The Millionaire Question

Wanted to post this real quick. As i’m doing other things, I tend to have Japanese media playing in the background. Of course, there are times I sit and watch what’s going on, and I get curious as to what exactly they are talking about. “Who wants to be a millionaire” naturally is a question and answer show, so when I popped this DVD in today a question popped up that I couldn’t ignore. Primarily because I could recognize every Kanji on screen, but I didn’t know all the readings yet. Here is the screenshot.   By just looking on the question I can see they are asking “How many meters long is ……. ?” But I don’t know what “…….” is! I recognize the first part as “nihonjin” 日本人 Then I had to go through and look up the rest. I learned some pretty useful words, and one I will probably forget if I don’t see if often.

Breaking it down.

Okay so I know the question is asking how long something is. I can’t just “infer” what the meaning is without looking it up, so I jumped to my trusty Kotoba application and search for the Kanji I already knew. So I have the question below with the stuff I don’t know highlighted.


Using “Heisig speak” I can see that its… ” Japanese person’s , turn into person, male sex, small, intestine, long, something “。So now I can see that the question relates to how long the small intestines are, but I still don’t know the specific Kanji meanings. So after listening to the lady say it a few times, I heard the following words clearly.

成人  (せいじん) ー adult

男性  (だんせい) ー male

小腸(しょうちょう)ー small intestine

So the question in its entirety now in hiragana.

にほんじん の せいじん だんせい の しょうちょう の ながさは、およぞ なんm?

the last part of the question through inference is “how many meters long”, being technical is “the length 長さ、(ながさ)about how many meters?”

I dont’ really know what “およそ” means, but I’m guessing it means “range”, “roughly” or something like that. Either way, sometimes going on inference is okay, but looking up the words and then rewatching the video sequence will shed a whole new light on the meaning of the question. I think those new words I learned are pretty common, so if i keep seeing/hearing them, I believe I should retain the meaning.


About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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