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03/02/2016 Culture

The Japanese manner of “お辞儀” (Ojigi: The Bow)

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Have you ever seen the Japanese soccer player Nagatomo bowing after he scored his first goal after joining the Inter Milan soccer team?That scene was uploaded on YouTube and his performance was seen throughout the world. The “bow” is an inseparable manner from the Japanese, because it is one of the many, essential business manners in Japan. An adult who can’t properly bow, will be labeled naive. Although the “bow” is routinely used in Japan, Japanese people who understand it might not know everything about it. In what kind of situations do the Japanese bow? We bow to express salutation, gratitude, apologies, and respect. Nevertheless, we almost never use it […]

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17/12/2014 Culture

The ‘Nengajo’ Postcard: a heartwarming tradition of the Japanese New Year

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Japanese people exchange Nengajo postcards as New Year Greetings, much like Western people sending Christmas cards to each other.

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26/03/2015 Culture

The greetings used before and after meals, “Itadakimasu” and “Gochisosama”

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Greeting during meals Before eating meals, Japanese people join their hands in front of their chest and greet by saying, “I-ta-da-ki-ma-su.” After finishing a meal, the body form is the same, but the greeting is “Go-chi-so-sa-ma.” When praying to a god or an ancestor, Japanese people also hold their hands in prayer to show respect and to join their own mind and body. Some people don’t join their hands and only speak the greetings. Japanese people naturally say these greetings as part of day-to-day manners. ”itadakimasu” “Itadaku” is a word to indicate modesty for taking and eating. Its origin comes from the Japanese Kanji character, “頂,” which means “top of […]

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20/12/2015 Language

10 Ways of Saying “I’m late” in Japanese

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One of the famous (notorious?) Japanese cultures is to be punctual. In fact, if you are even 1 minute late, you may make people angry in Japan. Thus, you should know “I’m late” in Japanese. Let’s learn together.

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05/11/2014 Culture

Something We are Taught Since Childhood: “Align your shoes when you take them off”

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Take off your shoes when you enter a home In Japan, there is a custom where you take off the shoes you’ve worn outside when you enter a home. It is said that the custom originated due to the climate of Japan. The floors used to be built higher than the ground in order to keep good ventilation because it often rains and the humidity is high in Japan. Moreover, if you go inside a home with shoes soiled with rain and dust, the home’s interior will become dirty. Therefore, in Japan, a lifestyle has emerged where you take off your shoes at the entrance and directly sit on floors, […]

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12/11/2014 Culture

Enjoy Japanese food even more with magnificent “chopstick technique”!

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Chopsticks are indispensable for eating a Japanese meal, so it’s worth learning how to use them properly Japanese food is becoming more popular with the many Japanese restaurants that are appearing all over the world. Chopsticks are essential for eating a Japanese meal. In Japan, adults who are not yet able to hold chopsticks correctly are sometimes regarded as an embarrassment, or as having missed out on being taught an essential discipline during their childhood. Foreigners who are not accustomed to using chopsticks can easily acquire good chopstick technique by learning a few of the tricks. This will improve their dinner table etiquette and they will enjoy their Japanese meals […]

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15/04/2015 Culture

‘Jyanken,’ the hand game used for choosing a winner.

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Jyanken is the standard way to resolve any simple conflict! What kind of game do you use in your country to resolve any kind of disputes? We use the hand game Jyanken, a game of chance used to settle any difference(s) between two or more people. Jyanken is an easy game to choose a winner(s), requiring nothing but three simple hand gestures. If we can’t we decide on something of minor importance, someone will say, “Let’s decide by Jyanken.” The ‘Jyan-Ken-Pon’ chant! Janken is played by 2 or more people, with each person using one hand to make 1 of the 3 possible signs. The three hand signs are called […]

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20/04/2015 Culture  Events

Do you think we have more holidays than your country? Starting in 2016, we will have in total of 16 national holidays in Japan.

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Next year we will have a new holiday on August 11th, called “Mountain day”. How many national holidays do you have in your country? In Japan, we’ll have in total of 16 public holidays to include 1 newly created holiday. It’s called “Mountain day,” designated for August 11th, and is the first national holiday set in August. The purpose of this day is to enjoy hiking and appreciate the benefits of mountains. In July, we have “Marine day”. These holidays are recognized as days to enjoy nature and to appreciate their benefits. The long holiday, “Golden Week” has come! In late April to early May, we’ll have a long holiday […]

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15/09/2015 Culture

What is “Respect for the elderly Day“? It’s literally a day to show respect to all elderly people!

