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Country names in Japanese

27 Jan

Finally I’ve made another one of learn-Japanese videos! πŸ™‚

*I don’t know why but sometimes the video seems not working…Here’s an alternative link.

I was unable to cover all the country names in Kanji, but it seems each country has its name in kanji version.
This page may have your country in kanji version. πŸ˜‰

Yet, please don’t misunderstand that every country in kanji is recognizable in Japan.
If you wish to remember country names in Japanese, do it in katakana when the country has both names in katakana and kanji.

Hope you enjoyed the video!


Apple's adventures in Kiyomizu-dera Part 1 (and a short Japanese lesson on directions thrown in!)

6 Dec

Apple is back too, because I’m back! YAY!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Don’t miss her Japanese lesson at the latter part of this post!!!!

===Apple’s post starts from here===

Hi!! This is Apple!

I’m really happy that Kirin decided to go on with TKE. I’ve been meaning to write but have been busy.

Firstly, it feels like a long time since I’ve been to Tokyo, so I can’t write much of Tokyo places or trends for now. I went to Kansai in Spring this year, so I thought of sharing some interesting places I’ve been to when I was there. I wrote some articles (Shirahama & Kobe) early this year just after coming back from my trip, but I think maybe they were not interesting because nobody really left any comments. T^T Haha!

Ok, anyway, today I’m going to share with you one of my favourite places in Kansai!

It’s Kyoto!!

Being a city kind of girl really (I love Tokyo!), I’d initially thought Kyoto would be dull to me. My boyfriend was very excited though.

One of the places we visited in Kyoto is the famous tourist attraction, Kiyomizudera (ζΈ…ζ°΄ε―Ί)! Kiyomizu (ζΈ…ζ°΄) means clear water, or pure water. The temple is so named as there’s a waterfall of pure water within the complex.

Fun Fact: Not a single nail was used in the entire wooden structure of this temple!

Being Spring, we’d expected a scenery like this:


Β However, this was what greeted us:

We were too early for Sakura! T^T
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12 Jul

Otsukaresama desu
Otsukaresama deshita

What do they all mean? You may wonder because you’ll hear them spoken in JP dramas probably at the scenes of workplace. Sometimes English sub for JP dramas says “good work” and you may wonder why we greet like that. I think there’s basically no perfect translation for Otsukaresama because it reflects something cultural. In fact, there’s no day without saying these, since I’ve started working at an office.

Basically Otsukaresama is a consoling word and greeting to the colleagues. Let me see in what occasion I’m using them.

Otsukaresama desu

1) When making a call to someone in the same company
The first thing we should say is “Otsukaresama desu”.
For example
person A: Hello this is the sales department, and this is A speaking.
person B: Otsukaresama desu. I’m B from HR department.
person A: Otsukaresama desu.

2) When sending out an email to someone in the same company

It’s a sort of general habit for us to start with Otsukaresama desu. (with Kanji:γŠη–²γ‚Œζ§˜γ§γ™γ€‚γ€€with Hiragana: γŠγ€γ‹γ‚Œγ•γΎγ§γ™γ€‚)

3) When seeing colleagues in a washing room or somewhere outside the office or far from my desk
There’s no equal word for “Hi” in Japanese, we’d use “Otsukaresama desu” as a greeting at work. Of course, I know you learn “Konnichiwa” is like “Hi” but we don’t use it like how you’d use “Hi”. If you say “Konnichiwa” as a substitute for “Hi”, it’d sound too rigid, serious and a bit funny.

4) When someone (colleague) gets back from an outside job or a fieldwork

Otsukaresama deshita

1) At the end of the day, when a colleague is leaving the office
It is a common sense in Japan for a worker who is leaving the office at the end of the day to say “Osakini shitsurei shimasu” to others who are still working (such as doing over-time work). That means “I’m leaving earlier than you” in a modest way. Then the rest of the workers respond to him saying “Otsukaresama deshita”.

2) When someone (colleague) gets back from an outside job or a fieldwork


1) It’s a casual way of “Otsukaresama desu” used between close colleague.
2) It’s spoken from a senior worker to his junior or from a boss to his subordinates.


