Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bottom Grabbing on Twitter: How to Play the Japanese Word Game Shiritori

Bottom Grabbing on Twitter: How to play the Japanese word game Shiritori

When I starting dating in Japan I used to play this game quite a bit. It was a fabulous vocabulary builder and just perfect for long drives to the beach. You can play it with any number of people, and often it can stretch in to hours, days even. This game of shiritori on eduFire has been running over 10 months now, and this game on has generated over 150 comments!

We played in my Fast Track to Fluency in Japanese on eduFire and got a great kick out of it, so I decided to see if anyone on twitter would take up the challenge with the hashtag #shiritori.

Pretty soon we had a small game going that was easy enough to follow with the hashtag #shiritori.

Jeff (@Beta_guy) starts with the word くるま (kuruma | car) and we're off and running!

ShiiraShiira (@ShiiraShiira) jumps in with a pine tree! Look out!

monchalee (@monchalee) takes the stage with a tsunami!

ShiiraShiira is all ears, you can play this game with romaji just as well.

I have a small worm farm at the moment so they are never far from my heart, or my leftovers. The link is to Ajax IME, a web-based Japanese input method, very handy if your machine isn't set up for Japanese input.

ShiiraShiira puts AjaxIME to good use and comes up pantsu...

We have to finish the game there, because ズボン(ずぼん | zubon | pants) ends in an ん (n). There are some basic rules for shiritori on wikipedia, which I have adapted for use on twitter. Almost anyone can play this game, no matter what their level of Japanese is so let's play!

Basic Rules for Shiritori on Twitter

  • Play in turns, easy to do if you follow the hashtag #shiritori.
  • Use an @ reply, only to indicate who you are responding to, let the hashtag take care of the rest.
  • Use nouns only; verbs and adjectives are out.
  • Don't use ん (n) as the last character in a word or the game finishes, there are no words starting with ん (n).
  • Don't repeat words.
  • Use phrases connected with の only if they are worthy of being called words, like 男の子(おとこのこ | otokonoko | boy) but not 今週の土曜日(こんしゅうのどようび | konshuunodoyoubi | this Saturday)

Optional Rules

  • Ignore dakuten and handakuten, the tenten or circle you see to the right of some words.
  • Ignore long vowels or use as a vowel.
  • Don't use pronouns or place names. Anything that would be capitalised is out.
  • Permit words spelled with the same kana but different kanji. For example using both 雲(くも| kumo | cloud) and クモ(くも | kumo | spider) is acceptable.

Advanced Rules

  • Limit words to a certain genre.
  • Use the last two kana in every word, neither kana may be ん (n).
  • The length of a word must be three or more mora.
  • Only words beginning and ending in dakuten or handakuten may be used.
Come and join the fun on twitter by following the hashtag #shiritori. If you think you'd like more fun learning Japanese, why don't you try my Fast Track to Fluency in Japanese on eduFire?
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