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Those three words sound like a good time to me, but I guess I’m the weird one…

Japan has many traditional arts, ceremonies, and sports, and as in many other countries, these traditions often struggle to preserve their authenticity while remaining commercially viable. Sumo, however, has managed to maintain a relatively high level of interest both in Japan and abroad.

But sumo is not without its share of problems either, and the newest one to emerge is a serious threat of no future wrestlers to come up the ranks.

Like many sports, sumo wrestlers often start out on high school teams, but year on year these teams have been evaporating. According to data from the All Japan High School Athletic Federation (Kotairen), the number of high school sumo clubs has been steadily dropping from 213 in 2003 to 146 as of last year.

As a result, seven of Japan’s 47 prefectures only have one high school sumo team, giving them an automatic entry to the national championship tournament. At least it would have, had the tournament not been canceled last year due to the pandemic.

▼ The tournament hasn’t been held since 2019.

In fact, COVID-19 helped to drive down the high school sumo wrestler population even faster, with many senior students hanging up their mawashi loincloth early since there’s no tournament waiting for them at the end.

This is all bad enough, but it’s also happening against the backdrop of an overall growing disinterest in sumo among young Japanese people. This is an issue that the sumo division of Kotairen has been actively looking into over the years.

According to their research, students describe sumo as “painful-looking” and “scary,” and are hesitant to participate while wearing the highly revealing mawashi. And with organized sport options wider than ever including relatively new additions of soccer and basketball, …continue reading

    

nakanoshima rose garden

Do you like rose? Rose in Japanese is バラ 薔薇 bara 🌹
If you plan to visit Japan during rose season (May-June or Oct-Nov), please check the below rose viewing spots in Japan in advance!

The Language of Flower: Rose
〜バラの花言葉 bara no hanakotoba

The language of the rose flower is “Love” and “Beauty”.
Especially…
The red rose is affection, beauty, passion and passionate love and “I love you”.
The white rose language is purity and deep respect.
The pink rose language is calm, elegant and impression.

Hope you’ll find your favorite roses in Japan.

10 Best places to see the Rose flower in Japan

ここからは日本全国の有名なバラ園をしょうかいしますね。
Japan’s popular rose gardens are introduced here.

Nakanoshima Park Rose Garden, Osaka
中之島バラ園【大阪】

nakanoshima rose garden

The largest rose garden in Osaka city. There are 310 kinds 3,700 roses bloom in 500m length 13,000 ㎡. It’s like an oasis in the big city!
Admission free, open 24hrs.

中之島公園のバラ園
人がたくさん、訪れてました pic.twitter.com/GBjrXuSNUC

— spdahon (@spdahon1) May 11, 2021

> I did FB Live in the evening.
Night Roses are also beautiful and mesmerizing!

…continue reading

    

Source: Gaijin Pot

Did you hear that? Japan’s tsuyu (rainy season) is coming. It’s time to buckle down for what will feel like weeks of constant rain. All we need to do is gaman, or “hang in there,” and summer will finally be here.

But before we get to see the back of Japan’s most hated season, there’s still time to brush up on our rain-related Japanese vocabulary because as much as we don’t like it, it still feels good to complain. Like jime-jime, that unpleasant, sticky feeling during the rainy season when the humidity has its clammy hands all over you. Or mushi-mushi when it practically smothers you.

I hope you’re not confused already because this is not even a potan in the bucket. The Eskimos may have fifty words for “snow,” but there are a whopping 1,190 rain-related words and phrases in the Japanese language.

The sounds of tsuyu

Rain in Kyoto.

To the Japanese ear, potan is the sound of a drop of water plopping into, say, a bucket. Pota-pota is the tune a leaky faucet sings, and jah-jah is water gushing out of a pipe.

The Japanese will hear potsu-potsu as raindrops start falling upon the dry ground, shito-shito when it drizzles and zah-zah when it pours.

Strong winds howl with a byoo-byoo or a gou-gou making the windows of your apartment gata-gata (rattle). And, thunder, when stirred awake by the pika-pika of lightning, will loudly goro-goro (rumble).

