The Ultimate Kanji Test: Kanji Kentei

So you’ve passed JLPT 1. You’re a master of Japanese. People point and stare due to your Japanese abilities. You start feeling worthless. There’s an emptiness in your heart. What is there left to do? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets? Hellzno. Enter stage right: Kanji Kentei … the nearly impossible to pass kanji test. [Read more…]


Hirohito: The Fearsome Japanese Emperor Marine Biologist

Ever hear of a hydrozoa? Unless you’re a marine biology major or the Emperor of Japan between the years 1926 and 1989, then you probably haven’t. So what on earth is a hydro-whatsit, and what does it have to do with Japan? Turns out Emperor Hirohito was really into them. [Read more…]


TofuguTV Episode 1: Cat Island, Japan Part 1

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVxpPggJMAY’]

Cat Island Japan. It’s an island covered in hundreds, maybe thousands of cats. People population? Under 100. This island has become a little tourist attraction for people who happen to like cats. You can take pictures of them, pet (some of) them, stay in cat-shaped lodging, and even visit a cat shrine. It’s a little Cat Mecca of sorts, and it’s also the very first episode of TofuguTV.

[Read more…]


Ways To Help Japan (That Are Better Than Donating Money)

There hasn’t been a lot of good news coming out of Japan lately (though I’d say a big part of that is news agencies trying to shock audiences as much as possible so they can make more $$$). At this point, sure, the nuclear reactors are kind of a problem (though time will only tell), but the real issue is the hundreds of thousands of people that are displaced, homeless, cold, cut off, or without food (i.e. people are going to start starving soon). While you probably can’t do much to help with the nuclear reactor thing, you can do something to help the people… After all, it’s the people who need the most help anyways. If something like this happened to you, you’d surely want to be helped as well. [Read more…]


The Biggest Earthquake Ever Recorded In Japan [2011 Sendai Earthquake]

If you’ve been living under a rock (or hiding under a table, which would be quite appropriate in this case), an 8.9 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Sendai, Japan, causing massive damage and potentially up to 1,000 casualties or more (at least, that’s what recent reports have been estimating we’ll end up seeing). [Read more…]


Using “Jerry Seinfeld’s Secret To Productivity” To Learn Kanji

I read about this strategy on Lifehacker (you can read the whole thing here) about a week ago, and thought it would be particularly useful for kanji (and vocab) learning. Learning a new language isn’t so much about the language itself. It’s more about staying motivated and making progress. Sure, some people can grind through things and never get off track. For the rest of us, “learning hacks” like these are extremely helpful. [Read more…]


Updates: TofuguTV, Tofugu Stickers, New People, & A Deleted Post

A lot of folks have been asking about TofuguTV, kindly mentioning that I was planning to put out the first episode in January. Although I have poor sense of time, I realize that it’s at least the beginning of February now, if not 1-35ish days later than that.

This is just a “hey, it exists” followed up by a “dang, editing video is hard!” Most of my time (sadly) has been spent working on parts of many different episodes, trying to figure out what to start with. I’m not 100% sure that Episode 1 will be about “Cat Island” (though it’s not the first place I went during the TofuguTV trip). Sex Robot Museum was going to be the first one, but that one requires so many black boxes moving around to cover various robot parts… so, I figured I’d save that one for later. It’s not as cute as an island full of cats, either. [Read more…]


In Japan, Women Think Mark Zuckerberg Is A Hamburger [The Zuckerburger]

Facebook isn’t all that popular in Japan (Mixi is currently king there), but it doesn’t meant that people don’t know about it. After all, the movie “The Social Network” came out in Japan, and I’m sure that Facebook hits the news every once in a while. But what about Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg? Apparently in a recent poll, Japanese women just thought he was a hamburger (for good reason, too!). [Read more…]

yoroshiku onegaishimasu

What Does Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu Mean?

For all you Japanese language learning 生徒 out there, this isn’t your normal “found on a Q&A site ‘What does yoroshiku onegaishimasu mean'” kind of post. No. This is the ultimate ‘What does Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu mean?’ kind of post. And by “ultimate” I mean “holy crap, look at that kanji!” [Read more…]


Everything You Need To Know About Japan’s Sumo Match-Fixing Scandal

I’m guessing most of you know what Sumo is. Along with karate, ninjas, and Hello Kitty, Sumo is about as Japanese as it gets. Over the last week or two, there’s been a ton of hub-bub about a big, nasty Sumo-related scandal. So what in the world (er… in Japan) is going on here? [Read more…]


Japan Finally Gets Its Second Banana Vending Machine. Banana Peel Related Injuries Double Overnight

Ever since I found out Japan got its first banana vending machine, I’ve been chomping at the bit banana for a conveniently placed second banana vending machine, preferably someplace I didn’t have to fly an airplane to get to.

Actually, I don’t care that much, but I did think it was pretty sweet that Japan has banana vending machines (two, now) allowing anyone to get a banana whenever the please… as long as they live near one of the two banana vending machines in existence. [Read more…]


The Uniqlo Tilt-Shift Miniaturization Calendar [Saturday Timewaster]

Erin (who writes something on Tofugu like once a year now, and has a new blog over at SputnikSweetie.com) showed me this calendar. After looking at this calendar for four straight days, I exclaimed:

“Omg, this will be an awesome ‘Saturday Timewaster’ for Tofugu!”

“But what day is Saturday?? Where AM I?”

“Thank God I have this calendar to tell me.”

This is the most addicting, time wasting calendar I’ve ever seen. Thanks Uniqlo (who also told us what women think about their bras). [Read more…]