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.

Three days in Tokyo

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I arrived in Tokyo just a few days ago and after tomorrow I will be heading for Nagano.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am taking video and a ton of pictures.

Most of the time I have spent has been with friends and going to restaurants, but I did get to go see the new Sky Tree building. I’ll put up pics when I get back.

Today I went to a wedding in Roppongi hills and am now sitting in my hotel’s lobby writing this post on my iPhone. It’s the only place I can get wifi.

I have four more days left before going back to Okinawa, so lots more video and pictures to take. I also have a few gifts I will be giving away when I get back.

Taiko (Japanese Drumming) in Miyakojima, Japan

Have a short video here for of some Taiko (Japanese Drumming) and dancing of a very cool song. The video was taken this last weekend from an event I attended near my home. The performance was lead by a professional taiko team, but also had participants from all age groups including adults and very young children.

I hope you like the video. If you would like me to post more stuff like this, let me know in the comments!

 

Having a Birthday in Japan

This post is gonna be real short. I just had a birthday about a week ago and two of my friends were kind enough to make this video for me. There’s not much cuter than a couple of Japanese girls and a kitten.

 

 

Japanese Folk Song on the Sanshin (家庭和合)

Background - an ancient volumetric Japanese re...

Over the last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time preparing for an sanshin performance. For those who don’t know, the sanshin is an traditional three-stringed instrument popular in Okinawa. I started playing earlier this year and ended up joining a サークル (club) in my area.

Last week, the サークル (myself not included) performed at a traditional Miyakojima folk song (宮古民謡、みやこみんよう)concert. My camera unfortunately broke a few weeks ago, but I did manage to capture it with my iphone.

*If you don’t understand any of it, please don’t worry. It is sung in the Miyako dialect which bares very little resemblance to Japanese. The hardest part of learning hasn’t been the sanshin, but remembering the words in Miyakogo!