Monday, May 31, 2010

Bowing is a sign of being humble

I was watching video of Japanese conversation when I realised that the Japanese like to bow when they say 'Hajimemashite' (How do you do?) instead of shaking hands as Europeans do.

I also learnt that bowing was practised long ago in China. Actually bowing is a sign of being humble. It takes away your pride and the state of being superior to others.

As leaders who begin a talk or briefing to their followers by bowing to them, they will have leave a good impression on them and bring them closer together. If superior bows to workers the first time he meets them, they will be too willing to work harder for the company.

Let us bow if there is an occasion to do so.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How to reply to 'arigato gozaimasu'

When some one says 'ありがとうございます ARIGATŌ - GOZAIMASU' to you in Japanese, what should you say in return. Arigato gozaimasu means 'Thank you.'

Well, you just say 'いえ いたしまして。Iie, ITASHIMASHITE'. [You are welcome.]

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How to use 'beside' and 'besides' correctly

My students often gets confused when it comes to using these two words. They are 'beside' and 'besides'.

The word 'beside' is a preposition and it means 'near'.
Let us look at two examples to see how it is used in sentences.
1 I sat beside John when I was watching the football match.
2 There is dustbin beside me.

As for 'besides', it is a preposition and adverb. When it is used as a preposition, it means 'in addition to' but when it acts as an adverb, it carries the meaning of 'in addition'.

You can make a sentence such as the one below to use it as a preposition.
Besides singing, the renowned singer composes her own songs.

To use 'besides' as an adverb, perhaps you can construct a sentence as follows.
Besides, I don't have the transport to go there at the moment.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thoughts on Wesak Day

Today is Wesak Day, a day to celebrate the birthday of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. On this day, let us ponder over what he tells us as an enlightened being.

According to the Budhha all suffering in this world can be traced to three things we cling to. They are greed, hatred and delusion.

We are not satisfied with what we have and strive to get more things or wealth. This is greed. When we fail to get what we want, we feel disappointed, sad and depressed. This lead to suffering.

Hatred is another feeling that we harbour towards others. When some one says something unpleasant to our ears, we tend to hate him. We shun seeing him and refuse to co-operate with him. Worse still, we will retaliate and try to cause harm to him. Such feeling that is with us makes us suffer.

As for delusion, it is about understanding the true nature of things. Human beings are often unaware of the impermanence of things around us. We cling to our loved ones, dreaming to be with him or her forever. This is impossible as we are mortal and one day we have to die due to old age or disease.

To counteract greed, we should practice dana. We should donate things to the needy. Helping others to overcome fear is a form of dana too. Willing to part with what we have is a good practice for getting rid of greed or avarice.

Practising loving kindness helps us keep hatred at a distance. We shoud try to love everyone as if he is our mother, father, sister, brother, husband or wife. With this mindset, no hatred will arise in our heart. For example, when someone says very bad things about you, you must treat the experience as getting back what you have given him in your past lives. In other words, you deserve to receive this treatment.

Getting rid of delusion needs a scientific mind. Science tells us that all things are made up of atoms which are in constant movement. In solids, they move very slowly. The move faster in liquids and they have the greatest speed of movent in a gas. It shows us that all things change every now and then. Water can become steam and steam can condense to become water. Ice is formed from water when it is subject to very low temperatures. Hence we should not attach to things owned. They will get spoilt one day. So are our loved ones. They may leave us one of these days. If we practise detachment, we will be able to overcome delusion.

Happy Wesak Day to all Buddhists worldwide.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

About 'berhubung' and 'berhubungan'

In today's post, I shall talk about two words which pose problems to users of the Malay language. These are 'berhubung' and 'berhubungan'. The latter is often used as if it is the former. However, the meanings are different.

The intransitive verb 'berhubung' means to communicate or to contact someone. Look at he following sentences to see what I mean.
1 Saya berhubung dengan kawanku yang belajar di England melalui e-mel.
[I communicate with my friend who is studying in England through email.]

2 Dia berhubung dengan balai bomba apabila nampak kebakaran berlaku.
[He contact the fire brigade when he saw that there was a fire.]

