Trip to Japan, Japanese Videos, Prizes, and Website Update

Website Updates

Ohayou! First of all, thank you to everyone who read my last post “New Learning Japanese Project and Traveling in Japan” and tried to comment. Their is an issue with posting comments I am trying to resolve. I am hoping to have it fixed within the week, but am still trying to narrow down the issue. In the meantime, please contact me directly at via twitter at @japanese_words with your ideas and comments. I really appreciate them and I am sorry I haven’t gotten the comments working yet. I will be working on a complete website redesign soon. Comments are fixed!

Japan Trip

My last trip to Japan spanned five weeks and was fantastic. We spent a few days in Tokyo before being forced to leave early to Nagano due to the impending Typhoon. As it turns out, we left just in time because the train we used to get to Nagano was shut down for several weeks after the typhoon due to flooding. Unfortunately, parts of Nagano were hit very hard.

The weather in Nagano wasn’t great after the typhoon and we had to spend a lot of time indoors. We rented some movies from Tsutaya (Japan still has a strong video rental shop business) and spent the rest of the time shopping and visiting with family. I picked up some items I will be giving away once I start the YouTube channel.

We also went to take some pictures for my daughters shichi-go-san (7-5-3), which is the way to say the important birthdays for young girls and boys. Girls being seven and three and boys when they are five. It is an important occasion for young children and their families in Japan. So important, that some people are willing to spend thousands of dollars and an entire day taking pictures (we didn’t).

After a couple weeks in Nagano we flew to Kobe where are friends from Kochi picked us up. If you fly from Nagano (Matsumoto airport) to Kobe, try to get a window seat as the view is amazing. Depending on the time of year, you will get to see snow covered mountains, and on a good day, you can even see Mount Fuji. It’s about an one hour flight.

The drive from Kobe to Koichi was also beautiful. You drive a long the ocean for much of it and cross some amazing bridges and tunnels. Our friends recently moved to a small mountain village within Koichi. It reminded me of the scene in “The Last Samurai” when Tom Cruise’s character is captured and taken to the small village. After several minutes on windy mountain roads a small village on a mountain side suddenly comes into view.

This was one of my favorite places. A small town, flush with trees and rivers, and a quit neighborhood. We stayed in Koichi for seven days. I went jogging through a different part of the village each night and was in love. I could actually see myself buying a house there.

We spent the next seven days visiting places in Koichi and had a wonderful time. I will write more about this once I am able to post pictures (images are also not working). One of my favorite place was Tsutaya Shoten (these are located throughout Japan), which is an upscale bookstore/cafe/market. I spent several hours there and was sad to leave. We also visited the ocean, the zoo, and the Koichi Sunday Farmers Market.

After returning to Nagano for a few days, we headed back to Tokyo and stayed in Yokohama for a couple nights before flying out. We all ended up getting sick, but did recuperated in time to manage a trip to Yokohama’s “China Town”. One of the recent “booms” in Japan is tapioca tea, one of my favorites drinks. There are a lot of tapioca shops in Yokohama’s China Town. It’s not as cheap as in Taiwan, but it tastes great.

We are already thinking about our trip to Japan next year with plans to stay even longer.

I will give further details on my trip when I am able to post pictures. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me directly at the email listed above.

Japanese Videos

I’m still getting over jet lag (its harder when you have two kids), but have started putting together a plan to create various Japanese learning, Japanese culture, and Japan traveling.

I started studying Japanese nearly twenty years ago and have spent the last fifteen years studying learning, productivity, and habits. I have also taught Japanese, English, and business and marketing. My goal is to put all this together to help you learn Japanese and experience Japan. As mentioned in the previous post, please contact me with any comments you have. I would love to know where you are having difficulty, what your interest in Japan comes from, and what kind of material you would like to see.

Prizes

As part of this new YouTube Channel, I stopped at some various anime/toy/figure shops in Japan and picked up some Japanese manga, pro-moderu (action figures), and some toys including Dragon Ball, One Piece, and others. I will using them as giveaways to subscribers. If this proves popular, I will work on getting more. Add me on twitter to stay up to date @japanese_words.

Manga Special

There is currently a special going on at Humble Bundle for the Monogatari series of Manga. I don’t receive any bonus or commission for this but it’s a great deal if you like Manga: Monogatari Manga

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New Learning Japanese Project and Traveling in Japan

I have been traveling around Japan for the last 4 weeks. I still have another week left before going back to the states.

After living in Japan for 7-8 years, I come back about once a year so my kids can see their grandparents and to visit friends. We always have a great time and enjoy our trip, but this year was different. This year I found opportunity and remembered why I fell in love with Japan in the first place.

I found myself wanting to share these experiences again. Except, I couldn’t. After a long period of focusing on other things this site was broken. I had also deleted my twitter account in order to streamline my online presence.

