Smonday Soundcheck 57


Yes, yet again I was too busy on the weekend to write the Sunday Soundcheck. Occasionally I write them ahead of time, but was swamped from Wednesday night through Monday night.

Our next sound is mi, which doesn’t sound too different from the English word ‘me’. It is written in hiragana as ひ and in katakana as ヒ.

Mizukusai (みずくさい・水臭い) when written in kanji, is made of the characters for water and stink. One of my dictionaries lists three definitions. Number three is Kansai dialect for light or weak salt flavor. Number two is watery, in a bad way. Number one is a difficult concept where, although someone is on familiar terms with another, they seem indifferent, cold, or stiff. Recent discussions about how to understand perplexing behavior from Japanese people, yielded this term.

Mishin (ミシン) refers to a device first brought to Japan from America in 1860, we call this a sewing machine in English. Apparently there were few machines in use in Japan at the time and very few in homes, so they simply referred to it as machine, but the sound is quite different from the English.


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