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 28, 2018

Oh, Ok

Zさん:"Sometimes romaji can be much more pragmatic than ひらがな and カタカナ。For romaji, if one pronounces the letter 'O', then one's mouth forms the shape of the letter 'O'. I have never seen anyone form their mouth in the shape of 'お', or even 'オ'."

Friday, December 21, 2018

Small Namesake

Aさん:「Hi, Zさん。I'd like you to meet my new girlfriend, Allison.」
Allison:"Nice to meet you."
Zさん:"Nice to meet you too.  So... do you have a cousin, クモちゃん?"

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pachelbel's Canon

Zさん:"Ever notice how deeply engrained "Pachelbel's Canon" is in the Japanese musical psyche?  It is heard in loudspeakers of almost all department stores and train stations.  Innumerable J-POP songs pilfered the chord progression, and layered it with lovelorn lyrics.   The funny thing is, most Japanese people realize this and don't seem to mind!  I guess if you find something that works, don't reinvent the wheel of fifths."

Friday, December 7, 2018

Petting Zoo

Zさん:“This place is bizarre! None of the animals have genders! Gender-less ponies, gender-less pigs, gender-less goats, even this chicken! 変かな!”
Zさん:“... Exactly!”

Friday, November 30, 2018

Meet Up

Zさん:"パコさん!Hola! Que pasa?"
パコさん:"Sorry, holmes, no time to chat.  I'm running to meet up with my ese."
Zさん:"You'll need to go at least 7, maybe 8 km/s to maintain orbit."

Friday, November 23, 2018


Bさん:「Look at that boa constrictor!  It's huge!  It must weigh over 300 pounds.」
Bさん:「。。。Oh you and your tautologies。」

Friday, November 16, 2018

Set Your Alarm Clock

Zさん:"Psst, Aさん, I zoned out on that.  Why are we closing the chickens?"
Aさん: 「😅。。。」

Friday, November 9, 2018


Zさん:”Would you like to hear one of my classic jokes?”
Aさん:「No, but I have a feeling you will tell me anyway.」
Zさん:"What is Quark’s mother’s favorite beverage?”
Aさん:「I don’t know.」
Aさん:「Very clever... ヒューマン。」

Friday, November 2, 2018

Strawberry Festival

Aさん:「Wow, this Strawberry Festival is really cool.」
Zさん:"I agree. Hey, it looks like the strawberry eating contest is about to start."
Zさん:"Shhh! That's my PIN number."

Friday, October 26, 2018


Aさん:「Ugh! The trash can is overflowing! Someone needs to take it out!」
Cさん:「Not me.」
Zさん:”Me neither!”
Zさん:”9 o’clock? We gotta handle this now!”

Friday, October 19, 2018


Zさん:"Here's my car, over here."
Zさん:"Yup, what do you drive?"
Zさん:"<snicker> So is your auto mechanic Mr. Unkoski?"
Aさん:「。。。Seriously? Low brow? I thought we were better than that.」
Zさん:"Apparently not"

Friday, October 12, 2018


Zさん:"This restaurant is great, I love Indian food."
Aさん:「Yeah! I do too.」
Zさん:"So... heh heh。。。これはナンですか?"

Friday, October 5, 2018

One Does Not Say That

Cさん:「おーーー。You should not say "である"」
Zさん:"So it's a dirty word, huh? Ok, but just between us, what does it mean?"
Cさん:「... um ... "be" ... 」

Friday, September 28, 2018

When and Where

Aさん:「So, which direction do we go?」
Aさん:「And when do we leave?」
Aさん:「... you're not helping.」

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Zさん:"Ok, so I understand where the Yokosuka Line goes, and I understand where the Tokaido Line goes, but where does the Yamanote Line go?”
Aさん:「Around Tokyo. Think of it as the “circle line”」
Zさん:”Heh heh...”

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Zさん:"Ok, so, let me see if I understand this. Endō is the name of the wrestler. Ikimasu is the verb ‘to go’, and, oh!, the imperative form of ikimasu is ‘ike’. Likewise the verb ganbaremasu means ‘to do one’s best’, and the imperative form of that is ‘ganbare’. So altogether, that would be, Mr. Endō, go and go and do your best!”
Aさん:「... you’re not a sports guy are you?」

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Small Animals

Aさん:「The counter for small animals is 匹。」
Zさん:”So is the counter for hickeys ‘small animal’?”
Aさん:「... what?」

Friday, August 31, 2018


Zさん:“That’s a cool hat. Where did you get it?”
Zさん:“No, I know what to do with a hat, I’m asking where you got it.”

Friday, August 24, 2018


Zさん:"I read that recently scientists performed an experiment, and they successfully used an enzyme to change type A, B, and AB blood into type O." *
Aさん:「Wow! That's incredible!」
Zさん:"Yeah, and in a related experiment they were able to turn Pisces, Tauri, and Gemini into Leos."

*Seriously! Click here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Muppets Take Tokyo

Piggy: “Oh, Kermie, that show was so much fun! And it’s still early! Maybe we could get something to eat, or I guess we could go home...”
Kermit : “... um, Piggy, well, ... 帰るよ。”
Fozzie : “... 熊よ。ワカワカ!”

Friday, August 10, 2018


Zさん:"... so, I overhear this conversation two other people are having, and out of the blue, one of them says, '... and by the way, I am LGBT'."
Cさん:「... so... N5?... N4?」

Friday, August 3, 2018


Zさん:"The kanji in 酔わす makes me smile.  Apparently drinking 89 bottles of sake is ok, but 90 qualifies as drunk.  Well, I guess the line had to be drawn somewhere."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Zさん and Cさん at a Bar

Zさん:"Hey Cさん, I would like you to meet my new friends, um, Mary and Sue."
Maryさん:"Hi, Cutie!"
Cさん:「I am a cucumber?」

Friday, July 20, 2018

Time to Look at the Sky

Zさん:”I have a riddle for you!”
Aさん:「Oh how I love these! ... go on...」
Zさん:“If you see a rainbow in Japan, what time is it?”
Aさん:「I don’t know.」
Aさん:「Ha! I see what you did there.... nice...」

Friday, July 13, 2018

Free Snacks

Maureen: "Hey, Z! How are you?"
Zさん:"Maureen, hi! I'm good, what's new?"
Maureen: "Well... I got engaged!  I'd like you to meet my fiance, John Agga.  Of course, I will be taking his name."
Zさん:"... so... can I have some free snacks?"

Friday, July 6, 2018


Zさん:"Hey, in this Japanese article, what are the little ひらがな above the 漢字?"
Aさん:「That's what's known as ふりがな。It is a pronunciation guide for difficult 漢字。」
Zさん:"Oh, I get it! Like, hurry up, you're gonna read it."
Aさん:「... a way to remember... a way to remember... Nice!」

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Waiter

給仕:"Hi, welcome to Applebees, are you ready to place your order?"
Cさん:「Yes.  Steak, please.」
給仕:"Excellent choice, that comes with soup or salad."
Cさん:「Salad.  But, please no ... scallion ball.」
給仕:"Of course, sir, no .. wait, what?"

Friday, June 22, 2018


Zさん: “Wait... why are you guys talking about rice?”
Aさん:「No, you misunderstand. The word ごはん means both ‘meal’ and ‘rice’.  It’s because rice has been an important part of Japanese meals for a long time.」
Zさん: “Oh! I get it. So, the American equivalent would be ‘Have you eaten burger yet?’ ‘No. I haven’t eaten burger yet. Have you?’ “

ミスタースパーコル:「Mmm... ubiquitous dietary staples.」

Friday, June 15, 2018

Old Cat

Aさん:「So, yeah, my cat was very old, and she had cancer, and her life was miserable, so we decided to 安楽死 。」
Zさん:"... unlucky she indeed."
Aさん:「... Why is it that the brazenly inconsiderate mnemonic devices are the most effective?」