After a little bit of work, this site is working again.

But I want to take it further.

I am starting a new Youtube channel all about Japan, the culture, and learning the language. I am bringing back several items from Japan to give away to subscribers, including figures, toys, and Japanese manga.

I am already planning my next trip back to Japan.

I need your help!

To make the best videos and offer the best giveaways, I need to know what you want to see?

In the comments section, please let me know:

  1. What you want to see- are you interested in traditional culture, do you want to see pop culture, anime, games?
  2. What are your favorite shows? Who are your favorite actors and musicians.
  3. Which places in Japan do you want to see?
  4. What help do you need with Japanese language or traveling in Japan?
  5. Are you interested in living or studying in Japan?
  6. What kind of items would you like to see as giveaways?

I’m really excited to get started on this project. With your help, I can produce the videos and content you really want to see.

Please comment and let me know what you would like to see. I look forward to hearing from you.

Japanese Tea Ceremony in Nagano

I hope you all had a great New Years. I spent mine in Nagano. It was very cold, but it was also very beautiful. It snowed the first night I was there and reached below 0 degrees Celsius every night. The last day we were there we visited my Aunt in law who teaches tea ceremony. We actually went there to eat Sukiyaki, but she also made us tea.

I recorded the entire thing and made a video. I hope you enjoy it. Japanese tea ceremony is very unique and each movement  has a meaning. The room itself is designed in the traditional style and has a very old feeling to it.

Please leave any questions below and I will do my best to answer them.

Remembering the Kanji Update

Last month I created a post about my goal to learn all 2042 kanji in the book Remembering the Kanji. I set a goal of December 31 as my finish date. With only two months to finish, I had to learn about 35-40 Kanji a day in order to make the deadline. With only 12 days to go will I finish in time?

The simple answer is no. I currently sit at about 1300 kanji and will have learned about 1500-1600 by the end of December. Unfortunately, there were days I wasn’t able to study and that put me behind schedule. Am I disappointed? Definitely not. In fact, I think this is a great example of why setting big goals and falling short can be a lot better than setting small goals and achieving them.

Learning 35-40 Kanji a day is a huge task. Instead, let’s say that I had been more reasonable and tried to learn 5 or 10 kanji a day. Still a formidable project. Even if I had succeeded I would only have learned 300-600 kanji. Not to mention that 10 kanji a day would take 200 days, and 5 a day would take over a year. I would be much more likely to give up.

Being at 1300 kanji, and knowing that I am over halfway there is a great feeling. It gives me the motivation I need to keep going. I’m nearly 70% there. Had I done 10 a day I would only be about 25% of the way.

Set goals that you have to strive for and try your best to accomplish them. In the end, even if you don’t achieve them you will be much further along than if you had chosen a much easier goal.

Here are some things for you to try. Just fill in the blank with a number that seems too much and try to accomplish it.

Study ________ new Japanese words a day.

Watch _______ hours of Japanese TV/Movies a day.

Speak to a native Japanese speaker _________ hour every day.

Learn _________ new Japanese phrases every day for 10 days.

Japanese Words for School

Study in Japan

Since I have started this website, I have gotten a lot of e-mails asking me about studying in Japan. For those of you who don’t know, I used to work as an admissions counselor to help bring students here to Japan. Something I will be doing again soon. For those of you who want to really learn Japanese, and especially for those who want to work in Japan, I would highly recommend studying in here.

There are possibilities to work in Japan for people who can’t speak Japanese fluently, or at least at a business level, but they are few. The primary two being recruiting and English teaching. If you really want to open up your options, then you need to learn Japanese fluently. One great way to do that is to study in Japan. Studying in Japan will help you both learn the culture and learn the Japanese language. Two things you will need to know to find a good job in Japan.

So, here is a list of Japanese words for those interested in studying in Japan. These words should help you ask questions about how your credits transfer, graduating, clubs, scholarships, student life, etc. Please feel free to add on more words in the comments.

  1. High school- 高校、こうこう
  2. Community College- 短大、たんだい
  3. College/University- 大学、だいがく
  4. Transcripts-  成績証明書、せいせきしょうめいしょ
  5. Credits- 単位、たんい
  6. Essay- エッセイ、
  7. Entrence essay-入学論文
  8. Entrance exam- 入学試験、にゅうがくしけん
  9. Scholarship- 奨学金、しょうがくきん
  10. transfer- 編入、へんにゅう
  11. Graduate- 卒業する、そつぎょうする
  12. Diploma- 卒業証明書
  13. Club-サークル
  14. Major, field- 専門、せんもん

This is a pretty short list that you can put into Anki and should be able to mostly remember in about a day. For those of you who aren’t using Anki, be sure to check it out. It’s a great tool and will help you learn faster. Also, as I mentioned earlier, be sure to add any additional words in the comments section.