Love is in the air...

Posted on February 27, 2015 | genkijacs

Spring is creeping around the corner in Japan and at Genki Japanese and Culture school! At least for now, the weather is warming up a bit – and we are finally ready to say good riddance to winter for another year. Speaking of which, love was apparently in the air on February 14th in Japan as well. Are you familiar with Valentine’s day in Japan?


In Japan, only women give chocolate to all of the men on the special day – including male co-workers and relatives. Although in recent years, this has also been accompanied with a welcome pint of beer and other things. There are two types of chocolates, “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate), and “Honmei-choco”. Giri-choco is meant to be for friends, colleagues, bosses, and close male friends. “Giri” means obligation hence this Giri-choco has no romance involved. On the other hand, Honmei-choco is given to a boyfriend, lover, or husband with true love. Japanese women often prepare the Honmei-choco by themselves as many of them think it is not true love if they just buy the ready made chocolate at shops. You will start seeing large displays of chocolate, often heart-shaped in department stores and grocery stores from mid-January.


Days before the Valentine’s Day, stores get packed with a large variety of chocolates, the cooking tools, and women! Now before you say that it seems unfair that only the guys get to receive on Valentine’s day - the men, in response, give chocolates to women on White Day, which is a month later on March 14th (actually officially established by the National Confectionary Council of Japan – not kidding). Japanese young people were impressed by American customs of giving Valentine’s cards to all of their classmates, as well as the fact that friends also give gifts to each other (not just lovers). More often the color of the chocolate is white because of the name of the day. Flowers, candies and other gifts are also popular along with the chocolates. Again, department stores have many advanced reminders with gift displays so men will have no excuse to forget about this special day which is important for women. (To the guys, if you received chocolate – you will be expected to return the favor!) Seems like a few of our students had Genki Japanese and Culture school also have some dates lined up that week, just in time for the festivities!


Happy birthday, GenkiJACS!

Posted on February 23, 2015 | genkijacs

Genki Japanese and Culture School turned 10 years old on the 19th of February, 2015.
It's been a great 10 years - the school has grown exponentially, and with the addition of a brand new branch in Tokyo in 2013, we are happy to have more students than ever before study the Japanese language with us.

Teachers and staff at Fukuoka school (featuring an appearance by Tomoe-sensei from Tokyo school via Skype), held a small party at the office on Thursday to celebrate.

Our school Directors had this cake especially made in the shape of the school's logo.

Let's play "how many GenkiJACS staff does it take to cut a cake?"....
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We also had some delicious finger foods and drinks, and everyone had a great time celebrating this very special day with the school.

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We also received some very lovely flowers, including a beautiful pink arrangement from our former Fukuoka school staff, Mai-san!
Thanks so much, Mai-san!!


Of course, we wouldn't have been able to get where we are without all our wonderful students. Here's to the next 10 years - we hope to continue working hard at being the best Japanese school in Japan!


YOUは何しに日本へ? (Why did you come to Japan?)

Posted on February 13, 2015 | genkijacs

If you study at Genki Japanese school in either Fukuoka or Tokyo long enough, you may start taking a liking to the TV programming here (this is obviously up in the air). One of the wonderful shows that is amusing to a foreigner is the one mentioned in the title of the blog entry. Oh, the wonderful Japan life!

The show is run by a famous comedy duo known as ‘Bananaman’ made up of Osamu Shitara and Yuki Himura. It runs regularly in Japan on Monday evenings (Mondays are generally awful in any part of the world, but this show makes it all worth it – in our opinion anyway)!


The show loosely places the camera crew at an international airport terminal (usually Narita International or Haneda International in Tokyo) and follows random interviewees around their journey in Japan!


This girl came from Canada from a province in Quebec, her dream wanting to become a maid at a maid café in Akihabara! Big shoes to fill, but the show followed her month long journey from interview to interview. Eventually, she got the job and started working as an associate maid. Not quite the full time position she wanted, but everyone has got to start somewhere right?



Another example is a couple of Swedish friends that got massive popularity by buying new guidebooks about Japan every year, and randomly pointing to spots in Japan. The random page would be their destination for the year. So random, so adventurous, so awesome. Obviously, the Japanese love this kind of behavior and the pair have become micro-celebrities of sort!

Finally, celebrity exposure? Of course! Mega rising star Benedict Cumberbatch has been seen on the show and had a memorable episode. He was probably more amused than the audience, though!


The best part of the show is the randomness! Just about any person can appear on the show and expose their adventure to Japan (except Japanese people, we guess).
So if you run into the YOUは何しに日本へ? camera crew, please bring them down to Genki Japanese and Culture school!


Posted on February 10, 2015 | genkijacs

Alrighty! Here we go, your go-to expression for this week! Did you know Japanese also has wordplay? The Japanese love it and call it 言葉遊び (ことばあそび - "kotoba asobi").

Here are a few examples of Japanese words and phrases that, when said out loud, sound like English:

ハマチ : hamachi (Japanese meaning: Yellowtail sushi) – Sounds like: "How much?"
いつ相撲終わる? : itsu sumo owaru? (Japanese meaning: When does the Sumo end?) – Sounds like: "It’s a small world."
ほった芋いじんな : Hotta imo ijinna (Japanese meaning: Leave those potatoes alone) – Sounds like: "What time is it now?"

In Japanese, numbers' pronunciation can also sometimes be adapted to form words. Like...

37564 – みなごろし : Massacre (In this example, 3 - usually pronounced "san" - is pronounced "mi" (as it is in words such as 3日間 - "mikkakan" or "three days". 7 - "nana" - gets shortened to "na". And so on...)


18782 - いやなやつ : Unpleasant guy (above?) Time to use sneaky number codes around mean guys.


4649 - よろしく : Nice to meet you, please treat me well!

What kind of Japanese wordplay do you know? Little things make studying Japanese interesting and more fun, don’t you think?

UBER in Fukuoka

Posted on February 04, 2015 | genkijacs

UBER, the car service everyone loves to use, is now available in Fukuoka!


For those of our readers who haven't heard of this fantastic service, UBER is an app you can download to your mobile device. When you need a ride somewhere, simply enter your details into the app, and they'll send a private car to pick you up.

UBER will be available in Fukuoka from the 5th of February. And best of all? During their initial trial period, you can use this service totally for free! The only conditions are:
- Your ride starts AND stays within Fukuoka City, Kasugashi, Shimemachi, and Kasuyamachi.
- Your ride is less than 60 minutes long.
- You don’t take more than 5 rides per week.

More details are available on their blog here. (Scroll down for English!)


Posted on February 04, 2015 | genkijacs

We received this lovely calendar from one of our very talented previous students, Chiyoko-san, last week.
Thanks so much, Chiyoko-san, this is a very special gift indeed!