Feb
07
2010

Using Pandora on a Japanese iPhone

Last fall, I purchased an iPhone 3GS through Japan’s official distributor for the device, Softbank, along with a two-year phone contract. But since my credit card is based in the US, iTunes kindly directed me to the US store for all my purchases. I was excited to download Pandora (which I had heard many great […]

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Feb
05
2010

Japanese Cheat Sheet

After 2 months of planning and composition (okay, so I did procrastinate quite a bit), I now understand how Moses felt when he descended Mount Sinai with the holy tablets. Behold, Nihonshock’s newly revised and much improved Japanese cheat sheet!

Japanese Cheat Sheet
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Feb
03
2010

Particles: the difference between WA and GA

Japanese particles are both a blessing and a curse. They make Japanese grammar simple and direct, almost like a computer language. They always follow the rules because they are the rules. Particles tell us “this word does this” and “this word does this.” However, these little suffixes can cause tremendous headaches for us English-speaking learners because they group meanings together quite differently than our English equivalents (prepositions), or in some cases have no equivalent at all.

Of the lot, wa (は) and ga (が) are almost undoubtedly the most annoying pair of particles to keep straight. They’re probably the most frequently used particles in the language, so you need to learn them early (note: you won’t master them early), but it’s very difficult to find a decent explanation for them even in big bulky text books. And if you want to make your Japanese teacher sweat, just ask them to explain the difference.

I’ve devoted a lot of introspective soul-searching time to thinking about these two little guys, and in this article, I’m going to do my best to shed some new, meaningful light on the difference between は and が.

Particles: the difference between WA and GA
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Feb
01
2010

Japanese Proverbs: January 2010

It’s been a quiet couple months here at Nihonshock, but this is the first blog post in what’s going to be a busy month!

As usual, here I’ve collected all the proverbs I tweeted in January (looks like I missed one on the 2nd…), including their translations and meanings and other notes, where appropriate. Enjoy, and please follow me if you like them! I’ve been doing this for almost half a year and don’t know how many more months I’ll be able to keep finding new proverbs to tweet, but I still really don’t feel like I’m running out…

Japanese Proverbs: January 2010
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Jan
21
2010

Flavor Success: Chocolate Soda

Seriously, Japan. WTF? “Chocolate Sparkling” from Suntory.

Do you take some sort of sick pleasure in forcing me to drink these ridiculous concoctions!?!?!? Curse you, curse yo….. wait… This is… actually not half bad.

Flavor Success: Chocolate Soda
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Jan
15
2010

Flavor Fail: Chocolate Beer

I’m a Sapporo beer fan. I prefer their brews to Asahi and Kirin, and generally rave about their special releases. So when I saw this on the shelf at my local convenience store, I approached it with an open mind. I like chocolate, I like beer, I like Sapporo. Therefore, I like this, right? right…?

Flavor Fail: Chocolate Beer
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Jan
02
2010

Japanese Proverbs: December 2009

I’m surprised I was able to pull myself away from FFXIII long enough to do my monthly proverb post, yay me!

As usual, I originally tweeted these proverbs throughout December–one per day (except Christmas eve)–and now I’m bringing them all together in a blog post. Enjoy! And please follow me if you like these and want to keep up with the new ones…

Japanese Proverbs: December 2009
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Jan
01
2010

Nihonshock 2010

In any country, the start of a New Year is a time to reflect upon the past and to make goals and plans for the future. In the English-speaking world, we have “New Year’s Resolutions” but in Japan they have 新年の目標 (shinnen no mokuhyou).

How did you do last year? What are your goals for the new year?…

Nihonshock 2010
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Dec
22
2009

Star Wars quotes… in Japanese!

So you want to know how to quote Star Wars in Japanese, do you?

I won’t pretend that I can come up with a useful or sane reason for such an endeavor, but follow me, 若きジェダィ (young Jedi), and I shall show you the ways of the フォース.

Star Wars quotes… in Japanese!
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Dec
10
2009

My trip to a cat cafe

The other day I finally got around to visiting a place that I’ve wanted to check out for some time: a cat cafe.

No, there’s no relationship to maid cafes or anything like that. It’s not even really a place to get a cup of coffee (though they do offer a small selection food and drinks). It’s a “cafe” more in the sense of an internet cafe and the system is almost identical, except instead of a room full of computers you buy time to go into a room full of cats.

Meow, as a cat lover this was purrfectly right up my alley (sorry, but I wanted to get all the puns out of the way early), so I went to check it out one morning…

My trip to a cat cafe
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