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).