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Friday, November 28, 2008

感恩戴徳

かんおんたいとく
kanon taitoku

So by the time this post is up, it's going to be Friday in Japan, but here in Ameriland it's still going to be Thursday, November 27, 2008. That may not mean anything to you non-American readers (if, indeed, any of you exist), but here in the US it's my personal favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

Without getting too deeply into the history (and issues) surrounding Thanksgiving, for me, it's a day to be thankful for all of the wonderful things in my life (sometimes I forget just how many there are), stuff my face, get drunk with family, argue about stupid things, watch some football and Indian movies, and pass out for a few hours before making the trip back home from my uncle's house. There is also a huge parade in New York, and the floats are AWESOMEEEE. I can't think of a better way to spend a day.

In keeping with the spirit of being thankful, I wanted today's yoji to have something to do with gratitude in general. It took a little while, because, to be honest, most of the commonly used yoji don't really have anything to do directly with this subject. In fact, one of the Japanese sites I used to reference calls it something like "not all that commonly used, but something worth knowing." Usually, I am a big fan of only posting yoji that I think are going to be somewhat useful in daily life, but since today is a special day, I will make a special exception and post a more obscure one, one that is more difficult to use, but a good one to know in general (next time you want to surprise people with how much Japanese you know, use one of the more difficult ones on here, and then maybe use this one as an "icing on the cake" sort of thing... and then in gratitude you can send me money or alcohol).

Which brings us to our
Definition:
心からありがたく思って感謝感激するさま。恩に着て敬愛の念を持つこと。

This is one of those yojis that I think it will be helpful to do a kanji by kanji analysis of, mainly because it will give us a good idea of all the working parts of the emotion this is meant to describe.

感 means to feel. Though it has a whole host of other, secondary meanings, I think the most useful secondary one for this example is something like admire or be moved. 恩 is an important kanji to know in general. It means a deep debt or some kind of fantastic good deed bestowed upon you by someone else. The most common usage of this word, I think, is for the debt you owe to your parents for giving birth to you and raising you, but it can be used for other situations as well. 戴 is a probably better known as part of 頂戴, which I'm sure most people first see or hear in it's kana form, ちょうだい. Without going too deeply into the meaning of ちょうだい, both parts of it can also be read as いただく, or to humbly receive something. Finally, we have 徳. This is another really important word/kanji to know (it's used only in the on-yomi form unless as part of a name, so toku is the most important reading for most purposes). It also has a wide range of meanings - virtue, quality of character, blessing, etc. - but the last one I gave, blessing, is the important one here.

Which, of course, brings us to our
Translation:
Deep gratitude

As I said before, this isn't the most practically useful yoji, so the example sentence is necessarily going to be something of a cop-out, but here goes:
いつも愚痴を言っているけど、私は本当に恵まれていると思う。家族や友達に支えてもらって、まことに感恩戴徳だ。
I'm always complaining, but in reality I live a blessed life. I have the support of my family and friends, and for that I am truly grateful.


Of course, a huge thanks to all of you daily yoji readers out there! I've got exams coming up, so I'm not sure how much posting will happen in the next month, but I promise I'll try to post more than I have been!

2 comments:

Emi said...

I'm a bit embarrassed to say this, but I've never heard of this word... Umm, interesting. I've learned a lot about Japanese from you.

Nirav said...

Emi,

Thanks for the comment! It is (I think) really obscure; I have really only seen it in a very few instances, and most of them I was deliberately looking for it.

Please do let us know if any of our other examples are weird or not relevant! It's readers like you that make this blog possible!