令和 - The New Era of Beautiful Harmony

Posted on April 29, 2019 | genkijacs

Tomorrow (1st May 2019) will mark the beginning of an entirely new era, the 令和 or れいわ era of the new emperor. For the last 30 years, Emperor Akihito has been the head of the Japanese Imperial Family and the head of state of Japan. One of the most remarkable things about this family is that the Imperial Family of Japan is the longest reigning (in one way or another) royal family in the world!

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The Japanese Imperial Royal Family, but because it is a little too long let's call them the JIRF (we came up with this term as far as we know) was officially established in 660 BCE and has been sitting on the Chrysanthemum throne ever since. The first Emperor was named Jimmu, and the current, 125th monarch is Emperor Akihito. Tomorrow, with the dawn of the new era the current Crown Prince Apparent Naruhito will inherit the throne and become the 126th Emperor of Japan! The second oldest royal family is of the Kingdom of Cambodia (from 68AD)

For the first time the new name of the era was announced to the public before the actual succession; it is also the first time the name was taken from classical work of Japanese literature. It is virtually impossible to translate the meaning of the phrase accurately, but the official interpretation of the saying could sound something like Beautiful Harmony.

We are very excited to be here for this momentous occasion and though you may think that our Kyoto school is opening its doors in the first year of the era of Beautiful Harmony to be a pure coincidence...and it is, but it doesn`t mean that we can`t take a leaf out of their book and enter this brand new era with optimism and an expectation of beauty the name 令和 may suggest.

An alligator wait, no, a crocodile!

Posted on April 18, 2019 | genkijacs

Kanji - this word is enough to put even the most diligent students off studying for quite some time! It is true, these pictographs are a challenge and take years to master.
As some of you may know, Japanese has three distinct writing systems: hiragana, katakana and kanji. It is virtually impossible to study the language without these. Hiragana and katakana are phonetic and, though tricky, can be mastered in a relatively short period of time; kanji, on the other hand, is a different story altogether.

There is a great number of ways of learning these characters. Some are more effective than others; some may be more suited to your way of learning than others. Today we would like to introduce you to a fantastic resource of learning kanji: Wani Kani.

It is a brainchild of a Japanese language and culture web site called Tofugu. What makes Wani Kani different from other SRS (Spaced Repetition System) resources, is that it provides you with helpful and, most of the time, very silly mnemonics to help you create a story of the kanji character and connect to it on an emotional level. The app/web site also forces you to write your answers as well in both Japanese and English (available in English only at the moment) which is a more involved way of recalling the meaning and reading of the character.

The list of kanji characters in Wani Kani is vast and will teach you most characters needed in your everyday life in Japan. There are 60 levels to complete so by gamifying your progress it is way easier to keep motivated! It may take years to complete, but it is a journey worth taking, and Wani Kani is an excellent guide to have in your arsenal of learning materials!
Visit them here: Wani Kani