Sayaka Murata uses inventive language to bring the character of Keiko to life in "Convenience Store Woman."
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Mar 22, 2024
'Convenience Store Woman' and the 'normal' in life and literature
Author Sayaka Murata's use of marked and unmarked language provides new layers to a commentary on modern society.
The Japanese word "hanami," literally means “flower viewing.” But, a hanami gathering is more than that: It can be a picnic, a drinking party or an occasion to read poetry.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Mar 15, 2024
We invite you to get ready for this year’s cherry blossom parties
Asking people to a party is made easy in Japanese with a few basic sentence structures. Taking your leave from a party is just as simple.
Demonstrators hold a banner as they take part in a march to call for gender equality and protest against gender discrimination as part of an International Women’s Day march in Tokyo in 2021.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Mar 8, 2024
Recognizing the vocabulary surrounding International Women’s Day
Many of the terms describing issues women are facing in Japan have a string of complex kanji. Knowing the basics can go a long way in aiding understanding.
In many cases, the return gift that shows your appreciation should be worth half of what was originally given to you.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Mar 1, 2024
Japan's return-a-gift culture isn't just for White Day
If you received a gift on Valentine's Day, White Day is your chance to return the kindness. Learn the verbs for giving with grace.
What would you do if you received a juicy piece of gossip at work, do you know the Japanese for how you'd respond?
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Feb 23, 2024
Rumor, gossip and misinformation with neither roots nor leaves
Areas hit by the New Year's Day earthquake find themselves subject to damaging misinformation as they try to focus on reconstruction.
Food industry researchers and academics are hard at work formulating a new dictionary aiming to refine Japan's discourse over rice.
LIFE / Language
Feb 21, 2024
New dictionary to clear up sticking points over Japanese rice
By setting standards for common expressions that are often ambiguous, researchers hope to convey the "individuality" of products to consumers.
Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto came onto the scene in 1987 with “Kitchin.” In it, her main character talks about the comfort she finds in her kitchen.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Feb 16, 2024
Take your first dive into Japanese literature from the comfort of your kitchen
There are levels to understanding Japanese literature. First there's basic comprehension, but after that you can take time to appreciate the wordplay.

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?