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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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Phrases For Dating In Japan Posted by on Mar 16, 2020

Did you meet a Japanese girl or guy but have no idea what to say to them in Japanese? I have come to rescue you. Here are a few basic Japanese dating phrases that you can use for that special someone. Good afternoon (こんにちは). When starting a conversation with that cute Japanese person across the…

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March 20th: Spring Equinox in Japan Posted by on Mar 15, 2020

Photo by Philip Gregory

March 20th is fast approaching, and with it comes the annual spring equinox. In Japan, this event is a national holiday called “Shuubun no HI” (春分の日). In technical terms, an equinox is “either of the two times each year (as of about March 21 and September 23) when the sun (太陽) crosses the equator and…

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Coronavirus: Is Japan Safe? Posted by on Mar 9, 2020

Coronavirus (コロナウイルス) fears are sweeping across the world and there is a lot of information (情報) – and misinformation (誤報) – concerning the virus, and how to respond. Recently, there has been a shortage of (不足) masks and toilet paper, as panicked people continue to stockpile items. Though the fear of infection (感染) is understandable…

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