Vocabulary of the Week: Goodbye さらば

さらば is just an old-timey way of saying goodbye (like farewell). You can hear it in this song called "Sakura" by Moriyama Naotarou.

Soon I will be saying goodbye to Japan. It's going to be hard. I will miss my walk home from school. My host family. Pastries filled with bean paste. Rugby. Judou. My friends. Tea Ceremony class. The convenience of trains. The narrow roads and the hills. The neighbors. Wasabi with my steak. Miso soup. Working pedestrian lights. The frogs that sang incessantly outside of my window. Were they frogs?

I said goodbye to my friend the other day. She left for America the day before yesterday. I didn't cry until I walked by the bicycle park where we would meet up before she left to ride home and I walked up the hill to my house. I never thought I would cry looking at a bicycle park.




Grammar of the Week: Considerably; Greatly; よっぽど

You may hear よっぽどas よほど(which sounds more formal). This handy word just means that something is to a very great extent, or a greater extent than usual, so. So, perhaps your father's cooking is terrible, but on one occasion its even worse than usual, you might say it is よっぽどまずい.

You can use this word like you would use とても, placing it in front of whatever you want to modify with "really" or "great". I think you can also use it to say something like, "It looks like you've been eating a great deal" or "It looks like you've had a really big appetite lately", although you aren't modifying an adjective there (最近よっぽど食欲があるようだね).

よっぽどis often used with words that show conjecture or observation, such as みたい、らしい、よう、でしょう、etc.


Vocabulary of the Week: 勤労学生・きんろうがくせい・A Student Who Pays Their Own Way Through College

Yes, I am an 勤労学生、working my way through college. I am blessed to go to a school that offers me a good deal of financial support, but others aren't so lucky. The first kanji is the same kanji you will see in 勤める・つとめる、to be employed, and 労 symbolizes effort. They may have to get 深夜勤・しんやきん graveyard shifts to make their work schedule fit with their school schedule. I have worked until 3 a couple nights and since then I have tried as hard as I can to never be on another night shift again.

I was wondering about the difference in college society for Japan and America. A lot of the people I know have part-time jobs, both in America and Japan. However, I heard that in Japan many people live with their parents through college. This may just be my own experience, but from what I see of American culture, kids usually go out on their own once in college, living in dorms and eventually getting their own places off campus. I live at home during the summer, but work to pay rent during the school year, when I'm back on the other side of the country, so I suppose I'm somewhere in the middle. What's your view of it?



So one of the things that I enjoy in Japan is the NOMIKAI. Having joined two clubs I got to participate in a few, and I have to say that they are one of the things I will miss.

No, you guys, this is not because I am an alcoholic. I don't drink in America, mostly because it is still not legal for me, and partly because I think beer smells terrible. Actually, the funnest part (the part that is most fun?) of the nomikai is the 会 (the meeting).

ANIMAL KANJI: Like Transformers, but Cooler

Check out this awesomeness! These kanji characters from Bandai transform into what they represent. "How can they get this 馬 to look like a horse?" you ask? Well take a look-see:


They have the kanji for dog, dragon, tiger, fish, horse, and bird. I imagine that if they could make all 2000 or so kanji characters into toys which can transform into what they represent, I would be able to read a newspaper without a dictionary in two weeks. All I would have to do is visualize my little Mojibakeru toys  (もじバケル、aka Letter Transform, which doesn't really have the same impact when you say it in English...) in action.

These are only 100 yen. It is blowing my mind.

Gustatory Adventures: Rafters

A burger shop between Yagoto and Yagoto Nisseki Stations. Very small and cozy! If you are walking from Yagoto Nisseki, it will be on your left side, a bit after Toys R Us. The owner, Mr. Tanabe, is super-nice and talkative. My friend talked to him for dating advice! He's used to the influx of Nanzan students, and makes everything right in front of you. Try his home fries! We went there often for shakes - it's a wonderful place to hang out with friends, but be aware that there is only counter space (so no HUGE groups of friends). He even has a little to-go window for soft-serve icecream! Besides the shakes and the English-muffin burgers and the fries and the sundaes, I loved the counters and stools, and also, strangely, the very cute little bathroom.

Rafters is a nice place to relax with friends, during lunch break or for a late night milkshake. Make friends with Mr. Tanabe! He's very personable but he won't talk if you don't talk to him first.

Rafters is one of the places I'd love to go back to one day, if I ever return to Japan. An 11/10! The extra point is for awesomeness and nostalgia.

 Strawberry, mint, and Kahlua milkshakes. Plus Mr. Tanabe!

(I never got to try the French Toast or the crepes. This is a serious regret・後悔・こうかい)


Grammar Points + ZOMBIES : the Best Way to Learn Japanese

Click for ridiculously large image that I should have re-sized.

For your enjoyment, a culmination of the grammar points which I haven't been posting... I have so many drafts in blogger it's ridiculous.

A script is below, with grammar points. 


Takayama and Hida Village

Read in Japanese

A few months ago we went to Takayama (Gifu Prefecture 岐阜県) for a day trip (aka a couple-hours-worth-of-trip, if you include travel time), which was unfortunately not quite long enough to explore all we could. As you can see at their website, they have a lot to offer, from morning markets, to a squirrel park, to museums and shrines.












Some notes: