Happy Pocky Day! (11-11)


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Phonetikana: For the Lazy Typography Snob in All of Us

Johnson Banks recently put up a post about “phonetikana” which has to either be the most genius discovery of all time, or the laziest. Either way, there’s no denying that it’s beautiful, regardless, but you know me, I hate romaji with a passion (and you should too).

Here’s the concept behind phonetikana: 1. Katakana is irritating to learn / you don’t have the time to learn it / you’re lazy. 2. Katakana often spells out words that English speakers can kind-of-sort-of understand. 3. If you add the English phonetic pronunciation to the katakana, you’ll be able to read it and possibly decipher it. 4. Integrate it into the actual katakana to get that “aww, that’s boootiful effect.” [Read more…]


Go Premium with Lang-8 to Better Your Japanese


The moment Lang-8 created the option to upgrade to a Premium Account I did it. At first, it was because I wanted to support Lang-8 (hey, they’re cool Froods!) and make sure their servers kept on running. But, the more I looked at the features the more I realized that there’s a lot of awesome potential here, especially when it comes to power users of the site (and if you’re not one, you should become one). Definitely a few new features that could really accelerate your Japanese studies, which makes it worth a deeper look. [Read more…]

comparing languages

Is Learning Japanese Not Popular Anymore?


This is an example of something really cool (i.e. not Japanese learning)

Of course, one of Tofugu’s goals is to make Japanese learning cool again. “Again?” you ask. “But I’m so cool.” Sorry friend, but the All-Mighty Google doesn’t lie. It looks like learning Japanese is trending down, despite the popularity of anime, manga, and the like (though, actually, if you look it up those keywords are also trending down as well… Cause/correlation? Hard to tell). So how dorky and niche has Japanese learning gotten? [Read more…]


Wash Your Hands Japan, or This Guy Will Dance Again

Unicef just scared every little child into not washing their hands by coming out with this dance video with “renowned Japanese dancer Kaiji Moriyama” who “choreographed a dance for a public service announcement designed to teach children the principles of good hand washing.”


This video was made because of the swine flu, and because children don’t wash their hands. Also, apparently this video thought hand washing just wasn’t fun enough either, which is why they’ve turned it into a dance. GREAT. [Read more…]


Ultraman, Godzilla Wedding


While I get my act together and write a few more interesting blog posts, I thought I’d share with you some pictures from a wedding I went to a few weeks back. Beautiful wedding, but unfortunately it looks like my camera came from the Meiji Era. Wait, what’s that in the shot? Do you see it? Is that who I think it is? Is his best man…Ultraman!? [Read more…]


100 Ways to Entertain Guests Visiting From Japan


  1. Show them a trailer park: You want culture shock? This is how you do it.
  2. Use Yelp: Will help you find all the really interesting stuff, hopefully
  3. Go hiking: You can never go wrong with hiking
  4. Take them to your school: Probably totally different from their own – take them to math so they can laugh at your country’s tiny brain.
  5. Take them to a baseball game: They have baseball in Japan, but from a cheering standpoint, a completely different experience.
  6. Take them to a football game: This is something you don’t see much in Japan.
  7. Get them signed up for Facebook: Too many Japanese are still on Mixi. Turn your friend into a convert / traitor.
  8. Go to Costco: and enjoy the wholesale goodness!
  9. Take them to a mall: You can spend even more hours looking at all the stuff in all the stores.
  10. Show them your room: Make sure you hide the… yah know. [Read more…]

How to get a Japanese Scholarship


Getting to Japan is expensive. Living in Japan is expensive. Why not let someone else take care of the monetary part of going to Japan so you can go there for free? There are a lot of people (and governments) just handing out money (I feel like the guy that wears the question-mark suit on those commercials) to help you go to Japan and other places as well. Whether you’re looking to grab some scholarships to go to Japan, college, or some other country, these tips could be applicable to you (but even more applicable to those going to Japan). [Read more…]


Japanese Language Cheatsheet for Travelers


My boss is heading to Japan for a few days next week (lucky!), so I’m helping him with some really last minute language study before he heads out. The goal isn’t to teach him any grammar, vocabulary, or anything like that, the goal is to make sure he’s able to get by as simply as possible. That’s why I made him a one-page cheatsheet, and then sharing it with all of you. [Read more…]


10 “Crazy” Things About Japan


Michael over at Gakuranman.com is hosting this month’s “Japan Blog Matsuri” – to be honest, I’ve never taken part in one of these (kudos to Michael for all the reminder e-mails and Tweets), and I’m already breaking every single rule he put down. “Your blog post can’t be more than 200 words… You can only pick one thing… I’m Briiiiitish” (you have to pretend I’m talking in a fabulous British accent for that one). But, really though, you should go check out the Gakuranman and all his blogging adventures, because it’s a pretty neat site, which somehow relates bioluminescence to Japan. So here goes with the actual post (these words don’t count towards my word limit, yo!), 10 absolutely crazy things about Japan: [Read more…]


How to defend your butt from Japanese children (Kancho Survival Guide)


This article was written by Caitlin O’Mara, who has worked for three years in the Tohoku revion of Japan as an assistant English Teacher. She studies Japanese in her free time and works as a contract web geek, providing that a BA in East Asian Studies is not entirely worthless. She can be found at caitlinomara.com.

If you’ve watched the episode of Naruto where he tries to kancho Kakashi, you should know what I’m going to talk about. If you’re unfamiliar with this “fun” childrens’ game, it’s pretty simple: put your hands together with your index fingers out and try to ram them up your best friend (or even better, teacher’s) butt. Not only is this this a harmless game for your friends, it’s also a great deal of fun to do to your teachers. [Read more…]