Saturday, March 30, 2019

hizamakura 膝枕

In Japanese, hizamakura 膝枕 means "lap pillow." This is when someone offers their lap as a pillow to someone else, so they lay their head on there.

Lap pillow, Emilia and Subaru
Anime: Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活 (Episode 8)

Literally, hiza 膝 means "knee," the body part, so hizamakura sounds like a "knee pillow." The area above the knee is what you'd call the "lap" in English.


Gyarufication, in Japanese gyaru-ka ギャル化, is the process of turning a character (or person) into a gyaru ギャル, in spin-offs, fan art or doujinshi 同人誌, or of a character turning into a gyaru by themselves, canonically within a series.

Jyushimatsu and Jyushiko.
Left: Jyushimatsu 十四松
Right: Jyushiko 十四子
Anime: Osomatsu-san おそ松さん (Episode 15)

gesugao ゲス顔

In Japanese, gesugao ゲス顔 means "scum face." In anime, it normally refers to the twisted, grinning expressions characters that are scum, vulgar lowlifes, make when they're enjoying a situation. Savoring the fact they won, often mocking the loser. Or are scheming some evil plan. Or even just throwing slurs at someone they hate.

Generally, gesugao is depicted with the following features:
  • Looking down at the "loser."
  • Grinning, laughing, or putting their tongue out mockingly.
  • One eye slight closed.
  • Pupils drawn smaller than usual.
  • Shadow drawn around the forehead.

Examples of gesugao ゲス顔.
Anime: Kakegurui 賭ケグルイ (Episode 1)

gyaru ギャル

In Japanese, gyaru ギャル are generally sociable young women of flashy, showy appearance, specially those following certain fashion trends, wearing gaudy accessories and makeup.

In anime, gyaru characters are normally portrayed as having unnatural dark skin and blond hair, and are associated with a number of tropes.

Aiura Mikoto 相卜命, example of gyaru ギャル character.
Character: Aiura Mikoto 相ト命
Anime: Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan 2 斉木楠雄のΨ難 2 (Episode 8)

gyaku 逆

In Japanese, gyaku 逆 means "reverse" or "opposite." Besides being used as a noun sometimes, it's also used as a prefix for things that are reverse. Its kanji can also be read as saka 逆, the meaning remaining the same.

For example, when someone says something, but:
  • sono gyaku da
    It's the opposite of that.
    • Literally "that's opposite," but the "'s" is in the possessive sense.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Reverse Harem, gyaku-harem 逆ハーレム

In the fandom, "reverse harem" is a genre of manga and anime about one girl surrounded by a cast a male characters who are her potential romantic interests. Essentially, it's the harem genre, but with genders in reverse.

One question many people have is why the term sounds so stupid in English. A "reverse" harem? What's up with that? Why not call it a male harem? Reverse sounds weird.

That's because the English term comes the Japanese term for the same genre: gyaku-harem, or gyaku-hareemu 逆ハーレム.

This gyaku prefix can be translated as either "reverse" or "opposite." So it was a choice between "reverse harem" and "opposite harem."
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

harem ハーレム

In anime and manga, harem is a genre where one male protagonist surrounded by a cast of mostly girls and potential romantic interests. It also refers to any such scenario.

Anime: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, マギ (Episode 18)

The term reverse-harem, or gyaku-harem, refers to the opposite scenario: a girl surrounded by guys.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

majo 魔女

In Japanese, majo 魔女 means "witch." In other words: a mahou-tsukai 魔法使い, "magic user," who is a "woman," onna 女.

The term majo implies an adult "woman." For a "girl-witch," the term majokko 魔女っ子 is used instead. A "witch's apprentice" would be a majo no minarai 魔女の見習い.

The term mahou shoujo 魔法少女, "magic girl," refers to a "magical girl," and the genre of anime that features magical girls. It's not the same thing as majo or majokko, although some mahou shoujo are also majokko.

The term majo can also be used to refer to a real, non-fictitious woman who can't use magic, but has some strange, mysterious power: she can achieve some amazing things, like she does magic.

mahou shoujo 魔法少女

In Japanese, mahou shoujo 魔法少女 means "magical girl," or more literally, "magic girl," in the sense of a "girl," shoujo 少女, who can use "magic," mahou 魔法.

In anime, this specifically refers to a genre that deals with girls becoming able to use magic, generally by forming a pact, "contract," keiyaku 契約, with some bizarre magical being, and then transforming into all sorts of cute outfits, to battle in order to save the world and fill it with love, peace, hope, sugar, spice, and everything nice!

The most classic example of it being Sailor Moon, which is a shoujo manga, which means it's targeted at young girls, which means it also has a lot of romance and dokidoki and stuff that shoujo manga has.

mahou-tsukai 魔法使い

In Japanese, a mahou-tsukai 魔法使い is a "magic-user," literally, "someone who can use magic," mahou wo tsukaeru hito 魔法を使える人. Generally, however, mahou-tsukai is translated as "wizard."

A madoushi 魔道士 is pretty much the same thing, but since it's a different word, "sorcerer," I guess, who uses "sorcery," madou 魔道.

The term mahou-tsukai also refers to a virgin who's at least 30 years old. Or 25, in some cases.

"Virgin" in Japanese

There are various ways to say "virgin" in Japanese, unlike English.

First, the word shojo 処女 means a "virgin" woman. This sounds like shoujo 少女, "girl," which, confusingly, is also romanized shōjo, but note the difference: shojo しょじょ, versus shoujo/shōjo しょうじょ, and the relaxed pronunciation shōjo/shoojo しょーじょ.

The word doutei 童貞 means just "virgin." It's technically a gender-less word. However, since there's a word that refers specifically to virgin women, shojo, the word doutei ends up being normally used toward virgin men. Just like nikushokukei 肉食系 and soushokukei 草食系. It's also relaxed dōtē どーてー, and spelled with letters as DT,
  • shojo to doutei 処女と童貞
    Virgins and virgins. (female and male.)
Monday, March 25, 2019


In anime and manga, CGDCT stands for Cute Girls Doing Cute Things. It's a genre of anime where all or most characters are cute girls, and all they do are cute things.

Example of cute girls doing cute things.
Anime: Sabage-bu'! さばげぶっ! (Episode 2)

Slice of Life

In anime and manga, slice of life, abbreviated SoL, is a genre where the series focus on the daily, mundane lives of the characters. What this means exactly depends on what those characters are and what in the world are they doing daily.

Often, a slice of life series will feature a tranquil atmosphere, since most characters will be friends, or classmates, or colleagues working for the same company, and all they'll do is just do mundane stuff like joke around, study for the finals, and prank each other.

The term for "slice of life" in Japanese would be nichijoukei 日常系, which translates to "daily life-class." See the -kei ~系 suffix for reference.

Funnily enough, the manga and anime Nichijou 日常, "Daily Lives," is one such slice of life, nichijoukei, series. It's also a comedy, or rather, joke, "gag," gyagu ギャグ, series, and a CGDCT series.

-kei ~系 - Suffix

In Japanese, -kei ~系 means "class" in what's probably the hardest to understand way possible. It's better translated as "type," "sort," "kind," or even "category." It's a suffix, going after whatever sort of sort you're talking about.

Although complicated to understand literally, the way kei 系 is generally used is to what "kind" of thing you like. For example, nichijou 日常 means "daily life." So nichijou-kei 日常系 means "daily life kind." A nichijou-kei anime is a slice of life anime, an anime categorized by dealing with the daily lives of characters, their nichijou.

The term "visual-kei band," or vijuaru-kei bando ヴィジュアル系バンド, is band classified by their focus on the visual: clothes, style, etc. rather than their music.

The terms nikushoku-kei 肉食系 and soushoku-kei 草食系 are "carnivore-class" and "herbivore-class," but it doesn't refer to animals, those are romantic personality types based on carnivores and herbivores, predators and preys. Although gender-less terms, the former generally refers to a girl who assertively goes after guys, and the latter generally a guy that's too timid to go after girls.

The word gyaru-kei ギャル系 would be literally "gal-class." This gal, gyaru ギャル, is a kind of look. So we can assume gyaru-kei refers to clothes "classified as gal," clothes a gyaru wears, that makes you look like a gyaru, of the gyaru kind, and so on.

soushokukei 草食系

In Japanese, soushokukei 草食系 means a kind of person that's passive in romantic or sexual relationships. Generally, it means a guy that's too shy or weak-willed to ask out and date a girl he's interested in.

It comes from soushoku 草食, literally "grass-eating," which is the term for "herbivore" animals, the prey that the predators go after. Plus the -kei ~系 suffix, "class," so soushoku-kei, "herbivore-class."

Although soushokukei is gender-neutral and can qualify a woman too, traditionally, it's women that are asked out by guys, so they're assumed to be soushokukei by default. It'd be redundant to call a woman soushokukei, so it tends to be a guy who's soushokukei instead.

Conversely, the term nikushokukei 肉食系, from "carnivore," refers to someone who's romantically assertive, that is, what guys are assumed to be, so it tends to refer to romantically assertive women.

nikushokukei 肉食系

In Japanese, nikusokukei 肉食系 means a kind of person that assertively, aggressively or even predatorily seeks romantic or sexual relationships.

It comes from nikushoku 肉食, literally "meat-eating," which is the term for "carnivore" animals, predators that go after prey. Plus the -kei ~系 suffix, "class," so nikushoku-kei, "carnivore-class."

Normally, society assumes guys chase girls. Guys chase skirt. And girls are the ones being chased. They're the pure "maidens," otome 乙女. And, in fact, some want to be chased. They don't want to be proactive, take the first step, and confess to the guy they like. They want the guy they like to confess to them, so they can feel their worth recognized.

So guys are assumed to be nikushokukei by default. In which case, it becomes redundant to call a guy nikushokukei. When nikushokukei is used, it tends to mean women that take the first step instead of men. Women that do go after the guys they want. Women that make the cheesy pick-up lines and so on. This is despite nikushokukei being technically gender-neutral.

mesu メス

In Japanese, mesu メス means "female" or "scalpel," "shiv." Not to be confused with masu ます, the polite suffix.

When mesu メス means "female," it's also spelled mesu 雌, mesu, and it's only used toward animals. The "male" counterpart would be osu オス, osu 雄, osu 牡.

Calling a woman mesu is like calling her an animal, which is degrading, derogatory. Which is why it does in fact happen, specially in anime where a character is throwing slurs at a woman, like "slut," bitch ビッチ.

In manga with surgeries, mesu メス also means the "scalpel" a surgeon uses to operate a patient.

Because a scalpel is a blade that opens people up, in manga with gangs, a mesu メス also refers to a shiv brandished in a fight. You know when two guys are fighting and then one guy—the bad guy, we know it's the bad guy—pulls out a shiv out of his pocket and brings a knife to a fist fight like some prideless cheater with no dignity? That's a mesu メス.

bitch ビッチ

In Japanese, bicchi ビッチ means "slut," someone's who sexually promiscuous. It's derogatory. Don't confuse bicchiチ with biichiチ, which means "beach," like next to a "sea," umi 海.

This word is interesting because it's a katakanization of the English word "bitch." But bicchi ビッチ in Japanese doesn't mean the same thing as "bitch" in English. Not at all.

To begin with, a "bitch" can be a female dog, but in Japanese a "female dog" is a mesu inu メス犬. The word bicchi ビッチ is only used toward women.

riajuu リア充

In Japanese, riajuu リア充 means "normie," basically. In the same sense weebs would call people normies. It's a word use by losers otaku オタク to refer to someone who, unlike them, is leading a fulfilling life: they have friends, a girlfriend, good grades, a good job, money, social skills, they go the beach, travel, and so on.

Literally, riajuu リア充 is the abbreviation of riaru リアル, which means "real," as in not the virtual, internet world, or the fantasy 2D anime-land, In Real Life, or Outside™, and the word juujitsu 充実, which means to be "full" or "complete," as opposed of lacking somehow.
  • riaru ga juujitsu shiteiru
    Real is being full. Complete.
    • Someone feels fulfillment for their real life.
  • riajuu me リア充め!
    [You damn] riajuu!
    [You damn] normie!
    • Used when a someone is envious of a riajuu.
Sunday, March 24, 2019

teppeki skirt 鉄壁スカート

In the Japanese anime fandom, teppeki skirt, also romanized teppeki sukaato 鉄壁スカート, literally "iron-wall skirt," or less literally "impregnable skirt," refers to a skirt that doesn't let panties be seen, doesn't let panchira happen, by folding in ways inexplicable by current science and going as far as to ignore gravity and other laws of physics to cover the panties hidden within.

panchira パンチラ

In Japanese, panchira パンチラ refers to an accidental glimpse of panties, which is a common type of fanservice in anime. Although it's often a "panty shot," panchira doesn't mean panty shot, and there are panty shots that aren't panchira.

haitenai はいてない

In the Japanese anime fandom, haitenai はいてない, literally "to not be wearing," refers to a situation in which panties should be visible, and yet you aren't seeing them, making you question whether a character is wearing panties or not.

This mysterious phenomena occurring in anime has also been called in English by the names of  "Schrodinger's panties" or "quantum panties," due to the indeterminacy of its plausible existence and lack of counter-evidence.

It's also called pantsu haitenai ぱんつはいてない, "not wearing panties."

And I'm writing this article, of course, because a KonoSuba sequel was announced. Aqua, one of the KonoSuba characters, wears one such Schrodinger's panties—or... doesn't—that will make you say: wait a second... she's not wearing any, haitenai!


In Japanese, "chiralism," or chirarizumu チラリズム, is, pretty much, accidental or natural "flashing," as in the exposition of skin or underwear.

This term is used in contrast to deliberate flashing, which is considered inferior to chiralism, by the warped logic that seeing skin or underwear is good, but showing it off deliberately is obscene, and obscenities are degrading, and degrading means it loses value.

Thus, somehow, it's more valuable to catch a glimpse of something you want to but shouldn't see than being shown it right away.

otome 乙女

In Japanese, otome 乙女 means "maiden" or "damsel." Specially in the sense of a "pure maiden," as in, an innocent young girl, beacon of purity, who's probably the main heroine of a dokidoki-filled romance manga about her "first love," hatsukoi 初恋.

The miko 巫女, traditionally unmarried virgins who assist priests in shrines, are generally called "shrine maidens" in this sense.

The term otome can also refer to someone who features exuberant otome-like attributes: they look very feminine and very pure: they're shy, they've fallen in love with someone, they want to be confessed to, they fuss over love letters, they make the guy's bentou 弁当, "lunch-box," and bring it to school, and they want the guy to eat the lunch they made, just like a wife making a husband's lunch, and they want to eat lunch together, and all that extremely cliche stuff.

iru いる

In Japanese, iru いる means one of the following homonyms:
  • iru 居る
    To exist. To be.
    To exist in possession of someone. (to have.)
    The animate counterpart of aru ある.
  • iru 要る
    To be necessary. (to need.)
  • iru 入る
    To enter. To go in.
    Often used in set phrases.
  • iru 射る
    To shoot. (e.g. an arrow.)

iru いる, 要る - To Need

In Japanese, iru いる, also spelled iru 要る, means "to need," or rather, it means "to be necessary" for something or by someone.

