bilingual friendly

Just a couple pet peeves about Yuri on Ice fanfiction from your friendly neighborhood bilingual:

1.) Yuuri would never refer to his sister as simply “Mari.” Japanese kids (even grown up) always refer to their older siblings with an honorific. In the show, Yuuri calls Mari “Mari-nee-chan” (sometimes spelled “Mari-neechan.”) You can also get away with just “nee-chan” but never “Mari” by itself. (I’ve also seen some people try this weird fusion, hybrid thing “Mari-nee”–without the “chan”–and that’s… just not done. Sorry.

2.) Not all Japanese characters are kanji. Japanese characters can be broken up into three sections: kanji (Chinese characters), hiragana (phonetic Japanese characters), and katakana (phonetic Japanese characters for foreign words/emphasis/etc.) So when I see something like “[character] can’t read the kanji,” I know what you’re trying to say (that they can’t read Japanese), but what you imply is that they can read the hiragana/katakana. Just so you know.

3.) This one’s a little complicated, but I’m gonna break it down for you: So, you’re familiar with Yurio’s tendency to call Mila “Babacheva,” right? Okay, so that’s a Japanese joke. “Baba” is a derogatory (or at least very casual) way of referring to an elderly woman. So, basically, he’s sneaking “old lady” into Mila Babicheva’s name. What I’m trying to say is, if your AU doesn’t take place in Japan or in a world where Japan doesn’t exist, maybe give her a different nickname…? Because it just doesn’t make sense otherwise. (And I can already hear people like, “But Yurio doesn’t speak Japanese, so how does the joke work in canon?” and I’m sorry, but that’s Kubo-sensei’s problem, not mine. I don’t make the news–just report it.)

I hope this has been informative. I’ll add any others I think of later. (And feel free to add your own if you also speak Japanese!)

EDIT: I’ve been told the “baba” joke works in Slavic languages too! Thanks for the info, guys!