With their complex writing systems, getting around in Japan or China can be stressful for even the most seasoned of tourists. Sure, you could carry a travel dictionary in your pocket while you go sightseeing, but how are you supposed to look up all those funny looking sticks and squiggles when you don’t even know how to pronounce them? Often the locals try to be helpful by providing an English translation, but there are reasons why that doesn’t always work out. If only there was a way to just wave your magic smartphone over some unintelligible text and have it provide a reliable translation on the spot. Well, as we discovered over at Shanghai List, there’s an app for that.
Oct 23, 2014
It turns out that when you put a bunch of mostly teens and 20-somethings in a largely unsupervised warehouse setting, then pay them minimum wage or so to engage in mindless physical labor like stuffing things into boxes and cans, you’re going to get the odd bit of mischief. And it turns out this may be a global phenomenon!
Case in point, these packaging “fails” found around the world. Sure, at first glance, some of them seem like bad translations or factory mix-ups, but you can tell at least a few are obviously the result of bored factory workers or store stockers:
Oct 10, 2014
As anyone who has studied Japanese for any length of time will tell you, leaning lists of vocabulary can be tough. On some occasions, the very first time you’ll meet a word will be on paper; some abstract or complex term that’s almost impossible to remember as it’s so rarely used in the real world. Other times, you’ll have heard–or perhaps even used a word yourself–in conversation, but when encountering it on paper for the first time it may appear completely alien due to the characters with which it’s written.
Thankfully, though, since kanji characters are based on meaning rather than speech sounds, it can be easy to decipher a written word even if you’re still not sure how to pronounce it. But sometimes, translating a word too literally can land you in all kinds of trouble, or at the very least leave you chuckling to yourself while native Japanese speakers are left wondering what’s so funny…
Sep 10, 2014
Japanese TV personality Yuko Ito has been working in the entertainment industry for almost 20 years now. Having been at turns a swimsuit model, actress, and pitchwoman for Sapporo Beer, Nissan, and telecommunications provider NTT, we imagine she’s run into more than a few disingenuous showbiz types while paying her dues and building a career for herself.
Now, it looks like she’s done putting up with their two-faced double-talk, assuming she can actually understand the English on the T-shirt she wore during a recent TV appearance, which implored those watching, “Protect me from all your bullshit.”
Sep 3, 2014
Osamu Mukai is a well-known drama and commercial actor in Japan, best known for playing heart-throb types on prime time TV. He also apparently does not speak English or pay much attention to his fashion choices, as a recent appearance on what seems to be a typical Japanese evening talk show proves.
While the majority of the Japanese audience probably had no idea what the English on the actor’s drab green T-shirt meant, one eagle-eyed Twitter user seems to have noticed, and thus immortalized, Mukai’s unfortunate fashion choice for the world to see.
When was the first time you uttered a “bad word”? We all probably grew up with adults telling us not to say certain words, and that there were words that only adults could speak of. As a kid, blurting one of those “forbidden words” felt like something cool and thrilling, but now that I’m well beyond that age, such words have lost their significance as a big taboo.
Some kids, however, seem to be blurting out the F-word even before they’ve reached the age to be told that it’s an “adult word”. Of course, they’re not saying it on purpose, and that’s exactly what makes it so amusing and adorable! Frog it, we’re going straight to the videos after the break!
Aug 14, 2014
With how crowded trains get during rush hour in Japan, finding an open seat can be like discovering an oasis in the desert, or a cold can of Ebisu beer in the fridge nestled behind a group of lesser brews. Oftentimes, though, you’ll step into the train and find every seat occupied.
While no one really likes standing for a 30- or 60-minute ride, for some elderly, pregnant, infant-accompanying, or handicapped passengers, that’s not just an unpleasant situation, but a painful, or even impossible, task. Those groups of people still have as much need for mobility as anyone else, though, so rail companies put up signs directing those passengers to special seats for them along the corner benches of each car.
It seems that able-bodied passengers in different parts of Japan react differently to these suggestions, though. Not only that, not everyone believes keeping those seats open is the right thing to do, and a lot of it has to deal with a subtle difference in the wording used in Tokyo and Sapporo.
The age of the samurai makes one of the best thematic settings for any Japanese movie or TV show. There are so many great historical figures to profile, and even more fictional characters to imagine ourselves as! We might have the look, but how did they talk? What words did they use?
The Japanese language has a word for this “samurai language” called monofu-go. An accidental de gozaru (samurai for “to be”) and a parting katajikenai (samurai for “grateful” or “indebted”) is only the beginning of being “old school” cool. Well fear not, RocketNews24 brings you level two! Here are four more phrases and words that were used back in the day that will help you expand your monofu-go vocabulary!
