Japanese with Anime

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Friday, December 31, 2021

Suru Verbs

In Japanese, a "suru verb," or "する verb," suru doushi スル動詞, refers to when a noun (called the verbal noun) becomes a verb by attaching the auxiliary verb suru する to it. For example:

  • kekkon
    • This is a verbal noun.
  • kekkon suru
    To do "a marriage."
    To marry.
    • This is a suru verb.

The terms sa-hen doushi サ変動詞 (abbreviated sa-hen サ変), and sa-gyou henkaku katsuyou サ行変格活用, "irregular sa-row conjugation," typically refer to suru verbs (exceptions exist, like ohasu おはす, which is also considered sa-hen).

This article will talk about these, and other uses verbal noun + suru usage, such as (noun in bold):

  • nani shiteru?
    What are [you] doing?
    (interrogative usage.)
  • kakure mo nige mo shinai
    [I won't] hide or run away.
    (noun form of non-suru verb usage.)
  • sore wa zettai ni shimasen
    [I] absolutely won't do that.
    (pronominal usage.)
  • sonna koto shite wa ikenai
    [You] shouldn't do something like that.
    (semantically light noun usage.)
  • shitenai yo
    [I] haven't done [it].
    (null anaphora usage.)
これは? マウス それを使って操作するのよ
Manga: Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王 (Volume 1, Page 35, コンピューター!)
    Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    さ Particle

    In Japanese, sa can mean various things: it can mean "I don't know;" it can be used to insert a pause mid-sentence; it a sentence ending particle used to clarify something; it can be used to invite people to do things; it's a suffix used to create "~ness" nouns out of adjectives; among other uses. It's sometimes pronounced with a long vowel, as saa or .

    そ それでさぁ ついでに訊きたいんだけど・・・ こ 告白ってみんなならどーやってする? えっと・・・私の友達で告白するのに悩んでて さ~~ ぼりぼり ほっほ~~ん そういうコト・・・か なるほど・・・ね なんてベタな・・・
    Manga: School Rumble, スクールランブル (Chapter 16, Wild Party)
    Sunday, October 31, 2021

    sa さ-form

    In Japanese, the sa-form, sa-kei サ形, is a form of adjectives that ends in ~sa ~さ, and works like "~ness," "~less," or "~ity" in English, a noun referring to "how much" of a given quality something has. The resulting word is also known as a sa-meishi さ名詞, "sa-noun." For example:

    • aimai-sa
      Vagueness. Vaguity.
      How vague [it] is.
    • neko no kawai-sa
      The cuteness of cats.
      How cute cats are.
    • umi no kirei-sa
      The prettiness of the sea.
      How pretty the sea is.
    • un no na-sa
      The nonexistentialness of luck.
      The lack of luck.
      How little luck [someone] has.
    Manga: School Rumble, スクールランブル (Chapter 70, Three Violent People)
    Thursday, September 30, 2021

    Salt Bae

    In anime, sometimes when a character sprinkles a food with salt, spice, or something like that, they do it in a specific pose, which is a meme called "salt bae," in Japanese known as shio-furi ojisan 塩振りおじさん, "salt-sprinkling old man," among other names.

    Gob'ichi, ゴブイチ and Haruna ハルナ, example of salt bae parody.
    Left: Gob'ichi, ゴブイチ
    Right: Haruna ハルナ
    Anime: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, 転生したらスライムだった件 (Episode 20)
    Tuesday, August 31, 2021

    In Japanese, means shime 締め, "fastening," "tightening," the noun form of the ichidan verb shimeru 締める, "to fasten," "to tighten." To elaborate: this weird-looking symbol is just a quick way to hand-write shime.

    あぁ 〆切か・・・
    Manga: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun 月刊少女野崎くん (Volume 1, Chapter 2, Page 18, ケガの理由)

    Parentheses in Japanese

    In Japanese, parentheses (), are used in multiple ways: they can show the age, gender or other personal information after someone's name; they represent furigana 振り仮名 (ruby text) in single-line layouts; on the internet, they contain emotes, such as "lol," etc.; they similarly enclose actions in theatrical scripts; they may contain thoughts or other comments; and they surround optional phrases or alternative phrases in grammatical examples.

    Sunday, August 29, 2021

    【】, Brackets

    In Japanese, "brackets," kakko 括弧, refers to symbols that enclose text such as 【】, (), 『』, 「」, 〈〉, 《》. They're generally like English brackets, except that Japanese brackets may get rotated 90 degrees when Japanese is written vertically.

    For [], {} used in examples in this site, see Reading The Examples.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2021

    Reading The Examples

    In this site, example sentences and excerpts typically follow a format of romaji, Japanese, and English translations, with symbols added to the romaji and translation in order to keep the Japanese text unchanged.

