While carnations and hydrangeas seem to be Japan’s preferred flowers for Mother’s Day, your mom will likely be happy just spending quality time with you for the occasion.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
May 3, 2024
Before you forget, order those hydrangeas for Mother's Day!
"Before it's too late," "while you remember" — Mother's Day offers us a chance to learn ways to express a range of time in Japanese.
The carp-shaped streamers you see flying in the wind around the start of May are connected to Children's Day. The carp is a symbol of strength and success, which is why it is used in connection to the holiday.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Apr 25, 2024
Getting extremely emotional with grammar ahead of Children's Day
Certain Japanese grammatical structures can help enhance emotions in conversation and writing, conveying the idea of "unbearably."
The titular city in Haruki Murakami's most recent novel, "The City and Its Uncertain Walls," appears to exist in the protagonist's dream world.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Apr 19, 2024
Before Murakami’s English release, try him in Japanese one more time
An English version of "The City and Its Uncertain Walls" won't come out till fall, so practice reading it in Japanese before checking the translation.
The Oxford English Dictionary contains 552 Japanese loanwords in English, a small number compared to the near 25,000 borrowings from French.
LIFE / Language
Apr 18, 2024
The unexpected ways in which Japanese words 'make it' into English
Thanks to new entries in the Oxford English Dictionary, pretty soon even your grandparents will know what "onigiri" and "omotenashi" mean.
Get the rubber gloves and cleaning supplies out. This is the time of year when we should clean our homes and prepare them for the upcoming rainy season.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Apr 11, 2024
Dust off your tidying vocabulary with a refreshing spring clean
While most Japanese households take part in a big clean at the end of the year, it doesn't hurt to tidy a little as the weather changes.
As they enter the workforce, the young employees who grew up texting one another have their own rules for communicating.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Apr 2, 2024
Fear of a full stop? Young Japanese say drop the period in your texts.
In addition to "maruhara," or "period harassment," younger employees want to cut down on the unnecessary emails that are a part of work culture.
A shogi board game with human pieces is played out in Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture, last year.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Mar 29, 2024
The vocabulary of shogi can help you make moves in your conversations
The world of shogi, a game that is often described as a form of Japanese chess, has given us much more than just checkmates.

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The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan