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Tweet of the Week

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

By 3 min read

Cats rule the internet, if not the world, and Japan is no exception. A pet food industry survey conducted in 2017 revealed that Japan was home to 9.5 million cats as pets, outnumbering its 8.9 million dogs.

And where better for Japanese people to share their endless fascination for our feline rulers — and for us to get some study mileage out of it — than Twitter.

Paying cat-tention

Because they can take care of themselves without much assistance, cats are usually seen as pretty independent. They’ll appear only when they need something from you: food, water, or to open the door every 30 seconds just because. Aside from that they basically spend more than half the day sleeping, yet somehow manage to be wide awake as soon as you try to get some sleep.

But despite what cats think, they’re not always the strong, independent felines they claim to be — their obsession for cardboard boxes can attest to this.

Tenten the cat discovered as much when he found himself a bit stuck but was too proud to straight up ask his owner @kokonananya for help.

ねこって こまったとき ひかえめにヒトの視界 しかい はいりこんでくるよね = Whenever a cat is in trouble they’ll slyly show up in your field of vision, won’t they?

Understanding Japanese sentence ending particles

Tweets are awesome when it comes to improve your understanding of Japanese sentence-ending particles. They aren’t always easy to translate, so only time and exposure will give you a feel for the nuances they convey. The more you build your understanding of particles, the more you’ll be able to speak Japanese naturally.

~ よね

To better understand よね (yone), a very common combination, let’s first check each of them separately. With the particle , the author of the tweet is seeking the agreement from his followers. The assumption is that they share the same opinion and they’ll agree. In a way, is close to “right?” or “isn’t it?”. Considering the amount of retweets, the Twitter community seems to be sharing the same view!

Surprisingly, the particle , on the other end, marks the idea that the speaker may be sharing a new information with the listener. emphasizes the idea that the tweet might have brought up a new information. Combined with the particle , よね is a way for the author of the tweet to emphasize the information he’s sharing and seek the confirmation from other people at the same time.

Do you like cats, cats or cats?

If you’re crazy for cats, you’re in for a treat in Japan. Almost every product that exists here has a cat-themed design available. Then there’s the cat cafe, which was of course invented in Japan. You can rent a cat, dress as a cat or even be treated like a cat in some of the weirder corners of society. There’s even a cat island in Ehime Prefecture, called Aoshima. And don’t forget the thousands of social media accounts run by cats despite their lack of opposable thumbs.

Lastly, if you do decide to enter into the black hole of cat-based social media, don’t forget that there’s also talking shiba inu and sexy squirrels with their own accounts, too.

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
ねこ neko cat
って ~ tte casual quoting particle, can be translated as “they say”, “it is said”
こまった komatta (from the verb 困る = komaru) to have difficulties
とき toki when
ひかえめに hikaeme ni discreetly, unobtrusively
ヒト hito person
no particle indicating posession
視界 しかい shikai visibility, but in the case of the expression 視界に入る = come into view
はいりこんで hairikonde (from the verb 入りこむ = harikomu) to enter, come into, get in
くる kuru to come
yo particle
ne particle

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