Shiritori (しりとり)

Posted on December 19, 2016 | genkijacs

This game is a fun way of memorizing vocabulary. Shiritori means “taking the end”, which is exactly what this fun Japanese word game is about. The players take turns saying words that start with the last kana character of the previous one. Of course, there are similar games in other languages but the challenge becomes even greater when played with kana instead of letters.

Why don’t you go ahead and try this game with your friends? These are the basic rules:

1. Of course, the word has to start with the previous word’s last syllable.
2. A word can only be used once.
3. If the word ends in ん, the next player loses.
4. If a word’s last kana has a “long sound” (chuon), there are three different possibilities. (ex.: きょうとう):
4.I. Use the chuon as a vowel. (In the example, オcould be used as the beginning of the following word; e.g.オレンジ.)
4.II. Ignore the chuon. (In the example, the next word could begin with ト; e.g. トマト. )
4.III. Let the next word begin with a chuon. (e.g. とうきょう)

Gesshuku Ishiyama mother passed away

Posted on December 14, 2016 | evankirby

Sachiko Ishiyama funeral

At GenkiJACS, we offer a few different types of dormitories for our students. One of those is the 月宿 (gesshuku), which is like the owner’s house opened up into a dorm. Two of the gesshuku we offer in Fukuoka are 月宿朋 (Gesshuku Tomo) and 月宿石山 (Gesshuku Ishiyama). A lot of our students, in particular under-20 students, stay at these two dorms.
Traditionally, university and high school students often stay in gesshuku, and the owner, called 月宿のおばさん (Gesshuku no obasan) cooks and cleans for the students, and helps them with their problems. She acts as a kind of second mother for the students in her care.
On Sunday the 11th of December, the Obasan of Gesshuku Ishiyama, Sachiko Ishiyama, passed away suddenly from a brain hemorrhage. She was still young, and had seemed healthy just shortly before she was found in her room. It was a very sudden, surprising and sad event for everyone.
When we talked to her, she often said “I always worry whether we can take good enough care of students in our small dorm. It makes us very happy and proud when GenkiJACS students say 「おばさん、楽しかった!」(I had fun, Obasan!) as they leave.” She was a warm-hearted and lovely person. Our accommodation coordinator Aya says that seeing how Ms. Ishiyama felt about her job made Aya feel more proud of her own job too.
The Gesshuku is run by the whole family, including Ms. Ishiyama’s husband, son and daughter. They would arrange many events for our students, including taking them on day trips, BBQs, and others. The living room of the dorm was covered in photos of former students, and they loved to talk about what students are doing now. Gesshuku Ishiyama was exemplified by the care they gave to each student.
We used Gesshuku Ishiyama for younger students specifically because of the great care they gave to each student. Younger students who came with their parents to see the dorm first would often say, after eating dinner with the Ishiyamas, that this is where they wanted their child to live. Even with only limited communication in English, the essential goodness of Ms Ishiyama was easy to see.
At GenkiJACS too, we feel that we have lost an important and special person. The staff and teachers here know that accommodation is almost as important as the school for our students, and that our school is only a success because of the support of people like Ms. Ishiyama. We learn from her about Japanese hospitality.
Ms. Ishiyama, thank you for taking in so many of our students over the years, and for taking such good care of them. Now is your turn to rest. The thoughts of all of us at GenkiJACS are with you and your family.

GenkiJACS Staff representative, Yuuki Yamazaki

We Have a Winner

Posted on December 12, 2016 | genkijacs

This year`s winning 流行語 (りゅうこうご) have been announced on December 1st. And 2016’s “word of the year” is …

「神ってる」(かみってる).

This phrase is based on the Japanese word 神(かみ)(=god), which has been turned into a verb describing the receipt of the gods’ spirit. It characterizes miraculous or rather superhuman behavior.
This year, the phrase suddenly gained popularity after it had been used by the manager of the Hiroshima Toyo Carps, referring to his baseball team’s performance in June. One of the players, Seiya Suzuki, had shown “god-like” skills during Central League Championship. According to the manager, he had picked up this phrase from his children.

Apart from 「神ってる」, the following other 流行語 have made it to the TOP 10:

→ 「ゲス不倫」(ゲスフリン)(= “Gesu Affair”)
→ 「聖地純利」(せいちじゅんり)(=”Pilgrimage”)
→ 「トランプ現象」(トランプげんしょう)(=”the Trump Issue”)
→ 「PPAP」
→ 「保育園落ちた日本死ね」(ほいくえんおちたにほんしね)(=”day care failed, Japan die”)
→ 「(僕の)アモーレ」((ぼくの)あもーれ)(=”my amore”)
→ 「ポケモンGO」(=”Pokemon GO”)
→ 「マイナス金利」(マイナスきんり)(=”negative interest”)
→ 「盛り土」(もりど)(=”raising the ground level”)

With the announcement of the top buzzwords, the year is about to end. So enjoy the celebrations and forget all the past year worries. However, more than anything, don’t be sad that awaiting 2016 流行後 is over now (though we would totally understand if you were). 2017 might hold even more exciting new buzzwords.

Kaomoji – Let us know what you feel

Posted on December 05, 2016 | genkijacs

A language does not only consist of grammar and words. Particularly in social media, an emoticon can say more than 1,000 words. In Japan, young people have gone to great effort inventing thousands of cute "kaomojis" (literally "face letters") over time. For foreigners, they are not always easy to recognize. However, once your eyes are trained to see the art behind the strokes and signs, it is very easy to tell your opponent’s feelings.
Here are a few examples:


(۶ૈ ᵒ̌ Дᵒ̌)۶ૈ=͟͟͞͞


( ง ᵒ̌皿ᵒ̌)ง⁼³₌₃



These ones are really angry. Can you see how they are raising their fists? The first one is even throwing things at you. Maybe it is time to apologize?


m(._.)m


This poor fellow has a guilty conscience. He is bowing to the ground feeling ashamed. The English letter “m” represents a hand lying on the ground.


⊹⋛⋋( ՞ਊ ՞)⋌⋚⊹


Birds are very popular among the Kaomojis. Can you see the little wings going up and down in pure joy?


o(〃^▽^〃)o


This one is excited about something, don’t you think?


໒( ♥ ◡ ♥ )७


Can’t you feel his love?

。゚(*´□`)゚。


Oh no! You made the emoticon feel sad and now he is crying.


ヾ( ๑´д`๑)ツ

This one is fleeing in fear.


There is great variety of all kinds of kaomoji emoticons representing many different emotions but also animals or actions. As you can see, they are more than just simple emojis, they are small pieces of art.
If you want to know more, you can find a collection of all sorts of emoticons on: japaneseemoticons.me/