Tag - vocabulary



Dads in Japan tend to fall in one of two categories: "amatō," a person fond of sweets, or "karatō," a person fond of alcohol.
Jun 14, 2024
Dads like sweets, but some like sweet words even more
Looking for a gift for Father's Day? It's said that Japanese dads fall into one of two categories: They like sweets or they like sake.
Artificial chemical scents that come from things like perfume or fabric softener can cause discomfort or even sickness for some individuals.
Jun 7, 2024
Scents and sensitivity: Understanding ‘smell pollution’ in Japan
In the country's crowded urban areas, it is important to be aware of how your deodorant, perfume or fabric softener can affect others.
Whether you get your goosebumps from horror movies, the dark or even historical battle sites, there are lots of ways to express fear in Japanese.
May 31, 2024
Using intransitive verbs to make Japanese ghost stories extra spooky
Since intransitive verbs don't need to take a subject, they are best at describing things that happen of their own accord.
The so-called グリーンカーテン ("gurīn kāten," green curtain) is a vertical garden you can create for your balcony to help provide shade from the summer sun.
May 24, 2024
Get started on your at-home garden before the summer hits
Even if you live in a small Tokyo apartment, a garden isn't out of the question. Learn the Japanese needed to visit your local garden center.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sayaka Murata uses inventive language to bring the character of Keiko to life in "Convenience Store Woman."
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The “dogeza” position is used for the sincerest of apologies and it was deployed by the man who mistakenly ruined an attempt at a Guinness world record on live television.
Feb 9, 2024
The year so far has been marked by some good and bad apologies
A social norm seems to persist in Japan that one should apologize first and explain later. That goes for companies as well.
Unfortunately, statistics are not favorable when it comes to mixed marriages. With the proper communication, however, no challenge is insurmountable.
Jan 26, 2024
Know how to talk about divorce in case your relationship goes south
It's a sad fact that more than a few international relationships don't work out in Japan. Be armed with the proper vocabulary just in case.
The Japanese term "yarinuku" means to do something to completion and implies there were difficulties along the way. It may feel like climbing a mountain, but it's often used in the boardroom.
Jan 19, 2024
Persevere with your Japanese grammar using these compound verbs
By mixing and matching certain verbs, your vocabulary will expand immensely.


People wait for the main act to begin at Summer Sonic, which holds simultaneous music festivals for those in Tokyo and Osaka.
Can Japan's summer music festivals adapt to a post-pandemic reality?