Some Thoughts on Hurricane Curry

Yumi, ever thinking of the next meal, asked me over breakfast:

kyou no hirugohan wa taifuu kare- wa dou?
How about ‘hurricane curry’ for lunch?

Well, at least that is what I heard. With Gustov (a hurricane heading toward the Southern US) about to make landfall and Florida having just said good-bye to a Tropical Storm called Fay, it seemed a logical thing to ask.

But… what could “hurricane curry” be? Something extra spicy? Or maybe so (temperature) hot, it still bubbles and spins like a typhoon while you eat?

Turns out she said:

kyou no hirugohan wa tai fuu kare- wa dou?
How about Thai style curry for lunch?


Nintendo DS Practicing Japanese with Zelda

Nintendo DS imageOut of boredom, I bought a few DS games the other day.

I bought 人生ゲーム平成のデキゴト (Game of Life: Heisei) thinking it would be a great way for me to learn more about recent Japanese popular culture. I was very wrong. For someone like me who knows very little about Japanese personalities, hit novels or movies, etc, there isn’t much hope. In other words, you either know the answers or you end up broke and broken hearted very quickly.

In retrospect, I guess it is obvious the game wouldn’t have a ‘study mode,’ but oh well.

But I did find an excellent game called ゼルダの伝説: 夢幻の砂時計 Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass – (Found the Japanese version at Play Asia and the English version at Amazon)


Well, I haven’t gotten far enough in the game to say I love the game play, but here’s why I think it makes a great reader (probably for Intermediates): Tap on any kanji and furigana appears.

Sorry for the fuzziness, but maybe you can see what I mean. Just tap and hold any kanji to get the furigana. Neat!

JLPT Revision Updates

Musouka pointed to a PDF in a comment earlier about the changes to the JLPT in 2010.  See here. (Thanks Musouka!)

Some juicy information includes:

  • Starting in 2009, the current JLPT will be held twice a year
  • JLPT 1 and 2 (current levels) will be held in July 2009
  • JLPT 1-4 (current levels) will be held in December 2009 as it has in the past
  • Testing in July will be conducted in Japan as well as in a limited number of locations in China and elsewhere overseas
  • Apparently the test will be created with a more communicative approach in mind; one complaint some have with the JLPT is the student ends up studying for the test–but this is true for all tests, I’m sure.
  • To reduce the 3 to 2 gap and increase level 1 difficulty, the test levels will be reorganized into a 5-level format
  • The new test will have 5 levels: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5; the “N” may stand for both “Nihongo” and “New.”

N1: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 1 test, but designed to
enable slightly more advanced abilities to be measured as well.
N2: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 2 test.
N3: Positioned at a level bridging existing Level 2 and Level 3 tests.
N4: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 3 test.
N5: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 4 test.

  • All the tests, N1 through N5, will consist of both a Reading Section (covering Writing-Vocabulary as well as Reading and Grammar) and a Listening Section.
  • This round of revisions will not extend to the introduction of tests of oral and compositional ability
    leaving it as future challenge.

I think a lot of people will be happy about the test being offered twice a year. Having it only once a year made failing all the more painful.  🙂

The test now has an official website: I wasn’t aware of this website, but I could have just been a little behind the times on this one.

Makoto and the Combine アンド親父ギャグ

One of Makoto’s favorite new words is ‘Combine.’  A month or two ago while at his cousin’s house he had an opportunity to sit on their combine harvester tractor.  He declined the offer preferring instead to cower behind his daddy.

He has grown in courage but only at a distance.  This is probably a good thing considering the danger of a close encounter.

Here is Makoto yesterday watching (or was watching) a combine harvesting the rice crop:

Shortly after this photo was taken, Makoto made his first 親父ギャグ.  He said, “コンバンは.”  I couldn’t have been prouder.

On Sweet Coffee

This morning while rummaging through the refrigerator looking for some drink to drink, I saw the only ice coffee left was the non-black variety–only sweet coffee.

I haven’t had sweet coffee in years so I thought I’d give it a try.  It’s ok, but I wouldn’t intentionally drink it if given a choice.  Once you add milk or sugar, it can no longer be classified as Coffeeius Oishiius, but as Coffeeius Mazuius.  Maybe it is just me though.

I remember following my father around as a small child.  Wherever he went he would invariably drink coffee and the coffee he drank was black. I did the same thing, often passing up perfectly good Hot Coco.  My grandmother, conversely,  drank the light-brown coffee type, but dad’s was always black.

There seemed to be two diametrically opposing factions; I had to choose sides.

I of course choose the Black group–ブラック団

This could be because my grandmother rarely drank coffee but my father had it every day.  I suppose my impressionable mind fell victim to repeated familiarity:  (Dad) Black, Black, Black, Black (Grandmother) Light-Brown (Dad again) Black, Black, Black, Black [pattern repeats]

I finished my ‘coffee’ just now but the sweet candy taste lingers.  I will need to brew some hot coffee to get rid of the aftertaste; It will of course be Black.

Cat, Grandma, and Poop

Just a quick entry.

This morning, minutes after waking up, Makoto saw two of his favorite things at once–grandma (baba) and cat (neko)–and decided to put the two together saying, 「猫ばば」 (neko baba)

猫糞 neko baba [lit. cat poop] is slang for embezzlement, pocketing, or just plain stealing. It basically means to pocket something found that is not yours and then use it as if it were yours.

Cat is ‘neko‘ of course, but the 糞, usually pronounced fun, uses the baby-talk ‘baba‘ sound.

But why ‘cat poop’?

Cats tend to hide their poop.  Just as a thief would find someone’s wallet and quietly pocket it, a cat kicks sand over his poop to hide it.

For more on this marvelous piece of slang, see our How to Wow pages.