"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning." -Maya Angelou

Karaoke boxes are hugely popular in Japan.
Especially when they have all-you-can-eat ice cream.
{...Okay, that's what draws me inside.}
If you ever find yourself in Japan,
grab some pals and pyon! over to a karaoke box.
Trust me, you'll find one easily.
They're as common as Starbucks in NYC.
Or as churches in Utah.
Or as ice cream wrappers in my garbage bin.

What's going on in this recording?
A double date, that's what.
Ranma took Kairi, Riku called Cho,
and they all went karaoke-ing together.

Who are these characters, anyways?
Riku and Kairi hail from Kingdom Hearts,
a beautiful Square Enix video game.
We stole Ranma from Ranma 1/2,
a 1980s comic that will leave you in stitches.
And Cho comes from my brain. She's all mine, baby.

Why is Ranma singing a girly song?
A running gag in the Ranma 1/2 comic is,
despite Ranma's ability to turn into a woman
{he fell in a cursed Chinese hot spring, go figure}
he is completely heterosexual, 100% male.
And he wouldn't ever touch a Disney song. Or sing it so passionately.
But the lyrics fit him perfectly,
since he's both male and female,
constantly struggling to only be male,
and to be the manliest male in the history of manliness.
Chuck Norris, here comes Ran-chan.

Boys and girls speak differently...
...in Japanese as well. Jumping jellyfish, do they really?
To illustrate a character more fully,
you must fuse their speech style with their word choice.
And you must evaluate the scene.
Since these four are all close friends and lovers
they speak casually to one another.
The only character who retains any politeness
is Kairi
though she slips into colloquial speech near the end,
from shock and humiliation at Ranma's performance.
*hee hee*

Are you at home?
In a cafe?
On your Blackberry?
Listen to the people around you.
You can probably guess a lot about them
their mood, their relationship to the person they're speaking to, their deception/sincerity
just by listening to what they say, and how they say it.

{Image via WeHeartIt}
{"Come Back to Me" © Utada Hikaru}
{"Reflection" © Matthew Wilder & David Zippel}
{"Jajauma ni Sasenaide" © Ranma 1/2}
{Riku & Kairi © Tetsuya Nomura}
{Ranma © Rumiko Takahashi}
{Cho © Ashley S. Harmon}

"Don't you wonder what clouds taste like?"

Japan has a thousand ways
to celebrate life.

One of them comes every autumn:
Sports Festival.

We breathed pure energy that day
not air.
From relays to tug-of-wars to war reenactments
our spirits were high
and we only wanted more.

A hearty bento lunch
for a hearty runner.
{'Cause I ran so hard in the teacher's relay... Of course I'm serious...}

After lunch
all the school teams
{basketball, kendo, volleyball, and so forth}
paraded around the field
before the action began
once again.

The war reenactment
was my favorite event.
Possibly because it was just so...


Put some ice on it, soldier
and remount your horse!

Before the final relay
the 9th grade boys
stacked themselves into pyramids
for our enjoyment.

America needs a Sports Festival, I'm convinced.
You know what?
I'll do them with my children.
{Taking notes, future husband?}
They're so much more fun
than regular ol' P.E. classes.

{Music via GReeeeN}

Twenty-four months ago,
the phone was pushed against my ear,
and my mama listened to me
garble, choke, sputter, garble, choke, sputter
all the words I didn't say to him.

Time passed, and I stretched my arms.
I learned to open my heart to people and life,
and when it was too much,
I'd bury my face in my little dog's fur
up in the mountains
and the sun would rise again
so I could wake up.

With the end of two beautiful years,
America is calling my best friend home.
I always thought I'd be there
to see him.

But life rarely uses your calendar.
And I am
so very curious to see
where this road takes us,
if his path
finds mine again.

I get to discover you
all over again,
best friend.

{Images via We Heart It}

And everything in between
right now.

{Image via LLSS}
{Music via Plumb}

My father taught me
one of the fun-nest ways to get into the mindset
of the natives of a foreign language
is to learn their idioms.

Here's a little game for you:
Can you guess the meaning of these Japanese idioms
or their American equivalents, if they have any?

neko-jita 猫舌
"cat tongue"
"cat tongue" means you have a sensitive tongue
i.e. you can't eat spicy foods
Makes sense, right? Kitties can't eat spicies.
Yes, that's a word.

ken en no naka 犬猿の仲
"between a dog and a monkey"
This means fighting like cats and dogs.
America doesn't really have a monkey population,
but apparently they don't get along too well with puppies. Shame.

naki-mushi 泣き虫
"cry bug"
The answer is crybaby.
Poor wittle buggy.

hon no mushi 本の虫
"book bug"
Yeah, that one wasn't too hard.

tsuki no usagi 月のうさぎ
"moon rabbits"
Instead of the man in the moon,
rabbits live up there,
making mochi from its dusts,
rather than cheese.

Do you have any favorite idioms
in English or another language?

{cat tongue via Rosie}
{dog-monkey via Techinsight}
{crybaby via EpiCute}
{moon rabbits via Ronin}