Japanese Rice Cookers Decoded

Great article on SavvyTokyo that explains the Japanese language you will find on the average rice cooker in Japan. In case you were wondering, they are often much more complicated than the simple old-school “cook” and “warm” that you might be used to: Love it or hate it, you can’t avoid rice while living in Japan. It’s the prime meal on every Japanese dinner, the best company to all your washoku favorites, and the nutrient-rich …

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Reading Japanese Emergency Alerts

GaijinPot has a pretty nice little article about those emergency alerts you might get on your mobile phone while in Japan. Mostly has to do with Earthquakes and Tsunamis. Having experienced the “big one” back in March, 2011, I wish we would have had smart phones and the like to get us through that. One of the scariest alerts you’ll hear in Japan is hands down the infamous earthquake alarm. Blasted on cell phones throughout …

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25 Essential Japanese Phrases and Words

25 Essential Japanese Phrases

So you finally hit that button and you’re going to Japan. COOL! These are the 25 essential Japanese phrases for travelers and tourists, that I can think of. Presented in no particular order or categorization…. Some of these you may hear, some you’ll read, some you’ll need to know how to say, but these are the ones you should consider learning. Let’s get started. Hello Saying hello is a little tricky because it depends on …

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Japanese Sign at Enoshima Jinja

Every so often I’m going to go through my photos and find just a random sign that I’ll attempt to translate. Mainly as an exercise for myself (sorry!) but also as a way to show the types of signage you might come across, and why it might help to be able to read some of it at least. This sign I shot at Enoshima Jinja on Enoshima in Kanagawa, in 2016. The first thing you’ll …

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Temple? Shrine? What’s the Difference?

A huge tourist draw in Japan are the many Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines that are literally everywhere. Some are more famous than others, but how do you tell the difference? And do you even need to bother? Well, we’ll look at how you can tell which is which, and why that matters. Because, no, they are not the same at all. The first one we’ll look at is the Buddhist Temple. They are often …

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Counting in Japanese Part 2: Hundreds and Thousands

10,000 yen note

In Counting in Japanese Part 1, we talked about the Japanese kanji for the numbers 0-10, and when you are likely to encounter them. In this part, we look at the multipliers, 100, 1000, and 10,000. We’ll touch on the big one, 100,000,000, at the end for just a bit. Lets just throw these out there first, and then talk about them. 100 – 百 – hyaku (hiyakoo) 1,000 – 千 – sen (sehn) 10,000 …

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Japanese Warning Signs: Watch Your Fingers!

Japanese Warning Sign: Watch Your Fingers

I took this picture of a Japanese warning sign in an elevator a few years ago. I thought it was kind of humorous with the fingers getting munched and the tearful face. WATCH YOUR FINGERS Actually the text reads: ドアにちゅうい or “Mind the door!” Pronounced “doh-ah ee chooo-eee” with a slightly longer “ooo” sound than usual. Which is also re-iterated in the text below, only in kanji this time: 注意 This has several different translations …

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Counting in Japanese Part 1: 1-10

Alright, so here’s the scoop on numbers and counting in Japanese. This is part one where we’ll go over counting from one to ten, including zero. For most purposes, “normal” Arabic numerals are used pretty much everywhere. Whether its refering to times, or prices, or well, pretty much everything. The Japanese have adopted the “western” use of Arabic numbers and that makes things really easy for us tourists. But. There are still some places that …

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Should I Learn Japanese Before Coming to Japan?

So you’ve decided that maybe you’d like to take a trip to Japan. The question comes up…. “Should I Learn Japanese Before Coming to Japan?” The answer is, surprisingly, No. You don’t. I know, right? “What? Then what are we doing here?” It would be possible to get around and get yourself fed, and in relative safety, without knowing a single tiny shred of Japanese. There is enough English on signs, etc. to get you …

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Japan to Re-Open for Four Countries

Dotonbori, Osaka

The world-wide pandemic has hit Japan’s tourism industry hard. However the Japanese government is *considering* (It’s not a done deal yet) opening the country back up to visitors from the following countries that weren’t hit particularly hard by COVID-19. Thailand Vietnam Australia New Zealand So keep a close watch on the J-News sites and we’ll see if this comes to pass. It’d be the first step in opening back up to the rest of the …

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