The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will host the North American premiere Isao Takahata‘s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and director Mami Sunada’s The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness documentary about Studio Ghibli next month. Princess Kaguya will premiere with English subtitles on September 5 with Takahata present for the screening. The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness will premiere on Monday, September 8.
- Cara Clegg
Aug 21, 2014
We recently came across this article on English pick up lines for Japanese guys wanting to get ‘close’ to women while they’re on holiday abroad. Some of the tips are a little out there, though. What do you make of the advice offered?
Kunugigaoka Junior High School, and particularly CLASS 3-E’s amazing artificial lifeform teacher Koro-sensei is known for his innovative and unique tactics of teaching his students. From making songs about math based off of anime opening themes, to moving at Mach 20 just to create “after image tutor copies,” Koro-sensei will stop at nothing to make sure that his students learn their lesson.
Now it seems that he’s turned his immense smile in another direction to bring the same one on one quality teaching to the hands of students everywhere, with the official Assassination Classroom English Textbook!
Here at RocketNews24, we spend a lot of time talking about language–particularly Japanese and English in Japan. It’s no secret that English is a difficult language to learn, and not just for folks from Japan. Part of the reason for the difficulty arises from the numerous variations English has–from American to Australian to Singaporean. But one country in particular that stands out is the Philippines, which the BBC recently called “the world’s budget English teacher.” While it’s not exactly the most complimentary title, it certainly is true that the country takes English as one of its official languages (along with Filipino, which is basically a standardized form of Tagalog). Of course, in a country with around 170 living languages, it should be expected that Philippine English is quite a bit different from English in the US or the UK.
But just how different is it?
- Michelle Lynn Dinh
Jul 14, 2014
Despite every student in Japan being required to take English language courses, it may be difficult to find everyday people who enjoy and feel comfortable speaking the language. Sure, there are some former compulsory school students who are completely fluent in English, but overall, finding a native-level speaker or even someone confident enough to speak with can be difficult. That’s why we were surprised and pleased to watch this video of an Australian expat and his English language encounter at the McDonald’s drive-thru in Japan.
I’ve marked my fair share of English exam papers here in Japan, and there have been a few gems of hilarity in amongst the spelling mistakes and butchered grammar, but nothing that measures up to this beauty. One student’s answer to a simple question was so deep and existential, it read like poetry.
- Philip Kendall
Jun 26, 2014
Hearing native Japanese people casually using English slang is a special kind of awesome. All too often, Japanese are taught straight-laced, borderline archaic phrases that, while grammatically sound, remove all trace of the speaker’s personality to the point that they end up sounding like stuffy university professors rather than they people they actually are. So when we spotted this video, which shows one English teacher’s students working their way through the recently released book F*ck no Tadashii Tsukaikata, or “How to Use ‘F**k’“, it brought huge smiles to our faces.
So, if you’d like to hear perfectly nice and respectable Japanese people saying things like “I’m trusting you with the drugs; don’t f**k me over” and “He’s going to sh*t a brick”, make sure there are no impressionable youngsters in the room and join us after the jump.
Everyone knows that there are certain nuances in every language that you just can’t learn from school. Humor, for instance, but also cursing. Sure, you might know the definitions of a few key words, but stringing them together is a task unlikely to be perfected except by those who have spent some time with folks who are native speakers.
A recent book written by MADSAKI and published by Transworld Japan is giving Japanese speakers the fine opportunity to learn how to creatively curse in American-English. Titled, How to use F*** Correctly: 99 Phrases Using F***, S***, D***, and H*** that Schools Won’t Teach You, Handle with Care, it promises 176 pages of illustrated cursing, with examples.
Recently we brought you a selection of Japanese words we’d love to import into English. Well, it seems we’re not the only ones that feel that way. Digital artist Anjana Iyer, a designer based in Auckland, New Zealand, is undertaking a project to illustrate 100 words that can’t be translated into English. The words she’s chosen come from languages ranging from Latvian to Inuit, and even better, we here at RocketNews24 were excited to discover that there are already seven Japanese words on the list!
Below is our pick of Anjana’s ongoing project, which is entitled “Found in Translation”.
Funny things, names. In Japan, I am lucky enough to share mine with a delicious kind of stick-chocolate treat, which not only means that I can introduce myself as such: “Fran – you know, like Pocky, but not as cheap”, but also means that I often get given chocolates with my name on the packet, which I can confirm is something of a win-win situation.
