Yamato Kotoba- The Original Japanese Language

Starting to learn Japanese is a daunting prospect. There are two 46 character syllabaries, hiragana and katakana, and then the Chinese characters, kanji. When I began learning, I had a basic concept that the early Japanese language had no written form and the characters were borrowed from China. Most kanji characters have an on'yomi, or … Continue reading Yamato Kotoba- The Original Japanese Language

Japanese Names

Name Conventions When I started reading a lot of Japanese history, I initially found the names a little confusing. Although having some understanding, there are a number of practices that I still find really intriguing. I wanted to write about myōseki, the passing down of a family name to someone who is not necessarily related. … Continue reading Japanese Names

Yoki-san ヨキさん

Blossomkitty sitting on the couch with her black and white Moodle, Yoki-san. Yoki-san is curled up and snuggled in. There is a large window in the background with a telescope.

Yoki-san is my dog. His real name is Loki, but everyone calls him Yoki-san. He is a 7 year old Moodle, black and white, and super cute. He likes to be carried like a baby. He is tucked into bed each night. If we pay attention to anyone else, like the magpies who live in … Continue reading Yoki-san ヨキさん

The Blue Apple

A bright blue Granny Smith apple.

When I was younger, my mum enjoyed asking us philosophical and unanswerable questions. The old classic, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound, was a favourite. Her other favourite, which always stumped me was, how do we know that what I call … Continue reading The Blue Apple

Uniquely Japanese- Ukiyo 浮世

A ukiyo-e (woodblock print) of a women's public bath house from early 1800s, by Torii Kiyonaga

In the last couple of weeks I have written a couple of blogs about ukiyo. One about ukiyo-e, woodblock prints of the Edo Period and one about Ukiyo, an excellent experience of story-telling and adventure in Melbourne. (Follow the links to read the blogs). During my research for these two stories I read quite a … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Ukiyo 浮世

Uniquely Japanese- Omoiyari 思いやり

Japanese fans clean stadium of rubbish after a World Cup match in Colombia. The Japanese people are seen picking up rubbish and filling rubbish bags in amongst the blue seats of the stadium.

You may have heard the story about the Japanese fans at the World Cup match who remained after the game to clean the stadium. It made the news around the world. This kind of behaviour is not rare in Japan. A tiny country, with LOTS of mountains and a huge population that has little crime … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Omoiyari 思いやり

Zen in Space…

I have not been able to find a lot of information about this in English, and my Japanese is not good enough to decipher technical writing, however I thought this was very interesting, and I have tried to fill in the blanks with some research. Daigo-Ji Temple in Fushimi, in Kyoto, is a very, very … Continue reading Zen in Space…

Uniquely Japanese- Omou 思う

The kanji character for omou meaning to do in Japanese

Omou means, literally, to think, the verb. This is not uniquely Japanese, although maybe thinking is different in different languages and different cultures? It is however the root of many other Japanese words and several of them are unique to the Japanese language. I decided to write about omou first, so as to completely understand … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Omou 思う

Uniquely Japanese- Yoshoku 洋食

Yoshoku is Japanese western style cooking. In my experience, every dish that the Japanese adopt and alter ends up being more delicious than the dish they started with. Yoshoku translates literally as "Western style cuisine", as opposed to Washoku 和食 which translates to Japanese style cuisine. During the Meiji period (1868-1912) after more than 200 … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Yoshoku 洋食

Uniquely Japanese- Kanreki 還暦

Kanreki is the Japanese word used to describe someone's 60th birthday celebration. In Japan, this particular birthday has a lot of symbolic significance and meaning, beyond our Western idea of an age of retirement. It is quite a magical time and is as much a beginning or rebirth as a completion. Kanreki literally translates to … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Kanreki 還暦