Japanese Headlines: It’s been a long time.


大観衆、有名力士に熱狂 大相撲夏巡業草津場所

久しぶり。Hisashiburi is an extremely useful Japanese phrase. If you haven’t seen someone in a long time or it has been a while since you last did some task and you’re a bit rusty, “hisashiburi.” In the first situation, it means “long time no see.” In others, “It’s been a long time.” My way of apologizing for not having posted a sumo headline in quite some time is to drop some quality culture on you, here, in the form of Rakim. I actually hum this song to myself every time I use the word, hisashiburi. “It’s been a long time…”

大相撲夏巡業草津場所

From our previous Japanese headlines, you should be able to pick up the gist rather quickly. If we start with the last half of the headline after the break, we see that the article covers the Kusatsu Basho leg of the summer tour (natsu jungyo).

大観衆

This phrase is simple enough. Taken all at once as Dai kanshu, or big crowds. Kanshu is also often translated as audience.

有名力士に熱狂

This phrase can be broken into three parts. You should quickly recognize the sumo term rikishi (力士). Preceding that is the word for “famous” (yūmei – 有名). Last is the word nekkyo, 熱狂, which means enthusiasm.

The large crowd of 3,200 people greated their favorite sumo wrestlers with great enthusiasm. It had been thirty-three years since the sumo jungyo stopped in Kusatsu, in 1984. And the last time the tour stopped in Gunma prefecture was back in 2010. Kusatsu is famous for its hot springs.

I really wanted to bring this article to your attention because it used many different numbers. It states the Western years, Japanese “Showa” years and the audience attendance figures.  So it is very important to know how to read numbers in Japanese, and that’s something that I haven’t covered until now. Below you will find an abbreviated chart to help decypher these numbers. So the year 1984, as in the article, is 一九八四. You’ll notice that they don’t insert the character for thousand, 千, for years. But when we look at the attendance figure of 3200, they do (and the character for hundred, 百).

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