Lazy Mnemonics

The movie came out way before I was born, it’s not too far fetched I wouldn’t know it’s Japanese name. Especially in UK where I live, it’s cultural impact was pretty minimal. Foreign movies hardly get any coverage.


An equally cute fact is that while filming the movie Pacific Rim, a young japanese actress had difficulty pronouncing Guillermo Del Toro’s name, so he just gave her special permission to call him “Totoro” :slight_smile:.


Wow, people have different experiences from you! Shocking!!!


Seriously? Are you living under a rock?

Your incredulity demonstrates my point very well: this is a cultural reference only relevant within a very specific culture (subset of American culture where people are exposed to the restaurants that use that particular type of beef, I guess?). Despite having spent the last 11+ years in the US, I have not encountered the word more than a few times, and it never was important enough to even remember it. And I definitely haven’t ever encountered that word outside of the US.


Not a fan of fast food places or burgers, so not surprised I haven’t been exposed to this beef designation much.

More importantly though, the part “I hope you know [it], otherwise this will be a difficult one to learn” is the least helpful.


Ooo, ooo, this one:

“Eh, one of them is transitive. Who knows?”


For this one, I made up my own:

Since the kanji looks like a gun on a stand, the sound effect when the gun shoots the cow is ぎゅう

Hopefully this helps you memorize it better!


I’ve found my own mnemonics are even lazier. Since I know a lot of vocabulary already (just not the kanji), I will think “Oh that’s the ‘所 (しょ)’ in ‘場所 (ばしょ)’” or “That’s ‘楽 (らく)’ from ‘楽園 (らくえん)’” and oddly that helps sometimes more than the WK mnemonic. But I’m curious to know if people have any alternative mnemonics for the ones they find unhelpful?

Like for example the mnemonic for black 黒 (こく)… instead of “You’re in a completely black room. There’s no way out, and you can’t see. The room starts to fill with liquid. It gets in your mouth. You taste it. It’s Coke (こく)! Mm, tasty Coke.” I would’ve thought something that involves the radicals, like, you’re boiling a village… you’re COOKing it. Which isn’t as close to こく I guess, but it makes more sense to me. Though I think for the most part the WK mnemonics are fun and useful.


I think WaniKani assumes you have some knowledge of Japan and its culture.

Wagyu beef is pretty basic in terms of Japanese culture knowledge.


I don’t agree. I assume you heard about these passively, you didn’t go out of your way to look them up, right? That’s culture. You knew of them because they are or were topics of interest in your culture. Not everyone has the same culture as you do, so you can’t expect them to know everything that you do. That’s ridiculous.


Actually, they are topics of interest in THIS culture, Japanese culture, the one you are studying to understand the language of. I already knew the original name of Totoro because I was already into Japanese culture, animation and other things. I have the movie. I just needed to start learning the language.
If you don’t know these things, you probably should. Look them up in the internet. Find out what these things are. In the long run, it will be better for you since it is a part of the culture of Japanese, the thing you are learning. You would think you would have an interest in it?


That much is true, but they are new to this culture. I think if you are learning Japanese you will eventually learn about these things, as OP just did, but I think it’s too much to expect everyone to know it, and overreaching to say that they should already know it.


No, they don’t have to have already known it, but to have the attitude the OP has is wrong. If they didn’t know it, they should be willing to learn it. They don’t have to be huge fans of it or anything, but at least be willing to learn parts of the culture. I had to look up the mnemonic for ぎゅう because I had never heard of that type of beef. Now that I looked it up, I can remember the mnemonic.


I agree with that, but as the hint for わぎゅう says, if you don’t already know it then it might be hard to learn because it’s self referencing.


Well, I just had to go on the internet to get it in my head once I knew what it was. If it is really difficult for people even after that, they could try to come up with their own mnemonic? There’s a couple I had to do that to.

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I would personally rather just study more kanji/japanese in my studying time than waste it watching a youtube video or read on some unrelated topic just for a mnemonic. Instead I would either make up my own or just skip the mnemonic altogether and try to memorize by shape/comparison to other kanji.

For this one, わぎゅう literally means japanese beef (jisho) and it is a japanese word that you would probably eventually see and use. Why not use a japanese related mnemonic in that case? I think it was a good use there.


Not entirely sure that Jisho is correct in that regard - in Japan, 和牛 refers to the cows. The meat is named by where it comes from - 松坂牛, 神戸ビーフ, 米沢牛 and so forth.


Well theyd better fix that then :sweat_smile:
But in general, it is a japanese word so I wouldnt mind learning a new one in a mnemonic (although I had heard of Wagyu before). As for movies, I wont really go out of my way rather than moving on to the next kanji.

I don’t think OP was saying they weren’t willing to learn about certain cultural aspects. They were just saying that the mnemonic was lazy, because it is basically saying ‘either you know this word already, or tough luck’. And they made a good point that even if you know of the film, you might only know the localized title.

It is like if for 山 the mnemonic had been:. Do you know the brand Yamaha? This is the same yama.

Maybe the WK team tried to make a complicated mnemonic based on the sounds of tonari, but everything ended up too clunky, they gave up and just went with the movie. In the end it sounds lazy :woman_shrugging:


I think the point was you don’t need to go to fancy restaurants to have been exposed to wagyu.

It’s definitely lazy though.