1) It’s a very casual way used between close colleagues or friends.

I still remember how I was shocked to hear “Otsukaresama” at work when I started working. I felt as if I were very tired when I heard it. “Tsukare” is to be tired or fatigue. “O” or “sama” I think are the frills of consoling or respecting thought. I personally don’t like this greeting honestly. XD

BTW, have you realized we don’t use Otsukaresama to the people from other company or the clients, customers and etc.? Otsukaresama is to be used for inner people not outer people. Then what kind of greeting do we use for outer people? It’s “Osewani natte orimasu” (γŠδΈ–θ©±γ«γͺγ£γ¦γŠγ‚ŠγΎγ™) or “Osewani natte imasu“.(γŠδΈ–θ©±γ«γͺっています)

Well, but I’ll say “Osewani narimashita” (past tense) with thankfulness when I’m leaving the company office this Friday! πŸ˜€

Wish you all a Happy New Year!

31 Dec

I found this perfect greeting poster on a closed door of a restaurant that tells they are closed for New Year until they open again on the 5th of Jan. 2012. KIRIN is a name of a Japanese beverage company and I think this poster was provided by KIRIN beer or something. (So you now know it’s not I that made this poster, hehe! πŸ™‚ )
As you can see, it’s common in Japan to have some holiday after the New Year’s Day, while we are mostly working on Christmas unless it’s on weekend.

If you are learning Japanese, you may know “あけまして (Akemashite) γŠγ‚γ§γ¨γ†(Omedetou) ございます(Gozaimasu)” which means “Happy New Year.” (In a casual way, you can omit “Gozaimasu”, and say, “Akemashite Omedetou”.) It can be used both in speaking and writing. On the other hand, θ¬Ήθ³€ζ–°εΉ΄ (Kinga Shin-nen) is a very formal way of expressing Happy New Year and it may be only found in writing and we don’t usually use this at an oral conversation. It’s often found in Nengajo (New Year’s greeting cards) as well.
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How I learned English (3) -hardships in the U.S-

28 Sep

I’d like to complete this subject with my video blog, because I found it’s easier to explain than I do it by text.
If you are new to TKE, this is the third post about How I learned English, after these posts.
How I learned English (1)-When the Japanese learn English, what do we find difficult?-
How I learned English (2)-Listening worked!-

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How I learned English (2) -Listening worked!!-

24 Sep

Sorry, it took me some time to write up a continued post from How I learned English (1). In the previous post, I explained how different the language is between English and Japanese and hence I had a hard time learning English for the first time when I was 13. I still have to conclude that our English education was very unnatural, although it a language that people are using everyday for communication, which must be done from different approach from a subject such as math or physics.

I wonder why we were not allowed to learn it naturally, just like we naturally learned Japanese. At school, we learned English like we would learn a formula or something. I’ll give you an example.
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How I learned English? (1) -When the Japanese learn English, what do we find difficult?-

5 Sep

I know there are still a lot of topics that I can write about, because I have a list of posts that TKE readers requested. ^ ^ So today’s topic is how I learned English (1). It’s about what it’s like for the Japanese to learn English, rather than how I learned it. (It continues to a next post in which I am sharing how I learned English. )

It’s been years since I started to use English at work, but I still have to conclude that it is very difficult for the Japanese in general to be capable of communicating in English freely. As you already know, we don’t use alphabet when we write in Japanese. Romaji (romanized Japanese words) is used only for convenience, but don’t misunderstand it’s not a proper way. Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji are the letters we use and and none of them look like alphabet.

But learning alphabet is not a big deal compared with learning Kanji. ^ ^; We’ve already learned it when we learned Romaji at an elementary school. I think what puzzles us most is how English sounds. Well English grammar is also completely different from Japanese one. So there’s no doubt we get confused with English grammar. But our education system somehow stresses reading, writing, grammar and memorizing words and idioms more than listening and speaking. Thus many students are left without being able to understand what’s spoken in English properly, while at the same time they remember some very difficult English words that are not normally used in a daily conversation. ^ ^;;

Speaking of my own experience…
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