Archive for the 'Japanese' Category

Japanese Podcasts

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

I finally decided to subscribe to Japanesepod101.  I need to do something to improve my Japanese listening skills and the podcasts I have listened to so far do seem useful. Compared to the cost of my Japanese lessons the service is not expensive at $25 a month.

They provided a way to import these into iTunes but I am running into technical problems.  Some of the files just stop downloading with no errors and others give me errors that seem to be related to invalid URLs.  iTunes also keeps losing my password for the podcasts even though I checked the box for this to be remembered. I have never tried to do this before and I had expected it to be much easier.  So far I have 1830 files – sounds like a lot but this has been running for around 24 hours now and there are still another 2400 to go.

What Does Handsome Mean?

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I was reading some Japanese today in which a girl described her friend’s family. It was all really normal until I got to the line “your Dad is handsome”. I don’t think I have ever told a female friend that her Dad was handsome. At first I thought it was because the word seems old-fashioned but I had difficultly thinking of a more modern word. My teacher suggested “good-looking” or “attractive” but both these seemed to be a strange way to describe a friend’s Dad. I realised that the problem had to do with sexual connotations and how I think a female friend would react if she thought I found her father attractive.

As a teenager I would have avoided describing anyone’s family members in any way that would have made my friends think that I found either their brothers or Dads attractive. Children don’t like to think of members of their family as sexual and even some adults don’t cope well with the concept. And I certainly wouldn’t have wanted anyone to think I was only her friend because I thought her brother was hot.

In Japan the adjective handsome does not imply that the person is sexually attractive and refers only to the person having a pleasing or dignified appearance. My teacher assumed that the meanings would be identical because the Japanese word is a loan-word taken from English.

I wonder if I think the word means more than that because I associate it with the “handsome prince” in fairy tales who goes on to become the heroine’s lover or is at least someone who is desired?