When the preposition 'dengan' is used after 'berhubung', both words mean 'concerning'. For example, you can write a sentence such as the one below:
Berhubung dengan perkara ini, saya sudah berbincanga dengan Ali tentangnya.
[Concerning this matter, I have talked with Ali about it.]

As for 'berhubungan', it means 'saling berhubung' or 'communicate mutally' in English. Note that you must start with 'Mereka' (They), 'Kami' (We) or a subject such as 'Ali dan Muthu' (Ali and Muthu) when you construct your sentence. Let us make some sentences using this word.
1 Mereka masih berhubungan walaupun tinggal berjauhan.
[They still communicate with each other although they live far apart.]

2 Kami berhubungan melaluli telefon atau e-mel kerana tinggal di negeri yang berlainan.
[We communicate with each other through telephone or email because we live in different states.]

3 Ali dan Albert berhubungan melalui surat kerana tinggal di negara yang berlainan.
[Ali and Albert communicate with each other through mail because they live in different countries.]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let us keep the key of happiness ourselves

In real life situation, we often feel angry because someone has done something to make us angry or he has disappointed us.

We feel angry because of the act of someone. If we have such a feeling, we are letting him keep the key of happiness. On the other hand, we should keep the key of happiness ourselves. We should think this way. His act has made us realise that we should not have done the same so that others will not get angry.

Being angry is detrimental to our health. When we get angry for three minutes, the energy extended will only be replenished after three days. Hence it is not worth it. Count up to 20 when we are about to get angry. Don't let anger control you because it will be like letting the one who makes you angry hold your key of happiness. Your feeling is controlled by his words or act. However, if you have total control over your feeling and have the mental set as mentioned earlier, you have actually keeping the key of happiness to yourself.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Water can 'see', 'hear' and 'react'

Water can see and hear as well as react. There is a Japanese researcher who did experiment on water to see its reaction when being abused and praised.

First he filled five bottles with water and have the words 'I love you' in five languages on the walls of the bottles. He allowed the water to 'see' the words for two hours. After that, he subjected the bottles of water to temperatures below five degrees Celcius. The he looked at the crystals of ice. He was able to see beautiful crystals formed.

He repeated the experiment with the same water which was defrozened. The words on the bottles were changed to 'I hate you.' The Japanese researcher was surprised to see ugly crystals.

When he did the experiment again with music. He obtained the same results. When air is exposed to beautiful music, beautiful crystals were formed. When rap and heavy metal music were bombarding the water, it showe ulgy crystals.

The moral of the experiment is we should say good words to our body which consists of 70% water. Abstain from anger so that good water condition exists and not otherwise. When water is our body exists in very good condition, we will be healthy. In Zhineng Qigong, we always say, 'My heart is good, my liver is good, my lungs are good, my eyes are good and so on'. Through suggestions such as these, we will be able to generate good karmic force in the water inside ourselves.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The difference between 'damage' and 'damages'

Many pupils often write, 'Floods cause a lot of damages to crops.' They think that damages means ' a lot of destruction'. This is wrong usage. Actually, there is a difference between 'damage' and 'damages'. The former means 'destruction' while the latter carries the meaning of 'compensation'.

Let us look at the following sentences to see the difference in meanings.

1 Damage had been done when broke my prized vase. [destruction]
2 He paid damages to me for breaking my prized vase. [compensation]

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Serving others really pay off

I have the chance to listen to a different type of talk on motivation and I want to share with readers what I have gained from the talk. The talk was given by a person who has studied Confucianism and Buddhism and practises them in company.

According to the corporate figure, to change the mindset of the workers, the employer himself has to change. Hence he practises the teaching of Confucius and the Buddha in his capacity as the leader of his company. He shows respects to the workers by bowing to them every morning and thanks them for their work. The rules of the company was discarded and replaced with 'Di Zi Gui' (The rules of disciples) which teaches how one should behave in the capacity of a son, father, leader, subject and so on. It stresses filial piety. All workers who have read 'Di Zi Gui' have marvellously become very good workers, dedicated and hardworking.

