Shitto 嫉妬 – Jealousy

Jealousy – this is another word I have often needed to know but not had at my disposal.

little-mozartOn Sunday there was a show on NHK about abnormal development in young children.  They started out by talking about kids with development problems and how they can be fixed with special attention and education at a very early age.

They then spent the bulk of the time focusing on Marc Yu, the so called ‘Little Mozart’ who is only 9 years old but is already well on the way to being a classical pianist.  The title of the show was ‘My Brilliant Brain’ and was basically 30 minutes of fawning and adoration for this kid.  The show was supposed to be investigating how and why kids become so brilliant, using a lot of scientists to talk about left brain right brain, nature vs nurture and so on.  But I thought the show missed the point completely.  Consider the following points:

  • The boy has no siblings.
  • His mother was (until very recently) single
  • His mother seems quite well off.

As a result of these three things, obviously the mother can give the boy so much more attention than a regular boy would get.  There’s no distraction from a sibling, no Dad to cook for and clean up after, and no job to take mum out of the house.  I am just guessing, but I can imagine she poured a massive amount of time and attention into the boy and this is the reason the boy became ‘The Man’ on the piano.  Of course nature helps (if he had no hands it might be something of a disadvantage for example), but I believe it is 90% nurture.  If any of the three items above were not true, I believe he would not have turned out to be this child prodigy.  And I believe if genetically different children were put in the same situation they would turn out similarly.  (Now a really good tv show would take some babies and make them into Plato’s “Philosopher Kings” – that would be something to watch…)

Obviously, I am just jealous because the boy is so good at the piano 🙂 But this is an issue quite close to the bone for us because we are always trying to teach our own kids various things, but it is difficult when you have two little ones around the same age.  Its very difficult to get a nice quiet environment where they can study something alone without the other one smashing them over the head with something.

“Two kids = three times the work” as I always say.

Translation Notes

I have just checked on ALC for the translation of Jealousy and I can reveal with much glee that the translation is SHITTO!

Interestingly (and amusingly) both of the kanji in shitto (嫉 and 妬) have ‘woman’ as the left radical.  I wonder what those kanji mean in isolation.

Jealousy can also be translated as NETAMI ねたみ or just plain old katakana JYERASHII ジェラシー.

A more obscure translation is YAKIMOCHI 焼きもち, literally meaning ‘cooked or burnt rice cake’ which is also easy to remember.  In English there are often two ways of saying the same word: the coarse Germanic way or the romantic Latin way.  In Japanese I notice a similar thing sometimes: the standard way and the “yokel farmer” way such as above.

Those annoying phrases like ‘nebaneba’ (sticky, viscous), ‘tekateka’ (shiny), ‘pikapika’, ‘garigari’ etc sound babyish to me and (without any evidence or study to back it up!) I blame the yokel farmers totally for their existence.

Down with the yokels.  Let them eat shitto.

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