Literally 2
Awhile back I posted about the literal meanings of some Japanese words. Since then I have learned some more:
  • 空手 karate -- the name of the popular martial arts form literally means "empty hand."
  • 音楽 ongaku-- Music. The two Chinese characters mean "sound" and "easy/comfortable," respectively. Thus the definition of music in Japanese could be "sounds that are easy to listen to."
  • カラオケ karaoke-- I think when most Americans think of Japan, they think of karaoke. Indeed, the Japanese invented karaoke, and because of that they will forever be branded in movies and TV as the annoying Asian businessmen drunkenly singing "Country Roads" in bars. The name "karaoke," is derived from the Chinese characters meaning "empty" and "orchestra."
  • 言葉 kotoba-- the word for "word." The first character means "word," "statement," or "remark." The second means "leaf." I thought that was an interesting image-- if an idea or paragraph or essay is a tree, one word would be a leaf. A leaf by itself isn't much, but when they are connected together by branches to form a tree, you get a living, growing thing.

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written by Ruthie @ 9:02 PM  
2 thoughts:
  • At 11/29/2007 12:51 AM, Blogger JIFF said…


    As always all over your posts

    I was thinking of commenting some things I find funny but perhaps they are not because I'm a total noob in kanji and they might seem to obvious.

  • At 1/05/2008 8:02 AM, Blogger Christine said…

    Sound and easy/comfortable could mean sound that comforts. Just a thought from A.MOM.

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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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