You know how in English you can take pretty much any noun and make it a verb—derivation for the cunning linguists out there—by adding to to the front? For example, how the search engine Google has become to google, as in, “Why the hell are you asking me? Go google it, you twit!”
Well, you can do the same thing in Japanese by adding -ru or a handful of other suffixes to the end of a word, and some Japanese net users recently had some fun with this by turning country names into some very non-PC verbs.
Have a look at our geopolitical dictionary and see how your country fared.
Kunugigaoka Junior High School, and particularly CLASS 3-E’s amazing artificial lifeform teacher Koro-sensei is known for his innovative and unique tactics of teaching his students. From making songs about math based off of anime opening themes, to moving at Mach 20 just to create “after image tutor copies,” Koro-sensei will stop at nothing to make sure that his students learn their lesson.
Now it seems that he’s turned his immense smile in another direction to bring the same one on one quality teaching to the hands of students everywhere, with the official Assassination Classroom English Textbook!
Here at RocketNews24, we spend a lot of time talking about language–particularly Japanese and English in Japan. It’s no secret that English is a difficult language to learn, and not just for folks from Japan. Part of the reason for the difficulty arises from the numerous variations English has–from American to Australian to Singaporean. But one country in particular that stands out is the Philippines, which the BBC recently called “the world’s budget English teacher.” While it’s not exactly the most complimentary title, it certainly is true that the country takes English as one of its official languages (along with Filipino, which is basically a standardized form of Tagalog). Of course, in a country with around 170 living languages, it should be expected that Philippine English is quite a bit different from English in the US or the UK.
But just how different is it?
In Japan, learning English is a valuable tool in the business world. Being able to negotiate deals and win customers overseas would make you an attractive asset to any corporation. To truly get ahead, however, you’re going to want to speak like a titan of industry, and there’s perhaps no better titan to emulate than Darth Vader.
No one has ever moved up the corporate ladder faster, and talk about falling upwards! Darth Vader fell limbless into a pit of lava and landed right in a cushy gig as Lord of the Galactic Empire. Clearly this is a guy who gets what he wants.
Now Japanese and English learners can acquire his galaxy controlling gift of gab with the new Star Wars dictionary and phrase book. Let’s take a look at some sample pages.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Jul 14, 2014
Despite every student in Japan being required to take English language courses, it may be difficult to find everyday people who enjoy and feel comfortable speaking the language. Sure, there are some former compulsory school students who are completely fluent in English, but overall, finding a native-level speaker or even someone confident enough to speak with can be difficult. That’s why we were surprised and pleased to watch this video of an Australian expat and his English language encounter at the McDonald’s drive-thru in Japan.
Jun 26, 2014
Hearing native Japanese people casually using English slang is a special kind of awesome. All too often, Japanese are taught straight-laced, borderline archaic phrases that, while grammatically sound, remove all trace of the speaker’s personality to the point that they end up sounding like stuffy university professors rather than they people they actually are. So when we spotted this video, which shows one English teacher’s students working their way through the recently released book F*ck no Tadashii Tsukaikata, or “How to Use ‘F**k’“, it brought huge smiles to our faces.
So, if you’d like to hear perfectly nice and respectable Japanese people saying things like “I’m trusting you with the drugs; don’t f**k me over” and “He’s going to sh*t a brick”, make sure there are no impressionable youngsters in the room and join us after the jump.
Jun 22, 2014
Although Italian in origin, the words pasta and spaghetti are now everyday words in English. Thanks to the foods’ proliferation around the world these words can also be found in Japanese, pronounced pasuta and supagettī respectively.
But in recent years, it seems as if the word “spaghetti” has been falling out of favor in Japan, being replaced by the word “pasta.” Although in English the distinction between “spaghetti” and “pasta” is pretty clear (pasta being the foodstuff, spaghetti one of its many varieties), it seems there is a whole other world of nuances when the words cross over into Japanese.
Jun 18, 2014
If you’re American, do you usually drink at the “water fountain,” the “drinking fountain,” or (my personal favorite, all you Rhode Islanders) the “bubbler”? And how about that fizzy fountain beverage–what do you call it in your neck of the woods?
In the same way that the above-mentioned drink is known variously to American speakers of English as soda, pop, or coke, Japanese speakers also use different terms for the same thing depending on where they live. In fact, Japanese regional dialects, known as hōgen (方言), can differ so much from the standard Japanese (hyōjungo [標準語]) spoken in the Tokyo area and national media, that subtitles are often necessary when someone speaks with a thick local accent on TV. It’s not just the pronunciation that differs; often the form of words and syntactical structures are completely distinct.
To show you what we’re talking about, we’d like to introduce five examples of words that look and sound completely different from standard Japanese when said in regional dialects. If you’re a speaker of Japanese and you use one of these words when speaking to someone from a different part of the country, you may be met with a blank stare if your terms for the same thing are mutually unintelligible.
