This blog is one gaijin's attempt to learn Japanese through mnemonics, puns, and general linguistic absurdity.

Looking for Fractalsmith Games? Sorry, but Ed Siewert, the creative force behind Fractalsmith, has decided to focus his efforts on making cheesy Japanese puns instead of cheesy computer games.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Window

Zさん:"... so like I was telling you, when she..."
Zさん:"Yes, you should be punished for leaving your window open."
Aさん:「... and you should be punished for that bad pun.」

Friday, December 16, 2016

Confusion in Numbers

Zさん:"I have a Japanese language question for you."
Aさん:「Ok, what?」
Zさん:"It is about the suffixes for counting.  It's so confusing.  ほん is used for long narrow objects, まい for flat things, ひき for small animals, だい for large equipment, かい for floors of a building, and こ for whatever else.  So hard to remember, you know.  There's nothing that arbitrarily difficult in English for groups of things."
Aさん:「Seriously? A gaggle of geese, a pride of lions, a clowder of cats, a school of fish, a den of snakes, a tower of giraffes, a murder of crows...」
Zさん:"... and, um, a plethora of apologies..."    

Friday, December 9, 2016


Zさん:"Traveling somewhere?"
Aさん:「Yes, actually.  I am going to South Florida and spending some time in the Florida Keys.」
Zさん:"Are you going to get some Key Lime Pie?  Not a big fan myself.  I like to say 'You can't spell Key Lime Pie without きらい。"
Aさん:「Ha! ... although I actually love Key Lime Pie and plan on enjoying some.」
Zさん:"Fair enough."

Friday, December 2, 2016


Zさん:"'Ow, ow, ow'? Are you ok? Are you in pain? Do you want to go to a doctor? Or the hospital?"
Bさん:「What? No! The traffic light we're stopped at is 青い, as in 'Green light, go'.」
Zさん:"I thought 青い meant blue."
Bさん:「Just drive...」

Friday, November 11, 2016


Bさん:「What a lovely dinner!  Thank you for cooking for me.」
Zさん:"Well... you know... I'm not really a very good cook..."
Bさん:「Oh, you!」
Zさん:"... お湯さえ沸かせない。"
Bさん:「... what an endearing combination of false modesty and bad puns...」

Friday, November 4, 2016

Binge Watching

Zさん:"Whatcha doin'?"
Aさん:「Binge watching Hitchcock movies.  Currently watching 'Psycho'.」
Zさん:"That's a classic! それだいすき!'Psycho'は最高!"
Aさん:「... a valid if pointless tautology.」

Friday, October 28, 2016


Zさん:"I'm confused."
Aさん:「About what?」
Zさん:"So... the Japanese word for 'wine glass' is ワインラス, right?  But the Japanese word for 'glass window pane' is 窓ラス. What gives?"
Aさん:「Well... just think of it this way: wine is ッド。」
Zさん:"Huh... ok... I'll drink to that."

Friday, October 21, 2016


Zさん:"Hey man, good to see you."
ロナルド:"Same here.  So... where are we meeting the girls anyway?"
ロナルド:"Yeah, I am hoping to kiss-a-10 today."
Zさん:"Alright, alright, settle down."

Friday, October 14, 2016


Zさん:"Hi, what's your name?"
女:"Sue Becky."
Zさん:"Um... ok... if you think you should tell me your name."

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Zさん:"What does the Japanese word あきらか mean?"
Aさん:「Isn't it obvious?」
Zさん:"... no it's not, that's why I'm asking."
Aさん:「...yes is it, I'm trying to tell you.」
Zさん:"Forget it."
Aさん:「... you'd have to learn it first.」

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sleeping Similes

Zさん:"...? You slept like you were dead? That seems a bit morbid."
Bさん:「Hmm. I never thought about it before, but that Japanese phrase could be considered a bit morbid. But it is more accurate that the English phrase 'slept like a baby'.  Babies wake up 5 or 6 times a night crying and screaming.」
Zさん:"... true... true... but at the end of the day I think I'd rather be a baby than dead."
Bさん:「"Death has a dignity all its own."」
Zさん:"Well, I guess we, with our respective similes, can agree to disagree."
Bさん:「... and neither babies nor the dead can do either.」

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Present

Aさん:「Wow, look at all the presents you received. That's quite a haul.」
Zさん:"I agree.  This one present has me confounded, though, I am wondering what it could be.  The box is a wide flat circle."
Zさん:"... Come with me if you want to live..."

