Market or City

April 24, 2010

by Nao

ichi, shi

A market as a place you buy goods and food is called ichi or ichiba. The ba of ichiba means a field. In some towns, a traditional market is held regularly, usually in the morning.

A market where commercial dealings are conducted extensively is called shijō, whose letters are exactly the same as ichiba. Ichiba sounds softer than shijō. The sound “shijō” gives the impression of a systematic, businesslike and remote market. Here are some examples:

  • kabushiki shijō = a stock market
  • gaikoku kawase shijō = a foreign exchange market
  • kinyū shijō = a financial market
  • saiken shijō = a bond market
  • saki mono shijō = a futures market
  • urite shijō = a seller’s market
  • kaite shijō = a buyer’s market
  • rōdō shijō = the labor market

As has explained, shijō means market. The rest of each word corresponds to the category of the market. For example, kabushiki means stock.

All the names of cities end with shi.  5 big cities are Yokohama shi, Osaka shi, Na goya shi,  Sapporo shi, and be shi.

  1. Draw the dot on the top.
  2. Draw the horizontal line.
  3. Draw the vertical stroke to the left.
  4. Draw the hook with an upward turn.
  5. Draw the vertical stroke from the middle of the horizontal line.


April 23, 2010

by Nao

haya-i, haya-meru, haya-maru, sō

Hayai is an adjective meaning early. Hayaku is an adverb meaning early.

To get up early can be said as “asa ga hayai,” which literally means that morning is early. The habit of getting up early is hayaoki. Oki comes from the verb okiru, meaning to get up. The proverb “the early bird catches the worm” is always translated as “hayaoki wa san mon no toku,” which means that the early riser earns extra three pennies. Toku means profit. I noticed that I haven’t mentioned that mon is an old unit of money. In ancient China, this coin weighed 3.75 grams.

Rapid talking is hayakuchi. Hayakuchi kotoba means tongue twisters.

  1. Draw the left side of the rectangle.
  2. Draw the upper and right sides of the rectangle.
  3. Draw the horizontal stroke in the rectangle.
  4. Draw the lower side of the rectangle.
  5. Draw the horizontal line under the rectangle.
  6. Draw the vertical line crossing the previous horizontal line.

Fond or Favorite

April 22, 2010

by Nao

su-ki, su-ku, kono-mu, kō

Suki means “be fond of” and “like.” “Watashi wa anata ga suki” means “I like you.”
The subject “watashi wa” means “I” but if you think this expression is too exaggerated, you can remove the subject and say, “anata ga suki” meaning “I like you.” In fact, Japanese people often forget to specify the subject of sentences. I would make excuse by saying, “the subject is obviously me when I am talking.”  Anataga, which is the object of the verb, means “you.” You can replace it with “kimiga.”

Sukina means favorite. When you ask somebody what is their favorite color, ask, sukina iro wa nandesuka? Your favorite food is “sukina tabemono” or “daibutsu.”

  1. Draw the rotated chevron shape.
  2. Draw the sweeping stroke heading toward the lower left.
  3. Draw the quasi-horizontal sweeping stroke from the left.
  4. Draw the hook from the top center.
  5. Draw the curve with an upward turn.
  6. Draw the horizontal line from the center to the right.


April 21, 2010

by Nao

shiawa-se, sachi, saiwai, kō

The noun “shiawase” is happiness. “Shiawase” can be used as an adjective in casual expressions. When I feel relaxed, I come to feel like saying, “shiawasē,” stressing the last vowel “e”. You can use this expression in various moments ranging from trivial time for relaxing to extensive happy occasions. A more proper way of meaning “I’m happy” is shiawaseda, which is considered as an adjective verb.

fuku is also happiness. Fu means unhappiness.

In the phrases below, sachi is food.

“Umi no sachi” means seafood; yama no sachi” means food from the mountains. Umi is the sea. Read “u” like the “wu” sound. The particle “no” indicates belonging. When I memorized the word “of,” I grasped that “the A of B” is “B no A.”

Some letters’ concluding sentence is “gotakō wo oinorishimasu”, which means “best wishes.” The prefix “go” makes many words polite. Takō means great happiness. The word gotakō politely refers to “your great happiness.” The phrase “Oinorishimasu” means that I pray for something.

  1. Draw the horizontal stroke.
  2. Draw the vertical stroke crossing the previous stroke.
  3. Draw the longer horizontal line touching the previous stroke.
  4. Draw the dot with a small turn heading to the next stroke.
  5. Draw the sweeping stroke.
  6. Draw the horizontal line below it.
  7. Draw the horizontal line under the previous stroke.
  8. Draw the vertical stroke crossing the previous stroke.

Rice Field

April 20, 2010

by Nao

ta, den

Yesterday, I saw flooded rice fields from the train. Seedlings have just been planted in them. We call flooded rice fields “suiden.” Planting seedlings is taue, of which the ue means planting. By early summer, they become bright green. In autumn, golden paddy fields are cropped. The harvest is called ine. Only threshed rice is called kome.

