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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Japanese Diary 22
Every day I get sent a random Japanese word to learn by About.com, but lately they've been a bit frustrating. Yesterday's word, for example, was "osameru" ("to rule; to govern"). Easy enough, until you get to the helpful example sentence...

Sensei wa bokutachi no kenka o odayakani osameta.

The teacher solved our quarrel peacefully.

... which doesn't appear to involve ruling or governing, but something else entirely (arbitration? resolution?). Gah.

Today's word was "oshii", which apparently means any or all of: "regrettable; disappointing; precious; wasteful; too good for". Of course, I know English has words that means their opposite as well, but without more information how do I know whether my "oshii" will be heard as "precious" or "disappointing"?

Other such words may or may not have some deep cultural significance. "Chigai" means both "different" and "wrong": does this indicate some fundamental predisposition to conflate conformity with correctness? I don't know, but it makes me wary of using the word, for fear of misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to find an anime that I can watch with enjoyment after the soul-wrenching of Madoka Magica - watching which was the kind of experience that has a very lingering aftertaste. I tried a bit of ROD the TV, but although I think I would like it a lot in a different mood it wasn't for me right now. Then I sampled Code Geass - but it seems only five minutes since I watched another teenaged smartypants with superpowers try to take over the world in Death Note, and the addition of robot technology didn't add significantly to its allure. Again, I'll return to it later. I also have Summer Wars waiting on the shelf: it's from the maker of The Girl Who Leapt through Time, and I'm waiting for a moment when I might want to watch that again to try the new one.

Just in the last two days, though, I've found some much-needed genkiness with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. It's clever, and has made me laugh out loud a couple of times, and is just what I need at the moment.

Subdue is also a meaning of 治める, and it seems to have an idiomatic sense of quieten, especially in conjunction with odayaka ni. Seems -- can't say I'm actually familiar with this one.

ETA: So a better translation might be "resolved" instead of "solved."

Oshii has much of the range of English "dear," including the expensive part. The disappointing/regrettable senses seem to come up generally only for a completed action or extinguishment of existence. (It comes up a lot in poetry, especially love poems -- as do a couple other emotion-laden terms that I can only describe as broad-spectrum.)


Edited at 2014-06-05 09:33 pm (UTC)

I like "broad spectrum" as a description! I may adopt that.

Summer Wars is a feel-good, big-silly-grin, genki-as-all-get-out movie with some very sad bits but in a slice-of-life way. I tell you this so you will know what mood to watch it in.

Good - that's what I'm hoping for from it!

Have you seen Mushishi?

I saw one episode online a couple of years ago, and liked it a lot - then promptly forgot the title, so thanks for reminding me! Perhaps I misunderstood it, but the main character appears from that slender acquaintance to be a kind of Shinto Snufkin - in which case, what's not to love?

"Shinto Snufkin" gave me pause but, um, yeah. That's not that far off.


Yes, sort of. It's very beautiful and has a great sountrack, and tons of sense of wonder. It's about exploring a world and studying magical creatures - definitely some tonal similarity with the Moomintrolls.