February 02, 2007

Happy Birthday in Japanese

February is a month of birthdays in our family. Four of us have birthdays this month. That's a lot of cake! Jiji passed away three years ago. Baba puts some of his favorite things on the altar downstairs on his birthday, but we don't have a cake for him anymore.

This is a chocolate decoration for a cake. If you order a cake from a shop, the baker writes the person's name on it for you. Nowadays, more people have ovens and make their own cakes. I bought this decoration in the food section of a department store. I used a frosting pen to write Little Brother's name on it. I'll post a picture of the pen later.

The letters on this decoration are in hiragana. In romaji, it is "otanjoubi omedetou". That means "Happy Birthday". The polite or formal way to say "Happy Birthday" is "otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu". The Birthday song is sung here, too. In English with Japanese pronunciation, of course.

Note: You may notice that the link, Kids Web Japan, uses a double "oo" to show a long "o" sound. They are writing it phonetically. I have used romaji in my posts to transcribe the hiragana. So instead of otanjoobi I have written it otanjoubi. It is a long "o" sound.

If you are going to write a birthday card for a Japanese person and want to use Japanese but don't want to write hiragana then you should write it in romaji like this otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu.

Check the link to Kids Web Japan below to see hiragana and its corresponding sounds.

Kids Web Japan--pronunciation

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