Language Lesson

Uki Uki NihonGO + Culture! - Lesson 23 - Animals

Welcome to Uki Uki NihonGO! + Culture


In today's Uki Uki episode, we are focusing on the animal-related words through the fantastic new exhibit "Life of Cats" at Japan Society in New York City.

There are so many delightful animals appearing throughout the beautiful ukiyoe paintings in this exhibit:

Cats are called neko in Japanese.
(shiro neko) white cat
(kuro neko) black cat
(shiro kuro) black & white
 (aka neko) red/brown cat
(mike neko) calico cat
 (tora neko) tiger-patterned cat

Cats can be an auscipicious character that invites good luck. The beckoning cat or (maneki neko) usually has either the right paw or the left paw being raised. The right paw is believed to bring in more people or customers, and the left paw is supposed to bring in more money to the business.

Some cats are (ochame) playful, some are (otonashii) quiet, and some are (itazurazuki) mischievous. Some are even (kowai) scary! You can really see their individual characteristics come to life in these paintings.

Some other animals found in this exhibit are:

(nezumi) mice or rats
(inu) dogs
(tora) tigers
 (raion) lions

12-year Chinese zodiac animals are:
nezumi: rat?ushi: ox?tora: tiger?usagi: rabbit?tatsu: dragon?hebi: snake?uma: horse?hitsuji: sheep?saru: monkey?tori: rooster?inu: dog?and inoshishi: boar
These are called juunishi or eto.

What do all cats love to eat? Fish: sakana, of course!
You can also find katsuo bushi: dried bonito, namazu: catfish and tako: octopus among others in the exhibit.

If you live in or visit the NY metropolitan area, please come check out the artwork and also enjoy discovering the various animals!!

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