Friday, September 16, 2016


Zさん:"Hi, I'm Mr. Z."
April: "Mr. Z? That's an interesting name.  Nice to meet you, my name is April."
Zさん:"Hi April.  You know, if you translated your name into Japanese, you would be known as 四月."
April: "...She...guts...zoo...?"
Zさん:"Yes, that is the literal translation of 'Month #4'.  The names of the months in Japanese are of the form 'Month N' where N is a number between 1 and 12, inclusive.  It is actually a rather practical and logical system..."
April: "Um... I gotta go... away..."
Zさん:"... Wait, I didn't get a chance to explain how the Japanese words for the number 4 and death are homophones..."

Friday, September 9, 2016


Aさん:「Have you heard? Yさん is underwater on his home mortgage and has crippling credit card debt.」
Zさん:"借金? Shocking!"
Aさん:「In this very serious situation, I find your wordplay levity actually quite refreshing.」

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mighty Mouse

Zさん:"Remember that old American anime, Mighty Mouse?"
Aさん:「Yeah, I do!」
Zさん:"... and the theme song? 'Here I come to save the day!  That means that Mighty Mouse ... 参ります...'. "
Aさん:「。。。Ha! I see what you did there.  Clever mnemonic device, although it is not exactly grammatically correct, and unlike the original lyrics, it does not rhyme.  'A' for effort though.」
Aさん:「... you...are...welcome...?」

Friday, August 26, 2016

Island Getaway

Zさん:"Going somewhere on vacation?"
Aさん:「Yes, I am going to 九州。I hear they have a wide variety of beautiful species of sponges in the waters just off shore, that I would like to see.」
Zさん:"Is that why they call it 吸収? ... because of the sponges...?"

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Detective

Zさん:"You know detective Ken George?"
Aさん:「Sure, what about him?」
Zさん:"I heard that at the police station he has a large cage with a bulletin board inside it. On the bulletin board is a single post that simply has his initials on it.  Know what that means?"
Aさん:「。。。that would be 刑事のケージの掲示のKG。」

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Pitcher

Zさん:"You're a baseball fan, right?"
Aさん:「I am.」
Zさん:"Ever notice that after a pitcher throws the ball, as part of the follow-through, his leg swings forward, and the toe of his shoe slams into the pitcher's mound?"
Aさん:「I suppose.」
Zさん:"Is that why the Japanese word for pitcher is 投手?"
Aさん:「That's a bit of a stretch.」
Zさん:"Seventh inning?"

Friday, August 5, 2016

In the mail

Zさん:"Anything good in the mail?"
Zさん:"You mean that game show where contestants win money by saying as many words as possible that contain the letter 'Q'?"
Bさん:「。。。Say Q Show?。。。ばーか!」

Friday, July 29, 2016


Zさん:"Hey Ken! Hi Kay! ひさしぶり! How have you guys been?"
Ken:"Actually we started a musical duo! I play guitar, Kay plays piano, and we both sing."
Kay:"That's right.  We call ourselves the 'Kay-Ken Experience'."
Zさん:"So... けいけん...けいけん?"

Friday, July 22, 2016


Aさん:「Hey, Zさん, I just received a document containing the second quarter financial statement. You know Louie Tanaka in accounting, right? Do me a favor and show Louie the document.」
Zさん:"Sho lui is the document."
Zさん:"Well it is."

Friday, July 15, 2016


Zさん:"Have you heard? Our friend Kisha-chan got a job at a newspaper.  Kisha is literally a reporter!"
Aさん:「Of course kisha is literally a reporter.」
Aさん:「What? 」

Friday, July 8, 2016


Aさん:「What are you cooking?」
Zさん:"Well, first I created a soup of pickles, sauerkraut, and うめぼし.  Then I poured that soup into a pie shell and baked it.  I call the whole thing Soup Pie."
Aさん:「...Yes... yes it is.」

Friday, July 1, 2016


Zさん:"ね、ね、Why don't Japanese people worry about their machines breaking down?"
Aさん:「I don't know, why?」
Zさん:"Because maintenance is いじ!"

Friday, June 24, 2016


Zさん:"Where did you park your car?"
Aさん:「Just around the corner here... Oh no! I got a parking ticket!  Man, I hate that, it's just the worst!」
Zさん:"Well, you know what they say. You can't spell citation without さいてい."

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Common Cold

Aさん:「Zさん, did you catch a cold?  You don't look so well.」

Friday, June 10, 2016

Gaijin Palindrome Senryu

Now it is time for another edition of the Gaijin Palindrome Senryu.


This has been another edition of the Gaijin Palindrome Senryu.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Buy the Numbers II

Aさん:「You know, just like you, I need to replace the faded address numbers on my mailbox, and my address is 800. Do you where can I buy that?」
Zさん:"... um ... 八百屋?"

Friday, May 27, 2016

Buy the Numbers

Aさん:「What are you doing, neighbor?」
Zさん:"Well, the address numbers on my mailbox are fading, so I am putting on new ones. I have a '3' and a '5', but I am going to have to buy a '7'."
Aさん:「Where can you buy such a thing?」

Friday, May 20, 2016

In the No

Aさん:「。。。So what do you think of my idea?」
Aさん:「。。。and, No means Yes?」
Aさん:「No means Maybe?」

Zさん:"No means 'Apostrophe S'."


Friday, May 13, 2016

Iron Chef

アナウンサー:「... and here we are for the championship of the Iron Chef tournament.  Let's meet our two contestants: カッコイさん and 怒りさん。」
カッコイ:「May the best chef win.」
アナウンサー:「All that is left is to reveal the secret ingredient... and that is... Soy Sauce!」
怒り:「Ha! I'll show you 醤油 優勝!」
カッコイ:「Dude... nice!」

Friday, May 6, 2016

Star Trek Noodles

Aさん:「Hey,  Zさん, can you help me move?」

Zさん:"Oh, gee, I'd like to, but I'm busy.  You see, um, I met Brent Spiner the other day. You know, Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  And he invited me to go to an exclusive ramen restaurant, that serves the best ramen in the world, and the only reservation we could get was for today, so..."
Aさん:「Data? Ramen? でたらめをいう。。。」
Zさん:"...Ok... I'll help you move." 

Friday, April 29, 2016


Zさん:"I heard you are a Buddhist."
Aさん:「That is true, although before the year 2000, I was not Buddhist at all.」
Zさん:"So... 2000 以前  全然  禅?"
Aさん:「Makes zens to me.」

Friday, April 22, 2016


Aさん:「Ok, are you ready to go?」
Zさん:"Yup, I'm all set."
Aさん:「Oh no! It started raining and we don't have umbrellas.」
Zさん:"Hmm... not a problem.  I know how to make it stop raining.  Whenever I eat delicious candy, rain stops and the sun comes out."
Aさん:「。。。really?  Eating candy stops rain?」

... Zさん eats candy ...  five minutes pass ...

Aさん:「Wow, that actually worked!  How did you know?」
Zさん:"Simple really ...  飴Yum雨止む."

Friday, April 15, 2016


Aさん:「速く、Hop on the bus。」
Zさん:“First of all, there is only one bus, not eight of them. Secondly, buses are not long slender objects, but rather, they are large vehicles, so the correct phrase would be はちだいのバス。”
Aさん: 「。。。just get on the bus。」

A little knowledge of Japanese counters is a dangerous thing.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Time Travel

Aさん:「I have some terrible news.  The secret to time travel that we have protected so well, has been stolen.  We thought we were prepared, but it happened before we knew it.」
Aさん:「Exactly. Our arch enemy, Dr. Monica Akuma, stole the secret and immediately used a temporal bridge to jump to some other era in time.  We don't know when, maybe the Jurassic Period, maybe the Stone Age, maybe the future.」
Aさん:「Indeed.  Well, let's go find her and bring her to justice.  いくぞ!」

Friday, April 1, 2016


Zさん:"Hey,  Aさん, can, I, borrow, your, car, I, need, to, drive, somewhere"
Aさん:「um... comma wa nai.」
Zさん:"Great! I'll have it back next week." 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Aさん:「I don't understand。。。」
Zさん:"Soon a tuna will jump out of the ocean and land on the beach..."
Zさん:"...and then the tuna will become covered in sand, or 砂, making it a 砂ツナ."
Aさん:「。。。 I get it.  So, soon a tuna 砂ツナ!」
Zさん:"Soon a tuna 砂ツナ!"
Aさん:「So。。。 soon a 砂ツナ食べるな。。。」
Zさん:"Depending on the amount of 砂."

Friday, March 18, 2016


Zさん:"Aさん, you're a trivia buff, right? I have some trivia questions for you."
Aさん:「OK, shoot.」
Zさん:"If you have a bunch of old junk you don't need, you put it in... what?"
Zさん:"What do you call a large funnel-shaped twister storm?"
Zさん:"What is the capital of California?"
Aさん:「Sacrament. ... ah... I get it... very well, I have some trivia questions for you as well.  What do you call singing along to pre-recorded pop songs in a bar?」
Zさん:"Carry Okee."
Aさん:「What do you call ritualistic Japanese suicide?」
Zさん:"Harry Carry."
Aさん:「What do you call Japanese open-hand martial arts?」
Zさん:"Ka Rah Tee... ok, ok, I see your point.  Touché."
Aさん:「Hmm, you know, I bet we'd both struggle with フランス語。」 

Friday, March 11, 2016


Zさん:"Mmm... ケーキ."

