Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen 3/27/08

Lots of languages probably have fun onomatopoeia, but Japanese rocks it like no other, especially words repeated twice, which is super common, and sounding kind of fun said quickly together.

My Favorite 13 Japanese Onomatopoeia

1. Doki doki - heart beating fast in fear, anticipation, excitement (like when you are about to go on stage in front of the entire school, all your students, fellow teachers, who knows who else to sing Mr. Children's Dakishimetai ... while wearing a school uniform - can you tell which one is me?).

2. Gucha gucha - messy. One of my favorite Japanese expressions that I still use because the meaning comes across the language barrier in the right situations. Say it like GooCHAgoocha, almost like one word instead of two.

3. Peko peko - hungry. Like the wolf. Say it like "pay-co pay-co " kind of, with a little less "ay" sound.

4. Wan wan, like you'd expect any dog to say, right? Say it like the wan in "pale and wan."

5. Giri Giri - by the skin of your teeth just barely on time, like me pulling up to the school where I worked on my granny bike. I'd love to explain how to say it, but this one is tough - think something like ghee-ree ghee-ree, but super fast, and the "r" is kind of like an "l" (true for all of those below with an "r" as well).

6. Iro iro - various. And sundry, probably, too. The "I" sounds like "ee," so go from there.

7. Kira kira, like all glittery and sparkly and shiny and bright and happy. The "Ki" sounds like "key."

8. Pera pera - fluent, as in what people love to say as a polite compliment if you can say two words of Japanese, even if fluent is the furthest thing from the truth. The "Pe" sounds kind of like "pay" but shorter.

9. Kero Kero - frog sounds. If you've ever heard of Hello Kitty's friend the frog, Kerokeroppi, that's why. If not, um, never mind. The "Ke" sounds kind of like "cay" but shorter.

10. Goro goro - purring, like my orange kitty always showing up in pictures on my blog. I brought him back with me from Japan, and he still purrs.

11. Pyon pyon - the sound of hopping, like a bunny. I learned this one while in college, and it's still a favorite. Say it so that it rhymes with "own."

12. Niko niko - smiling. Say it like "nee coe, nee coe."

13. Uro uro - loitering, wandering. Say it like "ooh-ro, ooh-ro" - fun, huh? I learned this one from Ulfuls' Banzai, a song I once sang at a wedding in Japan because people loved watching me think I could sing if only in another language. True. Even if the song also has the word for pervert in it. Just once, and not like a pervert in a bad way. Anyway, you know you are dying to hear the song (I found one written in romaji and with somewhat rough translation - you're welcome!):

Yep, still keeping score: today is smoke-free day 284.

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  1. Congratulations on day 283!
    Fun list!
    Happy T13!

  2. This is a really fun list! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I just love that picture! You were so into it! Got it on video by any chance so you can share?

  4. I'll have to pass this list to my 13 year old--she's a Japanophile.

    And congrats on day 283. Keep up the good work--your lungs will love you for it!

  5. What a cool list! And fun! Someday I will get to Japan, I hope...although since I just spend I dunno, $4000 on a trip to Italy with my son, and he's going to graduate high school and start college this year, I don't think Japan is in my near future...

    (My tt is up...thirteen photos of our trip to Venice!)

  6. I was niko niko reading this post :-)

  7. That was a great list! Thanks so much!!!

    I bought one of those big balls too ... but I never really used it. My kids like it, though!


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