Why is baka (馬鹿- stupid) written with the kanji for horse plus deer?

“legend having it a foolish king of the ancient Chinese Qin dynasty, upon seeing a deer, fatuously said ba instead of ka, and was the first to have earned himself the nickname baka” Read the rest of this entry »

Why do Japanese TV and newspapers usually show the pronunciation as well as the kanji of Korean names but only the kanji of Chinese names?

Famous historic Chinese figures etc are usually known by the Japanese pronunciation of their names, so showing the names’ Chinese pron would only confuse people. There is also the fact that Chinese names have various pronunciations for the same kanji depending on whether you are speaking Cantonese, Mandarin etc, which is not a problem in Korean

Why is Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of mercy that Canon is named after) male in some countries but female in others like Japan?

“he is generally with so tender an expression on his face that, in the Japanese imagination, he has undergone a sex change” Read the rest of this entry »

Japanese hospitals Stat of the Day

Why is normal to see cyclists crossing a pedestrian crossing on red, but much rarer to see a pedestrian do the same thing?

My personal theory is that being a pedestrian is being part of a group and so the usual Japanese social pressure to conform exists, whereas the route, speed etc of cycling is totally individual and therefore you are totally free. As a pedestrian in Japan, it is also possible to switch off totally just by following the person in front, so jumping the lights or even looking at them can just seem like a pain.

Why are there signs everywhere saying ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ in English and Japanese?


Might be something connected to this:


but why would they let a cult go around putting up signs everywhere??

Why is the Japanese rainy season called tsuyu (梅雨- plum rains)?

According to Ben Hills in Princess Masako, because it usually comes when the plums are ripening. Makes sense, and clears up one that I have always vaguely wondered, but never remembered to research when I had Google handy

Why do Japanese so rarely ask for second opinions from doctors?

“most doctors… refuse to offer second opinions, looking to avoid conflict… with the colleague who made the original diagnosis” Read the rest of this entry »

What the Japanese really mean New Additions

Japanese- Iro otoko (色男)
Literal translation- Colour man
Real translation Read the rest of this entry »

Why has the long Japanese near recession coincided with an increase in the number of flagship brand shops?

According to Shutting Out the Sun, because “with the previous decade’s deflation and the consequent erosion of land prices in Tokyo’s best neighbourhoods, the real estate needed for such a large project had become cheap enough…to acquire” pg 150

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