Japan has invented some pretty cool things; Mario, the Nissan Skyline, and PlayStation to name a few. Sure, sexy cars and even sexier game systems are great, but what would you choose as the truly exceptional Japanese inventions that influenced the world? Chinese media site, Xinhua Net News, weighed in on this question, giving us their top 10 list of most influential inventions from Japan.
We’re all for making language learning resources fun and entertaining, and it always helps to include an element of humour or realism when preparing materials for students. So when we came across this photo, allegedly of a page from a Japanese language textbook in use in Taiwan, we couldn’t help thinking that its creators were on to something.
Learning new vocabulary and how to conjugate verbs can be painfully dull, but when you’re seeing them put to use – by an abrasive talking radish, no less – then you’re far less likely to forget!
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.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve studied Japanese or how many kanji you can successfully identify, if you still sound like you’re speaking English when you are in fact speaking Japanese, you’re going to look like a dumb gaijin.
But it’s hard to identify your level of fluency when it comes to pronunciation and we’re hoping the following video can help. This is hands down the best side-by-side comparison of an excellent and…shall we say “authentic American” Japanese accent executed by “twin brothers” David Ury and Ken Tanaka.
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.
Spanish grand prix motorcycle champ, Marc Marquez, showed up to the 2013 Moto GP held in Motegi City, Tochigi Prefecture wearing what he thought was an acceptable design giving a shout-out to his fans in Japan. He posted the picture above on his Twitter with the caption (written in Spanish), “Special helmet and shirt for a special GP in Japan, at home!!! Do you like?” It turns out, many people around the world don’t like it. However, an overwhelming amount of Japanese netizens don’t seem to understand why so many people are getting upset about the design.
Do you like cats? Okay, that’s a silly question. This is the Internet, and everybody likes cats on the Internet! There’s probably even an Internet law about it, though we have no idea what number it is (Number Meow, perhaps?). Well, how about learning Japanese? Oh, right, this is RocketNews24! Of course you like learning Japanese!
Well, how would you like to learn a little Japanese and see some great cat pictures at the same time??
That’s what we thought! Well, you’re in luck since we have compiled some Japanese search terms to use to find cute or hilarious cat pictures and over 40 samples of the brilliant photos, just a Japanese Google search away!
Despite its apparent difficulty, Japanese is fast becoming one of the world’s most desirable languages to learn, with more and more Westerners studying it every day. Eventually, though, we all hit a wall with our studies and feel like we’re not making any progress. The books you threw yourself into with such enthusiasm start to become a chore to open, the army of kanji characters you have yet to study stare back at you with mocking disdain, and despite all the hours you put in you still can’t quite keep up with that anime you were determined to watch without subtitles. It happens to the best of us, but there are ways to break out of this rut, not to mention rekindle that love for studying Japanese, or any other language for that matter.
So today we’d like to bring you our short list of tips and tricks for boosting your Japanese language ability and make studying less of a chore. The following is a combination of both tips and experiences of foreigners who have achieved varying degrees of fluency in the language and our combined knowledge. It’s by no means the final word in language study, but give some of these a try and we’re sure you’ll be surprised at how quickly your Japanese proficiency improves.
Written language can be beautiful. From hieroglyphics to devanagari to latin script, single letters can be considered works of art. But in Japan, the syllabic characters, while beautiful on their own, are often used to create images and pictures. For example, in the photo above, うんこ (“unko”, the Japanese word for…how do I put this delicately…”poop”) gradually evolves into a face. While not the most elegant of examples, the practice of transforming hiragana, katakana, and kanji into art work has been around in Japan for longer than you might think.
It rarely appears in beginner or intermediate textbooks, but spend a day with any native Japanese speaker and you’ll soon realise that onomatopoeia is a vital part of the language. Utterances such as, “The rain fell like ‘pssshaaaa’” and, “My heart was going ‘boom boom boom’ the whole time!” may come across as a little ineloquent when said in English, but in Japanese these kinds of mimetic words are not only considered perfectly acceptable, but pop up absolutely everywhere.
So if you’ve ever wondered what sound a Japanese pig makes, how best to describe a rolling boulder as opposed to a tiny marble, or would be perplexed if a doctor asked whether the pain you’re feeling is more shikushiku than kirikiri, now’s your chance to hone your language skills and add a few new words to your Japanese vocabulary!
