Learn Japanese: 1 Minute Japanese – Atsui! Hot, Hot, Thick

1 Minute Japanese: Sometimes different kanji are used for the same pronunciation to show a shade of meaning. Today we will look at the four kanji for あつい atsui and try to clear up some confusion.

For Upper Beginners (but beginners may get something out of it too!)
暑い hot (weather)
熱い hot (to the touch)
厚い thick
篤い deep, strong

Sweet Tea

I like my coffee black.


…And for as long as I can remember I like my tea unsweetened. I know most Americans disagree with me on that since you absolutely cannot find an unsweetened tea in a convenience store (at least not around these parts).

Japan is different. Of course you can buy cokes and other sweetened soft drinks in any vending machine (自動販売機*) but there is always a plethora of non-sugared choices. Tea is just too good to be spoiled by sugar.

I don’t mind the fact that sugar has a monopoly with black Lipton teas, but I was shocked to find sweetened ‘Japanese Green Tea’ for sale here in the United States. I thought, “That’s odd. Oh, but thank goodness! They have a ‘No Sugar Added’ Green Tea. Great!” Not so great. ‘No Sugar Added’ is marketing jargon for potentially-cancer-causing-artificial-sweetening-agents. I have yet to find a ‘Japanese Green Tea’ here in the States that is not sweetened.

I don’t mind a coke then an’ now, but I much prefer a drink without all the sweetness. What do they say? I’m sweet enough as is? Besides I have my manly figure to watch.

To solve all that we buy a case of Itoen’s Tea’s Tea once in a while:

* 自動販売機 ji dou han bai ki Vending machine [lit. automatic selling machine] I remember learning that word. A few days later I was working at an English summer camp playing a Charades-like game where our team was to act out the word. The hidden word was ‘Vending Machine.’ I was so proud I knew how to say it in Japanese I blurted out loudly “自・動・販・売・機!!” Bad Clay. Poor Students.

At the same Camp we had a race and I was elected to do the Get ready, set go bit. There were a few native English speaker students mixed with some Japanese racers. As the runners lined up I shouted, “ichi ni tsuite…” and everyone got in position. Then I shouted, “youi…” and everyone prepared to begin the race. But when I yelled, “DONGURI”* the foreigners all took off with precision and speed, but the Japanese students took one step and then fell to the ground laughing! I still feel a little guilty for that. Sorry guys. Again, Bad Clay. Poor Students.

位置について ichi ni tsuite Get set
用意 youi Get ready
ドン! don! Go!

*Of course どんぐり means acorn: Get ready, get set… Acorn!!

1 Minute Japanese – Animals

Learn Japanese: 1 Minute Japanese – Animals!

Here is another 1 Minute Japanese on basic beginner’s animal names.

That cat… The stock footage I have has no sound so when the cat opened its mouth, I had to recreate what probably came out. That is… well, you’ll just have to watch the video to see.

EDIT: Sorry! The Youtube video has a lag in the audio. I just replaced it with the Live Video version which works better.

Red Bull & 栄養ドリンク

This may be a ‘duh’ moment for most of you, but…

The other day I tried the energy drink Red Bull for the first time here in the States. It brought back memories of that CM (TV commercial) of the rock climbers at the end of their rope groping for their リポビタンD energy drink and after gulping it down they shout, 「ファイト一発!」

It is the same taste (well almost)! I didn’t think the US had 栄養ドリンク eiyou dorinku like in Japan but they do! I had heard of Red Bull, but I wasn’t really sure what it was. I mean, it looks like a regular cola in a can. 栄養ドリンク are supposed to be in small, medicine-like dark brown glass bottles, right?

Even still, I don’t think I will buy any more. Paying 300 yen in Japan for an 栄養ドリンク is a good deal, but paying $2 for a Red Bull is just a little too much… Maybe if they put them in the small, medicine-like dark brown glass bottles…


ファイト一発! faito ippatsu Fight + one shot: ファイト is often used at sporting events and such to encourage people to win; it doesn’t imply actually fighting someone. 🙂 The first time I heard a teacher telling his students to ファイト I was taken back a bit, though.
ファイト一発 implies an incredible burst of energy to overcome whatever problem you may have. Another good word with this is 肉体疲労 niku tai hi rou complete physical exhaustion. If you experience 肉体疲労, grab an 栄養ドリンク and shout ファイト一発!

栄養ドリンク eiyou dorinku nutrition drink: Most 自動販売機 ji dou han bai ki (vending machines) in Japan have at least one of these drinks. As mentioned above, the drinks are usually in small, dark glass bottles that resemble medicine more than something to drink.

Makoto, the Cow and Robo-kun

There are few things in this world more fun, for Makoto, than sitting in my computer chair and having his way with the keyboard.

Yesterday, I came home from the bank to find my left monitor’s screen had been turned 90 degrees. (You can do that to get portrait dimensions in the video control panel and sitting the monitor on its side). It took me 10 minutes to find the selection in my video driver’s control panel and set it back right.

This morning “I” Skyped a friend in Tokyo with, and I quote, “aZ“““`Q3ZQ”. Now I don’t remember typing that and what is more intriguing is the fact I wasn’t home at the time.

誠の弱点 Makoto’s Weakness
Well, we discovered a solution. Makoto for some reason has a fear of two items in the house. A stuffed dog’s toy in the shape of a cow and our Roomba robot vacuum we call ロボくん. What’s the solution that works so well? Well, take a peak below: