steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Japanese Diary 14

This may not be the most profound observation, but one of the appealing things about the Japanese language is its habit of doubling words - from the "Moshi moshi" that serves for "Hello" when you pick up the phone, to the "pika pika" (meaning "shiny" amongst other things) of Pokemon fame. In English, this way of talking sounds slightly childish, but not so in Japanese. For example, if you're excited, you're dokidoki. If you're only excited sometimes you're tokidoki dokidoki. I'd like to say that if you're sometimes excited about aircraft, you're hikoki tokidoki dokidoki, though I expect I'm missing a particle or so there. Dr Seuss would have liked it, I think; I do, anyway.

I'm almost at the end of the first season of Clannad, which has grown on me a lot. It's an ensemble piece, and it took me a couple of episodes to get everyone's identity straight, but I find I've been drawn in by its numerous threads and am now fairly trussed. Despite its ample and even slapstick comedy I've already been reduced to tears a couple of times, and I understand that Clannad: After Story, the second season (which I have on order) ramps that up severalfold, being some kind of cross between Love Story and Toy Story III, but more wrenching than either. At any rate, the Big Dango Family song which ends each episode, and which I initially found irritatingly cutesy, already makes my eyes prick. If I make it to the end of season two, it will reportedly acquire the Pavlovian power to reduce me to a gibbering mush recognizable as human only from the fact that it has assumed the foetal position. Watch this space.
Tags: nippon notes
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