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All about Leap Year in Japanese

Posted on 29. Feb, 2016 by in Uncategorized

Photo from Khánh Hmoong on


Happy Leap Day everyone! Today is February 29th, 2016, one of the special leap days we all have only every 4 years. Although we all know that leap year is every 4 years, I wanted to cover some of the facts related to Leap Year below, especially related to how it is handled in Japan.

I am sure there are many customs that go with the Leap Day throughout the world, if you have anything specific, share with me in the comment section. I have heard the ones like, “Women propose to men” on leap day for a change,  and of course, there are much talk about the leap day babies. Do they only get their birthday every 4 years?  My kids have already asked this question a few days ago.


Leap Year –  

Leap year is called “Uru-doshi” in Japanese. It is spelled out as, “うるう年”. “年” is pronounced as “doshi” rather than “toshi”, and it means “year” in English.  Interesting, when leap year is expressed in Kanji, it is called “Jun nen”, and character used is “閏年”.  However, I have to tell you 閏年 is not much used, where people almost always use “Uru-doshi” in Japanese. Perhaps in writing, you could be describing using 閏年.


Counting ages – 

In Japan, we have a specific law that talks about calculating your age. The law basically tells you, you are to get one year older on the day before your actually “birthday”.  This is spelled out under the law called “年齢計算ニ関スル法律第1項”  (Nen rei keisan ni kansuru ho-ritsu dai ikko).  Specifically speaking, you are one year older right when the previous day ends, so at 11:59 PM(previous day).  So even if you were born on February 29th on leap year, no problem. You are one year older already on February 28th, each year.  I guess this is fair for everyone else who were born non-leap day, right?

My 5 Favorite Anime Characters

Posted on 15. Apr, 2013 by in Culture, Uncategorized

5.) Pirate Empress Boa Hancock 海賊女帝 ボア・ハンコック (kaizoku jotei boa hankokku)(One Piece) is the Snake Princess 蛇姫 (hebi hime) of the island 島 (shima) Amazon Lily and a member of the Oka Shichibukai 王下七武海 (ouka shichibukai) who falls in love with Monkey D. Luffy. I like her character because on the one hand she appears tough and arrogant, on the other hand she appears emotional and vulnerable when she is around Luffy.

Boa Hancock - One Piece

4.)  Lupin III ルパン三世 (rupan sansei) is one of the world’s greatest thief. Together with his ally Jigen Daisuke 次元 大介 and the master swordsman Ishikawa Goemon XIII 十三代目 石川 五ェ門 (juusan-daime Ishikawa Goemon) they have a lot of great adventures 冒険 (bouken). They are chased by Inspector Zenigata Koichi 銭形 幸一 whose life’s goal is to arrest 逮捕する (taiho suru)  them. Lupin is a real gentleman and his ability to build useful gadgets is amazing. His biggest weakness are women, especially his infatuation with Mine Fujiko 峰 不二子 gets him often in big trouble.

Lupin III

3.) Nadia ナディア (The secret of Blue Water ふしぎの海のナディア): The anime was inspired by Jules Verne’s 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea. Nadia is a circus performer and a very stubborn and short tempered girl until she meets Jean, who falls in love with her. I like her character and the way she grows up during the whole story. In the end she grows up to a young woman, who has learned to trust and care about people.

Nadia - The secret of blue water

2.) Doraemon ドラえもん: I love this character, maybe because I grew up with this adorable blue cat-like robot. Doraemon was sent back in time to help out with Nobita’s trouble. Doraemon’s magic pocket 四次元ポケット(yojigen pocketto) is able to produce useful gadgets 道具 (dougu) from the future. Although I am a bit too old, I still watch every movie 映画 (eiga) with Doraemon and his friends 友達 (tomodachi).


1.) Roronoa Zoro ロロノア・ ゾロ (One Piece) is definitely my favorite anime character. He is a member of the Straw Hat Pirates 麦わらの一味 (mugiwara no ichimi). Zoro is a master swordsman whose dream is to become the world’s greatest swordsman 世界一の剣豪になる (sekai ichi no kengou ni naru). I like his cool and serious personality as well as the fact that he loses his temper in a funny and goofy way.

Roronoa Zoro

What is your favorite anime character?

How to tell the date in Japanese

Posted on 20. Mar, 2013 by in Uncategorized

As I have mentioned in my last post, the basic counting in japanese is very important. Not only to tell the time but also to say the date. Let’s start with the days of the week: To learn the days of the week is quite simple. The days of the  week are named after an element (including the sun and the moon as an exception) and each of them ends with the word 曜日 (youbi).

Monday 月曜日 getsu-youbi 月means moon
Tuesday 火曜日 ka-youbi 火 means fire
Wednesday 水曜日 sui-youbi 水 means water
Thursday 木曜日 moku-youbi 木 means wood
Friday 金曜日 kin-youbi 金 means gold
Saturday 土曜日 do-youbi 土 means earth
Sunday 日曜日 nichi-youbi 日 means sun

As a child I learned the days of the week by repeating the elements “getsu-ka-sui-moku-kin-do-nichi” like a mantra.

To learn the months of the year you only have to follow a simple pattern: take the numbers 1-12 + 月 (gatsu / month).

January 一月 Ichi-gatsu July 七月 Shichi-gatsu
February 二月 Ni-gatsu August 八月 Hachi-gatsu
March 三月 San-gatsu September 九月 Ku-gatsu
April 四月 Shi-gatsu October 十月 Juu-gatsu
May 五月 Go-gatsu November 十一月 Juu-ichi-gatsu
June 六月 Roku-gatsu December 十二月 Juu-ni-gatsu

Unfortunately the days of the month are a little bit complicated as they have some irregularities.

1 Tsuitachi the 1st 16 Juuroku-nichi the 16th
2 Futsuka the 2nd 17 Juushichi-nichi the 17th
3 Mik-ka the 3rd 18 Juuhachi-nichi the 18th
4 Yok-ka the 4th 19 Juuku-nichi the 19th
5 Itsuka the 5th 20 Hatsuka the 20th
6 Muika the 6th 21 Nijuu-ichi-nichi the 21st
7 Nanoka the 7th 22 Nijuu-ni-nichi the 22nd
8 Youka the 8th 23 Nijuu-san-nichi the 23rd
9 Kokonoka the 9th 24 Nijuu-yok-ka the 24th
10 Touka the 10th 25 Nijuu-go-nichi the 25th
11 Juuichi-nichi the 11th 26 Nijuu-roku-nichi the 26th
12 Juuni-nichi the 12th 27 Nijuu-shichi-nichi the 27th
13 Juusan-nichi the 13th 28 Nijuu-hachi-nichi the 28th
14 Juuyok-ka the 14th 29 Nijuu-ku-nichi the 29th
15 Juugo-nichi the 15th 30 Sanjuu-nichi the 30th
  31 Sanjuu-ichi-nichi the 31st

Saying a date in Japanese is much like saying it in English: You just put the day of the month after the month itself. For instance, if today’s date were November 11, you would say: きょうはじゅういちがつじゅういちにちです (kyou wa juuichigatsu juuichinichi desu).

So I hope you guys have fun learning the dates 日付 (ひづけ)!