Japanese Language Blog

Archive for March, 2009

Japanese Baby Names Posted by on Mar 31, 2009

You’ll find that Japanese names that end in certain syllables tend to be names for boys while others tend to be names for girls. Take for example, names that end in roo (郎).  Names that end in roo (郎) tend to be names for baby boys. Taroo (太郎) = eldest son. Ta (太) = big. …

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Japanese Castles Posted by on Mar 30, 2009

Like the medieval castles of Europe, the castles of Japan were meant to be a fortress against attacks.  The general term for castle is shiro (城), but when the word for castle is a proper noun, the word castle is pronounced as joo (城) is attached.  For example Chihaya castle would be pronounced as chihayajoo (千早城)…

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Japanese Literature Posted by on Mar 28, 2009

I’m going to recommend a classic piece of Japanese literature from the Heian (平安) period. Genji Monogatari (源氏物語) or the The Tale of Genji, is a famous and renowned novel about a prince and his romantic dalliances.  As much as Shakespeare is respected and praised all over the world, so is the author of Genji Monogatari…

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Japanese Cuisine: Hina Matsuri Food Posted by on Mar 26, 2009

Hina Matsuri (雛祭り) is a doll festival in which multiple dolls are displayed and presented to young girls as gifts.  This tradition goes back to the time when Japanese people believed that dolls had the power to contain evil spirits within the doll, so that the young girl would not be harmed by the evil…

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Japanese Holiday: Hina Matsuri 2 (雛祭り) Posted by on Mar 23, 2009

Alright, so here are the remainder of the dolls: The third platform contains five figures of musicians called go nin bayashi (五人囃子).  There are three drum players, one of them holds a drum called taiko (太鼓) and is seated.  The other two drums players are both standing.  There is also a flute player with a fue…

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Japanese Festival: Hina Matsuri (雛祭り) Posted by on Mar 19, 2009

Hina Matsuri (雛祭り) literally means “Doll Festival.”  You’re probably thinking it’s a festival for dolls, but that’s not quite true.  It’s a festival for young girls.  For presents, young girls receive a hina ningyo (雛人形) or a set of dolls.  A basic doll set comes with a five-level-platform called a hina dan (雛壇).  The first level contains…

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Japanese Numbers 100 – 900 Posted by on Mar 17, 2009

Unlike numbers 20 to 99, the number 100 has no relation to any previous single digit number. This is a number you’ll just have to memorize. Luckily for numbers 200 to 900, they look a lot like the numbers 2 – 9. 100 – hyaku (ひゃく) 200 – nihyaku (にひゃく) 300 – sanbyaku (さんびゃく) 400…

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