He also practises dana and gives lots of money to the needy. The karmic effect is great and his company's performance becomes better and better. The attitude of serving others more than oneself really pays off.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Words ending in suffix 'kan' and take humans as objects

Today I am discussing a group of Malay words which are followed by nouns and needs no suffix 'kan' unless they are followed by 'orang' (humans). A few examples will be given here and the rest are up to your discretion based whether they are meaningful if 'orang' are behind them.

1 a) Pengerusi kelab itu merancang aktiviti tahunan kelabnya. [The verb 'merancang' (to plan) is followed by the noun 'aktiviti' (activities)]
[The Chairman of the club plans his club's annual activities.]
b) Saya merancangkan adik jadual waktu belajar. [The verb 'merancangkan' (to plan for) here is followed by the 'adik' (my brother, a human)]
[I planned for my younger brother the time-table for his studies.]

2 a) Pekerja itu menghantar barang yang dibeli oleh pelanggan itu ke rumahnya. [The verb 'menghantar' (to send) is followed by the noun 'barang' (thing)]
b) Lina menghantarkan ibunya pakaian itu ke kedai dobi untuk dicuci. [ The verb 'menghantarkan' (to send for or take for ) is followed by 'ibunya' (her mother, a human)]
[Lina took the laundry for her mother to the dhoby's shop for washing.]

3 a) Johari membeli akhbar di kedai itu. [The verb 'membeli' (to buy) is followed by the noun 'akhbar' (newspaper)]
[Johari bought a newspaper at the shop.]
b) Saya membelikan adik sebuah buku cerita. [The verb 'membelikan' (to buy for) is followed by 'adik' (younger brother, a human)]
[I bought for my younger brother a story book.]

Friday, May 21, 2010

The differences between 'sore', 'kore' and 'are' in Japanese.

When we refer to a thing near us, we use これ kore. For example, we write これ は きって です。(Kore wa kitte desu which means Here is a stamp.) when we holding a stamp in front of us.

If there is a cat not far from us, we can say それ は ねこ です。(Sore wa neko desu which means 'That is a cat.').

However, if the cat is up in the tree, then we say あれ は ねこ です. (Are wa neko desu which means 'That is a cat.".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to increase the density of calcium in the bones

I read an interesting fact about how to increase the density of calcium in bones to prevent osteoporosis through email which I received.

Exercising helps to increase the density of calcium in our bones. This is because when we exercise the pull on the muscles force the bones to produce more calcium. In this way, we need not take extra calcium from milk fortified with calcium.

I really hope it works.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An aid to typing Japanese words

If you want to key in Japanese yet you are unable to do so without software such as NJStar, there is a way you can go about it. Just go to the following link and and a rectangle will appear for you to key in Japanese.

When you are in Ajax IME, you can use romaji to key in Hiragana. For example, if you want to type the Japanese word ねこ which is 'cat', just key in 'neko' and ねこ will appear in the rectangle.

Happy keying in Japanese words with Ajax IME.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Which is correct: 'perlantikan' or 'pelantikan'?

Between 'perlantikan' and 'pelantikan', which is correct?

To ascertain it, try to see whether you can write 'berlantik' or 'melantik'. If you can write both, then both are correct. Suppose you can write 'berlantik', then 'perlantikan' is correct. On the other hand, if you can write 'melantik', then 'pelantikan' is correct.

From the explanation give above, obviously, 'pelantikan' (the act of appointing someone to a post) is correct. You can construct a sentence such as the one below:

Pelantikan ketua kelas dilakukan oleh ketua tingkatan sendiri.
[The appointment of the class monitor was done by the form teacher.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

How to say 'how do you do' in Japanese

When you meet a person for the first time, you can say はじめまして or in romaji 'Hajimemashite'which means 'How do you do?'

Then you can say どぞ よろしく or 'Dozo yoroshiku' in romaji. It actually means 'Please be nice to me' and is the equivalent of 'Pleased to meet you' in English.