    • {kiita} koto φ aru (romaji)
      聞いたことある (Japanese)
      [I] have [the experience of] {hearing about [it]}. (most literal translation.)
      I've read about it. (least literal translation.)

    For reference, this article will list what the symbols found in the examples in this site mean.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2021


    In this site, φ, the Greek letter "phi," is used as a symbol to represent nulls (zeroes) in examples.

    See Reading The Examples for other symbols used in this site.

    In grammatical analysis, "null" is how you refer to something that's not uttered (pronounced or written) but is meaningful nevertheless. They're represented by either φ or ∅ (empty set). For example:

    • ore φ, Tarou φ
      I'm Tarou.

    Above, φ represents a null particle (or zero particle) and a null copula (or zero copula). Compare with:

    • ore wa Tarou da
      (same meaning.)

    Above we have a wa は particle and da だ copula.

    Although the meaning is basically the same, there are nuances between pronouncing wa/da and not pronouncing them. Also, it may look confusing how the copulas "am," "is," "are" show up in the English translation without an equivalent in Japanese, so nulls are useful in this regard.

    In Japanese, a circle (○), maru 丸, has multiple uses: it typically means something is "correct," that an answer is "right." In this case, "wrong" is either an X mark or a check mark (✓), and a triangle (△) is half-right. It's also used as a placeholder, specially to censor words.

    This article is about the circle symbol, not about a "circle," saakuru サークル, in the sense of a group of people that do an activity like drawing doujinshi 同人誌.

    Different symbols used to grade exams in Japan: check marks or ticks mean incorrect, circles mean correct, and triangles partially correct.
    Anime: Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai ぼくたちは勉強ができない (Episode 1)
    Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Episode 1)
    Anime: Nichijou no Zero-wa 日常の0話 (Episode 0, OVA)


    In Japanese, an "X mark" (☓), batsu-jirushi バツ印, typically means an answer is "incorrect," fuseikai 不正解, although it can also mean something is dame 駄目, "not good," NG, "not allowed," "didn't work out." The opposite symbol is a "circle" (○), maru 丸. These symbols are also used as placeholders.

    Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 11)
    Friday, July 30, 2021

    Gainax Stance

    In anime, Gainax pose, or Gainax stance, in Japanese: gaina-dachi ガイナ立ち, literally "Gaina-standing," refers to a way for a character, usually a giant robot, or giant robot pilot, to stand imposingly as it waits for battle: with arms crossed and legs apart, due to its prominent use by animation studio Gainax, ガイナックス.(dic.pixiv.net, tvtropes.org)

    Characters from Gainax series doing the Gainax pose (ガイナックス立ち).
    Anime: Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster, トップをねらえ!GunBuster (Episodes 4, 5)
    Anime: Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster, トップをねらえ2!DieBuster (Episodes 2, 4, 6)
    Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, 天元突破グレンラガン (Episodes 3, 15, 25)
    Anime: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, パンティ&ストッキングwithガーターベルト (Episode 2)
    Tuesday, July 27, 2021

    Sunrise Stance

    In anime, when a character stands with legs apart readying their sword (or other weapon) thrusting it forward, and the camera perspective is warped so the sword looks far bigger than normal, that's called a Sunrise Stance (サンライズ立ち), Sunrise Perspective (サンライズパース), Brave Perspective, Yuusha Perspective (勇者パース), Brave Stance, Yuusha Stance (勇者立ち), Fukuda Perspective (福田パース), or, in Chinese, 大張一刀流 (Oobari Ittouryuu?).(dic.pixiv.net:勇者パース, dic.nicovideo.jp:サンライズ立ち, tvtropes.org:SwordPointing)

    Anime: The Brave Fighter Exkizer, Yuusha Exkaiser, 勇者エクスカイザー (Episode 43)
    Anime: Onmyou Taisenki 陰陽大戦記 (Episode 20)
    Anime: Aikatsu Stars!, アイカツスターズ! (Episode 37)
    Anime: Hacka Doll The Animation, ハッカドール THE・あにめーしょん (Episode 9)
    Monday, July 19, 2021


    In Japanese, uwa'... watashi no nenshuu, hiku-sugi...? うわっ・・・私の年収、低すぎ・・・?, meaning something like "yikes... my salary, it's too low...?" is a text used in an internet ad by a job-search company called @type, which featured a woman covering her mouth in shock, presumably after realizing how little she made. The ad copy became a meme, with parodies found even in manga and anime.

    うわっ・・・私の髪の毛、抜けすぎ・・・? わずか5分で、部屋から数十本の毛が拾える「都合のいい合成素材」。 抜けた毛は40万本突破!? 将来がリアルに心配だ。
    Manga: Shinchou Yuusha 慎重勇者 (Chapter 10, もっと恐ろしいもの)