流行語 2013

Posted on December 27, 2013 | genkijacs

As 2013 winds to a close, we thought it would be fun to review some of the interesting phrases that were popular in Japan during the year. 流行語 (りゅうこうご - "ryuukougo": buzzword; popular phrase) are catchphrases and words made famous by TV ads, dramas and variety programs, which you will often see being used (or spoofed!) by other ads or shows.

Here are the top 5 ryuukougo for 2013:

5) アベノミクス
"Abenomics" is what the economic and monetary policies of Shinzo Abe, during his terms as prime minister of Japan, are being hailed as.

4) 倍返し (ばいがえし)
Made popular by the TBS drama "Hanzawa Naoki", this catch phrase has a similar meaning to the English phrase "you reap what you sow", but with more violence. In the show, Hanzawa vows to pay back the harm done by his enemies twice as badly.

3) じぇじぇじぇ
Made popular by the drama "Amachan", this term means "what?" in the Iwate dialect. It also serves as the base for a wordplay used in the name of the talent agency created by the lead character - "3j". Arguably also the only 流行語 that comes with its own emoticon... ( ‘ jjj ’ ) !!

2) お・も・て・な・し
This word has become the unofficial catchphrase of the Tokyo Olymics 2020. After being used in the presentation speech by Crystal Takigawa for the Olympics, it has since been popularised internationally to describe the unique hospitality of Japan and its people.

1) 今でしょ!(いまでしょ)
This term was first used by popular high school teacher Osamu Hayashi, who always used this phrase at the end of his lectures: "いつやるか?今でしょ!". The use of this phrase skyrocketed after it appeared in one of Toshin High School's popular TV commercials. Literally translated, it means "When are you going to do it? Now!", but on its own, 今でしょ has taken a meaning similar to "now's the right/only time [to do something]". You often hear it in commercials, in the context of "When are you going to buy this car?" "今でしょ!"

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It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Posted on December 24, 2013 | genkijacs

For the Christmas fans among our Japanese language students, Japan is renowned for its light-ups. Where in Western countries, Christmas is traditionally a time for families to be together and spend time with each other (and New Year's a time for friends and couples to party together), here in Japan, it's the other way around. Christmas Eve is hugely celebrated by couples, and who doesn't love a romantic stroll among the Christmas lights?

For your convenience, Fukuoka Now has put together a list of all the best spots to see some Christmas lights, available on their website. Even if you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, grab a few friends, co-workers, acquaintances or their pets and head over for a beautiful time!

Okonomiyaki

Posted on December 20, 2013 | genkijacs

We previously posted about cheap, yet delicious ramen in the Tenjin area. This time, we'd like to tell you about cheap, yet delicious okonomiyaki! Fukiya is an okonomiyaki restaurant that has several branches around Fukuoka, three of which are within walking distance of our Japanese language school!

They serve okonomiyaki from 400yen upwards, which is great value for money, as their okonomiyaki is really tasty, and they don't skimp on portions! A deluxe okonomiyaki (the "everything okonomiyaki" that has OVER 9000 ingredients) will cost you only 1,100yen.

Their menu is available online.

We recommend the Tenjin central branch, located on the ground floor of Fukuoka Biru, next to Tenjin CORE.

New Japanese Plus Pop Culture Course!

Posted on December 17, 2013 | evankirby

Cosplay at school

New for 2014, we've updated our Japanese Plus Pop Culture course to bring it into line with the Japanese Plus Traditional Culture course. Where previously the Pop Culture course had 5 hours of pop culture-themed lessons per week, the new course has three two-hour activities each week. The new course focuses more on learning about and enjoying modern Japanese culture. Of course, it still has the same 20 hours of core Japanese lessons per week, but the new activities include some really fun ones that we know you'll love! From doing cosplay to visiting a maid cafe, making realistic fake foods, and writing and drawing your own manga, the new program is chock full of great things to do!
As with the Traditional Culture course, the activities are on a monthly schedule, so the course can be taken for a maximum of 5 weeks. Where previously the Japanese Plus Pop Culture course had a minimum Japanese ability requirement, the new course is open to everyone. And where the old course was only available in Fukuoka, the new course is on offer in both Fukuoka and Tokyo branches.
We'll be continuing to improve the activities on offer, especially as we start to get feedback from students taking the course. It's going to be a great 2014!

Interesting Japanese - 寝刻

Posted on December 17, 2013 | genkijacs

For those Japanese language students who just aren't morning people, and can never quite seem to make that 7AM wake-up to make it to morning classes on time, this is a word just for you. 寝刻 (ねこく - "nekoku") , combines the words 寝坊 (ねぼう - "nebou", to oversleep) and 遅刻 (ちこく - "chikoku", to be late), to make a new word meaning "to arrive late because you overslept".

