Kansai Dialect Dictionary

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When I was in Japan during the summer of 2010 and 2012, I got to travel to multiple cities all over the country. As much as I liked the famous city of Tokyo, what really captured my heart was the Kansai area. Not only is it home to ancient landmarks of Japan and delicious food, its dialect is what makes this western region stand out. Kansai dialect (known as "Kansai-ben" in Japanese) is a Japanese dialect mostly used in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Mie, Wakayama, and Shiga. This dialect ...

Honorific Speech in Japanese - Kenjougo (謙譲語)

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Welcome to this other page! This article is devoted to Japanese humble language, kenjougo 謙譲語. In English, there isn't a way to humbly express an action unless you say 'I humbly...'. You use this speech when referring to yourself or inner circle, like family and close friends. When using kenjougo you are belittling yourself in order to automatically raise the person with whom you are speaking. However, this is only true if you are speaking with someone in a higher position than you. When ...

Introduction to Learning Japanese Kanji

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Learning Kanji can be a daunting task. There are about 1,000 – 2,000 Kanji that are necessary to learn in order to be able to read newspapers, street signs, and menus in Japanese. With all these Kanji characters, it’s important to know the most effective order for learning them. In this article we’ll explain how to start learning Kanji, and give you the very first beginning Kanji.

An Evening of Umami and Shokuiku

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Last night I had the opportunity to interpret for Chef Kiyomi Mikuni at an event at Japan Society entitled “Umami and Other Japanese Culinary Secrets.” Mikuni is an entertaining speaker whose wide-ranging presentation covered everything from how important it is to develop taste buds at a young age to working with Japanese children on 食育 (shokuiku, or dietary education). Mikuni runs the gourmet French restaurant Hotel de Mikuni in Tokyo, but his culinary journey started in a fishing village ...


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Last night I attended a screening of Martin Scorsese’s new film Silence, based on the 1966 novel 沈黙 (Chinmoku) by Shusaku Endo, himself a Japanese Catholic.  It is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan, who is played with great nuance by Andrew Garfield.  He and his followers endure horrible persecution during this period when 隠れキリシタン (Kakure Kirishitan or Hidden Christians) are targeted for their beliefs.  Having lived in Kyushu I had a vague sense of what had taken ...

Happy Hour at MoMA

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Back in March I didn’t have time to blog about my participation in the New Directors New Films festival held at Lincoln Center, but I had the chance to interpret for director Ryusuke Hamaguchi when his epic ...

JAPAN CUTS 2016 comes to a close

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This weekend marks the end of the 2016 JAPAN CUTS film festival.  Due to a business trip midway through I wasn’t around as much as I would have liked, but I was able to attend the beginning and end to see ...


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 Last week kicked off the 10th year of the JAPAN CUTS film festival at Japan Society, and if the initial films are any indication this year’s lineup looks as stellar as the nine previous.  The opening film ...

New York Japan Cinefest

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Last week I had a chance to check out the 5th annual New York Japan Cinefest, whose mission is to introduce Japanese themed films and discover new talent in filmmaking.  In the past I have attended this ...

Wonder 500 Exhibition

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I arrived in DC yesterday to begin my first State Department interpreting assignment in a while.  I’m looking forward to working with my Okinawan group as we travel across the country learning about ...

Round Trip Heart/Our Little Sister

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A business trip to Japan prevented me from viewing the majority of the films at this year’s Japan Cuts at Japan Society, but I was able to catch Round Trip Heart (ロマンス) during the festival’s opening week. ...

JLPT Info for NYC

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Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) The JLPT is a Japanese proficiency examination operated by the Japan Foundation LA that tests one’s listening skills, reading comprehension, and knowledge of vocabulary, kanji, and grammar. There are five tests available, ranging from N5 (the easiest) to N1 (the most difficult). The JLPT, however, does not assess a person’s speech or writing, and for testing in those areas, we recommend taking an ACTFL OPI in Japanese. For more information regarding ...

Japanese Particles - The Secret to Using Them in Sentences

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Don't be daunted by Particles! They are essential to sentence construction. This article will give an overview of the series of Japanese particles, and provide some helpful links. This article is the second half of our Japanese Sentence Structure series. Click here for the first half. Particles What are particles?  They are absolutely essential to Japanese sentences. Particles tell you what something is, where it goes, what it does, how it does it, why it does it, etc. They are ...

Japanese Stars in Recent American Cinema

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Lately there have been a bonanza of films being screened here in the city made by American directors starring Japanese actors. One is Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, currently playing at IFC, Nitehawk Cinema and BAM.  It features the ever fabulous Rinko Kikuchi as a discontent OL who is dealing with a harassing boss, insipid colleagues and a mother who is nagging her to get married.  She is totally disconnected from the world around her, with her only salvation being her pet bunny and her ...