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Where are Anime Masks? Posted by on Nov 18, 2020

It’s 2020, so we need to talk about masks(マスクmasuku) – masks that prevent(防ぐfusegu) COVID-19 from spreading, masks that divided (分割する  bunkatusuru) the United States, and masks that are new fashion items. Before we were shifted to work at the home mode in early March, I had a group of Japanese college students visiting from Japan…

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I AM Speaking! Posted by on Nov 12, 2020

We have been taught not to speak while others are talking at home and school.  It is disrespectful to (無礼な  bureina) talk while someone else is talking. However, when you grow up to become a politician, you throw that manner out of the window.  Have you watched the broadcasting of the Japanese parliament (国会 kokkai)?  I cannot help…

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A Restaurant that is Gentle to Women Posted by on Oct 29, 2020

Gender inequality (男女不平等) still seems to be alive and strong in Japan.  But now it has become discreet without also being ill-intentioned.  What I mean is that nobody seems to have any idea that s/he is discriminating (差別する) or is being discriminated against. Perhaps discrimination may be too strong of a word.  Stereotyped, or over-generalized may be more…

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Who am I? Posted by on Oct 15, 2020

This week, my students are trying to write their names in Katakana.  As I was helping one student write his name, I asked him “have you thought about your name – how it sounds before?”  He laughed as he had never thought about it.  What Japanese native speakers hear is very different from what non-native…

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I am not really OK with “daijoubu” (だいじょうぶ) Posted by on Sep 24, 2020

As a former student of sociolinguistics, I am naturally drawn to anything related to (〜関係する) language and society (社会).  Recently, I read a tweet from Salam Namaste, a Napali –Indian restaurant in Japan. だいじょうぶ は ネパールじんにぜんぜんだいじょうぶじゃない しゃかいじんとおなじぜんぜんわからないにほんごになった…🙏 pic.twitter.com/2UlIY4mAv0 — 本格ネパール・インド料理サラムナマステ🇳🇵 (@salamnamaste01) July 25, 2020 1) Napali “Can you eat another nan?” Japanese “Daijobu” Does the “daijobu” mean Yes or No?…

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Intercultural Presence of a Refrigerator 冷蔵庫の異文化間存在 Posted by on Sep 12, 2020

I have been in charge of homestay programs for Japanese university partners in the ESL section of a U.S. university. Japanese universities want their students to immerse themselves in English and learn the local culture by staying with local families.  The most important thing that I tell students at an online pre-departure orientation is “please…

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10 Children’s Day Phrases Posted by on Apr 27, 2020

Children’s Day (子供の日) is a Japanese holiday that takes place on May 5th, the last day of Golden Week. The holiday was originally called Tango No Sekku (端午の節句), translated literally as “the first horse of May”, and until 1948 was a boy’s holiday; the counterpart to Hinamatsuri (ひな祭り), Girl’s Day. Children’s Day In 1948, “Tango…

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