This iru to be confused with the iru いる that means "to exist." Or with the other iru いる.

Some usage examples. Note that sentences containing iru いる are often double subject constructions (~には~がいる).
  • watashi niwa {okane ga iru}
    {Money is necessary} is true for me.
    I need money.
  • {kau} no niwa {okane ga iru}
    {Money is necessary} is true for the act of {buying}.
    To buy, money is necessary.
    It takes money to buy [something].
  • {kangaeru} jikan ga iru
    Time {to think} is necessary.
    [I] need time {to think}.
  • sonna mono ga iranai!
    Something like that isn't necessary!
    [I] don't need something like that!
  • sonna mon iranee ttsuu no!
    [I'm] telling [you], [we] don't need something that!
  • iran!
    Don't need [it]!
    • Not to be confused with Iran イラン, the middle-eastern country.
  • boku niwa kimi ga iru
    I need you. (often in the romantic sense.)
  • boku wa {iranai} ningen nanda
    I'm an {unnecessary} human.
    I'm not needed.
    • Often used by suicidal or mentally unhealthy characters. Implies they aren't wanted by anyone, or have been discarded, thrown away for they aren't necessary.

iru いる, 居る - To Exist

In Japanese, iru いる, also spelled iru 居る, means "to be" or "to exist" somewhere. It doesn't mean "to be" something, for that, see the copula desu です.

Not to be confused with the iru いる that means "to need." Or with the other iru いる.

When iru comes after the te form of verbs, it becomes the te-iru ている form, which is not what this article is about.

Note that aru ある is the inanimate counterpart of iru いる. Since aru can mean "to have" sometimes, iru can mean "to have" sometimes too.

The verb iru often used with the location pronouns koko, soko, asoko, doko ここ, そこ, あそこ, どこ. For example:
  • watashi wa koko ni iru
    I exist here.
    I'm here.
  • kare wa doko ni iru?!
    He exists where?!
    Where he exists?!
    Where he is?!
    Where is he?!

aru ある, 有る, 在る

In Japanese, aru ある means either "to exist" or "to have." It's also spelled aru 有る and aru 在る, one meaning only "to have" and the other only "to exist."

Sometimes, aru can be translated as "to be," "is," "are," and so on, too, because something that "exists" somewhere could also be said "to be" there. It can also be translated as "there is" or "there are" in some phrases.

Note that this article is mostly about phrases that end in ga aru がある. If you're looking for de aru である, go check the article about Desu です instead.

Let's start with the existential meaning:
  • kanousei ga aru
    A possibility exists.
    • There is a possibility.
  • kanousei ga atta
    A possibility existed.
    • There was a possibility.

koto こと, 事

In Japanese, koto こと means literally "thing," however, most of the time it's used as an auxiliary, in various different ways, so what it actually means in a sentence depends on how it's used.

It's also spelled as koto 事.

やったことないです・・・・・・ そんなことできるの!?
Manga: Kimetsu no Yaiba 鬼滅の刃 (Chapter 49, 機能回復訓練・前編)
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Formal Nouns

In Japanese, "formal nouns," or keishiki-meishi 形式名詞, are words which are syntactically, formally, nouns, but that are used more like auxiliaries or particles.

For example: koto こと, mono もの, tokoro ところ and wake わけ are formal nouns.

The term formal noun has absolutely nothing to do with levels of formality in speech. It's only about whether a word is formally classified as a noun in the dictionary or not.


In linguistics, a nominalizer is a word whose purpose is to turn something into a noun.

In Japanese, the no の particle, which is sometimes contracted to n ん, and koto こと are often called nominalizers.

The exact terminology seems complicated. For example, sometimes they're called light nouns instead. See the article about formal nouns for details.


Nominalization is the process of turning into nouns words that aren't nouns. In this article, I'll explain why it happens, how nominalization works in Japanese, and some ways it's used.

