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What is JLPT?

What is JLPT?

If you have been studying Japanese for any length of time, you might have heard of the JLPT or Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Organized by Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES), a semi-governmental organization, it has kind of become the standard way of measuring one’s Japanese level, at least in terms of their passive language skills (listening and reading).

Japanese learners sometimes use it to find weak points when studying Japanese. And the higher levels of the test can be used to qualify you for jobs and can even earn you points toward a special permanent residency. Even if you currently don’t have plans to work in Japan, knowing about the different levels of the test can help you organize your studies and choose books and resources that match your level.

Since the test was revised in 2010, there have been 5 levels to the JLPT – N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 with N5 being the easiest. The test leans more heavily toward grammar than vocabulary, so you’ll learn most of the grammar you use on a daily basis with the first two tests, but most of the vocabulary you need to use the language by the N2 level.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. Let’s go over each level one by one.

Test

JLPT N5

The N5 gives you a good start to the language. It covers around 600 words, 100 kanji and around 100 grammar points. At this level, you will learn mostly about the building blocks of Japanese grammar – particles. Particles mark all the different parts of the sentence that you are familiar with (the object, the location of something, etc…) as well as some that you are not familiar with like the topic and the subject, which are two important concepts that you will need to understand to use Japanese well.

What it can be used for

The N5 is a good show of achievement and interest in the language. It is worth putting on a resume, but it probably won’t qualify you for a job. Many people study and prepare for this test, but don’t actually take it, instead choosing to take a few practice tests to check their level. If you are looking to save some money and time, it might be worth skipping this one on your way to N4 or a higher level.

Conversation

JLPT N4

The N4 covers most of the grammar that you need to survive in a Japanese conversation. Truthfully, if you never learned another grammar point after this level, you could probably get around just fine in Japan and understand the grammar used in most conversations. The amount of vocabulary, around 2000 words, falls short of what you will need to be truly fluent though.

You will also need to know around 300 kanji, which is still not enough to help you read a newspaper, but might be enough for you to understand the main idea of a few blog articles.

What it can be used for

The N4 could help you with a job outside of Japan that doesn’t require Japanese but would be helpful if you had some background. If you are not interested in working and living in Japan, this is where a lot of people stop because you have enough comprehension skills and grammar to survive in most conversations. You will still need to learn more vocabulary and kanji, but you are at a pretty comfortable level with the language.

Reading

JLPT N3

At the N3, you’ll be forced to start increasing your reading speed and comprehension. A lot of the grammar points introduced at this level are more advanced phrases and expressions as well as things used mostly in reading or prepared speaking. It covers around 5000 words and 600 kanji.

The main purpose of this test is to bridge the gap between N4, which covers a lot of common use grammar and N2 which starts to cover lesser used grammar. Also, it will help you gauge how much you know and understand the vocabulary and kanji you need for N2.

What it can be used for

It can be used outside of Japan in a job that requires some basic use of Japanese that doesn’t exactly require real-time comprehension, like email communications. A lot of companies in Southeast Asia or India that work with Japanese companies might only need a N3 if you can back it up with good conversation skills.

Reading

JLPT N2

The N2 gives you most of the grammar you will need to use and understand written and spoken Japanese – around 10,000 words, and 1000 of the most used kanji. Once you’ve passed N2, you should be able to read most native materials with varying degrees of comprehension. You still might only be able to understand the main idea of a newspaper article. But most of the details of young adult novels, advertisements, common notices, and the like should be easy to understand.

In truth, passing the N2 will give you all of the skills you need to eventually deal with most situations in Japan. You will still need a few months to adjust to anything new before working smoothly, but most people will be able to survive.

What it can be used for

The N2 can get a good number of jobs in Japan. If you have good conversation skills, this is realistically all you need to work in Japan. Most companies outside of Japan will accept this as well. Nothing beats N1 of course, but the N2 will do in most situations. You still might not qualify for some highly competitive ‘listed’ jobs, but if you network and meet people, there are plenty of opportunities to be had.

