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Friday, March 22, 2019

良い, 善い, 好い, 佳い, 吉い, 宜い

In Japanese, 良い, 善い, 好い, 佳い, 吉い and 宜い are different ways to spell with kanji the synonymous i-adjectives ii いい and yoi よい, both of which mean "good."

Because Japanese hates you.

Fortunately these words are normally spelled with hiragana instead, and, although all these different ways technically exist, pretty much only the first few have any real use nowadays. Most of time only 良い is used and that's it.

好い is "good" in the sense the speaker likes it, would prefer it. 善い is "good" as in virtuous, not evil.

The adverbial inflection, yoku 良く, is special in that it can also be spelled as yoku 能く and yoku 克く. The first has a potential nuance: it's "good" you were capable of such feat, while the latter has an endurance nuance: you did "good" overcoming a hardship.

yoi よい

In Japanese, yoi よい, also spelled yoi 良い, means "good," making it both synonymous and homonymous with the also i-adjective ii 良い.

Basically all the ways ii いい can be used, yoi よい can be used too. Except that using ii いい is more common that yoi よい.

Which is kind of awkward, because the inflections of ii いい, like ikunai いくない, ikatta いかった, are practically never used, while the inflections of yoi よい: yokunai よくない, yokatta よかった, are normally used.

So if you were to say "good" in Japanese, you would say ii いい, not yoi よい. But to say "not good," you would say yokunai よくない, not ikunai いくない.

ii いい

In Japanese, ii いい means "good." Except when it doesn't. Which is most of the time.

Depending on context, ii can mean "alright," or "fine," or "okay," or "better."

For example:
  • sono hou ga ii
    That way is better
  • kaette ii?
    Is it okay to return?
    • Can I go home?
  • kore de ii
    With this, it's alright.
  • ame ga furu to ii na
    If rain rains: good.
    • It'd be good if it rained.
    • I wish it rained. I hope it rains.
  • yomeba ii
    It's good if [you] read [it].
    • You should just read it.


In Japanese, kakko-warai (笑) means "lol." It's an internet slang used to laugh. Just like wwww and kusa.

To breakdown how it works: warau 笑う is the verb "to laugh." The conjugation warai 笑い is the noun form: "laughing." Although it's not done normally, you can remove the okurigana of such form for stylistic reasons, which is how it gets spelled warai 笑 instead.

It can also be spelled kakko-warai (笑い), though. Since the another reading of the kanji is shou 笑 some people read it kakko-shou カッコショウ instead. It's also read warai ワライ, shou ショウ, and even wara ワラ sometimes. There are also SOME BAKA who type it (笑, forgetting to CLOSE THE PARENTHESES. And of course, there's also()笑. And there's the lazier(w, which is how we got wwww to begin with.

The kakko カッコ part of kakko-warai カッコワライ refers to the parentheses. In Japanese, the parentheses and quotation marks are called kakko. The parentheses are maru-kakko 丸括弧, "round brackets," while 「」 would be kagi-kakko 鉤括弧, "hook brackets."

W - Slang, Prefix

In Japanese, W means "double." Yes, you read that right. W. It's pronounced daburyuu ダブリュー in Japanese. (see katakanized alphabet letters.)

Not to be confused with wwww, which means "lol" instead. (just like kusa.)

This W is used as a prefix and a cool-looking slang to say you have a "double something." It means "double" because the name of the letter W is literally "double U."

  • daburyuu deeto
    Double date.

kusa 草 - Slang

In Japanese, kusa 草 means "grass," but it's also a Japanese internet slang for "lol," used when you're laughing at something (someone's joke, maybe.)

If you're wondering why kusa 草 means "lol," that's because of another internet slang: wwww at the end of phrases, which also means "lol." That sequence of w's close to each other looks like a drawing of grass blades, so kusa, "grass," is now also used in place of them.w

aite 相手

In Japanese, aite 相手 means the "other party" of given action. Whenever you're doing something, with someone, that someone is your aite. This can be your "partner" if you're cooperating the action, or "opponent" if the action is a competition.

Note that "party" is a "party" is the same sense that kocchi, socchi, acchi, or kochira, sochira, achira, mean "my party," "your party," "that party." They're sides of an action: I, you, them.

The word aite isn't the same thing as sochira, though, since sochira is the party of the listener, translating to "you" most of the time, while aite is the opposing party, so it can be someone besides the listener.
  • aite no kimochi
    The feelings of the aite.
    • Usually, this phrase means the feelings of someone whom you're dealing with.
    • Understanding their feelings is important so that the action (dealing with) works out.

serifu 台詞

In Japanese, serifu 台詞, also spelled serifu セリフ, refers to one's "lines" of dialogue. That is, the stuff that they say.

