By JSaunders

Disturbingly Cute? Here Are 3 ‘Kimo-Kawaii’ Japanese Characters!

If you think something is disgusting, frightening, gross, or otherwise disturbing, say a lecherous businessman or Fuji-Q Highland’s haunted house, you can call it “kimoi” or sometimes “kimo.” This comes from the longer phrase “kimochi ga warui” (気持ちが悪い), which means to have a “bad feeling.” If something is cute, you can say “kawaii” (かわいい), which…

Where Did Japan’s 7 Lucky Gods Come From?

Japan`s 7 Lucky Gods are an eclectic mix of one Japanese deity (Ebisu) and deities from Indian Hinduist (Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Daikokuten) and Chinese Taoist and Buddhist (Fukurokuju, Hotei, Jurojin) origin. They are called ‘shichifukujin’ in Japanese, which is a combination of the characters “seven,” “luck,” and “deity” (七 福神). Children grow up hearing stories about…

“Urushi”, the Beautiful and Dangerous Art of Japanese Lacquerware

There are many beautiful and preserved craft techniques in Japan that have withstood the erosion of time and remain precious traditions today. A good example of this would be the handmade kimono, and especially “kuro montsukizome”, the art of applying dark black dye that was almost forgotten but revived by using it with modern clothing.…

6 Incredibly Useful Japanese Phrases That English Needs to Adopt!

If you spend time learning Japanese (or any other language for that matter), you will soon realize that there are some words or phrases that don’t translate well into English. Of course, there are many Japanese words that have already been adopted into English because of this, such as “karaoke,” “ninja,” and “emoji.” To my…

Why Are There So Few Public Trash Cans in Japan?

In many countries, public places such as city streets and local parks have a large number of trash cans that are easy to spot where you can easily dispose of your drink container, gum wrapper, or sandwich wrapping. However, one thing that soon becomes apparent to many travelers after being in Japan for any length…

Hoping For Peace: the Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Survivors) and Obama’s Speech

On Friday, May 27th, Barack Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima after the US dropped the bomb there nearly 71 years ago. In his speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, he called for a “moral revolution” and a world free from the threat of nuclear warfare. He mentioned the surviving…

4 Hard-to-Break Habits You Might Lose While Living in Japan

In a previous article I wrote about habits I accumulated while in Japan. This time, I want to write about habits that I lost while living there. This is written from the viewpoint of an American, but I think some of the following may strike a chord with expats of other Western countries. 1. Locking…

What is ”Mushin” Meditation and Why is it Important?

It is widely known that the Japanese often have a different way of looking at things. Their difference in character and culture makes Japan a fascinating place to visit, where you can compare many things to your home country and maybe learn something about yourself along the way. Culture in general, across the world, varies…

’Sweeten’ Up Your Japanese Vocab with ’Betsubara’: Our Separate Dessert Stomach

In English, we have the phrase “there’s always room for dessert.” In Japanese, there’s a word for the room – “betsubara”. Betsubara is made up of a combination of the kanji for “separate” (別, “betsu”) and “stomach” (腹, “hara”, or “bara” with dakuten in this case), so it literally means “separate stomach”. It’s the place…

Remembering David Bowie and His Strong Connections to Japan

The lyrics “like some cat from Japan” from “Ziggy Stardust” are a clear indication of Bowie`s loving fascination with the land of the rising sun. Bowie, who tragically passed away Sunday, January 10th, was an international icon, finding home not only in the UK where he was born, but Germany where he recorded some of…
Page 1 of 212