Japanese Corner – Yasai (Vegetables)

CONTRIBUTED BY KAHO

Kaho’s Japanese Corner: Yasai (Vegetables)

Along with the Chanpuru Ichiba (farmers’ market) post, I thought that it would be fun to learn some vegetable names in Japanese.

Daikon (dye-con): daikon radish (white radish)
Horenso (ho-len-sow): spinach
Jagaimo (ja-ga-ee-mo)/poteto (po-teh-toe): potato
Kabocha (car without “r”-bow-cha): pumpkin
Kyuri (que-ree): cucumber
Moyshi: bean sprouts
Nasu (nah-sue): eggplants
Negi (neh-geek without “k”): leak
Ninjin (nin-gin as in “gin and tonic”): carrots
Ninniku (nin-niku)/Garikku (gah-li-cou): garlic
Retasu (leh-tah-sue): lettuce
Tamanegi (tah-mah-neh-gee): onion
Tomato (to-mah-toe): tomato

There are not many cuss words in Japanese. Or at least I don’t know many of them. (By the way, I’m Japanese.) Anyways, I know that some vegetables are used as light curse words.

otanko-nasu: eggplant with ash = fool
dote kabocha: bank pumpkin

Imagine that there are two Japanese people arguing using these words. In English it would be like this.

“I can’t believe you did this to me. You’re freaking EGGPLANT!” “Whatever, you’re PUMPKIN!”

It does not sound serious in English. That is rather cute to me.

These followings are not curse words, but words that has negative connotation.

moyashi: bean sprout = a spineless child
This word describes children who are not very energetic, doesn’t like to play outside and tends to keep themselves inside. The visual image you get from this word being used is a skinny and pale child who is not very healthy.

daikon ashi: radish legs = big legs
Have you seen Daikon? If so, you can picture what kind of legs are described as daikon ashi. This usually used on women (usually by men) and is offensive. Never say to women “daikon ashi”. They will slap your face. Or they will not talk to you.

Thank you those who commented on my Japanese corner in the past! I love hearing comments. I’m sorry that I’m not so good at responding to your comments though! I do read them all!

Oyasumi (oh-ya-sue-me)! (Good night!)
Matane (mah-tah-neh)! (See you!)

Want to read more of these helpful Japanese language posts?  Check them all out HERE.


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4 Comments
  • June 11, 2008

    I love all the CUSS words! So gentle. Tried to think of food insults or expressions in English. I came up with a few.

    1. Pumpkin head. Not sure what it means. Mild. Better than stupid head.

    2. Pizza face. Use for people with lots of acne. Not nice at all.

    3. Hams. This isn’t an insult as far as I know. I think I just read that Carrie Underwood has the nicest hams ever. Meaning her legs.

    That’s all I got!

    Thanks for the lesson, Kaho!

    Reply
  • June 11, 2008

    I know “sprout” is used for a child in English, but more as a term of endearment.
    I thought legs were gams? But hey, I could be wrong. I remember ham hock being a thigh or something maybe.
    A ham – LIKE MY CHILD – is a person who over-dramatizes everything and plays to the camera.
    Carrot-top (readhead)
    Cool as a cucumber (i rather like that saying)
    Banana head (or banana brain) is one my mother used FREQUENTLY as a person who’s a little dumb or forgetful (usually me when i left my gloves/books/jacket/etc. at school)
    Not many insults, more terms of endearment I think! Apple of my eye. Pumpkin is definitely something I call my kid as a sweet term. Somehow I remember “broccoli ear” being used to describe the phone constantly being attached to my ear, but maybe I’m mistaken.
    Oh – and skinny people are string beans.

    Reply
  • June 11, 2008

    Funny.
    Trying to decide which is more offensive:

    “daikon ashi”
    or
    in English we’ll say “cankles” (a leg without any definition, can’t see the ankle).

    I think I’d rather be a daikon.

    staci
    Reply
  • June 11, 2008

    OK…how about peanut head or potato head? Or is that just a toy? Then there’s just peanut as an endearment.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of broccoli ear!

    Julia
    Reply