J's alternate mnemonics, Level 1-10


My FEET (足) are cold, and I CAN’T (不) find any SOCKS (そく) . There must be a SOCK SHORTAGE. I only have a FEW SOCK (ふそく) in my drawer, and they’re all mismatched.


I go shopping to buy more socks, but the shelves are almost empty. There are only a FEW SOCK (ふそく) left in the stores too.

Only the bright orange and pink socks are left. It’s ok… my feet aren’t that cold.

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You’re getting some blood drawn, so your BLEEDING into a tube. BLOOD is EXITING your body to help others in need.


The nurse forgets to release the tourniquet before puling out the needle in your arm. Blood shoots across the room in a spurt, and you almost faint. It looks like you’re SHOOting KETSup from your arm. Scary! Tasty? You be the judge.

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直行(ちょっこう)Nonstop, Direct

I’m early to the airport, because I have a long NONSTOP flight back to Japan. I GO DIRECTLY to the gate, but the agent says I need a return ticket or I can’t get on the flight. I explain that I live in Japan, and show her my Japanese id card. She points at the screen, smiles, and says “I can’t let you on this flight.” I’m so angry I put her in a CHOKE HOLD(ちょっこう)Of course, security comes, and by the time we get it sorted out, the NONSTOP flight has left and they have to route me through China.


BLACK is so cool. Imagine a teenager at a club. He’s wearing a BLACK hoodie, BLACK pants, BLACK shoes. He’s cool. Only 1 thing isn’t cool. He’s drinking Coke (こく) because he’s only 16 (even though he looks 22 in his cool BLACK outfit). At least the Coke (こく)is in BLACK can. That’s cool.

通る(とおる)To pass (through)

Your Mom is in such a hurry TO PASS THROUGH on her scooter, that she decides to take the toll (とおる) road. See her on her scooter, stopping to pay the toll, then PASSING THROUGH.

Too bad she doesn’t have an ETC card on her scooter. Could have saved some time and money!

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BTW, there’s a community mnemonics userscript that you can use to share your mnemonics.


Thanks! I’ll check it out

札(ふだ)Tag, Label

The TREE that SAT (さつ) down under the UMBRELLA, is also worried that it will be made into TAGS and LABELS. It’s eating some comfort FOOD (ふだ) to help forget it worries. Unfortunately, the FOOD (ふだ) also has LABELS, which are made from trees. What a mess!

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You’re a bird lover, and canaries are CERTAINLY your favorite! It just breaks your heart to see them in captivity though. So, you decide to break into the zoo and free all the canaries. CERTAINLY it’s the right thing to do! Those poor little canaries!

Then, you have a heart stopping thought!

Are there CANARIES (かなら) in the ZOO (ず)? CERTAINLY!

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必死(ひっし)Frantic, certain death, desperate

What does CERTAIN DEATH sound like to you? Your first date!

You’re so DESPERATE and he/she like you, that waiting for the date is killing you. You’re FRANTIC about what to say, what to wear, when to go for the kiss, etc. You’re a wreck, but it’s exciting too!


As the date gets closer, you’re wonder if HE/SHE will like you, if HE/SHE will kiss you, if HE/SHE will …

Then you have a funny thought… HE/SHE, he, she, ひっし. You forgot to check if your date is a HE or SHE or non-binary. That’s the thing with online dating. You don’t really know.

Now, you’re even more DESPERATE. (Obviously you’re ok either way, because this is the 2020s. Imagine all outcomes in vivid detail.)

一本気(いっぽんぎ)One-track mind

People in Roppongi (ろっぽんぎ) have a ONE TRACK MIND (いっぽんぎ)!

Why? There are a lot of foreigners in Roppongi (六本木), so Japanese people who are obsessed with foreigners tend to go there to pick up foreigners. SINGLE MINDED foreigners know this too, so tend to go there as well. It’s a weird meat market feeling, since everyone has a ONE-TRACK MIND.

組(くみ)Group, team

You want to be cool (く), so you joined a stylish fashion GROUP, called the “Cool Me! TEAM”. In you GROUP, everyone wears cool THREADS and cool TOP HATS. Your secret greeting is “Cool me? (くみ)” to which your cool friends reply “Cool me! (くみ)”.

Practice it right now. Say “Cool me?”, put on your cool threads and top hat, look at yourself in the mirror, and and answer “Yeah, cool me!”

失う(うしなう)to Lose

A group of women are at a restaurant talking about their husbands. One woman (dressed in farmer overalls) is super angry, because her HUSBAND keeps LOSING things, even really big things. She demonstrates loudly how she yells at him “YOU!! (う) It’s your FAULT!! YOU (う) can loose anything!!” (Notice the other restaurant customers surprise at this outburst.)


The woman goes home to her farm, and her HUSBAND is looking really guilty. She yells “YOU!! What did you LOSE now!?” He replies in Japanese “うし”. She starts laughing (a bit crazily) and says “USHI! NOW you lost a cow!?” They start laughing together, then run upstairs to jump in bed.

Turns out that the husband isn’t actually losing things. He just likes to see his wife get worked up. It’s just harmless foreplay. The cow and all the other things he lost are in the barn.

化ける(ばける)to Transform

You’re getting worried about how pollution is TRANSFORMing the planet. So, you take your magic spoon and CHANGE your car (か) into a sheep. In addition to saving on gas, the sheep is much quieter than your car. It just makes a nice BAaaa (ば) sound.

Hear the beautiful BA of your sheep as you hug a nearby tree. Imagine all transportation TRANSFORMing to sheep.

支える(ささえる)to Support

You’re a tree, and your human friend breaks her leg. She really needs SUPPORT. So you SAW off 2 BRANCHES to make crutches for her. With a quick SAW SAW (ささ), she has all the SUPPORT she needs!

Good for remembering し too

君 (きみ) You, buddy

YOU BUDDY! YOU are the KEY to my heart. YOU are the KEY to ME (きみ)

間もなく(まもかく)Soon, before long

It’s morning and time to go to school BEFORE LONG. Since you’re running out of time, your MOM KNOCKs on your door to remind you. But you ignore her, because you know she’ll knock 1 MOre (も) time. When you hear the MOM MO KNOCK (まもなく) you know to leave SOON.

人数(にんずう)Number of people

This word is great for counting the NUMBER OF PEOPLE (にんず) who are staying home during a pandemic.

It’s ずう instead of すう, because when people stay home, the wild animals can roam the streets in safety. It’s like the ZOO is turned inside out, with the animals looking in people’s windows and wondering about the NUMBER OF PEOPLE (にん) in the ZOO (ずう).

形(かたち)Shape, form, appearance

It’s obvious that this little lantern is farting. The APPEARANCE of lines behind him indicates that he CUT THE CHEese (かたち). Fortunately, it’s just a little poof, with no lasting FORM or SHAPE.

Imagine… what does a lantern fart smell like? Lantern oil perhaps, with a hint of CAke (けい) ?

(Sometimes pronounced かた or がた, like “I GOTTA fart”)

付近(ふきん)Neighborhood, nearby

Who’s ATTACHED to being NEARBY? Your FU*KING (ふきん) parents of course!

You love your parents, but you really need a little distance. 18 years under their rule was plenty, and it’s time to live your own life.

But when you moved away, they bought a house in the same NEIGHBORHOOD. They can actually see in your bedroom window from their kitchen. It’s ridiculous!!

Imagine how angry you are. Go ahead, say it out loud!

FU*KING (ふきん) parents! Why are they to ATTACHED to being NEARBY? Can’t they love me from a distance?