In the summer, you can often get caught in a niwaka ame (sudden shower), a doshaburi (downpour) and o-ame (torrential rain).

While nuru-nuru describes that slimy feeling a surface has when it’s been balmy for days on end, beta-beta or beto-beto is how your sweaty skin feels on uncomfortably jime-jime days. You’re dripping with sweat …continue reading

    

Letters From Japan: “Kink Shaming Boyfriend”

Hi Hilary,

I read an article you wrote before about kink, and wanted to get your perspective on my problem with my Japanese boyfriend. He’s very vanilla in bed, which I respect, but it’s not for me all the time. I’m into bondage (as a domme) and until we started dating, it was a big part of my sex life.

He said he was into kink, but when I try to talk to him about what his and my fantasies are, he shuts down completely, or worse, he gets rude. He said my likes make me “not wife material.”

We had a stupid fight a few days ago and it’s making me reconsider the relationship. I was looking for a new leather belt for work, one I could wear over dresses. He flipped out when he saw what I was looking at, said I was sick for buying that sh** in front of him, and stormed out of my place. It was literally this belt on Amazon.

We haven’t seen each other in person since, and I’m kind of over this whole pretending to be vanilla thing. Should I try to be more understanding, or is this just how Japanese men are?

—Kink Shamed

Dear Kink Shamed,

The article you are talking about from the Ask Hilary series is “Unhealthy Relationship.” In that situation, which I have gotten permission to speak about, the letter writer sustained injuries during non-consensual knife play at the hands of her partner. She was not into kink of any sort and ultimately had to take drastic measures in order to leave the situation safely.

Fortunately, that isn’t the case for you. You openly enjoy bondage and are comfortable with your identity as a domme — and that’s awesome! More people should be understanding and …continue reading

    

When you speak casual English to friends, you don’t use perfect grammar and full sentences like you would when writing a paper, correct? Japanese is the same way. When speaking conversational Japanese, people rarely use the exact words and long phrases that you’d find in a textbook. Here is a 5-minute mini lesson to help you speak Casual Japanese.

Common Phrases

When speaking casual Japanese, normal phrases are made much shorter! When friends talk to each other, they won’t use the long polite phrases, but rather the shorter chattier versions:

Konnichiwa –> Konchiwa
こんにちは ーー> こんちは
Hello/Good afternoon –> Hi

O genki desu ka? –> Genki?
おげんきですか。 ーー> げんき?
How are you?

Ohayou gozaimasu –> Ohayou
おはようございます ーー> おはよう
Good morning –> Morning!

Gomennasai –> Gomen
ごめんなさい ーー> ごめん
I’m so sorry. –> Sorry.

Douitashimashite –> I i yo
どういたしまして ーー> いいよ
You’re welcome. –> It’s all good!

Sayounara –> Jyaa ne!
さようなら ーー> じゃあね
Goodbye. –> See ya!

If you master these casual phrases, you will sound like a true native speaker when you’re chatting with your friends!

Casual Verbs

An easy way to turn formal Japanese into more natural conversational Japanese is to just use the short forms of verbs. Japanese verb for “to do” is “shimasu” (します), and its casual Japanese (plain form) is suru (する). Casual Japanese just sticks to the basic short forms of verbs, and particles are omitted sometimes in simple sentences. Here are the examples:

Formal:
Nani o shimasu ka?
なにをしますか?
What will you do?

Casual:
Nani suru?
なにする?
What you gonna do?

As you can see, the casual version is much shorter and simpler than the properly conjugated textbook version!
Here’s some more examples:

Nani taberu?
なに食べる?
What’cha eat?

Nani miru ?
なに見る?
What’cha watch?

Doko iku?
どこ行く?
Where you gonna go?

And just like that, you can speak natural, casual Japanese!

Words With Friends – Japanese Slang Words!

There are certain “trendy” Japanese words that you often hear on the streets, and yet …continue reading

    

We live in a time where it is fundamental to develop your language skills from childhood to get a good curriculum and professional future. Although the methods of teaching English in the different educational stages have changed, grammar and the written part still prevail. However, being able to speak and understand a conversation is always very important when learning any language. In order to do this, teachers must have the necessary methods to make it possible. Let’s find out what are some of the keys that will make your conversation classes work well. Although the variety of languages and students is very diverse, in this case we will focus mainly on English conversation classes for Japanese students.

