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Tweet of the Week #43: Earthquake? This Cat DGAF

Learn how to use the particle で with the most chill cat we've ever seen.

By 3 min read

Living in Japan is freaking awesome, but if you’ve never felt the earth’s plates move beneath your feet you’re in for a few scares at first! Yup, that’s because Japan is conveniently located right on the Ring of Fire AKA the Circum-Pacific Belt, a path along the Pacific Ocean characterized by frequent earthquakes. Not so awesome.

Japan experiences seismic movements almost every day that amount to thousands of tiny quakes per year. On the bright side, most of them typically range in magnitude from 2 to 5 on the Japanese Shindo scale — i.e. earthquakes that are too small for you to worry much.

However, since 2018 and the newest release of the National Earthquake Forecast Map, Japan’s residents are now living with the scary prospect of the “Big One“, a huge earthquake set to occur within the next thirty years. If people aren’t giving this doomsday much thought on a daily basis (life would be unbearable), being prepared for an earthquake is definitely something you should bear in mind when living in the Japanese archipelago.

Earthquaek? Wut earthquake?

On Sunday, a 6.4 magnitude quake rocked Japan’s northeastern prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi.

While luckily the authorities didn’t report any injuries or damages, the tremor was strong enough to be felt from Tokyo and the quake lasted quite a long time. It was long enough for Japanese illustrator @hiro3507 to record his cat being such a cat and not giving AF — even while the bed he was lounging on shook violently back and forth.

= 地震じしんれるねこ = Cat swaying in an earthquake

This cracked up Twitter with people comparing the cat to pudding or jelly. If @hiiro3507’s cat could speak, we bet it would say something à la Taylor Swift like 「とりあえずく」 (you need to calm down).

Expressing context in Japanese with the particle で

In Japanese grammar, particles are words made of one or more hiragana characters that we attach to nouns, verbs, adjectives, or even sentences to define their grammatical function. Knowing particles and their usage is necessary to understand the meaning of Japanese sentences.

Among Japanese particles, helps to give the context in which an action is performed. Although it can be difficult to translate this particle into English, で could stand for “by means of” or “by way of” or, more simply, “by.”

If we had to literally translate above tweet, it would end up as something like:

地震で揺れる猫  = “by the way” of the earthquake, the cat is swayed/shook

自転車じてんしゃ通勤つうきんします = I commute by bicycle

はしべます = I eat with (“by means of”) chopsticks


Japanese Romaji English
地震じしん jishin earthquake
れる yureru shake, sway
ねこ neko cat
とりあえず toriaezu first, for starter
ochitsuku calm down
自転車じてんしゃ jitensha bicycle
通勤つうきんする tsuukinn suru commute
はし o hashi chopsticks
べる taberu eat

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