The sakura front sweeps across Japan

by Hiroko Kimura

Spring — the season of sakura (桜, cherry blossoms) — has finally arrived and the entire country has been transformed into a fairyland tinted pale pink. In a heartening season of renewal after winter’s chill, a wave of sakura washes over these islands. Usually the sakurazensen (桜前線, cherry blossom front)starts ...


Stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency first came to the public's attention on Jan. 28, after the British journal Nature published research ...

The sounds of everyday Japanese life

| Mar 30, 2014

The sounds of everyday Japanese life

by Peter Backhaus

Living in Japan can be quite a noisy experience. Even in my quiet little neighborhood, rarely a day passes without a great variety of sounds being heard. Four days a week the garbage truck fills the air with its most peculiar orugōru (オルゴール, music ...

| Mar 23, 2014

Being laughed at can help your Japanese evolve

by Daniel Morales

Students of Japanese are often Japanese-as-a-second-language (JSL) cavemen. JSL cavemen live a mostly pleasant existence of blissful ignorance, using a devolved form of the language as best they can. However, JSL cavemen are not total ignoramuses — their thick hide can be penetrated by ...

Good and bad, for better or worse

| Mar 16, 2014

Good and bad, for better or worse

by Mark Schreiber

One approach to acquiring new vocabulary that I’ve always found effective is to seek out the 反対語 (hantai-go, antonyms) of words. To prove my point, how about looking at words that relate to “good” and “bad,” which are about as opposite as you can ...

| Mar 16, 2014

Quitting smoking make you happier

Sample newspaper article QUITTING SMOKING MAKES YOU HAPPIER 喫煙者は禁煙すれば、不安やストレスを感じている人が抗うつ剤を摂取するのと同様の精神的な幸福感の高揚を得ることができるという研究報告が2月13日に発表された。英国の研究者たちは、被験者たちが記入したアンケートから、不安や気持ちの落ち込み、ストレス、生活の質についての答えを標準化したスコアカードを調査した。調査対象の喫煙者は平均44歳で、一日に10本から40本のタバコを吸っていた。彼らは禁煙を試みる前と禁煙を始めて平均6か月の2回、調査を受けた。禁煙に成功した被験者は、喫煙を続けた被験者に比べて、気持ちの落ち込みや不安感、ストレスの減少を報告し、人生に対してより前向きな展望を持つようになったと回答した。(Feb. 14) Words and phrases 喫煙者 (kitsuensha) smokers; 禁煙する (kin’en-) stop smoking; 不安 (fuan) anxiety; ストレス stress; 抗うつ剤 (kōutsuzai) anti-depressants; 接種する (sesshu-) take; 同様の (dōyō-) equivalent to; 精神的な (seishinteki-) mental; 幸福感 (kōfukukan) well-being; 高揚 (kōyō) boost; ...

| Mar 16, 2014

Chotto, kōen-wo sanpo-shite-kimasu

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Chotto, kōen-wo sanpo-shite-kimasu. (I’m just taking a walk in the park.) Situation 1: On Sunday, Mr. Shiba is going out to take a walk. 夫: ちょっと、公園を散歩してくるよ。 妻: それなら、スーパーの前を通るでしょ。おしょうゆを買ってきて。 Otto: Chotto, kōen-wo sanpo-shite-kuru-yo. Tsuma: Sore-nara, sūpā-no mae-wo tōru-desho. O-shōyu-wo katte-kite. Husband: I’m just taking a ...

| Mar 15, 2014

Zero-hour contract

A zero-hour contract is an employment contract used in the U.K. containing provisions that create an "on-call" arrangement between an employer and employee.

I hereby take myself as my lawfully wedded <I>yome</I>

| Mar 9, 2014

I hereby take myself as my lawfully wedded yome

by Kaori Shoji

I was trudging home the other night with a dōryō (同僚, colleague) after another in a series of sābisu zangyō (サービス残業, unpaid overtime) sessions, debating whether to skip dinner or stop off at the nearest 24-hour sūpā (スーパー, supermarket). Out of the blue, my ...