Tag - nihongo



The end-of-year company party has been pretty much on hold for the past few years due to the pandemic. Will people embrace the tradition in bigger numbers as a result?
Dec 8, 2023
Should we forget the year or forget the party?
After a few years without proper yearend work parties, are Japanese workers ready for a big bash? Or, has the tradition come to an end?
Gender-neutral names were more popular for Japanese babies born in 2023, a survey has found.
JAPAN / Society
Dec 5, 2023
Popularity of gender-neutral Japanese names rose in 2023
The annual ranking by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance, released Monday, showed that unisex names have risen in popularity.
Japan's inflation marked a four-decade high this year, caused by surging fuel and raw material costs amid Russia's war against Ukraine. Japanese firms chose the kanji character for 'change' to describe such turbulence.
JAPAN / Society
Dec 3, 2023
Firms in Japan pick kanji for 'change' to describe turbulent 2023
From extreme weather to global conflicts, many companies in Japan say they spent the year adapting to new market forces.
Tigers manager Akinobu Okada speaks during a news conference in Tokyo after the buzzword of the year was announced on Friday. The team's slogan, an indirect reference to victory, took the top spot.
JAPAN / Society
Dec 1, 2023
Japan’s 2023 buzzword of the year is all about winning
A.R.E — based on the Japanese word “are” (“that”) — took the top spot, after the Hanshin Tigers popularized the term as an indirect reference to victory.
Rabbits are supposedly easier to get through quarantine, but Japan’s outgoing quarantine rules for our fluffy friends actually take a fair bit of time.
Dec 1, 2023
Hare today, gone tomorrow: Another cautionary tale for expats headed home
In another piece about leaving Japan, our departee learns some hard truths about the country’s quarantine guidelines for animals.
Pages from a new Otaku Dictionary catalog the lexicons of Japan’s various subcultures.
PODCAST / deep dive
Nov 30, 2023
A problematic otaku dictionary and the Japanese approach to sitting
An “Otaku Dictionary” has Japan’s subcultures upset at an attempt to define them.
Yoshiko Koide sits in a classroom at Nagoya College where she teaches a Japanese-language observation seminar.
LIFE / Language / Longform
Nov 27, 2023
How a dictionary came to spark outrage among the web’s otaku
A project to create a reference book categorizing subcultures didn't seem to cause offense until it was packaged and sold as a dictionary.
Tossing your car in the forest when you leave Japan doesn't help anyone. If you want to throw away your things properly, you'll need to pay attention to your paperwork.
Nov 24, 2023
Wheeling and dealing: A cautionary tale for expats headed home
Ditching big items, like your car, can be tough in Japan if you don't time things just right.
Communication is important in a relationship, especially when you and your spouse grew up speaking different languages. Learn a few phrases that show you care.
Nov 22, 2023
A few small expressions can go a long way in your relationship
As we celebrate Couple's Day in Japan, let's review ways to tell your special someone how great they are.
Yoshiko Koide, a professor at Nagoya College, and 12 female students delved deep into otaku culture to create “Otaku Dictionary Daigenkai,” a dictionary of terms from all walks of fandom.
LIFE / Language
Nov 20, 2023
Test your otaku vocabulary, from 'oshi' to 'bacon lettuce'
“Otaku Dictionary Daigenkai” has gathered the language of fandom, from idols to games and anime.
Kyoto’s Tofukuji temple is a notable place for viewing multicolored fall foliage.
Nov 10, 2023
The culture, customs and vocabulary of Japan’s fall season
The changing colors of Japan’s foliage have been a prominent part of the culture since the Nara Period when they inspired artists.
Sometimes just saying that you won't break a promise isn't enough. You may need the power of the pinky finger.
LIFE / Language / Vocabulary Boost
Nov 3, 2023
Breaking a promise comes with sharp penalties in Japan
An interesting element that is present in both Japanese and English rhymes around pinky promises is the idea of needles.
The words of encouragement that star player Shohei Ohtani gave his teammates before their final game against the United States during the World Baseball Classic in March were among those nominated on Thursday to be the buzzwords of the year.
JAPAN / Society
Nov 2, 2023
Japan's 2023 buzzwords reflect light and dark sides of the year
From the year's scandals to its champions, the annual list of buzzword candidates highlights the nation's hope, fears and diversions.
Trendy buzzwords tend to be most at risk of dying out as they often reflect ideas and trends that are fleeting.
Oct 31, 2023
A foray into the realm of Japanese ‘dead words’
Old slang and problematic terms are prime candidates when it comes to slipping out of usage and disappearing from the Japanese lexicon.
A banner displayed at the entrance of Shibuya Ward’s Center Street makes clear that authorities do not want Halloween revelers to roam the streets as has become the custom.
Oct 27, 2023
Why deal with the crowds when you can have a ‘mundane Halloween’ online?
People are busy thinking up costumes at Halloween, so will yours be flashy and outrageous? Well, an online trend proves "bland" can be just as fun.
The pronoun you choose when referring to yourself can give off a definite vibe, so be careful in your choice.
Oct 20, 2023
Which pronoun should I take?
Depending on the situation, you may need to use two or three different pronouns for yourself when speaking Japanese.
Whether you see it as ceremonious or a “way” of living in the moment, the tea ceremony offers a chance to relax and think about the moment you are in.
Oct 13, 2023
The linguistic influence of tea in Japan is more than ceremonial
The way of tea is one of inner peace and enjoying the moment. And it's good for understanding idioms, too.
The Nakamise shopping street running up to Senso-ji temple in Tokyo's Asakusa area was crowded with tourists this past summer.
Oct 6, 2023
A year after borders fully opened, tourism vocab is also back
After tourists fully returned to Japan last October, so did a term we hadn't heard since before the pandemic: overtourism.
Take a moment to look up at the sky tonight, see if you can spot some lunar rabbits.
Sep 29, 2023
An autumnal custom teaches Japan to appreciate the season
While not as popular as its springtime cherry blossom cousin, moon-viewing season still has its own specific customs.
The cast of Chelfitsch’s play “The Window of Spaceship ‘In-Between’” includes individuals with different levels of Japanese-language proficiency. They participated in workshops hosted by the theater company to promote more inclusivity in Japanese theater.
Sep 29, 2023
Chelfitsch challenges Japanese theater's language barriers
The theater company questions the status quo of the Japanese stage by casting non-native speakers in new project, 'The Window of Spaceship "In-Between."'


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