冬と言えば、ミカン!

Posted on November 29, 2013 | genkijacs

Winter is mikan season here in Japan! Both delicious and chock full of healthy vitamin C, it's easy to see why this fruit is so popular in Japan around this time of year. Our students often bring us mikan as presents, and the ones we receive as お土産 (おみやげ) from Itoshima island are always especially yummy! (Hint, hint).

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These ones were a present from Jan-san, who went to Itoshima for his weekend last week. Thanks, Jan-san!

Aiko-sensei's birthday

Posted on November 27, 2013 | genkijacs

Yesterday was Aiko-sensei's birthday! She turned 20 years old this year (again!) and received no less than 2 different cakes! Here she is, pictured with the cake she received from one of our students, Wolfgang-san.

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愛子先生、お誕生日おめでとうございます!たくさんの幸福と可能性に満ちた日々でありますように。

Flu season

Posted on November 26, 2013 | genkijacs

Is your nose running? Are you coughing? Are you hot and shaky, and not because you're ripping up the dancefloor? Bad news: you might have the flu.

That's right, flu season has hit Japan in full force, and we're asking our students to take extra special care in order not to get sick this winter.

There's not much you can do once you already have the bug, but here's a few preventative measures you can take in order to not get ill:

- Rinse your mouth with water when coming in from outside
- Wash your hands with soap (pump-bottle soap if you can, because germs tend to cling to bar soap!), and use your own towel (or a paper towel) to dry them
- Get a small bottle of hand sanitizer to carry around with you and use this at regular intervals during the day
- And of course the best way to avoid catching the flu is to stay away from people who already have it! We're not recommending that you become a hermit, but if you spot someone who looks like they just walked off the set of the movie "Black Death", it's probably a good idea to try to not breathe the same air as them

If you do get ill, the best thing to do is get lots of rest, and if you feel really bad, try to see a doctor as soon as you can. For those who prefer home remedies, you can try the following:

- Use disposable, fever-reducing sheets (called 熱さまシートor "netsu-sama sheets")
- Take cold medicine - it may not cure the flu, but it should help with the aches and pains! (Of course, you should always consult a pharmacist/doctor before taking any medicine, especially in a foreign country!)
- Wear a disposable mask! This won't really help you feel better, but it will definitely prevent people from hating you for the rest of forever for infecting them with your germs!

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Interesting Japanese - シャカ男

Posted on November 22, 2013 | genkijacs

シャカ男 ("shaka-o") is an interesting combination of the words "シャカシャカ" (onomatopoeia for the canned, muffled sound of synthesized drumbeats heard through earphones) and 男 (おとこ) - man.

Basically, シャカ男 is that guy sitting next to you on the train who has his music turned up so loud you can hear "dog goes woof, cat goes meow" right through his ear/headphones (even though you really don't want to). We all know the type - they have their tunes turned up so loud you can tell their taste in music just by being in their general area. How they go through life with their eardrums intact is a mystery - but to each their own, we guess!

Currency converter problems

Posted on November 19, 2013 | evankirby

The currency converter we use on our website to show prices in a variety of different currencies stopped working recently, so we've had to take it offline. We're working on a new solution, but until we get it up and running, you'll have to ask us directly if you want to convert our Japanese school prices to other currencies, or you can always use Google, by searching, for example, "147000 yen in US dollars". Sorry for the inconvenience!

亀レス

Posted on November 05, 2013 | genkijacs

Here's some more interesting Japanese for you.

Say someone wrote you an email, and, being the dilligent Japanese language student you are, you've just been too busy practising your kanji to write back to them. When you finally emerge from under piles of practice sheets covered in 21-stroke mini-nightmares, you go to reply to the email, but you feel bad for taking so long to get back to the person. What do you say in this case?

返事が遅くなり、申し訳ございません (へんじがおそくねり、もうしわけございません) is perfectly acceptable, if very polite.

If it's someone you haven't talked to in a while, ご無沙汰しています (ごぶさたしています) is something you could possibly say.

But say it's a good friend you've known for a while, and you also happen to feel like showing off your knowledge of Japanese slang a bit. You could say...

亀レスごめん (かめれすごめん) / 亀レス失礼します (かめれすしつれいします)

亀レス is an interesting bit of Japanese slang that evolved in the last few years to mean "replying to someone's email after a long delay".

Broken down, 亀(かめ) is the Japanese word for turtle. Clearly something slow!

レス is the shortened form of レスポンス - response.

亀レス, therefore, is a response as slow as a turtle! We've all been there...

Stay turned for more interesting Japanese!

Japanese news made easy

Posted on November 01, 2013 | genkijacs

Here's one for all our students who are interested in Japanese news, but have a hard time understanding all the difficult kanji: The NHK NEWS Web website hosts a Japanese news website written in easy Japanese, with readings included for all the kanji! Even though it's aimed more at Japanese kids, it still does a pretty good job of summarizing the latest happenings and events. This is great for anyone who would like to up their Japanese reading skills and still stay on top of current events as well!