Let’s learn how to translate numbers to Japanese.
one (Eng.) – ichi (Jap.): There’s one very irritating itch (ichi) on your back and you use a backscratcher shaped like a giant number one to scratch it.
two (Eng.) – ni (Jap.): You have giant number two artistically tattooed on your knee (ni).
three (Eng.) – san (Jap.): You feel a little hot so you look at the sky to check out the sun (san) and behold there are three.
four (Eng.) – yon (Jap.): You see four people yawning (yon) melodiously in four voices: bass, tenor, alto and suprano.
five (Eng.) – go (Jap.): You see a man with a hand up with five fingers extended and you’re confused because he’s shouting “go” (go) instead of “stop”.
six (Eng.) – roku (Jap.): You are juggling six rocks (roku) with loud rock (roku) music playing in the background.
seven (Eng.) – nana (Jap.): You see the seven dwarfs dressed, dancing and singing like The Backstreet Boys singing the “na na na na na na na na na na na” (nana) part of the song “I’ll Be There For You” of The Backstreet Boys.
eight (Eng.) – hachi (Jap.): A giant black billiards eight-ball all of a sudden shakes and then hatches (hachi) and eight chicks come out.
nine (Eng.) – kyû (Jap.): You are playing a very weird game of nine-ball billiards because instead of using the cue (kyû) stick to hit the white cue (kyû) ball to hit the yellow-striped nine ball, it is done in reverse. You roll the nine-ball to hit the cue (kyû) ball and it finally hits the cue (kyû) stick.
ten (Eng.) – jû (Jap.): Imagine Moses in the movie, The Ten Commandments. But this time instead of wearing robes, he dressed up as a rabbi, a Jew (jû), wearing a broad-brimmed black hat, sporting an untrimmed long bushy beard, wearing a black outfit with a white scarf with blue stripes around his neck. He stands up on a mountain and lifts up the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments of God.
hundred (Eng.) – hyaku (Jap.): You watch The 300 (The Three Hundred). The movie is towards the end already and about a hundred only are left. They continue to hack and slash they enemies dismembering and decapitating them and piling them into a wall of dead bodies. The stench and bloody gore caused by these hundred men is too much. “Yuck!” (hyaku).
thousand (Eng.) – sen (Jap.): There are a thousand people jam packed in a zen (sen) garden behind a Zen (sen) Buddhist Temple. However, they are not irritated or bothered at all in spite of the crowd because they are all in a trance practicing zen (sen) meditation.
million (Eng.) – hyakuman (Jap.): The contestant in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is a man with garbage and sewage all over him. He stinks so much that the host says, “Yuck, man!” (hyakuman). Surprisingly he wins the jackpot of a million dollars.
Translating numbers from English to Japanese is easy. Take for example the number 25. It is equal to 2 tens and 5 so it is simply translated as nijûgo, that is: 2 (ni) 10s (jû) .and 5 (go)
Let’s work on these numbers:
47 – yonjûnana, that is: 4 (yon) 10s (jû) and 7 (nana)
932 – kyûhyakusanjûni, that is 9 (kyû) 100s (hyaku) 3 (san) 10s (jû) and 2 (ni)
8,561 – hachisengohyakurokujûichi, that is 8 (hachi) 1000s (sen) 5 (go) 100s (hyaku) 6 (roku) 10s (jû) and 1 (ichi)
If the number of millions, thousands, hundreds and tens is only one, you don’t have to put “ichi” before “hyakuman”, “sen”, “hyaku” and “jû”.
19 – jûkyû, that is 10 (jû) and 9
120 – hyakunijû, that is 100 and 2 (ni) 10s (jû)
1,111 – senhyakujûichi, that is 1000 (sen) 100 (hyaku) 10 (jû) and 1 (ichi)