Okay, let’s find out the correct answers to yesterday’s quiz!   I think all the words on this list confused me at some time or another.

one piece This words means “dress.”  I heard this a lot when I first came to Japan because I was working and wearing dresses, so other female teachers would say, “Kawaii One Piece!”  (Cute dress!)

One Piece is also the name of a mega popular manga, but I don’t know much about that.

pan  This means “bread.”  Comes from the Portuguese, I believe.  I know in French the word is “pain” so if you know romance languages, it makes sense.

sharp pen This means “mechanical pencil.”  At first, I thought, “Well, why don’t you just say mechanical pencil?”  But really sharp pen just rolls off the tongue and is a million times better than the cumbersome  word mechanical pencil.

smart  This means “slim, trim, in a good sort of way”.  Related to the Smart of “Smartly dressed,” I do believe.  Also, got this a lot when I first arrived in Japan.  Don’t get it anymore. Wah Wah.

magic tape  This means “velcro.”  It’s tape with magical powers.

idol  This means “idol” as in pop idol, starlet, that sort of thing.  Japanese people LOVE this word and use it much more than Americans do.  “Oh, what a kawaii idol.”  (What a cute starlet.)  “I wanna be an idol when I grow up.”  (I wanna be some cute famous person when I grow up.)

jelly  This means “jello” or “gelatin.”  Gah…hate this word.  So close, yet so far.

love love  This means, gosh….what does it mean?  Um…I think it just means “really in love.”  Oh, look at that cute couple.  They are so love love.  (Meaning, they actually love each other rather than just tolerate each other or even hate each other like, um, most of us married couples.)

This word is interesting for me because I was confused about the meaning at first.  Yes, this is very weird, but I thought it meant homosexual love.  I don’t know where I got that meaning, perhaps an overactive imagination.  No, it just means love.

front  This means “Front desk in the lobby of the hotel”  I think my husband used this with me, thinking it was correct English.  I was confused because front of course probably would mean the actually front of something in the U.S.

mouse This means “computer mouse.”  Usually that is what it is referring to.

However, I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about mouse (rodent kind) experiments and they used the word “mouse.” However, usually rat or mouse is “nezumi.”  However, I doubt you care about this. However, it may be important in case you are ever doing mouse experiments in outer space in Japanese.

marmot  This means “guinea pig.”  According to guinea pig, marmots (in English) are large squirrels in the genus marmota.

trump  No, not Donald!!!!  (Well, he is known in Japan as Trump of course.  But let’s look at the real meaning of the word.)

This means “cards” as in a deck of playing cards.  For teaching English, I played a lot of card games and learned this word pretty quickly.

my pace This means “You do things slowly, dammit.  You slacker.”  But in the nicest way possible.  Basically they are saying you go at your own incredibly slow, lazy pace and not at the super quick and organized pace of the average person, i.e. Japanese.  Don’t ask me how I know this.  I would not know from experience.  I promise.

my bag “Your own bag.”  Not somebody else’s bag, but YOUR OWN BAG, the one you use probably for stuffing groceries into when you shop.  So I can say, “You dropped your my bag on the floor.”  Meaning, “You dropped your very own shopping bag, not the store’s bag or somebody else’s bag, but your own bag on the floor.”  Doesn’t Japanese make so much sense?

new half  This means “transsexual.”

It’s interesting because Bruce Jenner came out in America as a woman (or changed, or whatever the politically correct term is.)  Even from my far away viewpoint in Japan, I could see it was a huge story in America.  In Japan, there are a few famous transgender people, most notably Matsuko Deluxe (a man who is now a woman.)

I think Japanese people don’t care much if a famous person if gay or transgender or whatever….but if it is your own child…..then watch out.  No way.  My son is straight and going to marry a nice girl and blah blah blah.   Americans talk more about LGBT issues than Japanese people do, but also get more riled up about them.  As a straight person I can’t actually say which country is better to live in for a gay person.

Oh my god!  This means “Oh my goodness!”  I am saying that is what it means because I frequently hear this phrase OMIGAAAA! from Japanese students. In America, most well brought up kids would not say Oh my god! in front of their teacher.  I don’t personally think so, anyway.  It does NOT mean “God” in Japan because Japanese kids don’t know the meaning of the English word “God.”  You know what I mean?  It’s like if I swear in Russian, the Russians would be offended, but it doesn’t mean anything to me personally because I don’t know Russian.

pain juice  This means “pineapple juice.”  The Japanese word for pineapple is painappuru.  However,  it frequently gets abbreviated to pain.  (Japanese people love to abbreviate words.)  So pain juice is actually pineapple juice.  Long ago I saw “pain juice” on a sign at Narita Airport.  I thought it was pretty funny but I didn’t take a photo for Engrish.com because that was way before I owned a digital camera and way before I had even heard of Engrish.com  (Perhaps before it existed.)


Okay, there you go!  All ready to use your new cool words to impress Japanese people!


These are posters with Matsuko Deluxe on them.  It’s advertising for a local shop.  Not only is Matsuko a well-known “new half idol” who is frequently on TV, but she also does advertising for several companies.  I don’t really see her appeal…not prejudiced or anything.  I just don’t think she is particularly funny or interesting.