Friday, March 24, 2006


Slightly delayed, this week's Japanese word is a simple one, but one important to Japanese culture and likely to come up now and again in discussions of Japan.

(o)tera = temple, Buddhist in nature

The prefix o here used is an honorific one, designating politeness and the importance of temples in Japan. It is not necessary, but is often used. Other common examples of using the o prefix are osushi (only occasionally used) and ocha (cha being the word for tea; here, the o is in fact almost never dropped).

Not to be confused with shinden which is the word used to indicate a mere "house of worship" (ie., non-Buddhist), or komekami, the temple where headaches occur (ie., the side of your head).

No comments: