Fathers on Wheels

Posted on May 15, 2017 | genkijacs

Ever heard someone mention a "papa-chari" (often followed by a mildly-derisive giggle?)

The term パパチャリ is derived from the combo-word ママチャリ (mama-chari). This particular term refers to the bicycles ridden by primarily mothers with their children sitting in a special child-friendly seat at the back of the bike. These modes of transport tend to be tailored to traditional feminine tastes. They are so widespread that there are bike dealerships that sell exclusively these types of bicycles.

パパチャリ or papa-chari is nothing really mysterious at all, but rather something of a trend that has recently started gaining popularity. To understand what it actually relates to, we first need to see where the word actually comes from.

パパ (Papa) Is pretty self-explanatory. (But just to make sure, it means father.)
チャリ (Chari) Is slightly less clear in its origins. There are a bunch of related words that may have given us this word. It could have derived from the word Chariot (チャリオット) and our further research online produced another interesting result: some evidence suggests it might originated from the word "チャリンコ" (charinko), which is another word for bicycle that originated around the sound of a bicycle bell ("charin"). (In ye olden times, "charinko" was also what you would call a child pick-pocket (a la Oliver Twist), but we don't think this would go over too well with modern mamas).

Now that is the true origin of パパチャリ - basically a ママチャリ converted to appeal to traditionally masculine tastes. (Because of course, no パパ would be caught dead riding a traditional ママチャリ. Gotta look out for that frail masculinity!)

There are also other types of so-called "チャリ":
ババチャリ ("babachari") – Granny Bike.
ジジチャリ ("jijichari") - Grandad Bike.

With this trend, we wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing other types of チャリ in the near future.

How about a 寿司チャリ (sushi chari)?


Or maybe an 愛犬チャリ (aiken chari/puppy bike)?


Exciting Literature

Posted on April 03, 2017 | genkijacs

What could possibly be more exciting than Japan or Literature? Exactly! The two of them combined together. This is why we would like to present to you five popular and interesting novels of Japanese origin. Each one of them gives great insight in Japanese culture and history. And, if you even want to undergo the challenge and read them in Japanese, your language skills will improve, too.

1. 源氏物語 (Genji Monogatari)
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is sometimes considered the world’s first novel or rather the world’s first classic novel. It tells the story of Hikaru Genji’s life who was born as son to the Emperor Kibitsubo. Following Genji’s family dramas, love affairs and political rise and falls, the reader learns a lot about high-society culture during the Heian period.
Since the author is a woman and also addresses a female audience, the book is mostly written in kana as was custom for women during that period. Still, because of its complex and old grammar and vocabulary, it is extremely difficult to read even for native speakers. (It may be comparable to reading ‘original-language Shakespeare’.) Luckily, there are translations into “modern” Japanese. (And English of course.)

2. 枕草子 (Makura Soshi)
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon was written around the same time as The Tale of Genji and reflects observations made in the Imperial court during the Heian period. It is basically a collection of thoughts and descriptions represented in poetry. While it is mostly a personal work and therefore does not address a specific audience, it is an important and interesting work of literature due to the author’s poetic writing skills. Yet again, it might be extremely difficult to read in Japanese considering its ancient language. If you want to try so nevertheless, we recommend you have an English version to side-read.

3. 吾輩は猫である (Wahagai wa neko de aru)
I Am a Cat was written Natsume Soseki in the early 20th century during the Meiji period.
It is common knowledge that Japanese people like cats. They adore them. This work even tops this impression as its narrator is… a cat; a supercilious, arrogant pet, who throughout various short stories or “chapters” describes the lives of middle-class Japanese people. These are basically its owner, Kushami Sensei (eng.: Mr. Sneeze) and his family friends.
The novel became known for its hilarious satiric humor and is still considered a classic.

4. 雪国 (Yukiguni)
Snow Country by Kawabata Yasunari follows the love affair between Shimamura, a wealthy loner from Tokyo, and Komako, a hot-spring geisha living in the province. As pointed out throughout the novel, the geishas in provincial hot springs did not enjoy the same high-regarded status as their artistically well-trained colleagues in Kyoto or Tokyo.
Published between 1935 and 1937, the novel focuses not only on the love story itself but also on the exterior factors that led to its outcome. It thereby gives great insight into Japanese culture and provincial society during that time.

5. 1Q84
1Q84 by Murakami Haruki is a series of books with the first one being published in 2009. The title references to George Orwell’s 1984, as the letter Q plays with the Japanese pronunciation of the digit 9.
In the book, the two protagonists Aomame and Tengo find themselves in an alternative reality called “1Q84”. The two enter this mysterious reality separately but are gradually drawn towards each other during their journey towards this “other” 1984; a world that is terrorized and about to be taken over by an evil supernatural force.
The novel is said to be both surreal and exciting just as well as shocking, while some consider it Murakami’s magnum opus. It may be fiction but yet analyzes and depicts Japanese contemporary culture.

Did we get you interested? Go ahead and let these fantastic books transport you to a completely different time or culture.
However, should you decide to read any of these in Japanese, don’t get frustrated if you don’t understand everything at once. Always keep in mind that reading is considered the most difficult skill when it comes to Japanese.

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

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?


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?


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

໒( ♥ ◡ ♥ )७

Can’t you feel his love?