JLPT N1

The king of them all. Although there are grammar points covered at this level, half of the grammar questions are more focused on nuances that are difficult if not impossible to specifically study for. A lot of the study guides and books for this level will give you a decent idea of what this test is like, but you will need regular exposure to native-level material in order to pass.

After passing this test, you will have very strong reading and listening skills. The test forces you to learn good, fast note-taking skills for listening and good skimming and scanning reading skills, which will come in handy at a job that requires a good amount of reading and listening.

What it can be used for

The N1 qualifies you for pretty much any job in Japan. It can also be used to qualify for a special visa that has more perks than a simple permanent residency. It will open a lot of doors for you.

Keep in mind that the time it takes to go from zero Japanese to N2 is about the same amount of time it takes to go from N2 to N1 depending on your background. With that big of an investment in time, it might be worth it to get any job that uses Japanese and learn on the job and spend your study time on another skill or even another language.

Overall

The JLPT is a great way to measure your level as you study Japanese. Even if you don’t sit the test, taking the practice tests and preparing for it will greatly improve your reading and listening skills. Personally, I was never a very good note-taker, even in English. But, studying and preparing for the N2 and N1 really helped improve those skills for me.

If you are getting ready to take the N5, be sure to pick up my JLPT Study Guide for that level. It covers all the grammar, reading, and listening practice you’ll need. And when you are finished you can test your level with the 3 included practice tests.

JapanesePod101 has a lot of great Japanese courses that focus on some of the harder things to listen for on the JLPT that helped prepare me for N3.

For information about the JLPT, stop by JLPTBootCamp.

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October in Japan: The Weather, What to Wear, and What to Do

Are you planning to visit Japan in October? The very hot summer and typhoon season ends in September, and October is a great season for traveling to Japan with the perfect weather and beautiful attractions.

October is also a harvest season and there are many delicious foods to be enjoyed at harvest festivals all over Japan. Wondering where to see autumn colors in Japan? In northern areas such as the Hokkaido and Tohoku area, mountains start to turn red and yellow, the result of the beautiful autumn leaves.

In this article, JapanesePod101 introduces fun events and what to see on your trip to Japan in October. We’ll help you enjoy your trip with our culture and language learning materials! Here you’ll find everything you need to know about visiting Japan in autumn: things to bring to Japan in autumn, when to go hiking in Japan, and even about its fall festivals.

1. Holidays in October

There’s a holiday called Sports Day or 体育の日(Taiiku no Hi) in October. It’s on the second Monday of the month, and is a memorial day for the Tokyo Olympic Games held in 1964, which was the first Olympic Games in Asia. Many sports events are held on this day.

Since this holiday is one of the Happy Monday System holidays, and becomes a three-day holiday with the weekend, many people choose to celebrate by going on small trips. Hotels tend to be crowded and airplane tickets more expensive. Be sure to plan ahead of time if you want to travel to Japan during this three-day holiday.

If you need more information on Sports Day or are interested in Japanese holidays, please check out our “Guide of Japanese National Holidays in 2018: How to Celebrate?”

2. Japan Weather in October

Japan Weather in October

1- Sunset Time in Japan During October

The days start to get shorter in October. The sunset time is usually around five o’clock pm. This said, take note that daytime in Hokkaido is a little shorter than it is in other areas.

2- Weather and Temperature

October is a great season for traveling. The hot season has ended and, usually, temperatures become mild and pleasant. Also, the typhoon season starts coming to a close in September, and there are fewer rainy days in October. In particular, daytime temperatures and the temperatures of southern areas are nice.

However, you need to be careful about the weather and temperatures in October, because sometimes it’s unpredictable. It depends on the year and areas, where sometimes it gets cold and other times it gets very hot.

In October, the temperature difference between the north and south is quite extreme. Sometimes it snows in the northern areas of Hokkaido. In 2016, there was first snow in Asahikawa, the northern city in Hokkaido, in October and it remained without melting until next spring. So if you’re planning on going to Hokkaido, you need to be ready for snow. On the other hand, in southern areas such as Okinawa, it tends to be hot during the daytime.

You also need to be aware of temperature differences in daytime and nighttime. At nighttime, it tends to be cool—so be prepared for it to get a little chilly during your nightly strolls.

