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Posts tagged japanese language


omikuji tokyo chokokuji

omikuji in Tokyo’s Chokokuji (長谷寺)

Halfway between the Shibuya and Roppongi Stations (but closer to the Omotesando Station than any other) you can find the Chokoku Buddhist Temple. Far less famous than its counterpart in Kamakura that bears the same characters but is pronounced very differently, Chokokuji was an interesting place to visit. We were the only ones there (except for a turtle that crept along freely as if he/she owned the place), the temple houses an impressive giant Kannon statue, with a peaceful face, made out of wood.

If you want to look for this place online, you’ll end up at the Kamakura temple if you put in 長谷寺 so be sure to include 西麻布 in your search.

Rousoku (蝋燭 or ろうそく or ロウソク) means candle. Smalls were 30 yen and larges were 100 yen.

In today’s photo it looks like someone may have stolen from the omikuji box once upon a time. I’m guessing doing so is bad luck.

Japanese baseball terminology

Wladimir Balentien yakult swallows 2013 home run record

Wladimir Balentien of the Yakult Swallows (NPB 2013 home run record)

Figuring out kanji used for baseball in Japan is a fun challenge. If you have a basic understanding of kanji you can literally read what Balentien (バレンティン) did on this evening before coming to bat for the fourth time. (遊ゴ = fun go, 四球 = four balls, 死球 = death ball) So what do these things really mean? 遊 is the shortstop (the funnest position?). goro (ゴロ) is grounder so he grounded out to short his first time up. Four balls is easy enough. He walked in his second at bat. But “death ball”? What could that possibly mean? He was hit by the pitch in his most recent at bat.

Do Not Feed The Pigeons!

do not feed the pigeons don't asakusa tokyo japan

Do Not Feed the Pigeons!

Near yesterday’s photo was this sign.

Your Japanese vocabulary words for the day:
hato (ハト) = pigeon
fungai (フン害) = feces problem


Ever since I hatched this plan of returning to Japan to live for a year in 2007 I’ve spent part of pretty much every day reading about Japan, hearing thoughts on Japan, or studying Japanese. Today is the day I finally get to do more than that. As this posts I am on a plane to Tokyo to begin a year of adventures.

The title of today’s entry “百聞は一見にしかず” is a kotowaza (Japanese proverb) that means it’s better to see (or do) something once than it is to hear (or read) about it a hundred times. I couldn’t agree more. I’m tired of the 百聞 and ready for some action.

Packing time

japanese books for sale

I’ve begun to pack. Even though I have sold all of my Mangajin and Nihongo Journal issues I still need to part with the above before leaving. Take all six off my hands for $20 delivered in the USA.

The Japanese Business Glossary is 220 pages in length and has English on the left page and the Japanese translation on the right.

The Ei-Wa Wa-Ei Legal Terms Dictionary is over 500 pages in length and lists on Amazon for over $30 by itself.

The two Kochikame manga are almost 200 pages each, all in Japanese, but easy to read as the kanji have furigana on the side.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is also easy to read for those studying Japanese as furigana is included. This copy is a hardcover, first edition.

Hiragana and Katakana quizzes

hiragana quizzes

My son finished learning hiragana and katakana a week or so ago. Now he has moved on to kanji with the hope of learning almost a hundred before we arrive in Japan in less than 6 weeks. My daughter is just about through with hiragana. One problem I found with teaching her hiragana (other than the obvious lack of motivation on her part) is that finding an online quiz that was just at her level was difficult. She was much more receptive to an online quiz than any coming from me so I persisted. At last I found one.

On Josh Gemmell’s site he has created three sets of quizzes for both hiragana and katakana. The really nice thing about Josh’s quizzes is you can be quizzed based on just the kana you have learned rather than all of them at once. So, for instance, my daughter just finished learning ma, mi, mu, me, mo. Instead of testing her on all of the hiragana (in which case I would have to tell her the answer for ya, yu, yo, ra, ri, ru, re, ro, wa, particle o, and n) I can select just “a” through “mo” to be tested.

If you are really good at multiple choice quizzes, and that is why you are getting them all correct, have no fear. Go to quiz 2 and now you will have to actually type in the sound.

Anyway, check it out if you are currently learning hiragana or katakana. I’ll show you how my son is learning kanji soon.