Monday, 30 April 2018

Why does "How come?" mean "Why?"

Hi G.W. Holidayers,

Recently (最近), one of my students asked me about the meaning of the phrase "How come?" I explained (説明した) that it means "Why?" and gave the following examples:

     How come you were absent last week?
     How come Alan walked here today?
     How come she doesn't like natto?

In all three sentences, "How come" can be changed to "Why" in the following ways:

     Why were you absent last week?
     Why did Alan walk here today?
     Why doesn't she like natto?

Please notice that a verb (動詞) follows "Why" in all three examples, whereas a noun (名詞) always follows "How come."

"How come?" can also be used to replace the positive question (肯定疑問文) "Why?" or the negative question (否定疑問文) "Why not?" For example (例えば):

     A: E-Style is closed during Golden Week.
     B: Why? / How come?(なぜですか。)
     A: E-Style is not open during Golden Week.
     B: Why not? / How come?(なぜですか。)

By the way (ところで), it seems that "How come?" is actually a contracted form of the questions "How does it come that〜?" (どうして〜ということになるのか。) and "How did it come about?" (どうしてそのようなことが起きたのですか。) .

Have a great Golden Week,


Saturday, 10 February 2018

The "Rainbow State"

Aloha everyone,

Last month I visited Hawaii, officially (正式に) nicknamed the "Aloha State." This nickname can be seen not only on tee-shirts, but on license plates (ナンバープレート), too. While a lot of my students had heard of the "Aloha State" nickname, many didn't realize that Hawaii is also known as the "Rainbow State." I saw at least (少なくとも) one rainbow (虹) every day of my trip, sometimes seeing as many as three in one day! So, this alternate nickname makes sense (理にかなう).

Speaking of state nicknames (州のニックネームといえば), did you know that Florida (where I'm from) is called the "Sunshine State?"

Let's see how well you can do matching the following states (下記の州) with their nicknames:

  1. New York                                       A. The Bay State
  2. Texas                                            B. The Lone Star State 
  3. Rhode Island                                  C. The Golden State
  4. Massachusetts                               D. The First State
  5. California                                        E. The Empire State
  6. Tennessee                                      F. The Cornhusker State
  7. New Jersey                                    G. The Garden State
  8. West Virginia                                  H. The Ocean State
  9. Delaware                                         I. The Volunteer State
10. Nebraska                                        J. The Mountain State

In a state of relaxation, 


P.S. Here are the answers: 1. E; 2. B; 3. H; 4. A; 5. C; 6. I; 7. G; 8. J; 9. D; 10. F

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Year of the Dog

Happy New Year everybody,

I hope that you are having fun eating and sleeping (食っちゃ寝) during the New Year's holiday. Jack and I are looking forward to (〜に楽しみにしている) hearing all about your winter break next week. Until then, get plenty of rest (たっぷり休暇を取って) while enjoying traditional Japanese New Year dishes (おせち料理) and rice cake soup (お雑煮).

All the best in the Year of the Dog,


P.S. Of course, you can't fully enjoy your rice cake soup unless it's made Sanuki Style: with white miso and rice cakes filled with sweet bean paste (あん餅).

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Year-crossing soba?

Hi all,

I have seen 「年越しそば」 translated in some books and internet sites as "year-crossing soba." This literal translation (直訳), like many, is a bit strange (ちょっと変). I think that "soba/buckwheat noodles eaten on New Year's Eve" is a much better way to express (表現する) this Japanese tradition (伝統).

Of course, many people here in Kagawa prefer to eat udon on New Year's Eve. Please adjust (適応する) your translations accordingly (適切に).

Bon appétit,


P.S. なんでいきなりフランス語やねん!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Happy Holidays!

Hello everybody,

Jack, Kylo Ren, and I would like to wish you all the best during this holiday (and Star Wars) season. May the force be with you (フォースとともにあらんことを).

Happy holidays,


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween, 2017!

Hi trick-or-treaters,

When I was in elementary school (小学校), my best friend and I went trick-or-treating with my dad. Every year, we dressed up in costumes (仮装して), visited the houses in our neighborhood (近所), and asked for "treats," especially (特に) chocolate.  One time, we trick-or-treated for about four hours and had enough goodies to enjoy until the end of the year (年末まで)!

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Bond and Moore

Hi 007 fans,

There was some sad news last Tuesday, May 23rd: Sir Roger Moore, who played James Bond (ジェームズ・ボンドを演じた) in seven films, passed away (亡くなった) at the age of 89.

I have been a 007 fan since childhood (子どもの頃から), and although Sean Connery has always been my favorite actor in the role, I love Roger Moore's humorous portrayal of the character. In fact, the first Bond movie that I saw in the theater was "The Spy Who Loved Me" (「私を愛したスパイ」) in 1977. I loved it as a child and still consider it to be Sir Roger's best.

Although he played James Bond for fifteen years onscreen, Roger Moore thought his role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador the most important of his life. His friend, Audrey Hepburn, introduced him to the United Nations (国連) programme and he was appointed to the position in 1991. Of his experience he said "I've been an exceedingly (非常に) lucky actor, and the luck of it all was that I was able to come and work for UNICEF. "

For both his charity work and acting, Roger Moore was knighted (ナイト爵を授けられた) by Queen Elizabeth in 2003.

Goodbye, Mr. Bond.

Your fan,

Alan Woolfe

P.S. To read a wonderful story about Sir Roger and his great sense of humor, click HERE.