BBQ Meat Day Explained

What do these people have in common?

Michael Jackson, birthday: August 29, 1958
Bae Yong Joon (Yon-sama), birthday: August 29, 1972
John McCain, birthday: August 29, 1936
Charlie Parker, birthday: August 29, 1920

Right! Their birthdays are the same!

But what about their birthdays is special and interesting to those of us studying Japanese language and culture?

Here’s a hint… it has something to do with Tsuruhashi in Osaka

Yes you got it! Korean BBQ!!! Let’s break it down. (Wut?)

Yakiniku - August 29th Diagram

The Japanese word for Korean BBQ is basically 焼き肉 (yakiniku).
“yaki” means to be cooked, and “niku” means meat.

Let’s jump to the birthday link.

The birthdate in question is August 29th.
In Japanese August 29th is 八月二十九日 (hachi gatsu nijyuukunichi).

The number 8 is “hachi” in Japanese, but the same character can also be read “ya” As in 八つ (yatsu). This “ya” sound matches up with the “ya” in the Japanese word for BBQ, 焼き肉 (*ya*kiniku).

The number 2 is “ni” in Japanese, and you hear it right there in “29” which is “nijyuuku.” This “ni” sound matches up with the first syllable in the Japanese word for “meat,” 肉 (*ni*ku.)

The number 9 in Japanese is “ku” or “kyuu.” You can hear it in “29” which is “nijyuuku,” or “nijyuukyuu” for that matter.

So now you can see that YAKINIKU has all the components to spell out August 29th in Japanese if your twist your mind around this crazy Kanji game.

Ever heard anyone say that if you have to explain a joke it isn’t funny? I guess I just destroyed that one…

I came across this Yakiniku thing again because I asked a new friend when her birthday was… and she responded, “yakinikunohi.” She was also then able to tell me that Yon-sama and Michael Jacksons also were Korean BBQ Birthday Boys. Awesome.(?)

Some Charlie Parker for you on the way out:

Somewhat Related:
Tsuruhashi for Korean BBQ

Unbelievable! Old School Japanese Slang

Today I attended a wine tasting party and there happened to be tons of old-school Japan hands there along with their respective Japanese wives. It was a little awkward being the youngest dude in the room by an entire generation, but it was cool to hear their stories.

One man had lived in Japan in the 70s, and he shared many interesting stories. One of the stories that he introduced included this really cool Japanese slang term.

This is a real word. This Japanese is REAL. WHY would I make this up!?


Did you hear that??

信じられない (shinjirarenai) is I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. In Japanese.
Combine that with UNBELIEVABLE. And you get the barely pronounceable アン信じられラブル. OMG. I can hardly contain myself. This is SO COOL.

If you don’t believe me, click here to see アン信じられラブル in the wild.

That’s so awesome. Work with me. Let’s bring アン信じられラブル back.

Genpatsu-kun has a stomach ache

[UPDATE 03/17/2011] The above version has English Subs!

This is the vanilla original Japanese version!

This is an extremely well done animation that attempts to explain the crisis at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima in a light-hearted yet informational way.

The following is a my 5 minute summary of what is going on in the video. It’s not a direct translation, and I did it extremely quickly, but I think you’ll get the gist from these even if you don’t know Japanese. I’m sure someone will post a version with translated subtitles eventually!

[Begin Video Summary]

Genpatsu-kun is the name of the character representing the Fukushima the power plant.

He has a stomach ache that was caused by the big earthquake.

んんん〜〜〜 おなかいたいよう〜うんちが出ちゃいそう! arrrgh my stomach hurts! poops is gonna come out!

His poop is very stinky and therefore dangerous. If it spills out moreru もれる then it will be big trouble. くさい kusai! Stinky!

However, どーん! (doonnnn) we heard a huge sound from Genpatsu-kun and everyone was surprised! Did his poop come out?

After taking some measurements they realized it wasn’t poop, but just a fart. But his stomach still hurts.

In order to fix it they’re giving Genpatsu-kun medicine. Including seawater 海水 kaisui and ホウ素 houso boron.

They ran out of medicine and it as kind of a close call, but anyway they’re working hard to keep him from pooping all over the place.

The smell from a fart will only last about a week, and isn’t so stinky, so no problem for people who live far away.

That’s what happend with 3-mile Island too.

But Chernobyl…

[YouTube Video Time 1:54]

He even pooped his pants in the classroom! And it was diarrhea! And he ran around all over the place just like that!!!

But Japan won’t be like Chernobyl.

Genpatsu-kun has a diaper. So even if the unchi comes out, it won’t travel far.

Big poop is heavy too so it won’t go too far.

In order to help out Genpatsu-kun the doctors are working hard. They are taking turns giving him medicine as to preserve their health. This method of giving him medicine isn’t efficient, but it’s vital to preserve the health of the doctors.

