Cat tongue – 猫舌 – nekojita

One of the things you notice the first time you go to Japan is the high temperature of some of the foods and how Japanese people seems to not care about something being really really hot.

As a foreigner you often have to wait a while until the food gets a reasonable temperature so it doesn’t burn your mouth. And this happens even in summer! It’s not uncommon to see, for example, in a ramen restaurant how Japanese people enters, orders, eats and leaves in just few minutes.

In Japanese people unable to eat really hot food are called 猫舌  (ねこじた nekojita). It literally means cat’s tongue:

猫 (cat) + 舌 (tonge) = 猫舌 nekojita: inability to take hot food

Apparently cats have a very  sensitive tongue, so people with sensitive tongues are also called nekojita. Are you a 猫舌 nekojita?

Why Japanese People? Or how kanji are crazy nonsense

One of the first things most people try to do when studying kanji is try to find patterns to help them memorize and understand how they work. But that’s not always easy…

大  太  犬

We have the kanji for “big (dai). If we add a small stroke and it becomes “fat person (futo). A fat person is big, so more or less, it can make some sense. But if we move this small stroke up, it becomes “dog (inu). Now, how can this make any sense?

一  二  三 四

Numbers are some of the basic kanji everyone tries to learn first. One , two , three . See the pattern? Not so difficult, isn’t it? Ok, let’s continue. Four . Makes no sense…

角 + 䖝 = 触

Some kanji are formed by two different smaller components. For example  horn + insect = to touch. I personally don’t see any pattern on how you can relate an insect with horns with touch. Would you touch an insect with horns? I would definitely not…

That’s what the popular Atsugiri Jason tries to show in this popular funny video. It’s in Japanese with English subtitles.

The last kanji he writes is the one for depression . It has so many strokes (29) that he becomes depressed after trying to memorize it.

Have you ever thought Japanese kanji are crazy nonsense?

New features in JapanDict

Japandict iPhoneWe have implemented few new features in JapanDict and we hope you will enjoy them as much as we enjoyed doing them:

  • Lists of words: Ever wanted to learn new words from an specific area? Now you can! We’ve implemented various lists of words. Some examples:
  • Mobile version: Probably one of the most requested missing features. Now you can browse and query the dictionary using your mobile device.
  • Speed improvements: We’ve implemented caching and reduced the downloaded data in all the site, so all the site will be much faster than before. Try it!
  • Minor aesthetic improvements. Mainly small fixes that will make the site more beautiful than before.
Please, don’t hesitate to post your comments and opinions here so we can improve the site as much as possible.

Official kanji list increased to 2136

Jōyō kanji, the official list maintained by the Japanese ministry of education which contains all the characters who every Japanese student should know, has been increased to 2136. This means an addition of 196 new characters and the suppression of 5.

This decision was made because nowadays, thanks to new technologies, it’s much easier to write some kanji considered so difficult before. Most people use computers or the mobile phone to write Japanese characters, so they don’t need to remember the exact way to draw it. They just need to remember the pronunciation and how they look.

This list has not been stable over the years. For instance, during the second world war, when the Japanese nationalistic fervor was so high, the number of kanji was increased to 2528!

However this is a big change for Japanese students and educators, as this makes even more difficult to study what it was one of the most difficult and time consuming things from the Japanese language.

This is the full list of the new included kanji:

鹿 ## ##

References: ExaminerKiraiTofugu, Wikipedia