3- Weather in Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Okinawa

Here, let’s look at the weather and temperatures in each area.

Sapporo, Hokkaido Weather in October

The summer is completely gone and ready for winter in Sapporo. The temperatures get colder day by day and the average temperatures fall down to 9.7°C (49.5°F) at the end of October. Further, the end of October usually holds the first snow. However, on sunny days, you can still enjoy sightseeing and activities.

  • Average temperature:11.8°C (53.2°F)
  • Highest temperature:16.2°C (61.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:7.5°C (45.5°F)

Tokyo Weather in October

The summer is gone but it’s still hot on sunny days. Sometimes, it might feel as though summer is really just dragging on. On the other hand, it’s cool in the morning and at night. You need to be ready for those differences in temperature when visiting Tokyo in October.

  • Average temperature:19.2°C (66.6°F)
  • Highest temperature:23.0°C (73.4°F)
  • Minimum temperature:16.1°C (61.0°F)

Tokyo Weather In October

Kyoto Weather in October

The city of Kyoto is in a basin and the temperature difference between day and night is extreme. In early October, it sometimes gets higher than 30.0°C (86.0°F) during the day, but goes down to around 10.0°C (50.0°F) during the night. In particular, you need to be careful about the minimum temperatures at the end of October. It usually gets down to around 5.0°C (41.0°F), and it gets colder than in Tokyo.

  • Average temperature:17.8°C (64.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:22.9°C (73.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:13.6°C (56.5°F)

Hakata, Fukuoka Weather in October

On a sunny day it’s warm, but there are also cool days in October. The difference between the highest temperature and the minimum temperature is extreme. You need to be ready for both summer weather and cool fall weather.

  • Average temperature:18.9°C (66.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:29.2°C (84.6°F)
  • Minimum temperature:11.3°C (52.3°F)

Naha, Okinawa Weather in October

Okinawa is still hot in October and the weather is like early summer. Especially in the daytime, when it usually gets to nearly 30.0°C (86.0°F) . Okinawa especially has strong typhoon influence in summer, but it usually ends by September. There are less rainy days in October, making it the perfect weather for sightseeing.

  • Average temperature:25.2°C (77.4°F)
  • Highest temperature:27.9°C (82.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:23.1°C (73.6°F)

4- What to Wear?

Full-length pants are recommended since they’re flexible and can be worn no matter the weather you encounter. For upper clothes, wear layers so that you’ll be ready for both warm and cold weather. In some places such as the Kyoto, Tohoku area and Hokkaido area, you might want to bring winter coats with you. Japan in autumn can certainly bring a mix of weather conditions!

3. Seasonal Foods

Seasonal Foods

Since October is the harvest season, there are many kinds of seasonal foods. Here are some examples of seasonal food you should try in October.

  • ぶどう (budō) or grapes
  • 栗 (kuri) or chestnut
  • 柿 (kaki) or persimmon
  • かぼちゃ (kabocha) or pumpkin
  • かつお (katsuo) or bonitos
  • さんま (sanma) or saury
  • さば (saba) or mackerel
  • 松茸 (matsutake) or matsutake mushroom

During the harvest season of chestnuts and grapes, there are some farms that offer chestnut gathering and grape collecting. These are fun activities, especially recommended if you’re with your friends or family.

4. Events and What to See

1- Food Festivals

Food Festivals

Food festivals are one of the most prominent and delicious types of October activities in Japan. October is harvest season, so it’s a great season for eating. There’s a popular Japanese phrase “Autumn’s Appetite” or 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki).

Many food festivals are held throughout Japan to celebrate the new harvest. There are many kinds of food festivals. For example, Ramen Show is one of the most popular food festivals. There are also beer festivals, oyster festivals, BBQ festivals, and so on.

Octoberfest

Also, Oktoberfest, originally held in Germany, is becoming popular in Japan. If you’re a great beer drinker, Oktoberfest is a perfect event for you. You can enjoy drinking German beer with delicious German food such as sausages. There’s a big Oktoberfest held in Sapporo, which is a sister city of Munich, Germany, where the biggest Oktoberfest in Germany is held.