If in the news you hear, 注水が再開 (cyuusui ga saikai, water injection has started again), you know that they’re able to give Genpatsu-kun medicine again to cool him down.

If things get bad it won’t be as bad as Chernobyl, but people in Fukushima won’t be able to live around there… and plants and fish will die. It would be terrible for the people of Fukushima.

I order not to let that happen, everyone is working as hard as they can. These next two days (as of time this video was published) are key.

It’ll be alright. With time, Genpatsu-kun’s stomach will surely get better.

[End Video Summary]

– Harvey

Japanese Security Parody

Some Japanese that you can learn from this video.
This isn’t a transcription, but should help!

金属 kinzoku
Metals (metallic objects)

いいえ、持ってないです。iie, mottenaidesu.
No, I don’t have any. (in response to the “do you have any metal objects question.)

鳴る なる naru
To ring out. The guy says, 鳴っちゃいましたからね a lot, as in, “See! It’s ringing! That’s why!”
Also, 鳴ってますんでね。(“Because it’s ringing, ya see.”)

Aren’t you touching (her) a bit too much!?
触る sawaru to touch.

なんか金属入ってますか、これ? nanka kinzoku haittemasenka, kore?
Are there any metals in there?

I’m going to take a look. (polite form)

上を脱いで下さい ue wo nuide kudasai
Take of your top.

Because these are the rules.

何やってんの?! naniyattenno?!
What. Are. You. DOING!?!

正服 seifuku

着ちゃだめ kicyadame
You can’t wear it.

You can’t take her with you!


I went through the new security this Thanksgiving season and got a pretty frisky upper body pat down because I was wearing a baggy hoody. It tickled.

– Harvey

Learn Kansai-ben from Daichen

Learn Kansaiben the Daichen style! (チンピラ?)

In order to, “add value,” I have provided the Japanese text of the Kansai-ben.

Starting from 0:41 in the video

Other guy: やめてください。落ち着いて下さい。
(eating – おいしいですね)

If anyone want’s to do a hiragana only or romaji version feel free to throw it in the comments.

Here is another quick Daichen video introducing AKAN.

If you love Kansai-ben, be sure to check out our Kansai-ben teaching iPhone App.

You might also like these other Kansai-ben related posts!

Tottara Akan Yo! Song.

Kansai-ben Converter – convert your standard Japanese into Kansai-ben!

Kansai-ben Speaking Vending Machine

Mameshima, the Kansai-ben speaking Bean

Kansai-ben Lesson 1 from yours truly.

There are more Kansai-ben related things on this blog, just hit the search.

– Harvey

Don't mess with Daichen.

Kansai-ben Converter

Found this Kansai-ben converter on the web.


After giving it a few tests…

Input: わかりません → Output: わかりまへん

Input: もう我慢できません → Output: もう我慢できまへん

Input: オレは外国人じゃないよ。 → Output: オレは外国人じゃないよ。

Input: 私のカメラは使い物になりません。 → Ouput: わてのカメラは使い物になりまへん。
Haha, that’s funny.

Input: あめなめたい → Output: あめなめたいちゅーワケや。

Alright fun stuff. The typical ません to まへん, and I see a 私 to わて which is kinda funny because young people wouldn’t speak like that… but perhaps some old folk do. And then some powerful たい turning to… ちゅーワケや!

Not the most natural thing in the world, but great to kill a few minutes! Give it a shot!

If you’re curious about Kansai-ben check out our Kansai-ben lessons, and also check out the Kansai-ben iPhone application if you haven’t already!

– Harvey

Tottara Akan Yo! Osaka-ben Music

You need more Kansai-ben in your life, and I’m here to help.


JapanNewbie here introducing a random song called Tottara Akan Yo とったらアカンよ, by a group named Atarime.

Atarime - Tottara Akan Yo

This song has direct Osaka and Kansai culture references, traditional Japanese background music, and Kansai-ben to make it fun. Not something I would listen to every day, but very fun to listen to once in a while! Also the lyrics are goofy enough that I notice some new funny bit every time I listen to it. I just downloaded it from so I have listened to it about 5 times now.

The lyrics are filled with stories of theft, and theft prevention. You know, hittakuri grabbing purses out of the front of bicycles – be sure to use a bicycle basket cover thing. Watch out for groups trying to pick your pocket in crowded places. Stuff like that. The lyrics warn that if you steal stuff, no matter how hard you try to hide or run, eventually you’ll end up in jail – so better not to try and steal stuff!

I haven’t been able to find this song on YouTube or anything, but you can hear a pretty good length clip on the HearJapan page.

Apparently this song was used in a Osaka public service campaign against stealing as well. I guess I was in the States already so missed it though!


– Harvey

1 2 3 14