Coffee

Posted on December 13, 2013 | genkijacs

For the coffee lovers among our students - and let's be real here, every student has a fundamental understanding of the need for caffeine, right? - there's no need to spend hundreds of yen at Starbucks each day to get your fix.

Family Mart convenience stores do a delicious cafe latte at 150-180yen a pop. They also have drip coffee and iced coffee varieties, perfect for summertime!

We understand that simple cafe latte and drip coffee can be a bit bland for the palette of the seasoned coffee connoisseur - not to worry! There are other options that won't break the bank.

St. Marc Cafe over at the Shintencho shopping avenue in Tenjin, Fukuoka, has Vietnamese coffee (special blend coffee with condensed milk instead of cream) that is to die for, at only 330yen for a medium cup. Their hot apple lemonade (400yen) is delicious, too!

Of course, nothing beats Starbucks for their flavoured coffee varieties, and you definitely won't want to miss out on their seasonal coffees - the Crush Maron Pie Latte this winter is amazing!

Gingerbread house

Posted on December 12, 2013 | genkijacs

Three of our students made this amazing gingerbread house and gave it to teachers at our Fukuoka Japanese language school today.

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They really put so much effort into decorating it, and it smells absolutely delectable. We're so happy we get to share this Christmas tradition with our students!
Thank you so much, Julie-san, Bjorn-san and Wilhelm-san!

Check out more photos over at our Facebook page.

Bento - Japan's national lunch of choice

Posted on December 10, 2013 | genkijacs

A bento is a box packed with small portions of a home-cooked Japanese meal. Traditionally, it includes rice, fish (or meat) and vegetables - a well-balanced meal in a box! Bentos are especially popular for lunch, as they are portable, healthy, and cheaper than buying lunch at a restaurant each day.

Japanese language students at our Fukuoka school may have noticed a guy standing just outside the school building, selling bentos from large, blue containers. His bentos are different every day, and range from the more traditional cooked fish- and picked veggies variety, to more fusion-style foods like croquettes with beef and cheese, hamburger patties with Japanese-style sauce, and minced beef steaks!

For a wholesome, home-cooked style meal, you can't go wrong with these bentos. At only ¥300 each, they are well worth checking out!

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What Japan Thinks

Posted on December 08, 2013 | evankirby

We found a great blog this morning, What Japan Thinks, that translates and summarizes opinion polls and surveys of Japanese people. There are so many interesting topics covered, although we admit we only found the blog because today's post is about weird names for love hotels.

Traditional Kyoto dance in Fukuoka

Posted on December 07, 2013 | evankirby

We were lucky enough to be passing the Iwataya department store recently just as a free demonstration of traditional Kyoto dancing was being held.

Maiko Kyoto dancing

The two 舞妓 (maiko, trainee geisha) dancers gave a beautiful performance, part of which we were able to record here:



Afterwards they were kind enough to answer questions about their art, and about maiko in general.
Maiko dancers

It's great to be able to experience traditional arts just by walking around the city like this. We hope Fukuoka City continues to expand its free arts programs!

Ramen!

Posted on December 06, 2013 | genkijacs

Fukuoka, and especially Hakata, is famous for its ramen, and there are tons of restaurants and 屋台 (やたい) - temporary stalls set up along the street - in the area where you can get these tasty noodles! GenkiJACS staff, though, are especially fond of Manmenya (満麵屋), located on Nanotsu-doori in Maizuru. This yatai-style restaurant serves some of the best Hakata ramen you'll ever have, and at super cheap prices too!

Their speciality is a menu item they call "サンキュウラーメン" - delicious tonkostu ramen for just 390yen a bowl. It's not the only type of ramen they serve, but it's what they're famous for!

Other than ramen, they also have an izakaya-style menu where you can order everything from kara-age chicken to yaki-meshi (a fried rice dish), and of course they also have beer! If you're in the Tenjin area, make sure to visit Manmenya - you won't regret it!

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Interesting Japanese - だてメガネ / だてマスク

Posted on December 03, 2013 | genkijacs

A trend most often associated with hipster fashion, we all know those guys and girls who walk around wearing glasses that don't have lenses. What the use is of wearing only the frames, we'll never know - we suppose it must be a fashion thing, but considering that there are many people suffering the pain of contact lenses just to get away from what glasses look like, it does seem a bit odd. To each their own, though!

Here in Japan, the trend of wearing glasses even though you don't really need them, or wearing glasses that don't have a particular use, is called だてメガネ.

There's a similar word for wearing a disposable mask (those white masks that cover the nose and mouth), when you're not really sick - だてマスク. This trend has recently gained popularity especially among the famous - musicians and actors who don't want to be recognised on the street will wear the masks and add sunglasses on top of that well, for double だて effect!

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*image found on Google, (c) its original owner