Hokkaido Food Festival in Tokyo

Hokkaido Food Festival In Tokyo

Although there aren’t many farms in Tokyo, many fresh and delicious foods are brought together here from all over Japan, and various food events are held in Tokyo.

One of the most popular food events in October is Hokkaido Food Festivals in Yoyogi Park. There are about 100 food stalls and about 400-thousand people visit each year. You can enjoy various Hokkaido foods, such as ramen noodles, fresh seafood, fresh vegetables, and meat. You can also try local craft beer, too. It’s usually held for four days, and in 2018 it’ll be from October 5 to 8.

2- Autumn Leaves

Autum Leaves

In October, trees start to turn red and yellow in northern areas such as Hokkaido and Tohoku. Since more than 70% of Japan’s land is mountains, autumn leaves are quite a special autumn feature.

The view is beautiful and amazing. We recommend going to see autumn leaves, especially if you don’t have autumn leaves around where you live. The peak season of each area is very short, so the more popular spots tend to be very crowded. Some mountains have only one or two roads leading to viewing sites, so it might be better to visit on a weekday if it’s possible.

Here’s a list of some of the best places to see fall colors in Japan:

  • 定山渓 (Jōzankei) in Hokkaido
  • 洞爺湖 (Tōyako) or Toya Lake in Hokkaido
  • 弘前公園 (Hirosaki kōen) or Hirosaki Park in Aomori
  • 抱返り渓谷 (Dakikaeri keikoku) in Akita

Toya Lake is a famous hot spring spot and you can also enjoy fireworks every night here around the end of October.

In Kanto areas, including Tokyo and south of the Kanto area, the peak of autumn leaves is in November. However, you still have a chance to see these color-changing beauties in more mountainous areas. For example, the peak season of 日光ひろは坂 (Nikkō hirohaa zaka) in Tochigi is around the middle of October.

3- Unique Autumn Festivals

Some of the most exciting events in October are autumn festivals. Many unique autumn festivals are held throughout Japan. At these festivals, you can see Japanese traditions such as dances and sports. If you use SNS and want to take unique photos of Japan, these festivals are great photo opportunities.

Here are some recommended festivals in October.

Kawagoe Festival or 川越祭 (Kawagoe Matsuri)

Kawagoe Festival

Third weekend in October
Kawagoe-shi, Saitama

The Kawagoe Festival is an annual festival of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. It’s registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The most attractive event of the festival is 曳っかわせ(hikkawase). People draw magnificent floats or 山車 (dashi) face each other and compete for traditional 囃子 (hayashi) dance, flute, and voice performances. Kawagoe is just outside of Tokyo, so if you visit Tokyo on this day, the festival might be one of the most exciting options for you. The hon-matsuri, which means “full festival” is held only once every two years.

Kurama Fire Festival or 鞍馬の火祭 (Kurama no Himatsuri)

Kurama Fire Festival

October 22
Kurama, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

The Krama Fire Festivals is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto. This festival is held to honor Yuki Shrine in Kurama Village. This is a very old festival which originated in the 10th century during the Heian period. Hundreds of people with flaming torches illuminate the mountain of Kurama and parade with 神輿 (mikoshi) or a portable shrine. The largest torches are as heavy as 100 kilograms or 220 pounds. It’s a very dynamic and exciting festival.

Nagasaki Kunchi or 長崎くんち (Nagasaki Kunchi) in Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi

October 7 to October 9
Suwa-Jinja Shrine, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi is an annual festival of Suwa Shrine and is also registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. It’s an old festival with a history of about 400 years. In the period of national isolation in the Edo era, the port of Nagasaki was a trading hub. Therefore, Nagasaki has a unique culture influenced by Portuguese, Dutch, and Chinese. During this festival, people draw colorfully painted festival cars and perform music and dances. There are also Chinese-influenced dragon dances and western-style ship-shaped festival cars.

Halloween on October 31

The celebration of Halloween is relatively new in Japan and it has become bigger and bigger over the past two decades. However, Japanese Halloween isn’t like a traditional Halloween party in western culture, and trick-or-treating isn’t popular in Japan.

