Thinking in Japanese Numbers: "man"

Posted on June 26, 2006 | evankirby

It takes a long time of living with the Japanese counting system to be able to be truly comfortable with it, because it has one small but fundamental change from the English one: instead of units of 1,000, Japanese uses units of 10,000 (as does Chinese).
In English, after we get to 1,000, everything up to a million is counted in terms of how many thousands it contains. A million, of course, is a thousand thousand. Then we count up to a thousand again, and when we get there we call it a billion.

In Japanese, however, we count up to 10,000 (ichi-man), and every new unit thereafter is a power of 10,000. Commas are also placed to divide digits up not into groups of 3, but groups of 4. So, a hundred million in Japanese notation is not 100,000,000 but 1,0000,0000. Of course, Western notation is spreading through Japan and it is more common now to see digits in groups of 3. However, dividing into groups of 4 helps to understand the concept of the number naming system. This is important because Japan doesn't have a high-order denomination (for example, 1 dollar= 100 cents), so large amounts of yen quickly become very large numbers indeed.

"X or more", or "More than X"?

Posted on June 24, 2006 | evankirby

One of the problems junior translators always have in Japan is the difference between the phrases "X or more" and "more than X". In Japanese, there are 3 kanji expressions in common use:
- "ijou" - X or more
- "ika" - X or less
- "miman" - less than (but not including) X
Interestingly, there is no commonly used kanji expression for "more than (but not including)". The formal opposite of "miman" is "chou", using the kanji for "koeru", to surpass. However, most Japanese people themselves don't know this word in this meaning, and it is not in common usage. More common are the simple phrases "X yori ookii" (bigger than X) and "X yori chiisai" (smaller than X).

GenkiJACS End-of-an-Era Party!

Posted on June 20, 2006 | evankirby

No, we're not closing! July is the season for JET Programme participants who've finished their contracts to up and leave (as well as time to say goodbye to Tovy, our longest student this year so far!), and so GenkiJACS is holding a farewell party for all the JETs who've supported us throughout this year! We've booked a JET-owned club for the event on June 30th (Friday), and any and all are welcome!
Details after the jump...

News, Omnibus Edition!

Posted on June 19, 2006 | evankirby

We're back, after an extended hiatus! It's been a busy couple of months for us, and we're sorry for not having updated the blog during that time. Here's your quick rundown of what happened since April:
- We moved to our new, much bigger and far fancier location. We now have 6 classrooms, 6 computers for student use, a permanent big-screen movie setup, and much much more...
- The photo gallery on our website was hacked, taking our site offline for the better part of two days and necessitating the temporary removal of the gallery entirely. We're still in the process of re-uploading everyone's happy memories, so if there's a photo you really want to see, feel free to remind us!
- Several new teachers have been hired, and their info will be added to our teacher page shortly.
- Summer study season began, bringing with it a flood of new students and a whole host of exciting events!
- We finally inked our deal for a Farmstay Japanese course with WWOOF Japan, the Willing Workers on Organic Farms organization that does much to raise the profile of organic farming around the world. Details are here.

We'll try to be a little bit more timely in our postings from now on, but feel free to give us a kick if we forget to update for a while!

Our plans for the near future:
- Finish restoring photos to the gallery, and at some point get round to re-themifying it
- Add audio and video of classes to the website itself, so that you can see the teaching style at GenkiJACS for yourself
- Add a whole lot of study materials for the Proficiency Test, and for Japanese in general, freely downloadable for all
- Continue to offer a top-notch Japanese education at a reasonable price. You know, just cos we can...