Nani-ga sonnani okashii-no-kashira? (What’s so funny about that?)

Situation 1: At home, Mr. & Mrs. Okubo are talking, looking at their daughter Takako who is laughing and watching TV.

夫: たか子、あんなつまらないテレビ番組に笑い転げている。

妻: ほんと。何がそんなにおかしいのかしら。

Otto: Takako, anna tsumaranai terebi-bangumi-ni warai-korogete-iru.

Tsuma: Honto. Nani-ga sonnani okashii-no-kashira.

Husband: Takako is laughing so hard at a dull TV show!

Wife: Oh, really. What’s so funny about it?

Today, we will introduce the adjective おかしい (funny/strange), and compare it with another adjective おもしろい (funny/interesting). In Situation 1, Mrs. Okubo’s おかしいmeans that something is funny, comical or humorous, etc., something that elicits laughter. In this usage, おもしろい can replace おかしい. For emphasizing that something is funny, おもしろおかしいcan be used, as in 彼(かれ)はみんなの前(まえ)で、昨日(きのう)のことをおもしろおかしく話(はな)した (He talked in front of everybody about what happened yesterday in a funny way).

But, おもしろい is used to mean interesting too, as in 政治(せいじ)の話(はなし)は確(たし)かにおもしろいが、食卓(しょくたく)の話題(わだい)としては避(さ)けたほうがいい (Talking about politics is certainly interesting, but we should avoid adopting it as the subject at the table). In this usage, おもしろい cannot be replaced by おかしい.

Situation 2: Mitsuo comes home and has a bite of a sweet.

光男: あれっ、このお菓子、味がおかしいよ。なんだか、ちょっと、すっぱい。

母: え? …あら、これ、賞味期限が3か月も前だ。ごめん、箱のすみのほうに、一つだけ残っていたのね。

Mitsuo: Are, kono okashi, aji-ga okashii-yo. Nandaka, chotto, suppai.

Haha: E? … Ara, kore, shōmi-kigen-ga sankagetsu-mo mae-da. Gomen, hako-no sumi-no hō -ni, hitotsu-dake nokotte-ita-no-ne.

Mitsuo: Hey, what this? This sweet tastes strange; it’s a little sour.

Mother: What? Oh no, the best-eaten-before-period finished three months ago. Sorry, maybe only one was left in the corner of the box.

おかしい also means that something is strange, odd, awkward or abnormal, etc., as in: 考え方(かんがえかた, thoughts)/ 態度(たいど, attitude)がおかしい or 目(め)つきがおかしい(with a strange eye expression). This usage has nothing to do with おもしろい.

Bonus Dialogue: Three young colleagues are chatting about a program on television yesterday.

三田: 昨日(きのう)の漫才(まんざい)フェスティバル、おもしろかったなあ。

セレ: あ、ぼくも見(み)たよ。ぼくは「爆笑(ばくしょう)問題(もんだい)」の二人(ふたり)が一番(いちばん)好(す)きだ。

三田: うん、あのペアは、最高(さいこう)におかしかったね。

グレイ: 私(わたし)、じつは漫才のおかしさが全然(ぜんぜん)わからないの。

三田: だけど、グレイさんは、ぼくの冗談(じょうだん)に、一番笑(わら)ってくれる人だよ。

セレ: あ、そういえば、そうだ。さっきも、三田(みた)くんのつまらない冗談(じょうだん)に笑いころげていたよね。

三田: つまらない冗談なんかじゃないよ。ぼくのユーモア感覚(かんかく)は国際的(こくさいてき)ってことだ。

セレ: だけど、三田くんの冗談は、いつも「ふとんがふっとんだ」みたいな、ダジャレばっかりじゃない。

グレイ: えっ、「ふとんがふっとんだ」? うわあ、それ、おもしろーい!(わらいころげる。)

三田・セレ: (かおをみあわせる)グレイさんのユーモア感覚も、ちょっと理解(りかい)できないなあ…。

Mita: “The Comic Festival” on TV last night was really fantastic.

Sere: Oh, I watched it, too. I liked the pair named Bakushō Mondai best.

Mita: Yeah, they were the most entertaining.

Gray: To tell the truth, I don’t see anything interesting about that kind of comedy.

Mita: But, you’re the No.1 person who laughs at my jokes, Ms. Gray.

Sere: Yeah, that’s true. That reminds me of when you were bending over with laughter after you heard Mita’s bad jokes, Ms. Gray.

Mita: They’re not bad jokes. They show that my sense of humor is international.

Sere: But, Mita, your jokes are always bad puns, like “A down quilt has fallen down.”

Gray: What? “A down quilt has fallen down”? Oh wow! That’s is funny! (She bursts into laughter.)

Mita & Sere: (Looking at each other) We don’t understand Ms. Gray’s sense of humor, either.

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