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January 02, 2008

Japan's PM does the YouTube thing… 

You know that YouTube has become huge when even Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda has gotten into the act. 

Fukuda is posting messages in both English and Japanese. (But you won’t cheat by listening to the English one, will you?) 

Just to save you from this temptation, I have posted the Japanese version below:




January 01, 2008

Hatsumode in Hawaii 

Some of you probably know that Hawaii is home to many descendents of Japanese immigrants. Many have kept alive Japanese traditions, like the first annual visit to a shrine, or hatsumode


Here is an article from the Honolulu Star Bulletin about the ritual. On another note: I see that it is 72 degrees Fahrenheit in Hawaii right now, while it’s about 13 degrees in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am in the wrong part of the world, for sure.  

Word of the day 

 神々しい (こうごうしい)

heavenly; holy; sublime 

This entry is very appropriate in light of the above entry about shrines. 

Usage example:


(そら から ひかり が さしこむ こうごうしい けしき)

“sublime scenery where light shines down from the sky” 

Source: www.popxpop.com/archives/2007/03/photoshop_1.html


And finally, an authentic hatsumode from Japan via YouTube:




December 28, 2007

Japan's Foreign Ministry wants you to learn Japanese 

Well, that is why you’re here, after all. The Daily Yomiuri reports that the Japanese government wants to help you out: 

The Foreign Ministry plans to increase the number of overseas institutes teaching the Japanese language from the current 10 to 100 in three years and to allocate 210 million yen in the fiscal 2008 budget to establish 70 of them. 

Interestingly, there seems to be a little bit of competition with China involved: 

As China has set up language schools all over the world in recent years using the name Confucius Institute, "we hope to name our institutes so that everyone can understand they are Japanese-language institutes," a ministry official said.  

We in the English-speaking world need more people who speak both Chinese and Japanese, as far as I am concerned. I welcome this competition for our language students. 


Rough New Year's weather expected in Japan 

Here is the weather forecast per Japan’s Daily Yomiuri: 





Key Vocabulary: 

年末年始 (ねんまつ ねんし)year-end; New Year’s

気象庁 (きしょうちょう)weather agency

天気予報 (てんき よほう)weather forecast

太平洋側 (たいへいようがわ)Pacific Ocean side (of Japan)

全国的に (ぜんこくてきに) throughout the country

大荒れ (おおあれ) rough weather

見通し (みとおし) prediction; expectation

日本海側 (にほんかいがわ) Sea of Japan side

強い寒気 (つよい かんき) strong cold front

北日本 (きたにほん) northern Japan

大雪 (おおゆき) large snow

暴風 (ぼうふう) storm

交通機関 (こうつう きかん)transportation system

影響 (えいきょう) influence

遭難事故 (そうなん じこ) accident; mishap

警戒を呼びかける (けいかい を よびかける) to urge caution toward; to warn about 



December 24, 2007


Toshiba cooperates with Sharp for crystal displays 

This article from the Japanese business press also reports that the company will withdraw from arrangements with Hitachi and Matsushita. This piece is somewhat challenging, you know my viewpoint here: If you are going to learn a language, learn it well! 




東芝 (としば) Toshiba

液晶パネル (えきしょう パネル)crystal display

提携する(ていけい する) to cooperate; to join efforts

松下 (まつした) Matsushita

日立 (ひたち) Hitachi

連合 (れんごう) alliance; union; league

堺市 (さかいし) Sakai City

調達する (ちょうたつ する) to purchase; to procure

解消する (かいしょう する) to cancel; to dissolve

新工場(しんこうじょう)new factory



December 20, 2007

Japanese a top choice for high school students in Taiwan

According to this article from the China Post:

Japanese remained the most popular second foreign language, drawing the vast majority of 24,233 students in 682 classes. The student number accounted for 81 percent of the total.

French came in second with 3,675 students in 121 classes, followed by German and Spanish that shared the third place with more than 800 students each.

The officials attributed the popularity of Japanese to the factors of history and environment.

There are a lot of people in Taiwan that can speak Japanese after the 50 years of Japanese colonial rule that ended in 1945.

This period helped to create a large reservoir of talents who can teach the language.

Japan is still the biggest source of foreign tourists visiting the island.

Due to the nation's geographical proximity, Japan is also one of the top trading partners with Taiwan and the second most popular overseas destination for Taiwan's outbound travelers after China.




December 15, 2007

Toyota does the robot thing… 

Toyota is making a lot more than just Camrys and Corollas and these days. Below is an excerpt from an article about Toyota’s efforts to develop and market robots.  




トヨタ自動車 (トヨタ じどうしゃ)Toyota Motor Company

人の生活を支援する (ひと の しえん する)

「パートナーロボット」の実用化に向けた取り組み (パートナーロボット の じつようか に むけた とりくみ) an approach directed toward the practical use of the “partner robot.”

強化する (きょうか する)to strengthen

発表する (はっぴょう する) to announce

屋内 (おくない) indoors

近距離移動用の (きんきょり いどうよう の) for short-distance movement/mobility

披露する (ひろう する) to announce