SuperDry, the hugely popular brand from UK-based clothing company SuperGroup plc, has become the subject of great amusement here in Japan this week as photos showing numerous articles of clothing branded with nonsensical Japanese phrases show that it’s not just garbled English that exists in the world of fashion.
From sweatshirts pairing the words “Track & Field” with the Japanese characters for “Clever Weather Company” to shirts that randomly scream “Do iiit!” there’s plenty to keep Japanese speakers smiling, and for Westerners to beware of.
Welcome to the other side of the coin!
Although it makes us worry that perhaps some people have a little too much time on their hands, we have to admire this Lego creation, which depicts a classic Japanese-style toilet, complete with something left behind by an inconsiderate Lego person.
On April 10, the mayor of Kyoto Keiji Yamada made public his intentions to appeal to the government to award overseas students who graduate from Kyoto University with the right to permanent residence. It is a proposal entitled ‘Kyoto University Special Ward’ and also incorporates other supportive measures for foreign students. With a decrease in student intake within Japan in recent years, it is hoped that by providing incentives for academically skilled overseas students, Kyoto will not only be able to compete with other cities like Tokyo but will also be able to add a new lease of life to its cultural city.
The Japanese word “karoushi”, meaning “death from overwork”, is a term that has gained recognition across the globe and is arguably testimony to the zeal with which many Japanese people carry out their work. Westerners observing Japan’s high standard of living and yet long labour hours often struggle to fully comprehend the Japanese mindset. The prevailing ideology for many in the west is that we “work to live”, in Japan, however, many appear to live to work.
Japanese people often get a hard time for their lack of English language skills. But with so few Japanese ever setting foot outside their own country, it’s little wonder that one of the most frequently heard reasons given for struggling with the language is the lack of opportunity to use it.
Just last night, in fact, I was completely caught off guard when a teenage girl in my local convenience store seized the opportunity to break out her English and asked me whether I needed a plastic bag. Unfortunately, I was completely unprepared for the question and it was only after she had repeated herself three times that I realised that a) she was speaking English and b) I’d probably just ensured that she never dare to do so ever again.
But perhaps the prospect of a free cup of coffee would rekindle her enthusiasm for language?
As part of a promotional campaign for the launch of its new ReFLEX language learning software, Rosetta Stone is opening a special limited-time-only cafe in a Shinjuku book store, giving customers the chance to use their English, and doling out free cups of coffee to those who can.
Back in 2006, Japanese mass media began using the term “guerrilla rainstorm” to describe short localized downpours of over 100 mm of rain per hour that appeared suddenly and unexpectedly.
The phenomenon is thought to be a result of rapid development of cumulonimbus clouds near urban areas caused by a combination of heat islands and local winds. The rainstorms have proven incredibly difficult to predict (hence the name “guerilla”) and are known for causing flash floods in urban areas.
The photo you see above is of one such guerrilla rainstorm, taken from Tokyo Skytree on September 1.
Many Japanese people lament their inability to carry out a proper conversation in English despite studying it for 10 years in junior high, high school and university.
Some people blame the education system, some people blame the lack of transparency between Japanese and other languages; but there just seems to be something about Japanese people that makes them terrible with foreign languages.
Continuing from yesterday’s post, we’d like to share the last part of Japanese columnist Ryuuji Haneishi’s discussion of why he believes they are.
Many Japanese people lament their inability to carry out a proper conversation in English despite 10 years of study during junior high, high school and university.
While anyone who has taught English at a public school in Japan would probably be quick to point their finger at a curriculum still largely grounded in rote memorization and strange textbook phrases, it’s also important to realize that Japanese has absolutely nothing in common with any of the European languages and most other languages in the world.
But aside this inherent disadvantage, there just seems to be something about Japanese people that makes them terrible with foreign languages.
Tracking Twitter trends can teach us a lot about language, for instance that Japanese women are more likely than men to tweet about boobs. It can also introduce us to hitherto unknown expressions coined and trending in the Twitterverse. We at Rocket News have been looking into some very strange examples, and we’d like to enlighten you today. Get ready, because your eyes are about to get pregnant! Read More
Everyone loves Engrish, and everyone enjoys lampooning the machines that create it and the silly humans who wear it.
Is it as funny when the tables are turned? What happens when non-Japanese deck themselves out in clothing with unintelligible characters on it, only to have the true meaning outed on the web for all to see? Read More
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