For example, after being introduced to Mr Tanaka, you can say
たなかさんで はじめまして どぞ よろしく (Tanaka-san, Hajimemashite, dozo yoroshiku.)
Mr Tanaka, how do you do? Pleased to meet you.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It is Teacher's Day today

Today is Teacher's Day in Malaysia. It is celebrated to show appreciation to teachers for their dedication in their profession.

As a retired teacher I still can remember vividly how my students took paisn to prepare food for us and entertain on stage with various types of performance such as singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and doing sketches.

I really miss tasting the food prepared by Koh Hong Choon whose father owns a restaurant. He would be bringing very delicious food for the teachers of St Theresa Secondary School where I served in from 1979 to December 1989.

As for stage performance I enjoyed watching the dances, sketches and singing of my students in Sek Men Jerantut Pahang where I taught from 1974 to 1978. Sometimes teachers went on stage to add merriness to Teacher's Day celebration.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Some thoughts about learning a new language

I have been thinking how long will it take for me to master Japanese. Come to think of it, I really admire those who can speak Japanese well. For a start, I am determined to commit to memory the 2 basic sets of the Japanese sounds, namely hiragana and katakana. As for kanji, I have no problem with the words as I have learnt Chinese before and can recognise the words. Alas, the Japanese pronounce them differently. For example 'yi' or one is pronounced as 'ichi' and 'ben' or book is utterd as 'hon'

With determination, all of us can learn a language. Constant practice should do the job. Right now, I have a lot of audio and written material which I have donwloaded from the Internet for my use. I hope to benefit from all these and make learning Japanese fun and effective.

Friday, May 14, 2010

An aid to learning the Japanese vowels

As I searched through the Internet looking for materials from which to learn Japanese, I stumbled upon a freeware called Gojuon.Gadget. This cute litter software will sit on the right-hand upper side of your screen. A small rectangular that contains all the Japanese vowels. You just click on any vowel and you can listen to its pronunciation instantly. As for other program, it has to go through Winmap or Media player to produce the sound. In this respect it is very handy.

If you are interested to get this little aid for Japanese, you can go to the following site to get it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's it?

In Japanese, if you want to ask what something is, you say ‘Sore wa nan desu ka?’ [それ は なんです か?]

The answer will be ‘Kore wa [name of thing] desu.’ [これ は _____ です。]

When you use ‘sore’ you are pointing to something away from you. When it is in front of you, you use ‘kore’

Let use make some sentences using ‘sore wa’.

1 これ は えんぴつ です。 [Kore wa enpitsu. (It’s a pencil.)]

2 これ は かさ です。[Kore wa kasa. (It’s an umbrella.)] 

3 これ は しんぶんです。[Kore wa shibun. (It’s a newspaper.)]

4 これ は めがね です。[Kore wa megane. (It’s a pair of spectacles.)]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Katakana is used for writing foreign words

Besides hiragana, the Japanese also uses katakana in writing for foreign words and Western names. In today day's post I will list out the 46 vowels which bear the parallel of hiragana which I listed in my earlier posts. Here they are:

ア イ ウ エ オ [a i u e o]
カ キ ク ケ コ [ka ki ku ke ko]
サ シ ス セ ソ [sa shi su se so]
タ チ ツ テ ト [ta chi tse te to]
ナ ニ ヌ ネ ノ [na ni nu ne no]
ハ ヒ フ ヘ ホ [ha hi fu he ho]
ヤ ユ ヨ [ya yu yo]
マ ミ ム メ モ [ma mi mu me mo]
ラ リ ル レ ロ [ra ri ru re ro]
ワ ヲ ン [wa wo n]

For example, hotel and Alan are written as ホテル[hoteru] and アレン[A re n] respectively.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The difference between 'berjaja' and 'menjajakan'

Some users of the Malay language often use 'menjaja' in sentences such as
'Lelaki itu menjaja kuih muih di luar pasar itu.'.

There is no such word in the Malay language but 'menjajakan' exists. Hence the sentence should have been written as

'Lelaki itu menjajakan kuih-muih di luar pasar itu.' (The man is selling various types of 'kuih' (Malay cakes) by calling out their names outside the market.)

The is another word which means 'hawking' too. It is 'berjaja' and you can use it without an object as it is an intransitive as opposed to 'menjajakan' which is transitive in nature.

A sentence containing 'berjaja' can be as follows:
Hashim berjaja untuk menyara keluarganya. [Hashim sells things by shouting out their names as a means to support his family.]

Hence, the difference between 'berjaja' and 'menjajakan' is the former is a intransitive verb whereas the latter is a transitive one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The smell and me

I do not whether you have the same experience as mine when it comes to recalling events when certain smell invades your nostrils.

Usually, the smell of food used in connection with certain function such as weddings, xin nian (Chinese New Year) will invariably land me in fantasy land where I visualise myself participating in the events when I was still a young boy. I can't explain this happens.

Besides smell, music that I hear especially old songs often brings me retrospectively to days in the past. I really like to immerse myself in the events mentally for a moment. It is said that our brain can register millions of things that we see, hear, touch, taste or smell. That may explain the experience I will be undergo whenever certain smell or music make their presence felt.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The world is what you perceive

Nowadays, we tend to think that it is unsafe wherever you go because you may get robbed of your possession or you may be murdered. The world seems to be heading towards doomsday.

If all of us perceive goodness in everybody around us, the effect is marvellous. Everyone then will aspire to be a good being. Helping each other and doing service to others will be the norm of the day.

As good begets good is a karmic reaction, the world as what we perceive can be a reality.

Let us hope that with each passing day, the world will be a better place to live in.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How to form questions in Japanese

If you want to ask a question, you just add か ('ka') at the end of a statement.
For example, your statement is 'きって です。' which means 'It is a stamp.', you can add 'ka' at the end of this statement to form a question. Hence, 'Is it a stamp?' can be rendered 'きって です か 。'

If you say, 'Yes it is.', then the Japanese equivalent is 'はい きって です。’ (Hai, kitte desu.)

On the other hand if your answer is in the negative, then you would say 'いいえ,きって ではありません.'Iie, kitte dewa arimasen' which means 'No, It is not a stamp.'

Friday, May 7, 2010

It is a cat

Let us learn some Japanese grammar or structures in this post.
To say ‘It is …’, ‘Those are..’ or ‘I am…’, we use ‘____________ desu’. (‘desu’ is pronounced as ‘dess’ because the ‘u’ is silent. Vocabulary for today consists of ‘neko’ for cat, ‘inu’ for dog, ‘hon’ for book, ‘enpitsu’ for pencil.

Let at the following examples:
1 ねこです (neko desu)
[It is a cat]

2 いぬです(inu desu)
[‘It is a dog.’ or ‘Those are dogs.’]

3えんぴつです(Enpitsu desu.)
[It is a pencil.]

4 ほんです(Hon desu.)]
[It is a book.]
5 たなか です。(Tanaka desu.)
[I am Tanaka.’

For negative statements, you can use ‘ではありません’ ‘dewa arimasen’ in place of ‘desu’. The above five sentences can be turned into negative throught this method.
1 ねこではありません (neko dewa arimasen)
[It is not a cat]

2 いぬではありません(inu dewa arimasen)
[‘It is not a dog.’ or ‘Those are not dogs.’]

3えんぴつではありません(Enpitsu dewa arimasen.)
[It is not a pencil.]

4 ほんではありません[Hon dewa arimasen.]
[It is not a book.]

5 たなかではありません。(Tanaka dewa arimasen.)
[I am not Tanaka.]

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It is interesting to study the origin of kanji

The study of the origin of Chinesed words in Japanese is really interesting. The Chinese words in Japanese is known as kanji.They are not pronounced as Chinese words should be but differently. For example, the Chinese 'ben3' is pronounced as 'hon' in Japanese.

The Chinese word 'ri' is formed by adding a dot in the middle of a circle which represents the sun. Later the dot is replaced with a horizontal bar and the circle becomes a rectangle. In Kanji, 'ri' is pronounced as 'ni'. Hence Japan (ri ben)nin in Kanji is 'Nihon' or 'Nippon'.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Way to block out portion not to be printed

Sometimes we don't want certain part of our document to be printed. I have thought of a way to block this part in part and would like to share my knowledge with readers.