  1. Draw the left side of the rectangle.
  2. Draw the upper and right sides of the rectangle.
  3. Draw the horizontal vertical stroke in the rectangle.
  4. Draw the vertical horizontal stroke in the rectangle.
  5. Draw the lower side of the rectangle.

Correction: When you draw the cross inside the rectangle, the vertical stroke should be drawn before the horizontal one. (May 21, 2010)

Add, Join or Canada

April 19, 2010

by Nao

kuwa-eru, kuwa-waru, ka

When you add something, the activity can be expressed by the verb kuwaeru. When somebody or something joins a group, the movement is expressed by the verb kuwawaru. The former is transitive; the latter, intransitive.

When you cook and add some ingredients like salt, sugar, etc., you can say, “shio wo kuwaeru,” “satō wo kuwaeru,” etc. Shio is salt; satō, sugar.

Adding an extra finishing touch to your painting or crafted work is expressed as “te wo kuwaeru.” It literally means to add the hand.

When you join a game, your activity is expressed as “gēmu ni kuwawaru.” Gēmu is written in katakana.

This character also indicates Canada. Formerly, the “ka” sound was expressed by this character. “Ka” in hiragana looks like this character.

  1. Draw the hook with an upward turn.
  2. Draw the sweeping stroke.
  3. Begin to draw the right-hand side of the character. Draw the left side of the rectangle.
  4. Draw the upper and right sides of the rectangle.
  5. Draw the lower side of the rectangle.

Rejoice or Celebrate

April 18, 2010

by Nao

yoroko-bu, kei

The verb yorokobu is expressed by some kanji characters. All of them commonly mean to feel glad but there are small differences among them. The most ordinary character is the one we posted some months ago. We often see today’s character in greetings and it implies that you are telling that you feel happy for somebody on their happy occasion such as wedding or on New Year’s Day. A happy event is kei ji, which includes this character.


April 18, 2010

by Nao

kotobuki, ju, su

Kotobuki means felicitations or longevity. It came from the verb kotohogu meaning to congratulate or to celebrate. The verb kotohogu is very formal and I’ve never heard it in everyday conversation.

A strip of paper called noshi is used for gift-giving. Is this particular in Japan? This character is written on noshi for happy occasions and the noshi is attached to a gift completely wrapped in paper. When you are invited to a wedding party, you are expected to give the newly married couple a gift of money put in an envelope on which is this character.

Your 60th, 77th, 80th, 88th, 90th, and 99th birthdays are celebrated. These birthdays have special names. Except for kanreki, the 60th birthday, all have this character ju. It implies all birthdays are ju, in which you are felicitated.

Your 60th birthday is kanreki.Kan means to go around and reki means a calendar. In a lunar calendar, the combination of ten calendar signs and twelve zodiac signs makes 60 names for years.

Your 77th birthday is ki ju. … The sōsho style of ki looks like 77 in kanji.

Your 80th birthday is san ju.San is an umbrella. Eighty in kanji looks like a character meaning an umbrella.

Your 88th birthday is bei ju. … The character bei looks like 88 or “hachi hachi” in kanji.

Your 90th birthday is sotsu ju. … A simplified form of the character sotsu looks like 90 in kanji.

Your 99th birthday is haku ju. … The character haku looks like hyaku (100) without the top horizontal line, that is, ichi (1). 100 minus 1 is 99.

Nothing (Sosho)

April 18, 2010

by Nao

na-i, na-kusu, mu, bu

This style is called so sho, which is more cursive than gyōsho. As for the basic information about this character, see the kaisho style of this character here.

Let me add some words to the list of compounds. Although the Japanese title of the novel, Les Misérables, is a a mu, mujō implies cruelty. Mugei means to have accomplished nothing. Mugei tai shoku is a person who has accomplished nothing but eats a lot. Ta gei wa mugei is almost equivalent to the saying, “Jack of all trades, and master of none.”

When you change the direction of each stroke, change the face of the brush you put on the paper.

Nothing (kaisho) ->

Nothing (gyōsho) ->


April 17, 2010

by Nao

chichi, tō, fu, pu

When you talk to your father or your family, call your father otōsan. O,” sa,” and n are in hiragana. When you talk about him to other people, call him chichi.

In general, father is chichioya, of which the oya means a parent. But Father’s Day is chichi no hi.”

A grandfather is sofu, of which the so means ancestry. A catholic priest or father is shinpu.

The other day, we were asked about messages we can give fathers for their birthday. When you send messages to your father, address him as otōsan.

For example, “otōsan, otanjōbi omedetō” is “Happy Birthday, dear father.”

  1. Draw the sweeping dot on the top left.
  2. Draw the dot on the top right.
  3. Draw the sweeping stroke from upper right to the lower left.
  4. Draw the sweeping stroke from the upper left to the lower right.

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