Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Matsubatsue

More Japanese that you learn only if you end up actually in the hospital (rather than studying textbooks with situational vocabulary) -


(Take from the Japanese wiki entry.)

The word for "crutch" in Japanese is "matsu batsue".  When pronounced, it sounds like two separate words, but when written out, it becomes "matsuba tsue".  "Matsu" is "pine", and "ba" comes from the word "ha", or "leaf", so "matsuba" is "pine needle". "Tsue" is "cane or walking stick".  Put them together, you get "a walking stick that has the shape of a pine needle".  Bet you didn't know that.

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On a different note, I was in the hospital on Monday to get the next x-rays, and the results were promising enough that the doctor order my cast to be trimmed to be more of just an ankle brace.  I was talking to the technician as he was preparing to cut the cast, and I wanted to say that the cloth covering (kind of like a big sock) was really good at keeping the fiberglass of the cast from causing nasty rashes on my leg.  But I didn't know what the Japanese word for fiberglass is, or how to give it a katakana pronunciation.  So, I asked him, and it turns out that he has no idea what fiberglass is.  To him, a cast is a "gipusu" (gips, meaning gypsum powder, or plaster), and that's it.  He didn't know what gypsum is, or that there's a difference between the old style or new style of material.  The box on the shelf had "Orthoglass" printed on it, and it had never occurred to him that the "glass" part of "Orthoglass" might mean "not gypsum".  So, I ended up looking like an idiot to all of the Japanese in the room, and never did manage to make my original point.

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