My family name, however, is a terrifying mix of Rs, Ls, Ys and Ws that tends to provoke confusion and mild panic here in Japan. I have a good stock line for accurately communicating its spelling and pronunciation in the UK (“Wrigley, like the chewing gum”), and another one for Americans and/or baseball fans (“like Wrigley Field”). I’ve never come up with a good line to use on Japanese people, though, except to awkwardly mutter “um… yeah, sorry, it’s kind of a difficult name. Don’t worry, people in England can’t pronounce it either.”
But what if your name means something embarrassing or just downright odd in another language? Today, we bring you five kinds of Japanese names that make English speakers do a double-take, or a little snort into their coffee.
- Cara Clegg
May 10, 2014
Japanese people seem to love telling me that British food is terrible, and the only good thing we have going for us is fish and chips. No one can believe that I actually get a bit tired of Japanese food and pine for my favourite dishes from home! Perhaps to try and change this perception, the British Embassy has been undertaking a campaign called ‘Food is GREAT!’ (for Great Britain, geddit?), and our Japanese writer decided to put some of their recipes to the test.
Like so many foreigners living in Japan, I first entered the country as an eigo shidou joshu, more commonly known as an Assistant Language Teacher, or ALT for short. Although terms like “grass-roots internationalisation” and “globalisation” are uttered during ALT training seminars and by boards of education across the country with such frequency that you’d swear they’re being sponsored to use them, in reality an ALT’s role at a Japanese junior high school (where the majority in Japan are employed) is to go along to class with a non-native Japanese teacher of English (or JTE) and, as their job title implies, assist in teaching. The idea is that students, particularly those from rural areas, will benefit from the presence of and instruction from a native English speaker.
But are native speakers entirely vital to English language education in Japan? And should native English speakers, rather than Japanese teachers of English, be the ones taking the lead role in the classroom?
Not a day goes by without Japanese school children hearing the terms globalization (グロバール化) or internationalization (国際化), and why it’s so important for their future careers. In fact, the whole country seems to be swept up in a fervor of these two words. But do Japanese people really understand the meanings of them, or are the terms just being used as catchphrases?
Enter Austin, an international student who has been living in Japan since 2012. Last week he posted a thought-provoking piece called “Some Thoughts – And Doubts – About Japan’s Internationalization” on Tofugu, a Japanese language and culture blog. The piece has circulated around the Internet, and was even picked up and summarized in Japanese by popular Japanese blogger Madame Riri. In it, Austin addresses how while Japan may be making efforts to globalize on the surface, it still lacks something on a deeper level that is preventing it from becoming truly internationalized. Join the debate after we take look at some of his thoughts below.
Students across Japan have recently been taking their entrance exams which, if successful, will help them get into the higher level school they desire. Naturally, the more prestigious the school, the more difficult the entrance exam is.
Take these practice questions published in the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s newspaper, the Titech Press for example. In these questions, the student must rearrange the words to form a sentence with the same meaning as the Japanese one above. Even without understanding the Japanese, a native English speaker should be able to unscramble those words, right?
Why don’t you grab a pen and paper and give it a try before you read any further and see the answers? I got all of them except number three.
While Japan’s bank of English loan words has grown to the point where “context” and even “paradigm” can be understood by most people, there seems to be only a handful of Japanese words that have been sprinkled into the modern English vocabulary. Of course, there’s things like “manga”, “sushi,” and “karate,” which English speakers can instantly recognize as comics, a Japanese food, and a way to kick ass (in that respective order), but there are also some sleeper agent Japanese words traipsing about our English conversations. Let’s take a look at Japanese words, like “honcho” (as in “head honcho”) and “tycoon” (as in “oil tycoon”), that we use in English.
- Preston Phro
Dec 23, 2013
For Japanese people, studying English is almost a given. Even folks who may have no interest in actually leaving their home country may feel compelled to study the language for business or simply because they’re supposed to. But it’s hard to enjoy learning a language that you don’t have any interest in–and having fun is one of the best ways to facilitate learning.
This has opened up something of a cottage industry for people trying to make the learning part fun. There are nonsensical textbooks and sexy teachers, but then there are the college textbooks that seem like their authors weren’t even trying.
Well, for any Japanese English-learners who are on the verge of giving up – and perhaps for those of you struggling with learning Japanese – there may be one ray of hope still shining: Majime na Eibunpou, a surprisingly funny English grammar smartphone app!
- Blaine Harvey
Dec 11, 2013
What happens when you take a prefecture’s name written in kanji and change it into English based on the literal meaning of the Chinese characters? Sounds like you’d get a pretty cool name, right? Well, you may be disappointed to find out that Tokyo (東京), the capital of the nation of Japan, in fact simply means “Eastern Capital,” and Kyoto (京都), the former capital, doesn’t fare much better, coming out as, um, “Capital Capital.”
But with 45 other prefectures to choose from, there’s no reason we can’t find some good ones! Join us after the jump for some fun with kanji.
Although it’s been debated on this site before, life in a Japanese company can be tough. For some it can be downright war. And with more and more companies beginning to adopt English into their daily routines, it can be hard for an average salaryman (the term given to average full-time company employees) to get ahead or even survive.
Nissin’s Cup Noodle tries to sum it up how the feeling of a typical worker in their advert titled Globalization. Let’s take a look.
- Michelle Lynn Dinh
Nov 1, 2013
Although Japan is technically a linguistically and culturally homogeneous nation, there is a significant population of foreign residents who add a sprinkle of languages other than Japanese to the mix. When two different worlds collide, the results can be interesting and thanks to the popularity of Twitter in Japan, we all have access to a never-ending supply of cross-cultural anecdotes. The following is just a small handful of posts by Japanese Twitter users about their encounters with foreigners in Japan.
Thanks to Japan’s ever-increasing attempts at globalization and English education, the most recent generations growing up in Japan have all been exposed to foreign language classes. Some even started as young as preschool! However, because the island nation remains so homogenized, most Japanese citizens don’t come across many opportunities to practice and properly hone their skills. I’d say that with the exception of those who use English for work or have experienced living abroad, by the time they reach adult-hood, the majority of Japanese people only know enough English to not make any sense when attempting to speak it! They simply toss a few English words into a Japanese sentence structure and expect it to make sense.
This poses a problem for the foreign tourists who visit Japan without learning the native language and rely on English signs and helpful English speakers in order to get around. Luckily for both the lost tourists who don’t speak Japanese and for Japanese locals who can’t remember their English, there is a third language which can overcome all great language barriers and promote mutual understanding: body language and interpretive gestures. Although, sometimes these wordless conversations can seem a bit surreal in hindsight, which is why the Japanese site, Naver Matome, put together an interesting collection of Japanese people’s experiences flailing at foreigners.
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons1
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- Real-life Fruit Ninja! Watch Isao Machii slice up flying fruit like a boss 【Video】4
- Toyota’s dance craze contest invites you to Wakudoki your way to Tokyo【Video】5
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan6
- Policeman throws up after questioning a suspect who hadn’t brushed his teeth in a year7
- Terrifyingly terrific haunted house’s puzzles are so tough it has a continue system8
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events9
- “A pig that doesn’t fly is just a pig”: 8 of Japan’s favourite Ghibli movie quotes10
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls1
- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!2
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events3
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】4
- Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?5
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Otaku generation gap – Fans in their teens, 20s, and 30s reveal what got them into anime8
- Ramen Shop Serves Mountains of Meat, Gets Customers and Laughs9
- These photos from the ‘richest village in China’ will positively blow you away10
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】1
- The clever way Japanese drivers thank each other without saying a word【Video】2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!4
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events5
- We swear we won’t tell anyone if you buy one of these super lifelike love dolls from Japan6
- Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?7
- Annual ChinaJoy game expo proves to be Asia’s biggest showcase of busty booth babes!【Photos】8
- Otaku generation gap – Fans in their teens, 20s, and 30s reveal what got them into anime9
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】3
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup4
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!5
- The clever way Japanese drivers thank each other without saying a word【Video】6
- Malaysian girl gets 1.6 million views on YouTube for singing about not being Korean【Video】7
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!8
- Brass section rejoice! Your ideal smartphone accessory has arrived9
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls10
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan
- Policeman throws up after questioning a suspect who hadn’t brushed his teeth in a year
- Terrifyingly terrific haunted house’s puzzles are so tough it has a continue system
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events
- “A pig that doesn’t fly is just a pig”: 8 of Japan’s favourite Ghibli movie quotes
- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!
- Pay Japan’s apology agencies to say “I’m sorry” when it’s just too hard to do it yourself
- Gundam creator isn’t making his new series for you, doesn’t care if you don’t like it
- Cute puppy goes to grandmother’s house and finds dentures for toothy grin, hilarious photo op
- Over 3 decades, North Korea paid for full-page propaganda ads in western newspapers
- These Disney princess live-action movie posters aren’t real but we’d pay for them anyway
- Master drummers are lurking in Japanese game centers
- How would cast of Love Live! look like in their 30s? Artistic fans have it all planned out!