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TYJ Invertebrates

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This article is in the series Teach Yourself Japanese

8.8. Invertebrates

8.8.1. Molluscs


All of the molluscs listed here except snails are edible. (Escargots are not so popular in Japan.)

たこ
ta ko
octopus

いか
i ka
squid

はまぐり
ha ma gu ri
clam

あさり
a sa ri
short-necked clam

For your interest: This is the most popular shellfish in Japan.

しじみ
si zi mi
corbicula

For your interest: Corbicula are small shellfish often used for miso soup.

ほたて
ho ta te
scallop

かき
ka ki
oyster

Note: This word has a different accent from persimmon.

The five words above are all かい /ka' i/ "kai" (shellfish).

かたつむり
ka ta tu mu ri
snail

8.8.2. Crustaceans


かに
ka ni
crab

えび
e bi
shrimp, lobster

8.8.3. Insects


Japanese has many words for むし "musi" (insect) because an insect's sound is as evaluated as a bird's song. There are not always good English translations.

かぶとむし
ka bu to mu si
beetle (found in forests)

Note: This word is used only for beetles with a big horn found in forests. It is the combination of かぶと "kabuto" (warrior's helm) and むし "musi" (insect). The English word beetle has a much wider meaning.

くわがた
ku wa ga ta
stag beetle

For your interest: かぶとむし "kabutomusi" and くわがた "kuwagata" are so evaluated as pets in Japan that one beetle can cost 50,000 yen.

こおろぎ
ro gi
cricket

きりぎりす
ki ri gi ri su
a kind of grasshopper

せみ
se mi
cicada

For your interest: Cicadas are very common in the summer in Japan. There are many kinds of cicada such as あぶらぜみ "aburazemi", みんみんぜみ "minminzemi", ひぐらし "higurasi", and つくつくぼうし "tukutukusi". Most Japanese people can distinguish them by hearing their sound.

ちょう
tyô
butterfly

Note: The word ちょうちょ "tyôtyo" also means butterfly. It is better when you want to avoid confusion with the word for intestines.


ga
moth

とんぼ
to n bo
dragonfly

あり
a ri
ant

はえ
ha e
fly


ka
mosquito

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Takasugi
My name is TAKASUGI Shinji. TAKASUGI is my family name, and Shinji is my given name; a family name is placed before a given name in Japan, as in other Asian nations. My family name is capitalized to avoid misunderstanding.

I have been living in Yokohama since I was born. Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, which is just 30 kilometers away from the biggest city Tôkyô. It takes 30 minutes to go by train from home to Shibuya, which is the hottest town now in Tôkyô.

I work as a display engineer.

One of my hobbies is creating things with computers; creating programs, computer graphics and web pages is the thing I spent a lot of time doing. I am also interested in a wide range of sciences, and linguistics is my favorite. I like English and I like using it, but my focus is mainly on Japanese, which is my native language. I'm proud of knowing the language, and the difference between English and Japanese has been fascinating me. I have been thinking whether I can introduce it to people outside of Japan. My attempt of introducing Japanese with some Java applets has had more than 1 million visitors.

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