Create an environment of trust

Japanese people normally receive a type of education that may seem demanding to us. In Japanese schools, students are not generally educated to be participatory or to ask questions during the class. As a consequence, the Japanese are often very afraid of making mistakes and do not talk as much as they would like to. Therefore, usually, during conversation classes, the Japanese tend to be very shy and do not usually say anything when they have not understood something to avoid slowing down the rhythm of the class. Thus, it is fundamental that you try to build a climate of trust from the very beginning. Praise them a lot, let them time enough to think and speak, and let them know that it is not a bad thing to make mistakes. It is great when, during class, they feel that they are in a safe space where they can express themselves.

A good way to warm up is by doing an ice-breaker at the beginning of each class. If he/she is a student you are teaching for the first time, …continue reading

    

Source: Gaijin Pot

A small coastal town in Ishikawa Prefecture, Noto, disturbed the wa (和(わ), peace) after unveiling its brand new tourist attraction, a giant statue of a flying squid. The figure is an homage to the city’s delicacy. While squid isn’t to everyone’s taste, the real controversy is that the town spent 25 million yen ($230,000) from their Covid-19 relief fund to erect the 9-meter long pink cephalopod.

The decision to focus on tourism when Japan still faces hardship during the pandemic provoked criticism, calling it a waste of money. The town hopes it’ll help revive post-Covid tourism. Whether it’ll work remains to be seen. Here’s a video of the giant calamari in all its glory.

If Noto had built their nearly six-ton flying squid at any other given time, nobody would have cared. After all, statues of sea creatures and local specialties are common in Japan. Every prefecture has one in a small town somewhere to attract tourists.

Japan Twitter shared a few of their favorites.

Attack of the sea monsters

能登のイカ
天草のタコ
志摩のエビ
紋別のカニ pic.twitter.com/bxQvRm24un

— ボヘミアン (@hide_luxe) May 5, 2021

能登(のと)のイカ

天草(あまくさ)のタコ

志摩(しま)のエビ

紋別(もんべつ)のカニ

“Noto’s Squid

Amakusa’s Octopus

Shima’s Lobster

Monbetsu’s Crab Claw”

Nakashibetsu’s scary salmon head

中標津の鮭の頭 pic.twitter.com/rIYleeFoNb

— コノヱ@オホーツク地方 (@kyokuduki99) May 6, 2021

中標津(なかしべつ)の鮭(しゃけ)の頭(あたま)

“The salmon head of Nakashibetsu (in Hokkaido).”

Ibaraki’s giant marlin

大洗のカジキもお願いします pic.twitter.com/9qWILr6XUn

— モゲ@ヒュン吸いしたい (@mogege) May 6, 2021

大洗(おおあらい)のカジキもお願(ねが)いします

“Please [share] the swordfish from Oarai (in Ibaraki) too.”

Tochigi’s weird dinosaur

栃木の紛らわしい形の恐竜 pic.twitter.com/6BLBoatSCK

— スグル (@kingsuguru96) May 6, 2021

栃木(とちぎ)の紛(まぎわ)らわしい形(かたち)の恐竜(きょうりゅう)

Tochigi’s weirdly shaped dinosaur.”

Japanese vocabulary for sea creatures

Time to brush up your Japanese vocabulary and get some words going to talk about what’s living in the ocean.

Japanese Romaji English
イカ ika Squid
タコ tako Octopus
エビ ebi Shrimp, but also lobster
カニ kani Crab
shake Salmon
カジキ kajiki Swordfish
sakana Fish (general term)
貝殻 kaigara Seashell
kujira Wale
イルカ iruka Dolphin
サメ same Shark
クラゲ kurage Jellyfish
ヒトデ hitode Starfish

…continue reading

    

Logistical mishaps and contradicting guidelines hinder what could be one of the best ways to lower COVID-19 community transmission.

