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

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

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

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- Kuchisabishii 口寂しい

This unique Japanese word may be more relevant at the moment, as we are all spending a lot of time at home and some of us are struggling with lack of social contact and boredom. I was tagged in a kuchisabishii meme by a lovely friend of mine, who is in an apartment in Manhattan, … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Kuchisabishii 口寂しい

Uniquely Japanese- Inemuri 居眠り

Inemuri translates roughly to "snooze" or "doze". There is no dirrect translation, however "sleeping while being present" or having some awareness about you while you sleep is potentially more accurate. It very common, in fact, an every day experience, to see Japanese people sleeping in public places. Most regularly, on trains. It is quite alarming … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Inemuri 居眠り

Climbing Mt. Fuji… Metaphorically

snow covered mount fuji with suburban image in foreground

If I had have seen the info graphic on how long different languages take to master before embarking on my language journey, would I have chosen the language which takes longer than any other, by far? Maybe... I like a challenge. I could have become fluent in French, German, Spanish and Italian in the time … Continue reading Climbing Mt. Fuji… Metaphorically


Have you ever wondered at why every Japanese person has exquisite handwriting, when writing in English? I believe it is because they have finely honed fine motor skills, due to the fact that they practice calligraphy throughout their schooling life. Last time we were in Kyoto we were fortunate enough to experience a calligraphy homework … Continue reading Calligraphy

Uniquely Japanese- Tsundoku

Some Japanese words have no English equivalent. This is the case for many languages, where there is no literal translation, or if there was, it would not make sense. Many of the Japanese words, that are not in the English language are beautiful, some tragically so. Today, I am going to talk about my favourite … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Tsundoku

Adam Liaw, ambassador of Japanese Cuisine

Banner for Centenary of Japanese Language at Melbourne University

Last Friday night, the 31st of March, I went to Melbourne University to see Adam Liaw speak. Adam was the second winner of Masterchef Australia, in 2010. He was born in Malaysia, his mum is Singaporean-English and his dad is Hainese Chinese. Formerly a lawyer for Disney in Tokyo, Adam started learning Japanese in order … Continue reading Adam Liaw, ambassador of Japanese Cuisine