Light Nouns

In linguistics, a light noun refers to one extremely meaningless noun, which is so abstract it's not normally used by itself, only gaining meaning when it's qualified by an adjective or relative clause.

Such light nouns normally perform grammatical functions rather than referring to tangible things, which makes them different from other, more normal nouns. Another name for light noun is weak noun, because it's semantically weak: weak in meaning.

Note that a nominalizer is a word whose only function is nominalization: turning something into a noun, and has no tangible meaning itself besides the nuance in its usage. Some light nouns are also nominalizers.

In Japanese, light nouns include koto こと, tokoro ところ, toko とこ and mono もの. The biggest problem with these words is that, because they're more about grammar than vocabulary, you'll find dictionary definitions of them absolutely misleading.

This happens because they don't have concrete meaning by themselves. The word "car" refers to the thing which is a car, just like a kuruma 車 refers to a kuruma. But a koto, a toko, and a mono, are all too vague to define.

kawaisou 可哀想

In Japanese, kawaisou 可哀想 means "oh, that poor thing!" It's a phrase used when you feel pity for something.

More literally, kawaisou 可哀想 is an ateji for kawaisou 可愛そう, which means "it seems pitiable." And that kawaisou comes from the i-adjective kawaii 可愛い, which means "cute," but can also mean "pitiable," combined with the suffix -sou ~そう, which means "it seems."

The way it's used, though, is really to express pity or sympathy for someone or something, specially right before going help them. For example:

  • kawaisou da
    [It] seems pitiable.
  • kare ga kawaisou da
    He seems pitiable.
    He seems [miserable.]
    [I feel sorry for him.]
  • kawaisou dakara tasukeyou
    Let's help [him] because [he seems miserable].
  • hitori bocchi de kawaisou
    [He] seems [miserable] by being alone.
    [I feel bad for him, because he's all by himself.].

Same Word Spelled in Multiple Ways

In Japanese, words can be spelled in multiple ways, for multiple reasons.

A same Japanese word can be romanized in various ways. For example, ローマ字 can be romanized as roomaji, rōmaji, or romaji.

There are three Japanese "alphabets": hiragana, katakana, and kanji. The hiragana and katakana are both kana, they're interchangeable, like lower-case letters and UPPER-CASE LETTERS. Thus, anything that can be written with hiragana can be written with katakana and vice-versa.

The kana comprise all sounds of the Japanese language, so any Japanese word can be written with either hiragana or katakana.

The kanji are assigned to words and morphemes. Words that have kanji assigned to them can also be, and often are, spelled with kanji, but not everything has a kanji assigned to it; some words do not have kanji.

Relaxed Pronunciation

In linguistics, "relaxed pronunciation" refers to words that are pronounced differently from the standard, prescribed forms found in the dictionary. This is done casually, by abbreviating words, contracting, merging them together, distorting syllables, and so on.

For example, "gotta" is the relaxed pronunciation of "got to," "wanna" of "want to," and so on.

In manga, relaxed pronunciation occurs literally all the time. It occurs so often that it warranted me to write an article about it.

The biggest problem about this "relaxed pronunciation" thing is that, like I just said, you're saying a word in a way that it's not in the dictionary. In way that's not standard.

For someone learning Japanese, this basically means you won't be able to find the word in the dictionary, BECAUSE IT'S NOT SPELLED RIGHT!!!

A notorious example: kowai 怖い. That's an i-adjective. You can look that up in the dictionary quite easily, and you'll see it means "scary." But when people are scared, they tend to scream up words improperly, instead of calmly saying them properly. So you end up with koeeee こえぇぇぇ or koee こえー instead.

こ・・・こえー・・・・・・ ・・・・・・こえー・・・
Manga: Yotsuba to! よつばと! (Chapter 1, よつばとひっこし)
  • A relaxed pronunciation in a stressful situation.

