Invented in Taiwan in the 1980s, bubble tea—AKA sweet flavored tea with milk and chewy black tapioca pearls—has infiltrated gentrified neighborhoods in Japan’s capital producing many a hipster hangout, while appearing in around 80% of all Japanese schoolgirls’ Insta selfies. OK, I just made that statistic up but I reckon it’s pretty accurate.
With Japanese companies trying to cash in on the bubble tea craze, each day seems to bring with it a new tapioca product: tapioca candies, tapioca ice cream, tapioca coffee, and even tapioca ramen. The trend reached peak smh-level when the tapioca-themed attraction Tapioca Land opened in Harajuku—and turned out to be a total dud.
Can bubble tea get any more wild?
“Hold my beer.”
— 飯田裕 (@SEBA_iida) September 20, 2019
タピオカミルクティ美味しかったんだけど、なんか物足りない気がして結局こうなりました = Bubble milk tea tasted good but somehow I felt unsatisfied so I ended up making this.
Musician and bar owner @SEBA_iida has invented yet another way to consume tapioca—one that’s actually a pretty genius way to get sloshed on the sly. Meet the tapioca-hai: tapioca pearls mixed with shochu, Japan’s traditional hard-ass liquor that often results in several passed out salarymen blocking the entrance to the train station.
Find your flow with Japanese expressions based on the kanji 気!
While we’re still sober, let’s go over a quick list of key Japanese expressions with the kanji 気.
気 holds (too) many meanings ranging from “feeling/sentiment” to “mind/air” and “energy/power.” 気 actually comes from Chinese “qi”, the “life force” or “energy flow”. This concept is used in so many set phrases that some are actually part of the grammar.
Most Japanese language learners encounter 気 with the expression 気を付ける which translates to “be careful” or “take care.” Leaving for a trip? A Japanese will tell you “気をつけて!”, “Take care!” (or “Have a nice trip!”).
The first couple of expressions you should pay attention to are very close in meaning, but a thin nuance does set them apart:
気になる = to have something on your mind, to be bothered with little control over what you’re feeling or the situation. With an intransitive expression, you’ll use the particle が.
- 昨日の試験の結果が気になる。= I’m worried about the results of yesterday’s test.
気にする = to (consciously) worry about something and you can potentially do something about it. With a transitive expression, you’ll use the particle を.
- 自分の失敗を気にする。= I’m worried about my own mistakes.
Always pay attention to the particle used with the verb. It’ll help you to not mix up phrases that are used with the same verb.
気がする = to feel, think, have a certain mood, to have a hunch (you’re having an intuition or realization in a situation).
- 歌いたい気がする。= I feel like singing.
Last, but not least, here are more frequent expressions using 気:
- 気がある = to be interested in; the negative form, 気がない, is more often used to show your lack of interest for something
- 気に入る = to like something, take a fancy to (literally, something “entered your mind”)
- 気が散る = to get distracted (literally, to have your “attention scattered”)
- 気が合う = to get along well, to hit it off together
Let’s wrap up with 気を失う meaning “to faint” or more like, to lose your “qi.”
And we bet that’s probably how you feel knowing we’ve just scratched the surface of the 気 iceberg!
|ミルクティ||miruku tei||milk tea|
|気がする||ki ga suru||to feel, to think|
|結局||kekkyoku||in the end, ultimately|
|こうなる||kou naru||be like this, become like this|
|気を付ける||ki o tsukeru||take care, be careful|
|気になる||ki ni naru||have something on your mind, be bothered by something|
|気にする||ki ni suru||worry about something|
|気がある||ki ga aru||interested in|
|気に入る||ki ni iru||like, fancy|
|気が散る||ki ga chiru||get distracted|
|気が合う||ki ga au||get along, hit it off|
|気を失う||ki o ushinau||faint, lose consciousness|
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