The second set of new JETs arrived yesterday. They’ll spend today and tomorrow in Tokyo at an orientation conference and then will ship out on Wednesday to small towns and big cities across Japan. For the next month or so there are no classes, so they’ll putz around on the Internet, help the students practice for the English speech contest, and get used to life.
At the end of August, classes will begin and they’ll all be shocked at the low level of English at Junior High School. One particularly deep-rooted annoyance is the overuse and misuse of the word “interesting.”
Anyone who has taught a class or two will know what I mean. In Japanese, おもしろい means both interesting and funny. It means interesting as in “curious,” not as in “I’d like to research that thouroughly.”
So you end up with sentences like this:
Shin is an interesting boy.
I like volleyball. Volleyball is interesting.
Both perfectly normal grammatically, but a bit off, especially the final one, with the usage of interesting.
The funny thing is that while English teachers spend all their time griping about how narrow the vocabulary of their students is, their own Japanese vocabulary is probably equally if not more narrow. 好き is clearly the biggest offender here. This 好き, that 好き, beer 好き, Japan 好き. Yada yada yada.
An easy way to vary this expression is the word 大好物 (だいこうぶつ). As you can tell from the characters, it means, starting from the end, “thing-like-a lot” – something you really like/love/enjoy.
The usage is simple – Xが大好物です。Something is a 大好物 (to you). So next time you’re considering throwing out a 好き or 大好き, remember those annoying students who misuse interesting and use 大好物 instead.
UPDATE: This pattern is used strictly for FOODS that you like. Sorry for any inconveniences. Remember, making mistakes = good.