Friday, June 8, 2018

Two Sides

Zさん:”Being bilingual can be tricky.  For example, take the word カラオケ。If you pronounce it ‘kala-o-k’, Americans will think you are a pompous jerk.  If you pronounce it ‘Carry-Okee’ Japanese people will think you are an inarticulate clod.”
Aさん:「You can’t win, dude, just shut up and sing.」

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Poem

Bさん:「Did you get a chance to read my poem?」
Zさん:"Yes。。。 いいかんじ。"
Bさん:「Really? It gave you good feelings?」
Zさん:"...sure... the thought might have crossed my mind that you have exquisite Chinese character penmanship... but ... sure..."

Friday, May 25, 2018

Have Your Cake

Zさん:"Would you like to hear a riddle?"
Aさん:「You do realize these are bad puns and not riddles... but ok.」
Zさん:"What do you call a Japanese person who makes a mess eating cake?”
Aさん:「I don't know, what?」
Zさん:"クラムジー.  Get it? With an 'r'? "
Aさん:「No, no, yeah, I got it.」

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Officially Bilingual

Zさん:"... so anyway, I was thinking that, as far as US presidents go so far, Barack Obama is the second to last, making him the... the... なんでしょうか。。。"
Aさん:「Congratulations!  You are an English speaker, and you could not remember an English term, and you expressed that fact using a Japanese phrase.  You are officially bilingual! ... and the word you are thinking of, by the way, is 'penultimate'.」
Zさん:"... um... なるほど。"
Aさん:「You did it again!」

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bob Hope

Zさん:"Hey, was Bob Hope a renowned liar?"
Aさん:「Why would you ask that?  Bob Hope was awesome.」
Zさん:"Yeah, but I saw this picture of him in front of a crowd of army guys, and behind him was a huge sign, in capital letters reading: 'USO'"

Friday, May 4, 2018


Zさん:"Ever notice how the kanji for rain (ame 雨) has 4 rain drops and the kanji for umbrella (kasa 傘) has four people? The hot dog / bun folks could learn a thing or two."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Necco Wafers

Aさん:「I was talking to my dad, and he said that when he was a kid, his favorite candy was something called Necco Wafers.」
Zさん:"Would those be wafers made by, for, or from... 猫...?"
Aさん:「Dude... Ew...」

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Apple Talk

Zさん:"ね、ね、I have a riddle for you."
Aさん:「Sure, why not.」
Zさん:"What language do apples speak?"
Aさん:「I don't know, what language do apples speak?」

ミスタースパーコル:"Mmm... talking apples."

Friday, April 13, 2018


僕 - boku - I
君- kimi - you
男 - otoko - man
女 - onna - woman
心 - kokoro - heart
胸 - mune - chest
ため息 - tame-iki - sigh
夢 - yume - dream
涙 - namida - tears
声 - koe - voice
愛 - ai - love
恋 - koi - also love... but more selfish
花束 - hanataba - bouquet of flowers

Zさん:"Don't be intimidated by the kanji in Japanese karaoke song lyrics.  You'd be surprised how often J-POP lyrics repeat. If you learn these few kanji here, you are 90% of the way there."

Friday, April 6, 2018

NCAA Basketball II

Zさん:"Nova is the NCAA Basketball Champion!"
Aさん:「Nova 勝った!ワーイ!ワーイ!」
Cさん:「... the English language school?」

Friday, March 30, 2018


Aさん:「Who was that on the phone?」
Zさん:"My niece.  She is going to some new tavern that is only for nieces.  She is going to a 姪子バー。
Aさん:「... Yeah... that's... not... what... that... is...」

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Particular Vegetable

Aさん:「Hey, you must be the new guy.  I'm A, and these are X and Z.」
Tom:"Nice to meet you. My name is Tom Aneggi."
Aさん:「*snicker* So, can I put you in a salad, or maybe in French soup.」
Xさん:「Or, could I deep fry rings of you, or maybe saute you over a steak.」
Tom:"Yeah, yeah, I've heard them all before."
Zさん:"Oh, oh... I got one. If I cut you, will I cry?"
Aさん:「。。。Dude, don't be weird。」
Tom:"... It's actually pretty clever..."

