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I’m sure you have seen those crop formations, or so called “crop circles” on TV shows and movies. Crop circles are patterns created by the flattening of a crop, and are also believed to be a creation of Martians… Well, apparently in Japan there are something similar called 田んぼアート (tanbo āto), or rice paddy art. As […]

Nov 04, 2014

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Today’s Kanji is a tricky one because 空 means two completely different things: sky and emptiness. To understand that better, let me explain to you the origin of the character 空. So if you look closely, you notice that 空 consists of two characters which are 穴 (ana, meaning a hole or hollow) and 工 (kō, […]

Nov 03, 2014

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Have you wondered what you should bring to your friends or family in Japan as お土産 (Omiyage), or souvenirs? I’m not gonna lie, it can be a bit challenging task sometimes especially when they don’t have any requests. So here is my go-to list of (last minute) souvenir options that you can get pretty much […]

Oct 31, 2014

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There are two Kanjis that mean river: one is today’s kanji 川, and the other one is 河, which is a grade five kanji.  So what is the difference? Generally speaking, 川 is used more commonly for the names of rivers in Japan, such as 最上川 (mogami gawa), 筑後川 (chikugo gawa), and 四万十川 (simanto gawa). […]

Oct 30, 2014

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Since Japan is such a mountainous country, 山登り (yamanobori), or mountain climbing, has been a popular leisure activity especially among senior citizens. There are a couple of 山登り locations even in Tokyo, and they have been a poplar destination for casual mountain climbers and hikers. 高尾山 (Takao-san), or Mount Takao-san, is perhaps the most popular […]

Oct 29, 2014

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I’m sure many of you are already familiar with the Japanese style curry rice, or カレーライス, but have you also tried a similar dish called ハヤシライス (hayashi rice)?  It’s also a very popular dish served at many 洋食 (yōshoku), Western style,  restaurants, and you can find a packaged Hayashi rice roux mix at any grocery […]

Oct 28, 2014

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There are varieties of traditional woodworking techniques developed in Japan, and 寄木細工 (Yosegi-saiku), commonly known as 寄木 (Yosegi), is one of them. As the word 寄木, whose literal translation is put (together) wood, indicates, the technique allows the craftsman to create intricate geometric patterns using multiple colors of woods. The technique was developed during the […]

Oct 27, 2014

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早起きは三文の得 (Hayaoki wa sanmon no toku) is a very common Japanese proverb that everyone has heard their grandma or pa saying at least once. The literal translation of the proverb is “You will gain 3 mon (an ancient Japanese currency which is worth about $0.33 today) when you wake up early”, but what it means […]

Oct 24, 2014

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Sending 年賀状 (Nengajō), or New Year Card, is one of the common practices for new years in Japan. I would say it is equivalent of Christmas cards, and people normally start preparing and mailing out these cards during the end of the ear,  between December 20 through 31st, to make sure that they will be […]

Oct 23, 2014

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If you have already started learning the Japanese language, you probably have seen the word 日本 (Nihon or Nippon), which means Japan, at some point. Japanese people call themselves 日本人 (Nihonjin) and the language is called 日本語 (Nihongo). There are several assumptions regarding to the origin of the name 日本, but it is commonly believed […]

Oct 22, 2014

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