Cute Animals and Where to Find Them (in the Japanese Language)

Posted on February 27, 2016 | genkijacs

We already learned a lot about Japanese Sayings and we also already know that cats play an important role in them. However, of course they cannot take all the credit. The Japanese Language has room for all the cute animals on this planet.

For example, have you ever heard of a “dog-monkey relationship”, 犬猿の仲 (けんえんのなか)? This is actually one of the rare cases where a cat does not appear in a Japanese phrase when it would in other languages. A 犬猿の仲 is what English native speakers refer to as a cat-and-dog relationship.

If you prefer bigger animals, you might be interested to know what is meant by Japanese people when “the horse fits”, 馬が合う (うまがあう). This tiny little sentence simply means that you get along with someone.

However, if 馬が合わない, you might find yourself facing someone that you don’t really like. “Less adult” people might want to try and tease each other by playing silly tricks. Depending on how clever these tricks are planned, others might refer to your relationship with the phrase 狐と狸の化かし合い (きつねとたぬきのばかしあい), “the silly game of the fox and raccoon.”

If you love animals and got curious about more “animal-phrases”, why don’t you go ahead and do some research on your own?

Genki Japanese and Culture School Government Accreditation Published

Posted on February 23, 2016 | evankirby

GenkiJACS proudly announced the government accreditation of the Fukuoka branch of our Japanese school last October. However, as people who have dealt with the government know, they often work quite slowly, so we didn't have any proof of our accreditation to show at that time. Now, finally, the government has published the list of newly accredited Japanese schools!
Two lists are available:
1) The full list of all accredited Japanese language schools nationwide (PDF only). For reasons we can only speculate at, this 45-page list of several hundred schools is not searchable, but they're in order of prefecture, from north to south, and then in order of date of accreditation. GenkiJACS is on page 23, as Genki Japanese and Culture School.
2) A short list of only newly accredited schools (also PDF only). This list seems to be a scan of a the relevant page, but at least it's short... There are about 25 new schools accredited this year, of which most are of course in Tokyo.

Congratulations and a massive お疲れ様です! to all the other schools who managed to complete the accreditation process. It's an exciting time for GenkiJACS, and while it won't cause many changes to the short-term courses you all know and love, it will enable us to improve our services, and offer entirely new services, in the future. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Fukuoka becomes 5th largest city in Japan

Posted on February 19, 2016 | genkijacs

If you are looking for city life but feel a little overwhelmed by how huge and complex Tokyo is, why not Fukuoka? While it is not as well known yet as Tokyo and Kyoto, Fukuoka offers all the perks of urban living without the disadvantages such as traffic jams, crowded train commutes or the lack of nature. Now, the preliminary results of the 2015 census show that Fukuoka has moved into the top five largest cities in Japan, Fukuoka is one of the few cities in Japan experiencing positive growth while most others are shrinking or facing aging problems. Let’s see what our Director has to say about Fukuoka :)

Fukuoka has been steadily moving up the rankings of cities in Japan. (Note that for this ranking, Tokyo is not considered a "city" - I guess it's in its own category...) This is because, as the biggest city in Southern Japan, a lot of young people move to Fukuoka from the surrounding countryside, and these days many companies are relocating their headquarters to Fukuoka because of its relative safety, convenience, and air and sea links to Asia.
A few years ago Fukuoka's growing population surpassed Kyoto (whose population is shrinking), and this year it passed Kobe (whose population is also shrinking). In fact, the rate of growth of Fukuoka's population is quite surprising for Japan - the number of people grew by nearly 5% in the last 5 years, when most Japanese cities grew by 1% or less, or shrank. That settles it: Fukuoka is the place to be!

節分 Setsubun festival

Posted on February 04, 2016 | genkijacs

If you have visited or lived in Japan, you are probably aware that the Japanese have very high awareness of the various seasons throughout the year. There are specific foods to be eaten and activities that have special meanings for each particular season. The 3rd of February marks the end of winter, and Setsubun (節分) is celebrated widely across Japan. Setsubun, or the Sping equinox literally translates to seasonal division.

On this day, Japanese people perform a special ritual, Mamemaki (豆撒き) that is supposed to get rid of all the evil and unwanted illness of the previous year. Beans (豆) are scattered (撒く) to chase away the nasty spirits and demons. People will chant ‘Oni wa soto, Fuku wa nai’ (鬼は外、福は内) which means ‘Out with the demons, in with good luck!’ In addition, Eho maki (恵方巻), a special type of sushi roll is also prepared and eaten while facing in the "lucky" direction of the year. (This year's lucky direction was South-South East).



We had some brave volunteers who pretended to be the Oni, or the demons! And following the tradition, they of course have to be pelted with beans by everyone else! All in the name of luck, fortune and fun of course!