Finding my Kanji Name and Japanese Naming Conventions

Kanji learning is a scary activity for those learning Japanese. Not only are there 20,000+ characters (2,136 being the literacy requirement) but each one has multiple meanings and pronunciations. I know, right! The size of it all, and the sheer cultural dissimilarity, is massively intimidating. But it is endlessly fascinating for those interested in language, …

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お好み焼き Okonomiyaki: Japan’s Savoury Pancake

Of all the food I’ve discovered in Japan I’m always most surprised that Okonomiyaki is the least recognised internationally. It’s incredibly delicious, celebrates the enduring Japanese love of cabbage, and there’s the crowd pleasing performance of cooking it yourself at your table. Okonomiyaki, translated to ‘grilled as you like it’, is a flexible dish that …

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雛祭り Hinamatsuri: Japanese Girls’ Appreciation Day

My colleague plops down in his seat next to me, and nods in my direction. Knowing that he has a young daughter I ask him if he’ll be celebrating Hinamatsuri today. Of course, he says, she wouldn’t let me not celebrate it, and giggles. On Hinamatsuri, March 3rd, girls all over Japan are appreciated through …

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おみくじ Omikuji: A Japanese Fortune Telling Slip

A Japanese language teacher gifted me an おみくじ, Omikuji, from the Dazaifu Tenman-gū, a famous shinto shrine in Fukuoka, Kyushu. She sat down to explain it to me, letting me know that Omikuji is best translated as a 'Fortune Slip'. As the Dazaifu Tenman-gū is a large and famous shrine, they had English Omikuji available. She happens …

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廃虚 Haikyo: Abandoned Bowling Alley

My accidental encounter with an underground Japanese hobby happened when we came to Sagami to spend a day drifting over the lake. We were taking in the burnt shades trees give off at that time of year, when we saw it. The entrance to a building over run with foliage, a squat Doraemon with waves …

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