Learn

Tweet of the Week

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

By 4 min read

They’re adorable, charming, cute, and every moment spent with them is precious. Or so parents are told before stepping into the battlefield that is daily life with toddlers. Let’s face it, tiny people seem to excel at making monumental messes wherever they go, turning a perfectly ordered room into what looks like the aftermath of several mine explosions and a stampede by angry bison.

Don’t forget to lock the cabinet doors

This mother of three toddlers @Ju_nA_0313 learned a valuable lesson last month: Never EVER forget to use the childproof locks on her kitchen cabinet.

こめったつぎまんタンの米びつをひっくりかえされて、プラスでミルクかんけられてたついでとわんばかりに大量たいりょうゴムと爪楊枝つまようじしストッパーのわすれは命取いのちとりだとまなびました

The day after I bought rice, the rice container got poured everywhere, plus the milk cartons are all open; on top of this, there are now a lot of toothpicks and rubber bands everywhere… I learned that forgetting to put back the childproof drawer lock is a fatal mistake.

Although her kitchen looks kind of awful at the time of the picture, @Ju_nA_0313 stayed calm and took things in her stride. She even took the time to reply back to the judgmental comments questioning her parenting abilities, and whether she’s disciplined her kids properly or not.

わたしまったしかってないといましたか?
2〜3単語たんご幼児語ようじごしかはなせない2歳児さいじと、喃語なんごしかていない10ヶ月っかげつあかちゃんに、どのようにしかれば子供こどもにとって最適さいてきかをご存知ぞんじうえでおっしゃっているのですか?このらには、こんなせま視野しやけ、他人たにんさげすむような人間にんげんにはならない未来みらいねがっています

Did you say that I didn’t scold them at all? I imagine that you’re saying this based on your expert knowledge of the best way to scold a 2-year-old who can only speak a few baby words and a babbling 10-month-old baby. I’m hoping that my children won’t grow to become narrow-minded adults who look down on others.

Ultimately, she says, this is a parenting lesson, not something you can scold very young toddlers for.

実際じっさいこんなこと二度にどきなかったし、ストッパーのわすれも二度としなかったし、親子おやこまなべた経験けいけんだったとおもってます

In fact, this never happened again and I myself never forgot the childproof lock, so I only think it’s fair to say that this became a learning experience for all of us.

If you’re wondering about giving parenthood a try or are already expecting, prepare yourself psychologically for what is about to come by searching for the hashtag #育児衝撃画像いくじしょうげきがぞう (shocking images of parenting) on Twitter.

How to use the passive voice in Japanese

The Japanese language relies a lot on the passive voice called 受身形うけみけい. It’ll probably take you a while to wrap your head around understanding the construction, especially if your native tongue doesn’t use passive so much.

Typically when the action (“what was done”) or its consequences for the speaker (“what was done to me”) are more important than the subject (“who did it”), the passive voice is preferred. Let’s look at some examples.

  • 上司じょうしわたしめました。= My boss praised me.
  • 私は上司に褒められました。= I was praised by my boss.
  • 上司はかれしかりました。= The boss scolded him.
  • 彼は上司に叱られました。= He was scolded by the boss.

The second sentence sounds more natural for Japanese, as what matters is less the subject who did the action (the boss) but what was done—giving praise or scolding. The subject is marked with the particle. Although we did indicate the topic of the sentence with 私は and 彼は, Japanese will more naturally omit it.

Sometimes the subject will be omitted as well, like in the tweet above:

  • 子供こどもまんタンのこめびつをひっくりかえされて、プラスでミルクかんひらけられていた。= The rice container got poured everywhere and the milk cartons opened (by the kids).

The passive voice is also convenient when you don’t know the subject.

  • この五輪ごりんとうは200年前ねんまえてられました。= This five-story pagoda was built 200 years ago.

Here’s a quick reminder of the construction of the passive voice:

  • U ending verbs: う → 買われる
  • Ru ending verbs: てる → 建てられる
  • する → される
  • くる → こられる

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
こめ kome rice
kau to buy
つぎ tsugi no hi next day
まんタン mantan full
こめびつ komebitsu rice container
ひっくりかえ hikkuri kaesu to overturn
プラスで purasude plus
ミルクかん miruku kan milk carton
ける akeru to open
ついで tsuide incidentally, by the way
わんばかりに
iwanbakarini as much as to say
大量たいりょう tairyou large quantity
ゴム wagomu rubber band
爪楊枝つまようじ tsumayouji toothpick
しストッパー hikidashi sutoppaa drawer stopper/lock
わす shimewasure forget to close
命取いのちと inochitori fatal
まな manabu to learn
わたし watashi I
まった mattaku totally
しか
shikaru to scold
単語たんご tango vocabulary
幼児語ようじご youjigo baby talk
はな hanasu to speak 
X 歳児さいじ saiji X-year-old infant
喃語なんご nango babbling
しか shika only
deru to come out
Xヶ月っかげつ kkagetsu X months
あかちゃん akachan baby
どのように donoyouni how
子供こども kodomo child, children
にとって nitotte for, concerning
最適さいてき saiteki optimal, optimum
存知ぞんじ gozonji knowing, knowledge
うえ no ue de based on, after
せま視野しや semaishiya narrow-minded
kimetsuke scold, take to task
他人たにんさげすむような人間にんげん tanin o sagesumu ningen person (adult) who looks down on others
になる ni naru to become
未来みらい mirai future
ねが negau to pray
実際じっさい jissai in fact
こと koto thing, incident
二度にど nidoto never again
きる okiru occur
親子おやこ oyako parent and child
経験けいけん yoikeiken or iikeiken good experience
おも omou to think
育児いくじ ikuji child care, child rearing
衝撃画像しょうげきがぞう shougekigazou shocking image
受身形うけみけい ukemikei passive voice
上司じょうし joushi boss, superior
める
homeru to praise
かれ kare him, he
五輪塔ごりんとう gorintou five storey pagoda
X年前ねんまえ nenmae X years ago
てる tateru to build

For more on learning Japanese

Related

Learn

Tweet of the Week #27

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

By 3 min read

Learn

Politically Indirect: Using More Inclusive Japanese Words

Political correctness isn’t limited to the West so pay attention to these Japanese words.

By 6 min read

Learn

Tweet of the Week

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

By 4 min read