It is very simple. All you need to do is to place a textbox over the part you do not want to appear in print. Right click the text box and go click format textbox. Go to colour and choose white. You can see the part block visually even before it is printed. Print this documetn and you will have the part unwanted blocked in print.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Some Japanese greeting phrases

For today’s Japanese lessons, we will learn some greeting or あいさつ。

1 a) Hiragana: おはよう ございます。


c) English: Good Morning

2 a) Hiragana: こんにちは

b) Romanji: KONNICHIWA

c) English: Good Afternoon

3 a) Hiragana: こんばんは

b) Romanji: KONBANWA

c) English: Good Evening

4 a) Hiragana: おやすみなさい


c) English: Good Night

5 a) Hiragana: お元気ですか。

b) Romanji: OGENKI DESU KA

c) English: How are you?

6 a) Hiragana: げんきです。

b) Romanji: GENKI DESU

c) English: I am fine.

7 a) Hiragana: はじめまして。


c) English: Nice to meet you.

8 a) Hiragana: ありがとうございます。


c) English: Thank you.

9 a) Hiragana: どういたしまして。


c) English: You are welcome

10 a) Hiragana: いらっしゃいませ。


c) English: Welcome

11 a) Hiragana: すみません。

b) Romanji: SUMIMASEN

c) English: Excuse me.

12 a) Hiragana: さようなら。

b) Romanji: SAYONARA

c) English: Goodbye.

You need to practice all the above phrases every day so that you can memorise them.

Happy learning Japanese!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Keying in Japanese through my pocket PC

After some searching through the Internet, I was able to download a free version of Japanese input software and installed in my pocket PC. With this software, I am now able to key in Japanese using free hand.

The Internet really helps me to learn Japanese. There are sites where you can listen to how the Japanese vowels are pronounced and how the Japanese are written according to the correct strokes. Right now, I am satisfied with my mastery of the fifty sounds. I shall go on to Katakana later when I am sure that I can recognise all the fifty vowels. I shall share what I have learnt with readers of this blog.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Subject and object markers in Japanese

The particle 'wa' ( は) is used as a subject marker in Japanese. If we want to place 'I' as the subject of a sentence, you will write 'watashi wa' (わたし は). By the way, Japanese grammar is of SOV (subject-object verb) as opposed to SVO (subject-verb objec) in English. As for the object, its marker is 'o' [を]. You should place を after the word which is your object to indicate so.

Let us construct a sentence of the structure Subject Object Verb according to Grammar in Japanese.

Romanji: Watashi wa mizu o nomimasu.
Hiragana: わたし は みず を のみます。
English: I water drink which is 'I drink water.'

The following sentence is another example of this pattern.
Romanji: Tanaka wa neko o mimashita.
Hiragana: たなか は ねこ を みました。
English: Tanaka saw a cat. (Literally, "Tanaka[subject] cat[object] saw.")

So much for today's post on learning Japanese.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How I benefitted from Dewan Eja Pro

I have no regret buying Dewan Eja Pro from The Name Technology as it really helps me in my job as a Malay tutor. The Dewan Eja alone helps me check the spelling of my documents. What I like most are the accessories that come with this software. They are Kamus Dewan Edisi Ke-4 whose search bar enables to look for the meaning of any word any time when I am typing my Malay exercises. The Kamus -Inggeris and Kamus Bahasa Melayu-Inggeris let me know the equivalent of both languages. There is even one Kamus Bahasa Melayu-Cina for me to know the meaning of a Malay word in Chinese too. Of course I also bought Kamus Peribahasa and it helps me know the meaning of simpulan bahasa (idioms) and peribahasa (proverbs) in Malay.

The only snag is that you have to type the word to search for it. My Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries in my Pocket PC are more flexible. When you type the word you want to find, it will appear before you have completed the spelling of the word. Besides you can click on any word in the explantion to know its meaning straight away. I hope The Name Technology will include this features to make Dewan Eja Pro and its accessories more popular.