Did you have anything OC Desu (OCです) today?
If your answer is “Wha?” then you’re probably not hip to the new buzzword circling around social media in Japanese recently. Students of the language can probably figure it out by saying it out loud, and the image above gives us a pretty big hint too.
Everyone knows that there are certain nuances in every language that you just can’t learn from school. Humor, for instance, but also cursing. Sure, you might know the definitions of a few key words, but stringing them together is a task unlikely to be perfected except by those who have spent some time with folks who are native speakers.
A recent book written by MADSAKI and published by Transworld Japan is giving Japanese speakers the fine opportunity to learn how to creatively curse in American-English. Titled, How to use F*** Correctly: 99 Phrases Using F***, S***, D***, and H*** that Schools Won’t Teach You, Handle with Care, it promises 176 pages of illustrated cursing, with examples.
Recently we brought you a selection of Japanese words we’d love to import into English. Well, it seems we’re not the only ones that feel that way. Digital artist Anjana Iyer, a designer based in Auckland, New Zealand, is undertaking a project to illustrate 100 words that can’t be translated into English. The words she’s chosen come from languages ranging from Latvian to Inuit, and even better, we here at RocketNews24 were excited to discover that there are already seven Japanese words on the list!
Below is our pick of Anjana’s ongoing project, which is entitled “Found in Translation”.
Japanese is not an easy language to learn. Though, we have to say, we’re not sure that any language is easy to learn when you’re a beginner! But for English speakers, Japanese is certainly one of the most difficult languages to pick up. Anyone who’s taken a class will surely remember the first time they opened their textbook and saw two massive charts full of squiggly lines and realized that they now had to learn two more alphabets! And then start on kanji…
However, it looks like one Japanese-speaking UK native has found the key to Japanese using just one word!
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Amazing schoolgirl drummer nails anime theme, and her music career is just getting started2
- Why Japanese doesn’t need swear words3
- Did you know Ayumi Hamasaki released a new single? Apparently neither did anyone else…4
- Cupcakes almost too beautiful to eat! Adding a Japanese touch to cake decorating5
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!6
- Happy Halloween! Time to decorate your persimmon!7
- Taiwanese YouTuber’s punny pick-up line gets him a girl’s number in just 36 seconds8
- Panasonic may change the world with upcoming product…SAND!9
- 【TBT】What if Totoro were real? US artist brings Studio Ghibli characters to life in shocking detail10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Man revives woman with AED, branded a “pervert” for removing her clothes to apply electrode pads2
- Cats trapped in circles! Japanese blogger shows the best way to outsmart your kitty【Photos】3
- Why Japanese doesn’t need swear words4
- Korean high schools allow “anything goes” yearbook photos, with hilarious results5
- Japanese net users stunned by photos of Chinese ethnic minority men6
- Chinese woman in no mood to have SUV towed shows she has towing capacity too 【Video】7
- Gorgeous Taiwanese woman recruiting “temporary boyfriends” to fund her China travels8
- Korean cosplayer’s gender-bending costumes confuse us for a moment, then leave us mesmerized9
- Attack of the Clones: Finalists in this year’s Miss Korea contest once again looking eerily alike10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】2
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China3
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked4
- Man revives woman with AED, branded a “pervert” for removing her clothes to apply electrode pads5
- Korean tattoo artist’s small, simple, stylish “line tattoos” change our impression of getting inked6
- Watch liquid turn into food at Japanese sample food factory 【Videos】7
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”8
- Cats trapped in circles! Japanese blogger shows the best way to outsmart your kitty【Photos】9
- “Beautiful foreigner walking a polar bear” spotted at Shibuya’s famous crossing10
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】1
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher4
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】5
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea9
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked10
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!
- Happy Halloween! Time to decorate your persimmon!
- Taiwanese YouTuber’s punny pick-up line gets him a girl’s number in just 36 seconds
- Panasonic may change the world with upcoming product…SAND!
- 【TBT】What if Totoro were real? US artist brings Studio Ghibli characters to life in shocking detail
- Attention serious meat lovers: The all-you-can-eat Whoppers from Burger King is back!!
- Funny ad shows new apple product that’s still prone to bending, compatible with our stomach
- You guys, Donut Selfies are totally the next big thing
- 600-yen Chinese buffet opens in Tokyo, Americans rejoice
- Super-cheap yakiniku restaurant sells meat by the mouthful to give you exactly what you want
- Butter Crisis ’14: Supermarkets nationwide apologize for empty shelves, cakes threatened
- Beautiful 43 Year Old Japanese Model Looks Like She’s In Her 20’s, Garners Huge Chinese Fanbase
- How pure of mind are you? Take a look at this image and find out!