壁ドン(Romantically Hit the Wall…)

Posted on April 30, 2017 | genkijacs

Have you ever watched an Anime or a Japanese Drama and witnessed a scene where (usually) a man traps a lady against the wall by stretching out his arm? At this point you might have thought:

“Wait, I thought I was watching a romantic comedy, not a murder mystery...”.

Don’t panic! Here is the explanation:

This particular action is called: 壁ドン ("kabe don") which literally means Wall (壁) and a sounds of hitting (ドン) (yet another onomatopoeia we shall discuss it at a later date).

Believe it or not, it is considered a good thing - something of a romantic gesture in Anime and Manga - but the origin of this expression is a bit more mundane.

In the past it you would 壁ドン if you had incredibly annoying and noisy neighbors. You would literally hit the wall to let them know that they are being too noisy. For the purposes of this blog entry, the action can be taken to mean asserting your point (in this case, making sure the romantic interest of your choice is aware of your intentions) by slamming your hand onto the wall next to their head. Don't try this at home, kids - it's actually quite intimidating and confusing when practised in real life.

So next time you are reading a Manga or watching your favorite episode of a beloved anime and encounter 壁ドン, don’t worry: it is a romantic gesture after all.

Let us honour our food and … hug?

Posted on April 24, 2017 | genkijacs

Like almost every language, Japanese has some funny and interesting word puzzles. Here are two examples for the more advanced Japanese language students. Can you find the solution?

通(とお)り時(とき)に閉(し)まって、通(とお)らない時(とき)に開(あ)いている物(もの)は何(なに)?

What is closed when you pass through and open when you don’t?

食事(しょくじ)の前(まえ)に抱(だ)く物(もの)は何(なに)?

What is the thing you hug before your meal?


If you want to know the answer, visit: http://selftaughtjapanese.com/2015/10/16/japanese-word-puzzles-nazo-nazo/

There are a lot of Japanese riddles. Just search for Nazo Nazo if you are interested.

Studying – The 気to Success

Posted on April 10, 2017 | genkijacs

Did you get it? “The 気 (KI) to Succes” as in… Ok. We know we're not funny. It is true, however. In order to master a language, studying is the major key to success. This is why we will follow this lead and study some more Japanese sayings. Today’s topic is (who would have guessed) the kanji 気.

This small very simple letter can be used in all kinds of different situations to express nearly everything one wants to say if put into the right context.
The Kanji 気 (ki; sometimes also pronounced ke) basically means feeling, mood or spirit (but also gas or air). One of the words it appears in is the very popular 元気 (genki), as in GenkiJACS. Yet, the number and variety of words 気 is commonly used with are enormous. Here are a few more examples:

気持ち (kimochi) = feeling
病気 (byouki) = sickness
景気 (keiki) = condition, state
空気 (kuuki) = air
雰囲気 (fun'iki) = atmosphere
天気 (tenki) = weather
湯気 (yuge) = steam
電気 (denki) = electricity

(By the way, do not mix up the words 空気 and 雰囲気. It might lead to the embarrassing and confusing moment when you tell your colleagues or teachers that you like your company because the “air is so nice”.)

When you've mastered some of the most important 気 vocabulary (hah), you've already got the easy part covered. However, one cannot survive a Japanese conversation without knowing at least the most important phrases that contain this word. This can be very difficult and complicated at times as they are all very similar and can therefore easily get you confused. Here are some examples:

気に入る (ki ni hairu) → “sth. gets into one’s spirit” = to like something.
気になる (ki ni naru) → “sth. becomes one’s mood” = to be on one’s mind, to be curious about something
気にする (ki ni suru) → “sth. is done to one’s spirit” = to be troubled or worried about something
気に触る (ki ni sawaru) → “sth. touches one’s mood” = to get on one’s nerves
気のせい (ki no sei) → “it’s one’s mind’s fault” = it is just imagination
気のない (ki no nai) → “without soul” = being indifferent or half-hearted