If you look up koe こえ you'll find the word koe 声, which means "voice." AND HAS LITERALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT WE WANTED. This is totally misleading. What's "voice" supposed to mean in this context??? IT MAKES NO SENSE!!! No matter how you think about it!!!

Another example: warii ワリぃ. Is this supposed to mean a wari 割, a "percentage"? Nope. That's the relaxed pronunciation of warui 悪い, which means literally "bad," and also: "sorry, my bad, that's my fault."

For the sake of world peace, I've compiled a list of this and a bunch of other stuff. It's in the article about contractions. But note that some people say relaxed pronunciation and contractions are different things. Well, I need to put a comprehensive list somewhere, so I put it in there, go there for the list.

kawaii 可愛い

In Japanese, kawaii 可愛い means "cute," and, sometimes, "pitiable." It's also spelled kawaii かわいい, without kanji.

It's an i-adjective and can be used toward people, animals, drawings, etc. pretty much like "cute" in English. Also like "cute" in English, kawaii isn't the exactly same thing as "pretty," kirei 綺麗, or "beautiful," utsukushii 美しい. But most "beautiful girls," bishoujo 美少女, are also kawaii anyway.
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 - 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 whom you're doing something with, or to, or whom you're going against, or fighting against, talking with, and so on.

Not to be confused with a, itee あ、いてぇ, from a, itai あ、痛い, "ah, it's painful," "ah, it hurts!"

Example of aite 相手 in Japanese.
Manga: Haikyuu!! ハイキュー!! (Chapter 67)

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)
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.
Monday, March 11, 2019

omae wa mou shindeiru お前はもう死んでいる

If you're in an anime community, you might have seen the following meme already: omae wa mou shindeiru, or omae wa mou shinderu, followed by someone saying nani?! So, in case you're wondering what the hell are these weebs memeing about, it's a line from the manga and anime Fist of the North Star, Hokuto no Ken 北斗の拳.

Here's the translation:

Manga: Fist of the North Star, Hokuto no Ken 北斗の拳 (Chapter 1)
  • omae wa mou shinderu.........
    You're already dead.
  • nanii~~!?

Note that shinderu しんでる is a contraction of shinde-iru しんでいる, the te-iru form of shinu 死ぬ, "to die," which is why some people say omae wa mou shindeiru お前はもうしんでいる instead.

Also note that there are differences between the magazine version, the complete edition, and the anime version. So it's likely the phrase has appeared as both shinderu and shindeiru sometime, making both perfectly correct.
Monday, March 4, 2019

maa ii まあいい

In Japanese, maa ii まあいい is an expression used when the speaker doesn't care about something anymore and wants to change the subject of the conversation or go back doing what's actually important. In a sense, it means "whatever."

It's also spelled maa iiいい, maa iiいい.

まぁいいわ・・・ 始めましょう
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 5)

まあまあ, maa maa - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, maa maa まあまあ, also spelled maa maaまぁ, maa maaまー, is, literally, the word maa まあ twice. So, as you might guess, maa maa is twice as maa as just one maa.

Besides having double maa-ness in it, maa maa is also used in ways maa isn't used, like to say something is "neither good nor bad," or to tell people to "calm down."

Not to be confused with mama まま, "the way it is," or mama ママ, a word for "mother" in Japanese.

An example of まあまあ in Japanese.
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Chapter 4)
Friday, March 1, 2019

~to-ii ~といい

In Japanese, to ii といい means literally "if [something then] good." It's used to say something would be good if it happened, or if it were. It's the combination of the conditional to と, particle plus the i-adjective ii いい.

Don't mistake this for to iimasu といいます, which means "[something] is called [something]," or "my name is [something]."

In particular, if to ii repeated, then it's likely __ to ii __ to ii ~と言い~と言い instead.

koroseru to ii desu nee, sotsugyou made ni
Manga: Assassination Classroom, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 暗殺教室 (Chapter 1, 暗殺の時間)