Show What You’ve Got – 腕の見せ所

There’s something to do with arms here in Japan that relates to your performance. Beginning students of Japanese will undoubtedly think of 上手 – literally ‘upper hand’, meaning ‘skilled-in’ or ‘clever’. In this lesson however, we’ll be focusing on the expression 腕の見せ所 (うでのみせどころ). Whenever I hear this expression, I always think of the vintage US […]

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Love Key!? 合鍵

Recently while watching a Japanese drama I came across the word 合鍵 (あいかぎ). Given the context in which it was used, I was quite surprised to find out later that my mental image of the Kanji had been quite different to the reality. The word as follows: 合鍵 あいかぎ Spare Key Equally, a ‘copy of […]

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Fairytale Size – 昔話盛り

You’ll often come across varying portion sizes in Japan, especially when you eat out. 小盛り (こもり), 並盛り (なみもり) and 大盛り (おおもり) are regular expressions used to refer to ‘small’, ‘regular’ and ‘large’ helpings of rice and other goodies that can be heaped up. Further to that, as we looked as in The 6 Types of […]

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Facebook Phishing

Although once virtually unheard of in conversations among my Japanese friends, Facebook is now well and truly integrated into the lives of Japanese young people. More and more people seem to be becoming happy with the idea of using their real name and picture (although there are still an awful lot of pet pictures out […]

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Old Japanese / Formal Numbers – 大字

Have you ever noticed the Kanji character used on the 10,000 yen Japanese banknote? If you’ve got your basic Japanese numerals down, you know that the character for 10,000 is 万 (まん) – a standard unit in the Japanese counting system. But what about the strange character in front of it? Why does the banknote […]

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Proving Your Tardiness

As punctual and reliable as Japanese public transportation is, there are unfortunately occasions where not everything goes according to plan. Tardiness just isn’t acceptable for the working adult, perhaps moreso in Japan than most other countries. So it is then that when even despite your best efforts acts of god seem to smite you, there […]

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Fire Safety – 火の用心

One of the more iconic types of poster you’ll find in Japan are the fire safety posters. Often adorned with a cute girl or popular celebrity, they aim to raise awareness of accidental fires in the home and encourage people to be vigilant. (more…)

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