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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Japanese Language Trivia of the Day: 酒

Or, the post that only Nirav could bring you.

As many of you may already be aware, I'm visiting Japan at the moment. One of my favorite things about Japan, and probably what I was looking forward to the most before coming, is the alcohol. At first glance, especially to American sensibilities, that seems like an odd, if not downright alcoholic, thing to say. It's true that, when I'm in Japan, I have a tendency to possibly, sometimes, depending on how you look at it have an eency-weency bit too much to drink. However, when I say that alcohol is one of my favorite things about Japan, I don't necessarily mean the availability of it, the amount of it, or even the types of it available (don't get me wrong, though - I highly appreciate all of those things, too). What I mean is that I enjoy the way that alcohol is entwined with the culture here, how drinking and all of the other social customs play off of each other in some way or another. As one might expect, alcohol is also highly linked to Japanese language, so today's trivia is a list of お酒 related terms and phrases that I enjoy. Of course, there are far too many of them for this to be an exhaustive list, so I'll have to continue it some other time.

酒に飲まれる
さけ に のまれる
sake ni nomareru
This neat turn of phrase literally means "to be drunk by your sake," or, in other words, to have far too much to drink and end up doing something stupid or meeting some otherwise unpleasant fate. It is often used by itself, but is also present in the commonly voiced admonition:

酒を飲んでも飲まれるな
さけ を のんでも のまれるな
sake wo nondemo nomareruna
When you get drunk, make sure the sake doesn't drink you!


酒は百薬の長
さけは ひゃくやく の ちょう
sake ha hyakuyaku no chou
Sake
is the best medicine. (It sure makes me feel better!)

酒は百害の長
さけ は ひゃくがい の ちょう
Sake ha hyakugai no chou
Sake is the worst of all poisons.

自棄酒
やけざけ
yakezake
Most commonly, you only see the "sake" part of this one written in kanji. It literally means "the alcohol of throwing oneself away," and might be put into English as "drowning one's sorrows."

利き酒
ききざけ
Kikizake
Sake
-(or wine-) tasting or pairing
Often times, restaurants will have someone who is a 利き酒師 (ききざけし kikizakeshi), or essentially a sommelier specifically for sake.

3 comments:

AzzidisRidden said...

「自棄酒
やけざけ
yakezake
Most commonly, you only see the "sake" part of this one written in kanji. It literally means "the alcohol of throwing oneself away," and might be put into English as "drowning one's sorrows."」

But when you do see it written in Kanji, notice that the やけ can also be read じき as in 自暴自棄

Claytonian said...

Don't listen to him, he's drunk.

What this post needed (or didn't) was "In Soviet Japan, sake drinks you!"

Also, Sakeyo is my 十八番:
http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=ssyl9xKM9Vc&feature=PlayList&p=A1143856E0AED6E9&index=0

Defendership said...

It really is incredible how intertwined drinking is with Japanese culture. One of the places I notice it that I never expected was in my electronic dictionary. It's absolutely ridiculous how many of the example sentences involve drinking in one way or another...