Explosive Dumplings!

Here’s a light little sign with a rush of humour thrown in to round off the weekend. Dumplings with an explosive twist!

So, here’s what we have:


(In hiragana: ばくだん しょうてん。 ボンバーやき せんもんてん)


ばくだん means ‘bomb’, as you probably gathered from the fun smiling logo this place uses. We also get the feeling that these peeps have a sense of humour. Can you guess why? It’s all in the two kanji that follow: 笑店.

The kanji 笑 means ‘laugh’ or ‘smile’ and can be read either with it’s Japanese (kun-yomi) reading: わらい, or with its Chinese (on-yomi) reading: しょう. The second kanji means ‘store’ or ‘shop’ and can be read みせ in the kun-yomi or てん in the on-yomi.

Putting them together then, it becomes しょうてん. When kanji are combined, the general rule is to use the on-yomi, but there are, unfortunately, exceptions. It’s usually safe to go with the on-yomi if you aren’t sure however!. So what have we got? ‘Laughing shop’? Yes!

Why is this funny? Because it plays on the homophone of しょうてん. Written with different kanji, しょうてん becomes this: 商店 which is the frequently used word for ‘store’ or ‘business’. So the intended phrase is ばくだん商店 or ‘Bomb Shop‘! What?? A shop that sells explosives? Now we’re really confused.

Read on though and we see this:


Which roughly translates to ‘Bomber-yaki specialist store’. 専門店 indicates the ‘specialist’ part, telling us that this company considers themselves somewhat professional in whatever ‘Bomber-yaki’ is. You might recongise ‘yaki’ from other food words like たこ焼き and お好み焼き (おこのみやき) – Octopus dumplings and Japanese-style pancakes. Basically, it means something is cooked or fried. So, ‘Fried Bomber’.

We’re still pretty confused right? But at least we now know this store has something to do with food. Our answers are given to us after we take a look at the store. It’s a special kind of Takoyaki! Those little octopus dumplings are bomb-shaped after all, but what’s this ‘bomber-yaki’ all about? Turns out that they put as many as 10 ingredients in their dumplings, making them quite different to the octopus-only regular style! Perhaps the dumplings are so packed full with ingredients that they are ready to explode!?

They have a website too, by the looks of it, and a Twitter account! Have a read if you are feeling up it it and maybe even pay them a visit if you are in Nagoya :).

Bakudan Shoten


9 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

  1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)

    • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

      That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

      • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

        • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

          Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

  2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

    • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

      • Lee Aloy October 23, 2016 at 5:20 am #


        I am sorry to ask this silly question. Are you Japanese?
        am hoping to find a Japanese friends here please shot me an email:

  3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

    • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

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