Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Kotoba Asobi: Nazonazo – Learning the Japanese Style of Wordplay 4

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/19 Traditional Culture , , , , , ,

Another fun form of Japanese wordplay is nazonazo. And just like the shiritori, it is fun to play with other people.

Word Puzzles/Nazonazo

Nazonazo is just the Japanese word for riddles. Riddles are design to make your minds work but a riddle in a non-native language will make your mind work harder. It is very challenging and at the same time rewarding. It will allow you to think about the language non-literally and teach your brain to interpret and think about things in a different perspective. Many of these Japanese riddles make use of the rules of dajare and written meanings of the words. As mentioned in the dajare post, jokes and stuff that makes use of same-sounding words are often called oyaji gag (親父ギャグ), oyaji meaning “old man”, as an “old man” would be considered by the younger generation most likely to attempt these kind of jokes.

question

(Image from AC-Illust)

Examples of nazonazo

Another trait of nazonazo that is shared with shiritori is that it requires knowledge of Japanese vocabulary. Here are examples of nazonazo (answers and explanation are hidden so you can try answering them, highlight to reveal):

  • おかしは3じ、いまはなんじ? (okashi wa san ji, ima wa nan ji?)

Snacks are at 3 o’clock, what time is it now?

Answer: ni ji (2字)

Explanation: Time in Japanese is expressed in ji (時). Number of characters, though with a different kanji (字), is also read as ji. Thus, if okashi (おかし) has three characters, then ima (いま) has two characters, 2 ji.

  • いつも修理が必要な調味料とは何? (itsumo shuuri ga hitsuyouna chiryou to wa nani?)

What spice/flavoring always needs repair?

Answer: koshou (こしょう, pepper)

Explanation: Koshou in Japanese can mean two things: pepper (胡椒) and breakdown (故障).

  • 1日に2回あるのに、1年に1回しかないものって何? (ichinichi ni nikai aru noni, ichinen ni ikkai shika nai mono tte nani?)

Answer: chi (ち)

Explanation: The character chi (ち) appeared twice in ichinichi (いちにち) but only once in ichinen (いちねん). It is the Japanese equivalent of the English riddle, “What happens twice in a moment, once every minute, but never in a hundred years?” which has the answer of letter M.

  • パンはパンでも食べられないパンは、なに? (pan wa pan demo taberarenai pan wa nani?)

A bread is a bread, but what bread can you not eat?

Answer: furaipan (フライパン, frying pan)

Explanation: Furaipan is the shortened version of the English word for frying pan and pan is also the Japanese word for bread.

  • 風邪ばかりひいている動物ってなんだ? (kaze bakari hiite iru doubutsu tte nanda?)

What animal always catches a cold?

Answer: kitsune (Japanese fox)

Explanation: This riddle requires some knowledge of Japanese onomatopoeia. In Japan, the fox’s sound is described as kon-kon (コンコン) which is also the onomatopoeia for coughing. (Want to know more about the kitsune? Read our posts here and here.

In popular culture, in every movie of Meitantei Conan (Detective Conan, known as Case Closed in the English-dubbed), Professor Agassa always gives riddles to the Detective Boys which they considered boring.

Do you know any Japanese riddles? Share it with us in the comments section below!

References:

1. Playing With Words Japanese Style: Kotoba Asobi. Tofugu.

2. Nazonazo. Ameba JP.

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

sumo

Sumo: More Than Just a Martial Art – Rules

In our last post about the Japanese traditional martial art sumo, we learned about its history. In this post, we will learn more about its rules and features. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing […]

Read Article

shogi pieces

Shogi, The General’s Board Game – History and Origin

In my last series of posts, we learned about the board game Go. Another popular Japanese board is the Shogi. It is also known as the Japanese chess or the General’s Game. In this series, we will learn its history, how to play it, and its influence to popular culture. Origin of “Shogi” The word […]

Read Article

japan flag

Kenkoku Kinen no Hi or National Foundation Day

The National Foundation Day (建国記念の日, Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) is a public holiday in Japan and is celebrated every year on 11th February. The day is celebrated to commemorate the formation of the nation and also for the establishment of the imperial line by the first Japanese ruler, Jimmu. Holiday History The day originally coincided […]

Read Article

hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri – A Festival of Dolls

Today, March 3, is Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) in Japan. Though hina (雛) literally means a young bird or a chick, the day is also called Doll’s Day or Girl’s Day. On this day, families with girls wish their daughters a successful and happy life. Families with young daughters mark this day by setting up a display […]

Read Article

FukiyaNisi

The Fukiya Village in Okayama, Japan – Part 4 –

What to see in Fukiya surrounding area (3) [The Nishie residence] This house is located on the opposite side of the Hirokane residence and there is no bus service to/from the village centre in the off season, and even in the high season, a cyclic bus goes there only once a day. However, a bus […]

Read Article

sumo heya (2)

Sumo: More Than Just a Martial Art – The Sumo Wrestler

As sumo has its roots from a religious background (originally performed to entertain Shinto deities), sumo wrestlers lead a highly regimented way of life. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text – […]

Read Article

Kushida shrine, Hakata 7

Go west : Kushida shrine and others in Hakata, Fukuoka

I didn’t do “sight-seeing” in Hakata, because there aren’t many things to see as I wrote in my first post of this series. However, according to one of the official websites of Fukuoka city government (Japanese page), there seems to be many historical locations. They offer a free tablet application called “Fukuoka rekishi nabi” (navigation […]

Read Article

Konbini (7-eleven)

I Love Konbini: Awesome Konbini (Convenience Store) In Japan!

I love konbini (convenience store) in Japan and I often use it in different situations, for lunch, after work, family trips, and so on. What’s so awesome about it? Well, it’s amazingly convenient, food is delicious, and so much more! This time, I’ll be introducing some of them.   1. It’s Everywhere! As of August […]

Read Article

Ninja

We are ninjas: What ninja is and the origin

What is “ninja”? From “Mansenshuukai” a.k.a. “Bansenshuukai” (a famous ninjutsu-sho, a book about ninja’s tricks), an excellent ninja is described as one who makes a great success but; Makes no sound Has no odor Remains nameless Never win a name for himself / herself Makes outstanding achievements just like creating this world About the expression […]

Read Article

208757307_bc0c31977d_z

Japanese Summer – A Season of Fireworks and Dance Festivals 2

In our previous post, we featured fireworks as one of the things you usually associate to a Japanese summer. But summer is not only about fireworks, it also means commemorating one’s dead ancestors and summer dance festivals. Obon In Buddhism, they believe that the spirits of their ancestors visit their living relatives yearly and it […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