can still get very cold in winter. That means illness is likely to spread and we might get sick. (… Please don’t !…) In that case, even as a complete beginner, some “medical phrases” might be helpful to describe your condition. Here are some words/phrases that will get you through 救急 (kyuukyuu = emergency) situations or a visit at the 病院 (byouin = hospital, doctor’s practice):

医者 (isha) Doctor
救急車 (kyuukyuusha) Ambulance
救急車を呼んでください! (kyuukyuusha wo yonde kundesai!) Please call an ambulance!

けが (kega) Injury
気分が悪いです。 (kibun ga warui desu.) I don’t feel well.

頭 (atama) Head
のど (nodo) Throat
おなか (onaka) Stomach
腕 (ude) Arm
足, 脚 (ashi) Foot, leg
肩 (kata) Shoulder
痛い (itai) To be in pain.
頭 / のど/ おなか / 腕 / 足 / 肩 が痛いです。(atama/nodo / onaka/ude/ashi/kata ga itai desu.) My head/ throat/ stomach/ arm/ foot/ shoulder hurts.
ここが痛いです。(koko ga itai desu.) It hurts here.
風邪 (kaze) Cold
インフルエンザ (infuruenza) Flu
風邪 / インフルエンザをひいたようです。(kaze / infuruenza wo hiita you desu.) I think I have a cold/ flu.
熱 (netsu) Fever
熱があります。(netsu ga arimasu.) I have a fever.
咳 (seki) Cough
鼻水 (hanamizu) Mucus
咳 / 鼻水が出ます。(seki / hanamizu ga demasu.) I have a cough. / My nose is running.
下痢 (geri)Diarrhea
下痢をしています。(geri wo shite imasu.) I have diarrhea.
吐く (haku) To vomit
吐きそうです。(hakisou desu.) I feel like vomiting.
食欲 (shokuyoku) Appetite
食欲がありません。 I have no appetite.

アレルギー (arerugi-) Allergy
花粉症 (kafunshou) Hay fever
花粉症です。( kafunshou desu.) I have hay fever.
生理 (seiri) Period
生理です。(seiri desu.) I have my period.

薬 (kusuri) Medicine
風邪薬 (kazegusuri) Cold medicine
胃腸薬 (ichouyaku) Digestive medicine
解熱剤 (genetsuzai) Antipyretic (fever-reducing medicine)
抗菌剤 (koukinzai) Antibiotics
注射 (chuusha) Injection
薬局 (yakkyoku) Pharmacy

Should you ever need an ambulance, call #119. The fire brigade will answer the phone and ask you whether your calling about a 火事 (kaji = fire) or a 救急 (kyuukyuu = emergency). Stay calm and answer 救急 before than describing the your location and the nature of your emergency as detailed as possible. (Maybe ask for help from surrounding native speakers if you feel insecure about your Japanese.) An ambulance will be on its way.

健康保険 (kenkou hoken) Health Insurance

Furthermore, please make sure, you are health insured while you’re staying in Japan! You can either join an international health insurance in your own country, get travel insurance through GenkiJACS, or (highly required for long-term stays) enter the National Health Insurance system. If you are uninsured many illnesses and wounds will not be treated.