Death by Acronym: Part 2

Friday, March 5th, 2010

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We start with Alberto’s haiku calendar for March. It’s lovely, as always, but there’s one difference this time; he’s the one who wrote the haiku! お疲れさまでした! (Otsukaresamadeshita! Good job!)



See the comments section for his explanation of this haiku.

Now we’ll return from the ethereal haiku world and come back down to earth with a thud! In an ongoing investigation of (GEKI, hage(shii): violent, intense, agitated, sudden), I’ve come across a sample sentence with the following translation:

When the flight crew has the aircraft under control, everything is working normally, and yet it still crashes into the ground, that’s CFIT.

Really? You call that CFIT? Not “all hell has broken loose for no good reason” but just “CFIT”? Sounds rather mild, I would say.

“CFIT” stands for “Controlled flight into terrain,” a situation in which a pilot inadvertently crashes into terrain, an obstacle, or water, perhaps because of fatigue, poor visibility, or disorientation. That’s all neatly summed up in the acronym CFIT. Strange. Even stranger that I’d never heard of this until led the way.

The Japanese version of this sentence (which you’ll see in a bit) features the following word:

激突 (gekitotsu: crash into; clash)     violent + to collide

Where We’ve Seen

For better or for worse, will come in handy after a CFIT. You can use it to describe not only the crash but also your feelings:

激憤 (gekifun: resentment; indignation)     intense + anger

The second kanji is hard to see. Here it is again: .

激情 (gekijō: violent emotion; passion; fury)     violent + emotion

In both words, the second kanji features the “heart” radical, heart.png. No wonder! And the enraged, violently (激しく) beating heart finds an outlet in language:

激語 (gekigo: harsh language)     violent + language

This rare term refers to harsh words uttered out of anger.

You may utter some of your own 激語 after seeing the daunting sample sentence about CFIT. It’s gnarly-looking, and your motivation to study Japanese may abruptly take a CFIT. But don’t despair! We can work through it bit by bit (by bit by bit). Here it is:


See how many characters you recognize. I bet there are quite a few. The question is whether you know the compound in which you’ve spotted them. For instance, and may be familiar, but do you know how they act in a pair? Same question for and . Ah, the ever-shifting nature of kanji!

Speaking of shifting, I’ll meet you on the side page for a breakdown of all this vocabulary.

Breakdown of the Sentence …

If you have just a little more energy for self-testing, try your hand at the Verbal Logic Quiz.

Verbal Logic Quiz …

6 Responses to “Death by Acronym: Part 2”

  1. avatar Alberto Says:


    Today’s haiku:

    (koen de hashiru kodomo to haru no ame)

    The other day we were playing in the park near our house, and although it is still cold, according to the traditional Japanese calendar it is already spring. The kids were playing and enjoying the park, as they were the only kids playing in such cloudy (and still cold) weather. Somehow, they had fun and it reminded me of the days when we almost always played outside, the days when we didn’t have any Nintendos or 24-hour TV programs for kids. The days when we used to get our hands in the mud and taste the essence of nature through all our senses.

    Suddenly, it started to rain and the kids ran home, laughing and still enjoying themselves. The rain was cold and unpleasant, but it was nice to share with them some moments in this early spring Saturday. In this haiku, I wanted to transmit my sense of this particular moment.

    The kigo is: 春の雨 haru no ame (spring rain).

  2. avatar Alberto Says:

    I forgot to mention that in case anyone is interested in a high-resolution picture, please go to under Nihongo corner, or right-click this link and save it in your folder.

    I use it as a desktop image for the month so I can have a quick view of the local festivities in Japan, such as March 22nd, which is 春分の日, Shunbun no Hi (Spring Equinox). Actually, the Equinox will be on the 21st, Sunday, so in order to have a real holiday it is passed onto the next available working day: 振替休日(ふりかえきゅうじつ)

  3. avatar Laura Says:

    What a great haiku, calendar, story, and blog! I do indeed miss those days when we “used to get our hands in the mud and taste the essence of nature through all our senses.” It is no wonder the planet is suffering - we do not have any connection with her anymore! The dissonance between the beautiful story of children enjoying the outdoors and the featured Kanji makes me smile. A great Kanji to know to discuss the issues of the planet suffering perhaps!

  4. avatar Hiroshi Says:

    Hi, Alberto and Laura, I know what you are talking about! I was so sunburned playing outdoors that my father used to say that he couldn’t tell the rear end from the front end of my head. And you know the first question my teacher in elementary school used to ask of me in the morning? “Hey, Mori, how many fish did you catch yesterday?”
    My question is, what kind of haiku will thoe present-day kids who are playing with Nintendos be making when they grow up?

  5. avatar Eve Kushner Says:

    Looks like Alberto really struck a chord with his comment, which was just as beautiful as the calendar and haiku! It’s such a wonderful time of year to reconnect with nature; I’ve been enjoying walking to my office (instead of driving), passing over creeks with small waterfalls that have come to life with the winter rains. Trees are budding here; it’s kind of a silly thought, but I’m always amazed that they “know how” to do this, turning wood into leaves! Anyway, it’s nice that even though I chose the “violence” kanji to write about, Alberto prompted the conversation to go in a more poetic, sensitive direction!

  6. avatar Alberto Says:

    Thank you Laura, Hiroshi and Eve for your kind words! Much appreciated.

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