Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Japanese Math Problems - Oh No!

In Japanese class, we’ve been working on the suffixes for Japanese numbers, according to what it is that you are counting.  Flat things are –mai; vehicles and machinery are –dai; people are –nin; small things are –ko; cups or glasses of things are –pai, -hai, or –bai; small animals or insects are –piki, -hiki, or –biki; long skinny things are –pon, -hon or –bon; floors of a building are –kai; books are –satsu; minutes are –fun, or –pun; clothes are –chaku (unless they are flat, which makes them –mai), and on and on.  Muzukashi desu!

At the end of the text book chapter were some story math problems, like we had in grade school math class.   The first one is about how many people (-nin).  I’ve already learned this is a trick in Japanese.  Any time someone asks you about how many people, add one to the number you think it is, because you always have to include yourself. Example – how many people do you live with?  My answer is hitori - one (my husband).  The teacher says, Oh really, you live alone?  The correct answer is futari - two – I have to include myself!  Another question is about some stamps that cost 80 yen each and some postcards that cost 50 yen each and I think aha! the answer is going to be –mai because stamps and postcards are flat things.  Wrong - the answer is 650 en (yen) because the question asks how much is all of it.  Zenbu de is my new favorite Japanese phrase - all of it.  There was another question about how many hours someone studied Chinese in three months and had to do with -kai (frequency).  I still haven’t figured that one out.

Two of my classmates had been traveling and came back last week, with omiyage.  Jamie brought these deep fried maple leaves.  Sounds strange, I know, but they were very good!  Oishii kata desu!

Sonaka went back to Thailand, where she is from, plus we think she went on a cruise, but we aren’t really sure.  Jamie and I can talk to each other in English, but Sonaka’s English is minimal and the two of us don’t speak Thai at all.  Our common language is Japanese, which is why we don’t always understand each other! This is what she brought us back.

One of the Japanese teachers wore both of her beaded necklaces to class.  Very nice! I'm so pleased that they liked the projects and have finished them.

1 comment:

  1. Japanese numbers are real stumbling blocks! There is also the aspect of politeness. If you go to a restaurant and say you want a table for two, you use 'futari'. The waiter, however, must use the more polite 'ni mei sama' if he asks: A table for two?