Playing with words

Another day, another drunken official?

To begin — since we must inevitably begin somewhere — here is a little blurb regarding a news story that has been amusing me and embarrassing Japan for the past 24 hours or so. As I ate my breakfast yesterday, absently watching the morning news, Finance Minister Nakagawa appeared on screen and I turned to my husband to say disbelievingly, “He’s drunk.”

Mr Nonaka looked at the screen with a doubtful expression. “You think so?”

“He is so drunk,” I scoffed, and today the media seems to agree.

Whachoo lookin' at?

What's not to love?


G7(先進7カ国財務相・中央銀行総裁会議)終了後会見での「泥酔疑惑」が持ち上がっている中川昭一財務相(55)が16日、「風邪薬を普通の量より多め に飲んだのが原因」と釈明した。自らの進退にも言及。野党も責任を追及しており、「がけっぷち」麻生内閣が前代未聞の“酔いどれ退陣”に追い込まれる可能 性も出てきた。

(Reproduced from Sanspo news 2009.2.17 05:03)

中川昭一 【なかがわしょういち】 Nakagawa Shouichi (1953-)
財務相 【ざいむそう】 Minister of Finance (abbr.)
ヘロヘロ exhausted, weak, flimsy (in this case, perhaps tipsy or wobbly)
薬 【くすり】 medicine, drugs
酒 【さけ】 alcohol
相乗効果 【そうじょうこうか】 combined effect (in this case, drug interaction)
先進 【せんしん】  advanced
か国 【かこく】 counter for countries
中央銀行【ちゅうおうぎんこう】 central bank
総裁 【そうさい】 president (of an organization, not a country — that’d be 大統領, of course)
会議 【かいぎ】 meeting, assembly
終了 【しゅうりょう】 end, completion
-後 【-ご】 after (suffix)
会見 【かいけん】 interview
泥酔 【でいすい】 dead drunk
疑惑 【ぎわく】 doubts
持ち上がる 【もちあがる】to raise (both literally and figuratively)
-日 【-にち, -か】 counter for days
風邪薬 【かぜぐすり】 cold medicine
普通 【ふつう】 ordinary, usual
量 【りょう】 quantity, amount
より than, from (used in comparative statements)
多め 【おおめ】 extra, more
飲む 【のむ】 to drink, to swallow
原因 【げんいん】 cause
釈明 【しゃくめい】 explanation (away, as in account for something that generally hasn’t gone over well)
自ら 【みずから】 one’s own, one’s self
進退 【しんたい】advance or retreat (in this case, the question of retirement)
言及 【げんきゅう】 refer to, allude
野党 【やとう】 opposition party
責任 【せきにん】 responsibility
追及して 【ついきゅうして】 investigation (e.g. into someone’s guilt), hounding
がけっぷち edge (e.g. of a cliff), critical moment
麻生 【あそう】 Asou (referring to Asou Tarou, current prime minister)
内閣 【ないかく】 cabinet, ministry
前代未聞 【ぜんだいみもん】 unheard-of; unprecedented; unparalleled in history
酔いどれ 【よいどれ】 drunkard
退陣 【たいじん】 withdrawal; retirement
追い込む 【おいこむ】 to corner, to drive
可能性 【かのうせい】 possibility
出る 【でる】 to appear or come out;to leave or exit

直訳 (literal translation):
Finance Minister Nakagawa’s tipsy-ness was “interaction between medicine and alcohol”

Finance Minister Nakagawa, who raised questions about his drunkenness at an interview after the conclusion of the G7 (the meeting between finance ministers and central bank presidents of seven advanced countries), made excuses on the 16th that “the cause was taking a larger than normal dose of cold medicine.” He has alluded to resignation. The opposition party is pressing for responsibility and the possibility has also come out that Aso’s cabinet, now at a critical point, will be driven to an unprecedented “drunkard retreat.”

意訳 (slightly more liberal translation):
Nakagawa’s tipsy performance due to “interaction between medicine and alcohol”

Japan’s Finance Minister Nakagawa, who raised questions with his apparent drunkenness at an interview following the G7 summit (the meeting between finance ministers from seven advanced countries), yesterday made his excuses by stating that “the cause of my behavior was an overdose of cold medicine.” The minister has alluded to his possible resignation. The opposition party is pressing for responsibility in this matter and Prime Minister Aso’s teetering cabinet may be driven to an unprecedented “drunken retreat.”

P.S., he resigned.


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