Dajare is a kind of comic Japanese wordplay, which can be best compared to Western puns. It relies on similarities in the pronunciation of words in a short sentence to create a joke.
There are a great number of famous dajare that should be known by every child in Japan. Such kind of classic dajare, however, might not necessarily guarantee laughs. Dajare in general are often referred to as oyaji gyagu (“Old person’s jokes”).
Nonetheless, dajare serve as excellent icebreakers, for instance, when trying to flirt with a beautiful Japanese girl (or boy!). Even when you use a well-tried dajare, you might get a smile, and perhaps even a compliment on your sensational Japanese skills. If, however, you should get a less excited reaction, you might want to try one of the following – a little more creative – dajare next time.
Meaning: What does a panda eat? Bread.
What better place for a first date is there than the zoo? And if it doesn’t go well, this dajare will definitely change the mood.
Meaning: When a swan sneezes, it goes…achoo”
Who wouldn’t go on another date with you after that great panda joke? With this dajare up your sleeve, the place for the second date is a no-brainer: feed the swans at the lake.
Meaning: The tiger is shaking. Why? Because he’s in trouble!
In case you missed the panda cage at the zoo.
Meaning: Which bust size do English girls have? A T-cup.
Perhaps not the best joke to use on a date, but it surely will get a laugh out of your drinking buddies!
Meaning: May I eat this squid?
Having dinner and the conversation is running dry? Perhaps this dajare will get the ball rolling again.
Meaning: Wine doesn’t agree with me.
This dajare is perfect for when you want to slow the drinking pace and lighten the mood at the same time.
Meaning: This candy is so sweet!
What better way is there to thank someone after being given a treat than by making him laugh with this delightful dajare!
Meaning: My stomach really hurts.
If people don’t think you’re a champ for making jokes even when in great pain, their hearts must be made of stone.
Meaning: Could you lend me those matches? Thank you very much!
Not only are you being polite but you’re also making people laugh. If you aren’t popular already, you will be after this!
Hey, are you taking baths regularly? VS. Do you take baths with your sister?
This last dajare is actually a pun disguised as a trick question! Depending on whether you pronounce the sentence more as “Nee (pause) chanto” or as “Nee-chan (pause) to”, its meaning changes from “Hey, are you taking baths regularly?” to “Do you take baths with your sister?”
Whoever you ask this question will probably assume you’re talking about taking baths. As soon as he or she answers with “yes”, the fun part begins!
Hopefully you learned a little something from this dajare! Use them on your next outing and see how it goes!