What’s My Name? Revisited

This month’s Japan Blog Matsuri theme is The Language of Japan, and I’ve been scratching my head all month over what to write. I haven’t studied Japanese for years now, and although I have a few amusing stories of miscommunication, nothing worthy of an entire blog post. So, I delved into the LongCountdown archives and submitted an article I wrote back in March 2007. It’s about the confusion that arises from having a foreign name […]

Japanese Samurai Versus Medieval Knight

Would a Japanese samurai defeat a Medieval European knight? That’s a question John Clements attempts to answer in his essay titled “The Medieval European Knight vs. The Feudal Japanese Samurai?” In this “amusing historical diversion”, Clements uses over 7,000 words to explain the key elements of an encounter between the two warriors. While I recommend you read the essay, here’s my 300-word summary for those of you that grew up with MTV. The Scenario We’ll imagine that these warriors are both highly […]

Japan and the 13,000 Somethings

Quite often, you start searching the web for one thing, but end up with something far more interesting. That happened to me today when I randomly came across a number of Japan related stories based on the number 13,000. Here’s a summary with links to their sources. World’s tallest building: The 13,000 ft, X-Seed 4000 This huge structure was proposed for Tokyo, Japan, and all construction plans were completed. At just over 13,000 feet (4,000m) tall, it would be larger than […]

Japanese Versus European Feet

I remember looking through a Japanese ballroom dancing magazine during one of my lessons and seeing an interesting comparison of foreign and Japanese feet. Whether the article discussed how the different foot shapes affected shoe size or posture I can’t remember, but I found the examples used for this foot comparison quite fascinating. Here’s my attempt to recreate that long-lost comparison. First you’ve got the characters. Representing “Team Europe” is Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. Though this statue is widely known […]

Study Kanji Like Tokyo Josh

I studied my backside off when I first came to Japan. I passed level 4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in my first year, level 3 the next, and then level 2 the year after that. Unfortunately, the jump from level 2 to level 1 is so great that I didn’t even try going for it. Instead, I let seven more years pass without once picking up a kanji book. I have promised myself […]

Japanese Beauties – Shaku Yumiko, Inoue Waka and Ayase Haruka

I don’t watch  a lot of Japanese TV, but every night when I get home from work, I sit down to eat dinner and watch whatever Japanese drama is on. This is a pattern I’ve followed for three years now, so I’m getting better at recognizing some of the actors and actresses that appear, reappear, and then appear again. My favorite actor is Smap’s Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, but for this post I want to tell you about […]

Our 2-Way Japanese Fridge Door

Some of you know that all I need a fridge for is beer, cheese and chocolate. At least, that was until I married Mami and we moved into together. It wasn’t long before her mum bought us a new fridge for our wedding present, and Mami filled it up with everything I should eat. As well as the lovely orangey colour, this fridge is extra special becuase its door opens in each direction. Take a look for […]

Rikuto Eats His Own Hands!

Next week, our son Rikuto will be three months old. I previously posted the video Is That My Hand? in which he realized that the hands flapping about his head were actually his own, and he could contol them! Now that he can control them, he does what every baby does – he tries to eat them. Thank goodness he doesn’t have teeth yet! If you have a comment, find me on Twitter at @longcountdown. I’d love […]