Not a single day goes by without Japanese cat owners parading their furry companions on Twitter and, well, we love it. With more than 9,526,000 pet cats registered in 2017, it’s safe to assume that Japan is absolutely mad about cats.
Let’s take a minute to learn the etymology of the Japanese word for cat, 猫. The old word for “neko” is “nekoma,” which combines the onomatopoeia for the sound cats make, にゃ and こま meaning “four-legged animal.”
The left radical of the kanji is easy peasy to remember. ⺨means beast and is also associated with dogs. The right part, however, requires a little bit more insight since 苗 has nothing to do with our feline friends but actually means “seedling” or “sapling.”
First, we already know that Kanji are of Chinese origin. Second, in China, cats go “miao” or “mao.” 苗’s Chinese reading is みょう. So if you haven’t guessed by now, 猫, in China, means the “beast that makes a meow sound.” Add that to your list of fun facts to break out at a party!
When you hear a noise coming from inside your walls, you’d expect it to be a rat or mouse snuggling in your insulation waiting until the cover of night to hunt for leftover cheese.
When @d_e_heffun heard something coming from behind the wall, he bravely took it upon himself to investigate and made quite a surprising discovery!
— へっふん@マチアソビ2,3日目 (@d_e_heffun) May 2, 2019
Sounds like a fake “true story,” like the ones you read on the internet but never see in real life. I can’t believe this kind of thing would appear from the walls of our house. By the way, it happened last night.
The suffix っけ is a simple expression you should have in your Nihongo bank to help you hold natural and casual conversations in Japanese. Simply put, っけ comes in to end a sentence when you’re asking about something you’re supposed to know, but can’t seem to recall.
っけ often ends a question you’re asking yourself, but it can also be used casually when addressing other people and asking them to confirm the information.
Most of the time, っけ is used with だ (a casual form of the copula です) and the past た form.
- 何でしたっけ。= What was it again?
- 何時だっけ。= What time was it again?
- これでいいんだっけ。= Is it ok like this?
- 納豆好きだっけ？= Do you like natto?
Otsukaresama desu! You studied hard today. Just for giggles here’s a selection of recent hilarious kitty tweets to brighten up your Saturday.
— ありちんᕙ( 'ω' )ᕗ (@black_arichin) May 28, 2019
おわかりいただけただろうか = Got it?
— もふねこ同好会 (@mofnekoclub) August 31, 2018
どうしてそうなったのw = How did that happen?! LOL
Evry damn tiem!
— netgeek (@netgeek_0915) September 26, 2018
何かと思ったら自分の耳だった = Was wondering what this was when I realized it’s my ears.
Dat salaryman pose tho
— sasa×××🦈 (@zogu8011) June 8, 2019
終電乗れなかったサラリーマン = Salaryman who missed the last train
Cat or cow?
— ゆきちゃん (@marinamiries) May 25, 2019
猫が出てきた = A cat appeared
Not a fan of fluffy neko-chan? Here’s a super cute Shiba Inu instead.
— ボケて（爆笑） (@bokebot) May 10, 2019
どのセーブデータだっけ = Which save file was it again?
|みたい||mitai||like (looks like, is similar to)|
||netto jyou de||on the internet|
|我が家の||wagayano||our home, one’s home|
|壁の中から||kabe no naka kara||from inside the wall|
|ちなみに||chinami ni||by the way|
|おわかりいただけただろうか||o wakari itadaketa darouka||Got it?/Did you understand?|
|どうしてそうなったの||doushite sou natta no||How did that happen?|
|w||LOL||Japanese text speak for laughter, LOL|
|自分の||jibun no||one’s own|
|帰宅||kitaku||come back home|
|終電||shuuden||last train (of the day)|
|乗れる||noreru||to board (the train)|
|セーブデータ||seebu deeta||saved data|
For more on learning Japanese
- Learn Japanese with our original study materials on GaijinPot Study
- Questions about studying Japanese in Japan? Take a look at the Japan 101 section on Higher Education and Studying Japanese
- Join our GaijinPot Study Facebook group to connect with fellow learners
- Learn more about the GaijinPot Study Placement Program
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