Google Image searching 単語 and other small pleasures of Wani Kani learning

Have you ever tried Google Image searching a vocab word you just learned? It can be pretty fun and possibly a little bit enlightening about Japanese internet culture.

For example, it’s a bit of a surprising delight what comes up for 間抜け (まぬけ, “idiot”): Manuke!

Google searching can also help explain the nuance of vocab better, like 段階 (だんかい, “stage, phase”) showing charts like this:

There was a thread about this in 2016 - The “I did an image search for my vocabulary and found this” thread! - but I need to find some new words that are a joy to image search.

Honestly, I’ll take good image search suggestions and any other suggestions for fun things you do with new vocab. I’m in the thick of the 死 levels of kanji, almost to 地獄, and I’m drowning in reviews and lessons. For the first time, it’s been weeks since I’ve been in the 0/0 club (0 lessons, 0 reviews… what’s that thread called?) I need some 激励. お願いします!


I do sometimes copy and paste a new vocab into google images. Here is one of the cursed images I found when searching 金玉 a few months ago 2015-02-12-11.49.01


That is perfection :joy:

Balls are truly a golden part of Japan.


Beware of 挿入


Looking up “I”, it seems 私 and 僕 are pretty much as expected, 俺 seems ironic and 吾輩 is for cats! (我 is less informative.)


Ooh, I definitely want to learn the story behind the 吾輩 image search showing all those cartoon cats and real cats.

According to

  • When this word is used today it’s often a pun on the title of Natsume Sōseki’s novel, and the usage follows the form 吾輩は……である . The closest pronoun widely used today is *[俺]
  • This pronoun has a nuance of arrogance.

Maybe that novel is worth reading in Japanese someday…

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Or he could tell you in person:

In 2016, the centennial of Sōseki’s death, Nishogakusha University in Tokyo collaborated with Hiroshi Ishiguro, robotics researcher at Osaka University, to create a robotic android version of Sōseki. Sōseki’s grandson, Fusanosuke Natsume, voiced the 130cm figure which depicted Sōseki at age 45. The robot gave lectures and recitations of Sōseki’s works at the university, as a way to engage students’ interest in literature.


Aye, 吾輩は猫である is the reference. I’ve bought the book in English, but it was originally written in 1905, it could be rather tricky for us to read in Japanese, unless it’s been translated into modern Japanese.

The 0/0 Streak Challenge

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Thanks, I couldn’t remember! …I’m still not achieving the challenge yet T_T

I’m adding a nice picture that came up when I google image searched 特急 because とっきゅう is a horrible leech word that I keep forgetting has to do with trains.



I find it kind of telling that the top results when searching “迫害 はくがい” meaning oppression, persecution" show mostly Magic cards, imagery about Jesus, and The Diary of Anne Frank. There’s not anything (as far as I can tell) about the very real and pervasive discrimination of Korean people and other non-Japanese people living in Japan. I’ve heard there’s a lot of willful ignorance in Japan about the Japanese brand of discrimination.

When google image searching “差別” meaning “discrimination” the results that come up are a lot more wordy and hard for me to parse. I wonder what those images are about.

If I google “差別 さべつ” with the hiragana included to make the results more Japanese, some images come up that might be about discrimination towards black people, which is interesting.


I found this hungry boi the other day though can’t quite remember the kanji I was searching. I think it was 格




Maybe this page explains something?
It is a disambiguation page, but you know…

Someone’s contaminated the water supply!


Oh. My. God. It’s terrifying.


A water slide is such a cute way to think of an aqueduct.

Speaking of things that should not be cute but Japan manages to make cute: These images that come up for 不況 - ふきょう - Recession (something that is not-so-cutely relevant these days).


searched it on google, saw the top result and decided not to have a look at images after all


When one (not train) engine fails, try another.

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Yeah that’s what slightly scares me about google. They say they tailor your search results for your benefit but things can be censored without you ever knowing. Just try searching up “Sinclair’s script for stations”, it’s the first result in duckduckgo but in google all you get are news sites covering the video…
I wonder how much they got paid to stop it from showing up.

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