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/

流行語2016 – More Possible Words

Posted on November 21, 2016 | genkijacs

Here are some more possible 流行語(りゅうこうご) that are likely to be among the 2016 nominees:

→ 野球賭博(とばくやきゅう) (Baseball Betting)
In Japan, betting on a sports team is illegal. Still, it is becoming more and more popular throughout the country. The number of people charged with betting on baseball teams has reached record highs this year.

→ SMAP 解散(かいさん) (SMAP break-up)
In January this year, the famous boy band SMAP announced their break-up. As they did not only have fans within the country but abroad as well, this soon became one of the most discussed issues on television.

→ トランプ旋風(つむじかぜ) (Trump whirlwind)
This term describes the harsh expressions and radical performance of the American presidential candidate Donald Trump and the fierce “election war” he is leading against Hilary Clinton. As the outcome of this election will have great influence on the whole world, even Japanese people are impatiently awaiting November 8th.

→ パーフェクト・ヒューマン (Perfect Human)
During one of his jokes on Oriental Radio (オリエンタルラジオ), the comedian Atsuhiko Nakada used the phrase “I’m a perfect human”. This phrase soon became famous via YouTube.

流行語2016 –Changing World, Changing Word

Posted on November 15, 2016 | genkijacs

While the release of this year’s nominees for the top 流行語(りゅうこうご) is coming closer, let us give you some insight about the “history of 流行語” itself.

In 1984, the publishing house 自由国民社(みんしゃじゆうこく) announced the 新語(しんご)・流行語大賞(たいしょうりゅうこうご) (“New word and Buzzword winners”). Since then a ceremony is held annually awarding the year’s top 流行語.

At that time, the 流行語 were mostly originated in recent news or television and radio programs such as the word “オシンドローム” from the TV series and novel “おしん”. Throughout time, the variety of public media has changed.

Today, ads like Line or other online services like YouTube are an equally common source. For example, the popular smartphone game “ポケモンGO” is one of the possible nominees for 2016.

流行語2016 – What can we expect?

Posted on November 08, 2016 | genkijacs

November is coming and the nominees for the top 流行語(ryukougo) 2016 will soon be announced. 流行語are famous words or phrases made famous by TV, ads etc. We are excited to hear this year’s nominees.

Here are a few words that we think might appear on the list:

→ センテンススプリング (sentence spring)
This word was first used during a Line exchange between Enon Kawatani, a famous vocalist, guitarist and songwriter (Gesu No Itami Otome and Indigo la End) and the celebrity Becky. The word refers to the magazine Bunshun (文春) that had discovered an affair between the two. (文= sentence; 春=spring)

→ パナマ文書(ぶんしょ)(panama documents)
This term refers to a series of secret documents that often appear on the media in relation to tax avoidance.

→ グラブる
This catchphrase derives from a popular smartphone game called グランブルーファンタジー.

Tokyo Ramen Show 2016

Posted on October 26, 2016 | genkijacs

Japan is particularly known for its ramen noodles. In Tokyo, there is even a large event celebrating this delicious dish.


The Tokyo Ramen Show is one of Japan’s largest outdoor events organized annually since 2009. Starting October 27th, you will have the opportunity to see various types of ramen from different regions of Japan. Why don’t you go and have a taste?

Japan Is Being Haunted

Posted on October 18, 2016 | genkijacs

We are right in the middle of October and are soon to face the most haunted time of the year. The famous festival “Halloween” is being celebrated on October 31st all over the world. In Japan, it has gained growing popularity during the last few years. If you have not arranged any Halloween plans yet, here are some suggestions and events taking place in Fukuoka and Tokyo this month.



Join the International Halloween Party “Pumpkin Fever” in Hakata on October 28th from 8pm until 11pm. Please note, that GenkiJACS students can receive a discount if you show your GenkiJACS emergency card at the reception. (2000 JPY) For further information click http://whatz.jp/halloween-party-2016/ or have a look at our posters at the lounge or the reception.

If you are interested in seeing interesting costumes, the Hakata Halloween Costume Parade and Contest may be just the place for you. It takes place on October 30th in Canal City from 10am until 9 pm. Go and enjoy the variety of “spooky” outfits.

Of course, there are many more Halloween events coming up in Fukuoka. In case, you want to know more, click on the following link: http://www.fukuoka-now.com/en/2016/10/halloween-guide/


Join the Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea Halloween Celebrations. Until October 31st Parades, themed food and merchandise and more are being offered at both theme parks. Children will be able to enter the parks in costumes during that period.

You can as well have a look at the famous Kawasaki Halloween Parade. Besides the main parade, a variety of activities are held from October 1st until October 31st.

Anime fans should also join the Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fest. For 500 JPY a day, you can cosplay and place pictures at certain areas around Ikebukuro.

A big city like Tokyo has a lot to offer for the “haunted” day. A list of fun events can be found on: https://tokyocheapo.com/entertainment/tokyo-halloween/

No matter whether you live in Tokyo or Fukuoka, a lot of fun activities will be or are already being offered. Just enjoy the celebrations!

Video of Star World Language School 2016 Award Speech

Posted on September 28, 2016 | evankirby

Study Travel Magazine has uploaded of all the winner's speeches from the 2016 Star Awards in London in September. This of course includes Liza receiving Genki Japanese Language School's award for Star World Language School 2016. Now you get to see Liza's wonderful speech in all its glory!