While Japan has kept the number of imported cases of COVID-19 low with restricted borders, the nation is struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 domestically as larger cities such as Tokyo grapple with a fourth wave of infections. One of the most hard-hit areas in particular has been Osaka, and given the circumstances, closing schools and transitioning to remote learning is one of the most logical things to do. However, attempts by Osaka City’s board of education have been bombarded with logistical hiccups and confusing guidelines which have raised anger among educators.

▼ The skyline of Osaka’s central hub, pre-COVID-19 and pre-pufferfish-exodus.

Osaka is one of the few cities in Japan attempting a transition to remote learning — which is not only important in reducing the local transmission of COVID-19, but an opportunity to set a leading example within a country where constitutional limits forbid nationwide mandates even in a public health crisis — and some schools have been going back and forth between staying closed or resuming lessons as usual.

Unfortunately, the city’s efforts have been bogged down in multiple different ways, and we’ve found three main issues hindering Osaka’s transition to remote learning for elementary as well as junior high school students.

▼ A visual representation of how we imagine Osaka educators to be feeling right now.

The first issue is ensuring student accessibility to remote learning technology. While MEXT (Ministry of Education, …continue reading

    

Will this police box be an outlier or set a new precedent for community policing?

In Japan, it’s common to see koban, or police boxes, along busy streets and within small neighborhoods. Usually built as a square-shaped, one-story building, a koban has multiple purposes in a community besides acting as a local base for police officers in the area. They are places that provide directions for lost visitors, serve as a lost-and-found, and are even available to pump up flat bike tires for the unfortunate commuter.

However, a police box has been recently built on the grounds of an Osaka elementary school, an action which has no doubt caused a stir among Japanese netizens.

▼ A sign of your typical police box in Japan.

Located in Osaka’s Moriguchi city, the police box was established at the west gate of Sakura Elementary School, which had recently been rebuilt. According to the city’s board of education, the decision to install the police box was to make Sakura Elementary School “the safest school in the country in both name and reality,” and claims that the location is the first of its kind in Japan.

In Japan, having security personnel on school premises, while uncommon, is not necessarily a new concept. However, an entire police box staffed with local officers is a different story, and the decision made by the city’s board of education has sparked discussion on Twitter. Some Japanese netizens agreed with the police box being established inside the grounds of an elementary school whereas others responded with skepticism as well as speculation:

“Those kids might grow to become the most obedient of them all.”
“Huh, I’ll wonder if they’ll patrol the school to stop instances …continue reading

    

The word “no” in Japanese is いいえ (iie), but when it comes down to actually refusing something or someone, more thought and planning is involved than you may imagine. On top of this, the word “no” is often not mentioned at all!

While the best way rejecting something or someone varies on the situation and the people involved, there are certain phrases and keywords to use that clearly convey “no.” This article introduces how to say no so that you can make your stance firmly without being rude in any situation.

1. Don’t Say the Word “No”

Instead of directly saying no, more often than not, conveying an excuse first is acceptable when making a refusal. Coming up with an excuse sometimes can be difficult, but you don’t have to be too specific–in certain situations, being indirect will work.

Simply using a keyword like “ちょっと” (chotto) will convey to your partner hesitation, difficulty, and get the message across that you can’t fulfill their request.

明日(はちょっと)はちょっと… (ashita wa chotto…) Tomorrow isn’t good.

今夜(こんや)はちょっと… (konya wa chotto…) I can’t go tonight…

Keep in mind that this usage of “ちょっと” is entirely different than “slightly” or “brief,” as it implies complete negation.

Other descriptors that can be used in addition to ちょっと include:

・大変(たいへん) (taihen)
・厳(きび)しい (kibishii)
・難(むずか)しい (muzukashii)
・だめ (dame), typically used in close relationships

These descriptors can also be used conveniently get out of something you don’t want or can’t do while maintaining politeness, without actually saying the word “no.”

As mentioned above, in most cases, even just mentioning these words will let the inviting party know that you are saying no, making just these phrases sufficient–but be sure to have an actual reason why you’re refusing, just in case.

2. Be Polite About It

When you do refuse someone, you will want to choose words that express your regret, すみませんが (sumimasen ga) will work …continue reading