Respect for the Elderly Day

Keirou-no-hi, or Respect for the elderly day is one of the Japan’s national holidays. It was started through caring for elders in Japan. When and how was it started, and what does it mean?

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30/06/2014 Life

Escalator etiquette in Japan

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The mysterious escalator etiquette of Japan The golden rule of escalator etiquette in the Tokyo area is that persons who ‘stand’ on the escalator are to stay on the left side while people who ‘walk’ the escalator stay on the right side. In the Osaka area it is the opposite. It is very mysterious! Why, you ask? During a 1970 exposition in Osaka, it is speculated that the custom of moving on the left side was derived from Europe and America because of all the western visitors at the expo. 【writer Rei】

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09/07/2014 Life

Smoking and Non-Smoking Areas

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Smoking while walking in Japan is prohibited In Japan, designated smoking and non-smoking areas are located indoors as well as outdoors. Local governments throughout Japan set their own laws for designated smoking areas and you will find that in urban areas, smoking on sidewalks is commonly prohibited. No need to worry because, there are a lot established smoking areas available and they are clearly visible with signage that includes English. For example, train stations offer smoking booths that are usually located in areas near the entrance. 【writer Rei】

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09/09/2014 Life

They neatly form a line, especially when it’s crowded.

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We stand in line, it’s not because we like doing it but this is manner Every morning in the larger cities of Japan, trains are crowded with people going to work. Is it the same in your city? Despite the overflowing of people on the platforms, there isn’t any disorder because everyone lines up in an orderly fashion and nobody cuts in line or makes a fuss. Why do the Japanese line up so calmly despite everyone being in a rush in the morning? It’s because this is nothing new for the Japanese commuter and is a fact of everyday life that everyone accepts. Occasionally there are children that throw […]

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18/03/2015 Life

Family of Fingers! What do you call each finger of the hand?

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Names Originate from Size or Usage Sorry for the sudden question, but what do they call the individual fingers of the hand in your country? In Japan, they are referred to as: #1 Parent Finger #2 Pointing Finger #3 Middle Finger #4 Medicine Finger #5 Little Finger Why are they named this way? #1 is the biggest, so it’s called the “Parent” finger. #5 is the smallest, so it’s called the “Little” finger. #3 is in the middle, so it’s called the “Middle” finger. The names of fingers 2 and 4 are easy to grasp. Why is #2 called the “Pointing” finger? There is a story behind it! The meaning […]

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25/03/2015 Life

Please check the page if you’d like to learn more about “Japanese side dishes for rice.”

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What goes together well with a bowl of rice? The side dish for a bowl of rice in Japanese is,“Gohan no otomo” (ご飯のお供) and is an easy dish that makes rice taste so good that you’ll want to eat more rice because of it. This easy meal cannot be defined because it can be anything. As some people know, rice is a very cultural and iconic food in Japan. Not only does it give the Japanese energy, it also supports the Japanese economy. Many people like to eat sashimi or steak every day with good rice, but it is not always possible. So, what Japanese people have created are easy meals, […]

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10/11/2015 Language

Learn Japanese from Wasabi’s one-on-one lesson, from *$47 per month on Skype!

Wasabi’s class

“Wasabi” is a new online Japanese language learning service that started in June of 2015. They match the needs of those who want to communicate with foreigners, with those who want to study and learn the Japanese language. Today, I’m going to introduce its amazing features!

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12/12/2015 Culture  Language

Japanese Expressions: Learn Japanese from Manga for Free

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Do you like Japanese manga? There are several popular ones in the world like ONE PIECE, NARUTO, and BLEACH. Well-known manga were initially unknown, when they were first published. In Japan, there are tens of thousands of cartoonists who are writing manga with hopes of becoming popular like ONE PIECE, and making their work available on the internet for free. Why not utilize these hidden gems for learning Japanese? You can learn very natural Japanese expressions from manga.

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27/09/2015 Culture

Let’s change your wardrobe on October 1st!

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“Koromo-gae”, or the change of wardrobe for the new season. Have you ever had a school uniform for both the summer, and winter season? Japan experiences a variety of climates throughout the four seasons and we usually have both a summer and a winter wardrobe. On October 1st, people will change their wardrobe, and this custom is called “Koromo-gae”. When I was a student, it felt kind of strange when I changed my uniform to the winter blazer coat, because I wasn’t used to wearing such formal clothing. People will also change to their summer wardrobe on June 1st. “Koromo-gae” is an old tradition that has been passed down since […]

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