Everything that's inside a speech balloon in a manga is a serifu, because it's what the characters say. The "lines" a voice actors speaks in anime are their serifu.

The word serifu is also used to say "that's my line!" in Japanese, that's my serifu. In the sense of "it's me who should be saying that."
  • sore wa ore no serifu da!
    That's my line!

Although koso こそ can also mean something along those lines, koso tends to be used in a good way: it's I who should be thanking you, it's I who should be saying sorry, while serifu tends to be used in a bad way: you stole my line, why are you telling me this? It's I who should be telling you that.

koso こそ

In Japanese, koso こそ has various meanings, and it's a rather tricky adverb. Its most common usage is to say whatever precedes it is the suitable, the real, true, or best, compared to others, unsuitable ones, fakes, or unfits. The closest thing is English would be the word "rather."

(not to be confused with kozou 小僧, which means "boy" or "brat." See bocchan for origin.)

It's usually seen in the following two phrases:

Which generally translate to "I'm the one who should be saying it," or "doing it." Because kocchi and kochira can be used to say "I," or "my side," "my party," and so on.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

o kawaii koto お可愛いこと

In case you're wondering what o kawaii koto お可愛いこと actually means in Japanese, it's a bit complicated. The catch phrase from the manga and anime Kaguya-sama often gets translated as "how cute." That's not what it literally means, but it's pretty much the best translation you can get.

If you're out of the loop: o kawaii koto is a phrase often said often imagined to be said by Kaguya in a condescending way. The character imagining her saying it is too proud to allow it to happen. If he did something that gave her the chance to say it, that would hurt his pride immensely, so it must be avoided at all costs.

Manga: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen~ かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Chapter 7)

The phrase o kawaii koto お可愛いこと can be divided into three parts:
  1. o- お~ (prefix.)
  2. kawaii 可愛い (adjective.)
  3. koto こと (noun.)

Jump to TL;DR if you aren't really that interested in Japanese.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

ii kanji いい感じ

In Japanese, ii kanji いい感じ means literally "good feeling," but it's normally used to express your impression that something is favorable. That it looks good, that it feels good, that it seems good, or that it feels like it's going well, and so on.

It's the combination of the i-adjective ii いい, "good, " plus a noun form of the verb "to feel," kanjiru 感じる. This has nothing to do with the homonym kanji 漢字, "Chinese characters." And while kimochi ii 気持ちいい, "feeling good," sounds about the same it's used in a completely different way.

Example of ii kanji いい感じ usage in Japanese.
Manga: Killing Bites, Kiringu Baitsu キリングバイツ (Chapter 2)

-wa ii ~はいい

In Japanese, -wa ii ~はいい is supposed to mean "[it] is good," but it often means "I don't need [it]" or "I don't care about [it]" instead.

礼はいい 仕事をしただけだ
Manga: Hataraku Saibou~ はたらく細胞 (Chapter 1)
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

mou ii もういい

In Japanese, mou ii もういい means literally "[it's] good/fine/alright/okay now/already," and it's used in a few of peculiar ways, like to say "I don't need that anymore," "forget it," "you've done enough," or "can I do that now."

This happens because both the adverb mou もう and the i-adjective ii いい can be used in a few peculiar ways.

Example of mou ii もういい usage in Japanese.
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (Chapter 1)
Sunday, March 17, 2019

mou もう

In Japanese, mou もう means various things. It can mean something "already" happened; that "by now" it's somehow; we'll do it "just" a little more; we're "about" to do it "soon;" we'll do something "again;" or never "anymore;" or there's "another" of something; or it can interjection used to express frustration when you've had enough; or even to express confidence on how things are going.

An example of mou もう in Japanese.
Manga: Hikaru no Go ヒカルの碁 (Chapter 4)
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

madao マダオ

In Japanese, madao マダオ is an abbreviation of marude dame na ossan るでダメッさん, meaning "completely useless old man." It's not a Japanese word, actually, but a running joke used in the manga and anime Gintama 銀魂, said by Kagura 神楽 about Hasegawa Taizou 長谷川 泰三.

じゃーね まるでダメなオッさん 略してマダオ!
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (Chapter 16)
  • jaa ne
    [See ya later].
  • marude dame na ossan
    Completely useless old man.
  • ryaku shite, madao!
    略して マダオ!
    Abbreviate it: MADAO!

For people who know nothing about Japanese, but watch too much anime, the exchange above may be difficult to understand linguistically for a number of reasons. Fortunately, this is a blog about explaining those reasons.