Halloween is more like a big cosplay party, and for many Japanese people, it’s a chance to wear unique costumes once a year. People dress up and go to parades held in the city or events held at nightclubs or theme parks. The downtown areas of big cities become crowded with costumed people. The biggest Halloween parade is held in Shibuya, Tokyo.

There are people wearing horrible costumes, such as witches, ghosts, and zombies. However, for Japanese people, the meaning of Halloween isn’t very important and many people wear fun costumes instead, such as characters of comics or animes. So if you enjoy Japanese animes, we’re going to bet that you’ll really enjoy the Japanese Halloween celebration.

5. Conclusion

October is a great season for traveling to Japan. There are many fun and unique festivals, both traditional and modern. When you plan for your trip to Japan in October, don’t forget to check the dates of those festivals.

You need to be prepared for temperature differences and wear layers in October. In many areas, it’s warm and pleasant weather during the day. So enjoy beautiful autumn leaves, delicious seasonal foods, and fun festivals in October!

August in Japan: Don’t Miss Fun Activities and Events

Are you planning to travel to Japan in August? It’s in the height of summer and very hot across Japan, though it’s also the best season for traveling.

In August, there are many fun events to look forward to such as summer festivals and firework displays. August is also a great month for outdoor activities like going to the beach, participating in water activities in Japan’s rivers, and hiking.

Table of Contents

  1. Weather in August
  2. What to Wear in August
  3. Summer Festivals
  4. Firework Displays
  5. Wearing Yukata
  6. Hiking and Mountain Climbing
  7. Beaches and Water Activities at Rivers
  8. Flower Fields
  9. Conclusion

August is one of the peak seasons for traveling in Japan, but in order to get the most out of it, you need to plan earlier. One thing to keep in mind is that Japanese students have summer vacation from July to August.

Also, there is お盆休み; おぼんやすみ (obon yasumi) or the “Obon holiday” in August, for which people go back to their hometown and visit their parents. The Obon holiday is usually from the 13th to the 15th. Some people take their summer holiday with the Obon holiday, so that it can last a little longer.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to things to do in Japan during August. I’ll also explain what the weather in August is like so that you can better prepare yourself in advance. Here you’ll find some of the best ideas for your fun trip to Japan in August.

Traveling

1. Weather in August

It’s very hot and humid in Japan during the month of August. The average temperature in August is around 26 to 28 degrees Celsius (78.8 to 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit). In many places, it even gets higher than 30 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day—and it gets higher still than 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in a few places.

Since Japan is long from north to south, there are differences between the weather in each of these two sections of Japan. The northe
areas—such as Hokkaido—are less hot. However, in early August, it sometimes gets higher than 30 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).

Of course, the southe
areas, such as Okinawa, are hotter. Further, big cities like Tokyo and Osaka tend to be hot and humid, and so many buildings use air conditioners. So you have to be ready for the heat no matter where you visit in Japan during August.

The average temperatures of popular sightseeing areas are as follows:

  • Sapporo, Hokkaido: 22 to 23 degrees C (71.6 to 73.4 degrees F)
  • Sendai, Miyagi: 24 to 26 degrees C (75.2 to 78.8 degrees F)
  • Tokyo: 27 to 29 degrees C (80.6 to 84.2 degrees F)
  • Kyoto: 28 to 29 degrees C (82.4 to 84.2 degrees F)
  • Hakata, Fukuoka: 27 to 30 C (80.6 to 86 degrees F)
  • Naha, Okinawa: 28 to 30 C (82.4 to 86 degrees F)

Typhoons

In August, you should be careful about 台風,たいふう (Taifū) or “typhoons.” A typhoon is basically the same thing as a hurricane, but it occurs in the northe
Pacific.

Typhoon

Typhoons are very dangerous. Unfortunately, if a typhoon hits where you are during travel, you’ll have to stay inside of a building. When a typhoon comes, many domestic air flights get cancelled as well. Sometimes, a typhoon can cause Japan to get rain for up to a week!

You should be especially careful if you go to a southe
area like Okinawa, Kyushu, or Shikoku. Typhoons tend to get weak as they move north, and usually don’t hit the northe
parts, such as Hokkaido.

Summer Clothes

2. What to Wear in August

Since it’s very hot in Japan during August, I recommend you wear T-shirts or short-sleeved shirts. But keep in mind that you have to be careful when visiting a sacred place such as a shrine or temple, meaning especially that you shouldn’t wear sleeveless. Most religious places aren’t too strict about casual clothing, but sleeveless might be too casual for most.

3. Summer Festivals

In August, there are many summer festivals across Japan. In Japanese, summer festivals are called 夏祭り; なつまつり (natsumaturi). 夏; なつ (Natsu) means “summer” and 祭り; まつり (matsuri) means “a festival.”

1- Types of Festivals

Summer festivals were originally Shinto’s (神道; しんとう) religious events and most 神社; じんじゃ (Jinjya) or “Shinto shrines” have summer festivals. Each religious summer festival has meaning. For example, people pray for a bumper crop at some summer festivals.

Summer Festivals

At some festivals, you can see mikoshi (神輿; みこし). Mikoshi is a portable shrine and is a carriage for gods. People carry the mikoshi and walk streets, while yelling “Wasshoi, Wasshoi,” which can be a little overwhelming. The word Wasshoi (わっしょい) is just a word for shouting, and most Japanese people don’t know the meaning. There are several theories about the origin of this word. Some say that 和; わ (Wa) means “Japan” and しょい (Shoi) means “to carry.” This would make it mean “to carry the future of Japan.”

Today, there are many non-religious summer festivals, too. For example, there are many food festivals, during which you can enjoy the various local foods. Also, many young people enjoy summer music festivals.

2- Japanese Festival Foods and Activities

Foods:

At most summer festivals, there are many 出店; でみせ (demise) or “food stalls” so that you can enjoy walking around and trying various festival foods. You might be surprised by the crowd around demise; at some big festivals, it’s hard to even walk because of the crowd.

Japanese Food Stalls

There are many kinds of food at demise. Popular foods include:

  • 焼きそば; やきそば (yakisoba) — “stir-fried noodles with vegetables and meat”
  • 焼き鳥; やきとり (yakitori) — “Japanese style skewered chickens”
  • たこ焼き; たこやき (takoyaki) — “octopus dumplings”

I also recommend traditional festival food such as:

  • わたあめ (wataame) — “cotton candy”
  • りんごあめ (ringoame) — “candy apples”
  • かき氷; かきごおり (kakigori) — “shaved ice”

Activities:

At most festivals, there are no chairs or tables to eat on. People typically buy their food and eat around demise, which also has some activities for children such as:

  • ヨーヨー釣り; よーよーつり (Yōyō-tsuri) — “water balloon fishing”
  • 金魚釣り; きんぎょつり (Kingyo-tsuri) — “goldfish scooping game”
  • 射的; しゃてき (Shateki) — “shooting game”
  • くじ引き; くじびき (Kujibiki) — “lottery stall”

3- Festival Recommendations

If you enjoy big summer festivals, I recommend the following as they are some of the largest summer festivals in Japan:

  • 青森ねぶた祭り; あおもりねぶたまつり (Aomorinebutamatsuri) — “Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri”
  • 仙台七夕祭り; せんだいたなばたまつり (Sendaitanabatamatsuri) — “Sendai’s Tanabata Matsuri”
  • 秋田竿燈; あきたかんとう (Akita kantō) — “Akita Kantou”

These festivals are held in the Tohoku area, which is the north part of Honshu.

