Tokuiwaza/One’s Special Art


(Judo Morote Seoinage:

 I am a Judo Athlete. People ask me what my favorite technique (Tokuiwaza) is. That is the one GIF image above – Morote Seoinage, which is what my Judo Sensei (coach) thinks mine is. I don’t know exactly what my Tokuiwaza is at all, honestly. I cannot do any Judo technique perfectly, so I don’t have any Tokuiwaza. Need more practice – that’s what I mean.

 The expressions like “Tokui” or “Tokui-de aru” are used very often in Japan. So I want to discuss today.

 As a matter of fact, like all other Japanese words, “tokui” has many meanings. However, here are some expressions you will encounter when you go to Japan or you talk with Japanese friends.

 1) “Uchi-no Musume-wa Sugaku-ga Tokuidesu.” = “My daughter is good at Math.”

 2) “Tanaka-kun-wa Hashiru-noga Tokuida.” = “Tanaka is a great runner.”

 3) “Ano Gaka-no Tokui-wa Sansui-da.” = “The artist’s forte is landscape painting.”

 4) “Kare-wa Genshi Butsurigaku-no Hanashi-wo Shita. Tokui-no Danjodatta.” = “He talked on nuclear physics. He was in his element.”

 5) “Dare-demo Jibun-no Tokuina Shigoto-wo Sasereba Umai.” = “Each one is strong on his own ground.”

 Have you noticed that the first person (I) cannot usually be a subject of the sentence? That is, “YOU DON’T BRAG ABOUT YOURSELF.” Yes, that’s Japanese unwritten rule. Nobody likes those who brag about themselves, right? In Japanese, that is very true. First offence may be okay. If you make the second offence, I bet you will find yourself with no friends in Japan. “Be as humble as you can be!” – that is the type of person who is respected most in Japan. Even the parent, who brags about his daughter, like example 1) above, is not popular among the Japanese. Do NOT brag about your family, either! Quite different form here in US, isn’t it?

 On the other hand, “Heta” or “Nigate” – the antonym of “Tokui” – is used by the first person extremely often. In some cases, that is the fact. For example, when you hear one of your friends say, “Watashi-wa Sugaku-ga Nigate-desu,” she means she is definitely poor at Math! When you hear someone say, “Watashi-wa Uta-ga Hetade …,” then he means he is an awful singer. So, it is totally okay for you to tell everybody that you are not good at OOO, but you don’t say that you are very good at cooking.

 Keep your “Tokuiwaza” secret. Use the expressions such as “Heta” or “Nigate.” You will be admired by the Japanese. Cultural difference is HUGE! Always, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do!”

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