The Funniest Japanese-English Dictionary On the Web

I’m an Asian Studies major concentrating in Japanese, so I’m good friends with several dictionaries, online and in print. I’ve got hella writing assignments this Spring term, so I’ve been using them quite a bit. I found (or was shown?) the online dictionary at SPACE ALC years ago. One of the reasons I really like this dictionary is that you can look up not just words, but entire phrases. Need to know how to say “hush someone up” or “make oneself presentable” in Japanese? The ALC’s got you covered!

There is one weird thing: its sample sentences run the gamut from useful to funny to seriously-WTF-was-the-writer-thinking. To be fair to ALC, some of its sample sentences come from the Hiragana Times, a publication apparently aimed at helping people learn Japanese. Here is a small sample of sentences I’ve come across recently, with the word or phrase I was looking up in [brackets], and my reaction in {this kind of brackets}. I’m not making any of this up! Word to the ultra-polite, the following does include so-called “bad” words.

[Don’t remember what I was looking up with this one.]
I wish I could have snappy comebacks anytime.

{So true! Like George on Seinfeld, I think up a comeback hours too late. Only I don’t stop what I’m doing to go tell it.}

[Ditto previous.]
I wish I could sink into the floor.

{At the time I thought this was just cute, but it seems to be a pretty common way to express embarrassment in Japanese.}

Even women who claim to be liberated pretend to be virgins when they’re with men and have a side to them where they can’t really be themselves unless they’re with another woman.

{Waoow, wtf? This one came from the Hiragana Times. It bothers me on a few levels. One is the implication that all liberated women are sexually active. Well, maybe in Japan they think “liberated” refers strictly to sexual liberation, when to me it refers to being freed from the overall oppression of The Man, sexual and otherwise. You can’t be “liberated” if you’re not the one deciding how to express your sexuality. I also dislike the implication that women are fake. As if men don’t put a little bit more bass in their voice when trying to run game. Please! Okay, promise I’ll get back to the funny stuff on the next few. }

He kept the binoculars trained on that sexy girl.

{Stalker, much?}

[run into]
If I run into Bob I’ll kick him in the balls.

{Bob must be the stalker from the previous sentence, lol.}

[出ろ –that is, “dero.” I was making sure that was the command form.]
Step outside, motherfucker!

{Seems like the sexy girl is confronting Bob! She’s not gonna take his shit! Now that’s liberated.}

However, robots are supposedly programmed not to harm humans.

{Just in time for Terminator: Salvation! Or preferably, Gackt’s song “Ghost.” Well, that’s still kinda Terminator related.}

“Women supposedly want men to be tall and make over one hundred thousand dollars a year.” “That counts me out.”

{Sucks to be that guy! That’s my vindictive side, btw.}

[shoot at–though I was looking for with arrows specifically]
shoot at pedestrians with a pistol

{Why…pedestrians specifically? Gotta watch my back.}

destroy evidence related to errors committed during a heart surgery operation

{Don’t go to that hospital!}

UPDATE: So there I am, on the excellent Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC, when I come across this gem:

When the shooting died down a bit, Daddy ran over to our flat and brought us back some sandwiches.


{Why the f*** are you worried about sandwiches right now?!?!}


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