Friday, March 4, 2016


Aさん:「Hey, Zさん , glad you could make it!  I'd like to introduce you to some friends of mine.  This is Jonathon Smith, Kenneth Jones, and Charles Pawn.」
Zさん:"Nice to meet you, ... Jon, Ken, ... Pawn."
Pawnさん:"Nice to meet you too, 。。。あいこでしょ。"

Friday, February 26, 2016


Aさん:「Could I talk to you about the Big Hoson?」
Zさん:"You mean the Higgs Boson particle?  Sure! Modern physics is exciting stuff!"
Aさん:「Um, the Higgs Boson is not what I meant.  I need to store a bunch of documents in my computer. ビッグほぞんする。」 
Zさん:"Oh... Ok."

Friday, February 19, 2016


Zくん:"Are you familiar with the TV show ちびまる子ちゃん?"
Aくん:「Yes, I am.」
Zくん:"And in that show, you know the classmate of まる子ちゃん named はなわくん?"
Aくん:「Sure, what about him?」
Zくん:"I don't know if it is the weird flying-wave haircut, or the vast wealth, but I think はなわくん may be a long lost son of Donald Trump."
Aくん:「You know, that makes sense... although はなわくん is an exceedingly kind, big-hearted, well-mannered young man.」
Zくん:"Hmm.  Maybe that skips a generation." 

Friday, February 12, 2016

White Day

Zさん:"Do Japanese people celebrate Valentine's Day?"
Aさん:「Sure! On Feb. 14, Japanese women give gifts of candy to Japanese men they are interested in romantically.  Then exactly one month later, on what is known as 'White Day',  Japanese men reciprocate and likewise give candy to Japanese women.」
Zさん:"Declarations of romantic intent through gifts of candy and celebrating the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, all on one day?  White Day is awesome!"

Friday, February 5, 2016


Zさん:"So you are a real, live vampire?"
Vさん:"Well technically an undead one, but yes."
Zさん:"And you are basically immortal, right?"
Vさん:"Yes. In fact, tomorrow is my 10,000th birthday."
Zさん:"... 一万歳?... 万歳!"

Friday, January 29, 2016


Aさん:「So how's single life treating you?」
Zさん:"Not bad.  I think the biggest adjustment is learning to cook for myself."
Aさん:「Like what?」
Zさん:"Well, I came up with this one dish.  It is a single serving of a kind of seasoned stew with various meats and vegetables."
Aさん:「Sounds good, what do you call it?」
Zさん:"Hitori Goulash."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Complex Complexion

Zさん:"Dude, whoa! What the hell! Are you making fun of a girl with acne? That is totally uncool!"
Aさん:「Huh? Oh! You don't understand, it's not like that. That's my friend Nicole Braxqivicz.  We call her Nicki B. for short.」
Zさん:"...oh...well... ok then."
Aさん:「Interestingly enough, she has beautiful, clean, smooth skin and appreciates the irony of her nickname.」

Friday, January 15, 2016

Warner Bros. Anime

Foghorn Leghorn: "あせ、あせ、It is hotter in here than the dog days of summer. あせ、あせ、It is hotter than a magnifying glass focusing sunlight on a June bug."

(Zさん:"You know, considering that roosters don't have sweat glands, this guy sure talks about sweat a lot.")

Friday, January 8, 2016


アナウンサー:"... and it's fourth and goal at the one yard line for the Packers, and it looks like they're bringing in fullback John Kuhn to try and punch this one in..."
アナウンサー:"... and listen to those Packer fans cheering him on..."
アナウンサー:"... either that or they can smell victory..."
アナウンサー:"...or both..."

Friday, January 1, 2016


Zさん: “So I've been wondering about Japanese calendar terms.”
Aさん: 「何?」
Zさん: “きょう means 'today', right, so one would expect きょねん to mean 'this year', but it doesn't, it means 'last year.'
Aさん: 「Well, yeah, because of the kanji。。。」
Zさん: “Furthermore, せんしゅう means 'last week', and せんげつ means 'last month', so one would expect 'last year' to be せんねん.”
Aさん: 「Are you implying that the Japanese language should be changed for the convenience of foreigners? Well, ok, how about this. きょねん can be changed to mean 'this year' and せんねん can mean last year, but in fairness, changes need to be made to English, too: the names of the months should be changed to 'MonthOne', 'MonthTwo', 'MonthThree' 。。。」
Zさん: “... um... nevermind.”