Monthly Archives: May 2014

Japan Word of the Day #94 – Kūru (TV term)

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Today’s Word is: Kūru (クール)

Kūru (クール) is a TV broadcasting term that refers to the division of a year in four parts.
Each kūru consists of 3 months of regular TV programming. It’s said that at the end of three months producers and TV studios can generally tell whether the show is worth continuing for the next quarter or not.

In anime industry, shows for children are typically scheduled to run for 4 kūru (a whole year) as one season, and shows for higher age audience tend to run for 1 to 2 kūru at a time. This is because kids’ shows are usually strongly tied into toy sales, and they require more time to develop the toys and market them to customers during shows’ run.

The first kūru of a year spanning from January to March is sometimes called fuyu kūru (冬クール/winter quarter). Similarly, April-June is haru kūru (春クール), July to September, natsu kūru (夏クール), and October to December, aki kūru (秋クール). Many TV news sites and magazines publish a list of new shows that’ll start at the beginning of each kūru.

Image source: Ascii

Japan Word of the Day #93 – Piasu and Iyaringu (Pierce and Earring)

Today’s Words are: Piasu (ピアス) and Iyaringu (イヤリング)

This is something I became aware as I started writing blog posts regarding Japanese fashion items. In Japanese, the word “iyaringu,” derived from English word “earring,” refers to a clip-on type earring, whereas the word “piasu,” derived from English word “pierce,” refers to a regular earring (that requires punching a hole in your ear). Remembering the difference between the two words could save you from making a mistake of buying clip-ons thinking they are regular earrings when shopping on Japanese web stores!

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Left: Piasu / Right: Iyaringu

Some facts on use of earrings in Japan.

  • Ear piercing and body piercing for minors (under 18 years old) are not illegal in Japan. However, culturally, it’s still considered inappropriate for minors to have piercing on any parts of the body, and many schools enforce dress code that bans piercing.
  • Piercing is, by law, treated as medical practice in Japan. Only medical practitioners are allowed to penetrate someone’s skin with needles (unless you do it yourself at home or ask your friends. Buying piercing machines for personal use are not illegal). There are “piercing studios” and jewelry shops offering piercing services in Japan, but these shops are technically violating laws. The best place to get piercing in Japan is at dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, but you should check the reputation of the clinics/hospitals in advance regardless.

Image source: Honobono World

Creamy Mami Gets a New Makeup Merchandise: Eyeshadow in Magic Compact!

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Fan’s favorite magical girl Creamy Mami finally gets a new cosmetic merchandise!
Premium Bandai is going to release Creamy Mami Compact Eyeshadow this September. It’s an eyeshadow set that comes in a makeup mirror case based on Creamy Mami’s Magic Compact. Check it out!

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Japan Word of the Day #92 – Ryōshūsho

Today’s Word is: Ryōshūsho (領収書)

Ryōshūsho (領収書) in Japanese is what we call a “receipt” in English.
It’s a document that summarizes purchases of items/services made and the amount of payment received, including taxes.
However, you’ll notice in Japan sometimes people ask for ryōshūsho even after they’ve already received printed receipts. Why is this? It’s because there are two kinds of receipts in Japan.

One form of ryōshūsho is a typical receipt printed on thermal paper by a cash register.

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As you can see, on the receipt it’s clearly printed “領収書 (ryōshūsho)” and indeed summarizes purchases made and payment received.
However, people in Japan usually call this type of printed receipts “reshīto (レシート)” and differentiate it from the other type, in which I’m going to talk about next.

The other type of ryōshūsho is hand-written receipts.
When you say ryōshūsho, most people think you mean this hand-written type, as opposed to printed reshīto. In many cases, reshīto are not recognized as valid legal documents under Japanese tax law. Hand-written receipts are harder to falsify, therefore considered a legitimate proof. That’s why people ask for hand-written ryōshūsho when they want to write something off as expense, so to avoid trouble in later auditing process.

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Most stores and services in Japan will issue, upon request, a formal receipt hand-written and stamped by their employees. The format may look different from one to another, but it must contain the following information: Date, payment made, items/services purchased, contact information of the issuer, consumption tax, stamp of the issuer, and the company name/business name of which the customer is going to write off as an expense for. The last one is important to remember, because when you request someone to issue you ryōshūsho, he/she is going to ask you “to whom do I write it for?” Thus, be prepared to answer with an appropriate business name.*

*Some people ask it to write for “uesama (上様)” as non-specific business name, but this technically cannot be used as a valid proof of expense.

If all you want is a printed receipt for your personal record, ask for reshīto! If you ask for ryōshūsho they’ll think you want it for your business!

Image source: Theater house, Rakuten

Japan Word of the Day #91 – Okawari (second helping) and Kaedama

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Today’s Word is: Okawari (おかわり) and Kaedama

In Japan, the phrase used to ask for refill or second helping is okawari(おかわり).”
You can use it for both beverages and food.
To be polite to servers, you’d generally want to add “onegai shimasu,” or “–wo kudasai” at the end of the phrase, in which both means “please.”

In ramen shops, there are special refills called kaedama (替玉).”
Kaedama is used to request refill for the noodle only.
So if you finish the noodle first, and plenty of broth is still in the bowl, you can just add another serving of noodle, which makes it better deal than ordering a whole another bowl of ramen. (Most kaedama is priced around 100-150 yen)

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Image source: Nicovideo, Tabelog

New Açaí Berry and Coconut Flavored Pocky to be Released

From May 27th, confectionery company Glico will release two limited edition Pocky snack for this summer.

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Berry Carnival Pocky is a brand new flavor that’s never been released before. Coated with cream made of abundant açaí berries and strawberries, Berry Carnival Pocky has hint our fresh sourness that makes it a perfect sweet for hot summer.

Coconut Pocky is covered with creamy milk chocolate mixed with crunchy coconut flakes. Coconut Pocky first appeared on store shelves in summer of 1995. Fan’s favorite seasonal Pocky returns with a new packaging inspired by resort beaches.

Each box of Pocky will be sold for about 143 yen (before tax).

Source: MyNavi News

Japan Word of the Day #90 – Gomu

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Today’s Word is: Gomu (ゴム)

Because so many words in Japanese are based on English, it’s easy to mistakingly assume one can communicate by simply saying English words in Japanese pronunciation. However, you have to remember that Japanese words are actually derived from many different languages.

One good example is rubber. In Japanese, rubber is called “gomu (ゴム).”
It’s named after Dutch word “gom.”
In English, rubber products are named in combination with the word rubber, such as “rubber band” and “rubber (as an eraser).” Since in Japanese, the base word is “gomu,” related items are named in combination with it.

Here are some examples:

1) Wagomu (輪ゴム): rubber band. Wa = loop / gomu = rubber
2) Keshigomu (消しゴム): eraser. Keshi = erase / gomu = rubber
3) Gomu (ゴム): a slang term for condom.
4) Gomu tebukuro (ゴム手袋): Rubber gloves. Gomu = rubber / tebukuro = gloves

However, some of the more recently introduced products such as car rubber mats are called rubber mat (rabā matto/ラバーマット), directly borrowed from English word. So in such case you’d just have to learn specific terms one by one.

Image source: Pokke

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