Friday, March 16, 2018

NCAA Basketball

Zさん:"It's that time of year, March Madness!"
Aさん:「You know it!  I have my bracket all set up.  This year I have Villanova to go all the way.」
Zさん:"Hey, me too! Go 'Nova!"

Cさん:「三月?狂気?ブラケット?。。。ナ・ニ・ソ・レ? 」

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Return of the Jedi

トルーパー:"Lord Vader, sorry to interrupt your... fight with your son..., but the shield around the Death Star has been turned off.  It appears that a bunch of furry stone age beings on Endor somehow over-powered our imperial troops."
ダース・ベイダー:"<mechanical respiration> So... 言い訳はEwok, eh?"
トルーパー:"... my lord?"
ダース・ベイダー:"Soon, you will appreciate the humor, of the dark side..."

Friday, March 2, 2018

Zさん:"You know, I never quite understood why Japanese people use the verb 'to drink' to describe ingesting medicine in pill form.  It doesn't make sense to me."
Aさん:「Is English that much better, i.e. to 'take' medicine.  What, like to prom?」
Zさん:"... ha!... that's a funny mental image... an aspirin in a formal gown."
Aさん:「。。。well, if you'll excuse me, I have to get my grandma to drink a pill.」

Friday, February 23, 2018


Zさん:"Sometimes in American high schools and colleges, Japanese language instructors say that the measure of the ability to read the Japanese language, is the aptitude for reading 日本の新聞。I respectfully disagree.  In my opinion, a more accurate measure of the ability to read the Japanese language, is the aptitude for reading カラオケ・スクリーン。Seriously.  Especially after a few ビール"

Friday, February 16, 2018


Zさん:"Hey Bさん, what's new?"
Bさん:「I have big news.  You know how I have always been an artistic person.  Well, I recently started my own company to design and sell traditional Japanese hand fans.」
Zさん:"That makes センス."
Bさん:「Yes! Exactly!」

Saturday, February 10, 2018


Cさん:「So... my car... is ok?」
メカニック:"Mostly.  I changed your oil and filter, topped off the other fluids, checked the breaks and transmission, and they are all fine.  The only problem is, you need a new muffler."
Cさん:「My car... needs... a scarf?」

Friday, February 2, 2018

大城 ガクト

Bさん:「J-POP 好きですか?」

ミスタースパーコル:"Mmmm... gackt..."

Lt. Worf: "It's gagh, not gackt. You say such things without honor!"


Saturday, January 27, 2018

One Hundred Thousand

Zさん:"ね、ね、I have a riddle for you."
Aさん:「Oh, here we go...」
Zさん:"What do you call a string of 100,000 characters?"
Aさん:「I don't know, what?」
Aさん:「Yeah, I didn't like that movie, but I still liked it better than your puns.」

Friday, January 19, 2018


プリースト: "... and so, Xさん、Yさん、by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you, husband and wife, you may kiss the bride!"  
Xさん:「夢 indeed!」

Zさん:" *sniff* Sappy puns at weddings always make me cry!"

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fly, Eagles, Fly!

Zさん:"So, the Japanese phrase for football, American not soccer, is アメフト, and the Japanese phrase for 'It's raining' is あめふる。Very similar, right? Well, if you think about it, the financial juggernaut that is the National Football League definitely 'Makes it rain' for many wealthy investors.  Is that a coincidence?"

Friday, January 5, 2018

How about Friday?


ミスタースパーコル:"Mmm... quinoa..."