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Jaa mata

So I have this peculiar habit of ending my entries with, “jaa mata.” From a recent blog comment, it has occurred to me that I never mentioned what that meant. How absurdly anti-educational that is. It comes in closing, so, yes, some of you are savvy enough to understand it is, indeed, a Japanse farewell. “Jaa mata” can be translated to mean “See you again,” while its shortened, and more commonly used, form is “Jaa ne,” which I sneak in from time to time, means, basically, “See you.” Dreadfully complicated isn’t it?

Anyway, for those of you hoping to expand your everyday Japanese, here’s Christopher’s pronounciation guide, (JYA maTAH) yes, JYA being the first sound, not the name of this dreadful show you’re experiencing.

(JYA nay)

That being said, what you should know is what the Japanese call Japan: Nihon. If you are to continue to travel with me in Tokyo, you need to know this, that is just respectful. Nihon, get it, (NEE hone)

And a particularly literate comment brought forth, “Fuku wa uchi,” which, someone far more capable of Japanese translating than I tells me means literally, “Fortune comes in.” (Ignore what Googling the phrase tells you, my source is more reliable)

Commonly the phrase runs as, “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi” The Devil is out! Fortune comes in.”

(OH nee wah so TOE. FOO koo wah oochi)

And, while we’re on this subject, I should clarify the two Japanese words I knew before I started learning in the months preceding my Tokyo arrival. “Sayanora” and “kon’nichi wa.” They meant goodbye and hello to me before I learned better.

“Sayanora” is really only used when referring to a goodbye with a sense of finality, as if the departing will not return for a long time. And “kon’nichi wa” is “good afternoon,” though it is used widely, from 10am to well past sunset for some.

See, who among us can say we didn’t learn something new today? Who, I demand!


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