This marks our first real encounter with the complexities of Japanese honorifics. Some words are considered humble while other words are considered respectful and figuring out which ones to use in any given situation can even give a native a run for their money.
Also, happy Mother’s Day. Not that this strip was originally published on Mother’s Day or anything. But odds are good at some point in the future someone will read this comic on Mother’s Day.
母 = はは = mother (humble)
お母さん = おかあさん = mother (respectful)
Mama Mother Mom
Blue: Back to your normal outfit?
Yellow: Yeah. I decided dressing up like an oriental schoolgirl was kind of silly.
Yellow: Also, when my mom found out I had worn my 制服 to school she took it away.
Yellow: She said I can’t have it back until Halloween.
Blue: That reminds me, there are two common words for mother in 日本語.
Blue: When talking ABOUT your own mother you use 母(はは).
Blue: But when talking TO your mother or about someone else’s mother you use お母さん(おかあさん).