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    Shiritori, The Japanese Game That Will Improve Your Japanese Good for a long Japanese car ride.

    A short example of Shiritori

    I was reminded of this game over on the eduFire forums, where one of the tutors started a game up. What a great vocab game! I remember playing this a lot with my crazy little kancho-giving host brother, back in the day. Here's how it works.

    • One person starts with a word
    • The next person takes the last letter (hiragana) from that word, and uses it to start the next word.
    • Then it goes on and on and on until someone loses (more on that in a second).

    Standard Rules

    • You can't repeat a word
    • You can only use nouns (otherwise too many things would end in い and す, right?)
    • You can't end a word with an sound, since no words start with it.
    • You can use "words" that have in them, as long as they are concrete enough to be considered a word. For example, things like おとこ would be acceptable.
    • Words normally written in hiragana or katakana are both okay. So, foreign words are a go (as long as they are actually considered words.

    Optional Rules

    Now, there are optional rules (which we will be ignoring in our game which we'll be playing on Twitter). But, should you want them, here they are:

    • No names, places, allowed (anything that would be normally capitalized in English, basically)
    • Long vowels when a foreign word (for example, power パワー) can either be a "wa" or an "a" sound, depending on your rules. For our game, it would be a "wa."
    • The little tenten or circle that you see on a lot of hiragana can be ignored (for example ha vs pa or ba , etc). In our game, they will not be ignored!

    Mastah Rules

    If you're a master at this, and playing with your master shiritori friends, you can do some things to make it harder on yourself (once again, we're doing the easier version on Twitter).

    • Increase the word length so it has to be three or more syllables.
    • Instead of using the last kana, you would use the last two kana (and neither can be )
    • Limiting it to a certain genre (oof, this would be tough)
    • Using a timer, where each side only has 10 seconds to come up with their answer (gets harder and harder as you go!)
    • Slapping your friend in the face before each round also makes things more difficult (mostly for your friendship)

    So there you have it. Here's a little example run, to show you how things are done:


    ( どどんぱ is the name of a roller coaster, btw). Notice how I jumped back and forth between words normally written in hiragana and katakana? And how I only used nouns?

    Alright, now it's up to you. We're going to play a little game down on Twitter.

    The Tofugu Shiritori Game:

    Here's some rules for the Tofugu game, in particular:

    • You can write in either hiragana/katakana or Romaji (though the first option is preferred, if possible).
    • Make sure you spell things correctly! Also, provide the kanji / definition of the word you wrote down, just as an added bonus to help folks with vocab :)
    • You can feel free to "reply" to comments, but once it starts getting skinny, start a new thread, please.

    Alright, I'll get things started! Starting word is…

    nihongo 日本語にほんご (Japanese Language)