Japanese Learning Blog – No – nosaido (No side)

This week we will be learning some Katakana Words
“ノーサイド” (“no side”) is a rugby term which means that the game is over. Of course, this is a “gairaigo”, a word borrowed from foreign languages. Apparently, the word “no side”, despite being often used when talking about rugby in Japan, is not used much overseas. It seems that the most used word outside of Japan is “Full time”.
“Side”, in Japanese, translates to “側(がわ)” (“gawa”). This is a common word, as it is used, for example, when reserving a seat on the Shinkansen or on a plane. In that situation, one would say “窓側(まどがわ)お願いします” (“madogawa onegaishimasu”) or “通路(つうろ)側(がわ)お願いします” (“Tsuurogawa onegaishimasu”), meaning, respectively, “I would like a seat near the window” and “I would like a seat near the aisle.”
Therefore, “no side” means that once the match is over, there are not a winning and a losing side. This word, which shows rugby’s philosophy, is a way to show respect for those who have given their best in the match.
So, why is the word “no side” used so much in Japan while being uncommon overseas? I think that that is because of how much Japan loves the “no side” mentality. In traditional Japanese sports, such as sumo, judo, and kendo, respecting your opponent is extremely important. I believe that this Japanese attention to respect can be seen in the use of the word “no side”.
Recently, “gairaigo” with unclear meanings are increasing. On the other hand, many words are not being used anymore. Even if they are not actually used abroad, I wish that words like “no side”, which despite being borrowed from abroad embody the Japanese mentality, would keep on being used.
Next year, in 2019, Japan will host the Rugby World Cup. I think that the Japanese team will play in a very Japanese-like manner, never giving up until the end. I also think that it would be wonderful if more people would get to know about the “no side” word and the “no side” mentality.
About this week’s author: Mr. Shigemi Matsumoto, was a junior high school Japanese teacher for 23 years before joining Coto Language Academy. Therefore, he is a Japanese language pro. He currently teaches Coto’s Intensive Courses (intermediate and advanced), Business Courses and the Part Time N1 grammar and reading classes. He is also involved in developing teaching materials at Coto.

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