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Tweet of the Week #47: This Japanese Power Point Does Not Spark Joy

Marie Kondo would lose her mind! Learn how to use でしょう with this week's viral tweet.

By 3 min read

The art of the presentation sadly seems to elude many a government employee in Japan.

Obviously, your goal is to charm your audience with a witty speech and a well-designed PPT (or Keynote if we’re being fancy), long enough to get your points across the room but short enough so that nobody nods off during the important bits. You’re Tom Cruise and your mission impossible is to keep them engaged—or at the very least awake

One rule of thumb that we’re often taught in school is to refrain from putting all of the information onto your slides and simply reading what’s written there. One slide = one key idea. Also, best to avoid the Clip Art plugin, steer clear from any animation, and do not use yellow or magenta in “Marker Felt” or some other dodgy font.

Please refer to my wall of text

We were gasping for air after stumbling on this Japanese language teacher’s tweet. 

Attending a seminar organized by the government about improving Japanese language education for foreigners living in Japan, @Honigon3D shared pictures of a series of slides buried under text blocks that would probably make Marie Kondo scream. 


= I think this “PowerPoint slide” created by the government seems to be missing the basic concept of what a slide is. 

Investigating further, @Honigon3D discovered that the slides were originally from a document handed out by Japanese immigration services, and simply copied and pasted into the PowerPoint.


= About the viral PowerPoint [tweet] from the City Hall. Many comments mentioned that the document was originally made to be distributed in written form, so it couldn’t be helped. But look what was handed out. Basically, I can’t read it. 

With a ¥100 coin for comparison, @Honigon3D explains that the font size is way too small for any sane mind to be able to understand.

Understanding the nuance of the Japanese ending particle だろう and でしょう

Grasping the nuances of だろう, or it’s more polite counterpart でしょう, can be maddening. The でしょう (だろう) ending particle has many meanings that will change depending on the context, but most importantly, depending on the tone of the speaker. 

Here’s a quick list of how でしょう can be translated :

  • “I think”
  • “It seems that way”
  • “Probably…”
  • “I guess…”
  • “Right?”
  • “Don’t you agree?”

Said with confidence and an assertive tone, でしょう expresses strongly what you think or believe. But on the contrary, if you use a questioning tone, you’re asking for confirmation or approval from the person you’re speaking with.

うそでしょう!!= Are you kidding me? (literally, “that’s a lie!”)

嘘でしょう・・・ = That’s a lie… right?

でしょう also conveys something will likely happen. That’s why you can hear this particle a lot in Japanese weather forecasts, usually delivered with a rather emotionless, flat tone. 

明日あしたれでしょう。= Tomorrow will probably be sunny.

だろう follows the dictionary form of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Note that in casual speech, だろう sometimes loses the last for a short だろ.


Japanese Romaji English
役所やくしょ o yakusho government office
ひと hito person, people
つく tsukuru make
パワーポイント pawaapointo PowerPoint
スライド suraido slide
なん nanka like
存在意義そんざいいぎ sonzaiigi reason of being
みたい mitai looks like
根本こんぽん konpon basis
部分ぶぶん bubun part
概念がいねん gainen concept
からして karashite for starters
そもそも somosomo to begin with
ことなる kotonaru be different
れい rei example
バズ bazu Buzz
もともと motomoto originally
配布資料はいふしりょう haifushiryou handout
として toshite as
作成さくせいされる sakusei sareru be created
める yomeru be able to read
仕方しかたがない shikata ga nai It can’t be help
コメント komento comment
おお ooi a lot, many
配布はいふされる haifu sareru be handed out
こんなかん konna kanji like this
ようするに yousuru ni in short
うそ uso lie
明日あした ashita tomorrow
れる hareru be sunny, clear away

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