Dec
01
2009

Japanese Proverbs: November 2009

This is a collection of Japanese proverbs that I tweeted throughout November 2009. I missed a couple days when I was out with a hangover (sorry, I’ll be more responsible next time), that’s why there’s only 27.

Japanese Proverbs: November 2009
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Nov
30
2009

The latest otaku craze: lap pillows

I’ve been seeing these around a lot lately at both otaku-ish locations and regular department stores too (two of these 3 pictures I took at Loft in Sakae, Nagoya). They’re an interesting item, playing on the Japanese word 膝枕 (hiza makura), which is made up of the characters for “lap” and “pillow” and usually refers to resting your head in someone’s lap.

The latest otaku craze: lap pillows
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Nov
28
2009

The many ways to say “I”

One of the many unique and intriguing features of Japanese is the vast selection of words you have available to choose from when you want to say “I.”Each of these words has a different connotation reflecting the speaker’s view of his/herself and relationship to the listener.

For this article, I’m introduce to you my personal collection of “I” words that I’ve encountered here in Japan (even if I’ve only seen them once or twice in obscure contexts). Hopefully, this list will help to prepare you for your own Japanese adventures.

The many ways to say “I”
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Nov
26
2009

Party games with panty hose?

Yep, I’ve been hanging around the 100 yen stores again. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to pull pantyhose over the top of your head? Have you ever wondered what someone’s face would look like with pantyhose pulled over their head?

Well have I got the item for you! Check out this… novel …100 yen Japanese party game. I haven’t tried it myself, but apparently it’s a very funny “tag” of war.

Party games with panty hose?
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Nov
25
2009

How I studied kanji

Kanji is the most common stumbling block for Japanese learners. It’s easy to see why: there are 1,945 Joyo kanji, hundreds more non-Joyo kanji that are still very commonly used, and yet hundreds more kanji that are used in people’s names. And each of these intricate little characters has a specific order in which the strokes must be written, probably has multiple readings, might have multiple meanings, and can be mixed and matched with many other kanji to create compound words (熟語 : jukugo).

Basically, there is a reason that Japanese students are still studying kanji even in high school, and that reason is that kanji are as difficult as they are many.

How I studied kanji
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Nov
18
2009

10 Great Japanese iPhone/iPad apps

I switched my provider to Softbank from AU at the start of this month so that I could finally get on the iPhone bandwagon that I had been hearing so much about. I knew it would be a cool device but it has so far exceeded every single expectation I held for it. I run down my battery into the 20-30% range everyday from almost constant use (I even use it as an alarm clock at night) and have in two short weeks already spilled over to 6 pages of apps (even though I turned some off with BossPrefs). But, enough fanboy rant… you came here to read about apps…

10 Great Japanese iPhone/iPad apps
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Nov
14
2009

Warning! crazy Japanese signs

Japanese signs are great fun. You really have to admire the amount of detail that went into some of them. Here’s a collection of pictures of various warnings, notices, caution signs, etc. that I’ve come across in my journeys…

Warning! crazy Japanese signs
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Nov
10
2009

Vocab power: stop saying “totemo”

Totemo means “very” in Japanese, also sometimes pronounced とっても/tottemo with a kicked “t” for added emphasis. Because it is so easy to pronounce, so broad in meaning and so simple in grammar, it is one of the most useful words in the Japanese language. “Power-words” like totemo great for speed-learning, and non-Japanese pick up on these words with unparalleled ease… However, all too often those learners end up clinging to these words to a far greater degree than they should and for a much longer time than they should…

Vocab power: stop saying “totemo”
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Nov
04
2009

Japanese Proverbs: October 2009

Another month, another round of proverbs. For those of you who are following me on twitter you already know the drill: every day I select a new Japanese proverb to tweet for everyone’s learning pleasure. So if you like these, please be sure to follow me.

Starting this month I’ll be including the romaji readings for the proverbs alongside the katakana…

Japanese Proverbs: October 2009
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Oct
31
2009

Katakana Mysteries: 7 lucky loan words

In the first chapter of Katakana mysteries, I covered a few words whose Japanese meaning has by one path or another become quite different from their English ancestors. This time, I’ve rounded up 7 more words/phrases that are interesting for the opposite reason: their accuracy. You probably wouldn’t have expected these underdogs of English to even become loanwords at all, much less to have survived the Japanese translation gauntlet intact…

Katakana Mysteries: 7 lucky loan words
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