If you’re searching for summer festivals around Tokyo, I recommend:

  • 麻布十番納涼まつり; あざぶじゅうばんのうりょうなつまつり (Azabujūban’nōryōmatsuri) — “Azabu Juban Summer Night Festival”
  • 深川八幡祭り; ふかがわはちまんまつり (Fukagawa Hachiman matsuri) — “Fukagawa Hachiman Festival”
  • 浅草サンバカーニバル; あさくささんばかーにばる (Asakusa sanbakānibaru) — “Asakusa Samba Ca
    ival”

If you’re searching for summer festivals in the weste
area
, I recommend:

  • 京都五山送り火; きょうとござんおくりび (Kyōto gozan’okuribi) — “Kyoto’s Mountain Bon Fire”
  • よさこい祭り;よさこいまつり (Yosakoimatsuri) — “Kochi’s Yosakoi Festival”
  • 阿波おどり,あわおどり (Awa Odori) — “Tokushima’s Awaodori Dance”

4. Firework Displays

花火大会; はなびたいかい (Hanabi taikai) or “firework displays” are usually held in July and August. As one of Japan’s main summer features, there are many firework displays throughout Japan. Most foreign travelers are surprised by Japanese firework displays, despite the fact that they have firework displays in their own countries. This surprise is due to the fact that Japanese fireworks have a long history and developed uniquely.

More than ten-thousand fireworks are launched at the big firework display events. These usually take 1 to 2 hours. You can enjoy various firework displays, and most events are free to watch; however, keep in mind that you may be charged for a seat with a good view.

At most fireworks displays, you can also enjoy demise. Many people enjoy drinking chilled beer and eating various foods during the show.

Fireworks

If you’re searching for big firework displays in August, I recommend:

  • 大曲花火大会; おおまがりはなびたいかい (Ōmagari Hanabi taikai) — “National Fireworks Competition in Oomagari Akita”
  • 諏訪湖湖上花火大会; すわここじょうはなびたいかい (Suwako kojō Hanabi taikai) — “Nagano’s Lake Suwa Festival Fireworks Show on the Lake”
  • 洞爺湖ロングラン花火大会; とうやころんぐらんはなびたいかい (Tōyako-ko ronguran hanabi taikai) — “Lake Long-Run Fireworks”
  • At Lake Tayak-ko in Hokkaido you can enjoy firework displays every day during the season.

If you want to see firework displays around Tokyo in August, I recommend:

  • 江戸川区花火大会; えどがわくはなびたいかい — “Edogawa City Fireworks Festival”
  • あつぎ鮎まつり大花火大会; あつぎあゆまつりおおはなびたいかい — “Atsugi Ayu Fireworks Festival”
  • 八王子花火大会, はちおおじはなびたいかい (Hachiōji Hanabi taikai) — “Hachioji Fireworks Festival”

5. Wearing Yukata

Are you interested in Japanese traditional 着物; きもの or kimonos? If you visit Japan in August, you should try wearing a 浴衣; ゆかた or yukata. A yukata is a casual kind of kimono, and August is the best season to wear one. Many Japanese people wear it at summer festivals and firework displays.

Unlike normal kimonos, there are many inexpensive yukatas. Some yukatas are sold from about three-thousand yen at the cheapest. Also, there are rental yukata shops in big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. If you go there, they’ll dress you in a yukata.

6. Hiking and Mountain Climbing

August is also a great time of year for hiking and mountain climbing. Mountain climbing is a good way to get away from the summer heat.

During this season, there are many hiking tours throughout Japan. I recommend hiking tours on:

  • 知床国立公園; しれとここくりつこうえん (Shiretoko kokuritsu kōen) — “Shiretoko National Park” in Hokkaido
  • 屋久島; やくしま (Yakusima) — “Yakushima” in Kagoshima

The places listed above are World Heritage sites.

If you want to climb a mountain, I recommend Mt. Fuji, as it’s the highest mountain in Japan and is one of the symbols of Japan.

7. Beaches and Water Activities at Rivers

August is also the best month for beaches and water activities at rivers.

1- Beaches

You can swim on most beaches in Japan in August. The beaches in Okinawa and the small islands of Kagoshima are particularly beautiful. But do keep in mind that after the Obon holiday, beaches in the northe
Tohoku and Hokkaido areas might be too cold.

If you’re searching for beaches, I recommend:

  • サンビーチ (Sanbīchi) — “Sun Beach” in Atami Shizuoka
  • 宜野湾トロピカルビーチ; ぎのわんとろぴかるびーち (Ginowan toropikarubīchi) — “Ginowan Tropical Beach” in Okinawa

Atami, near Tokyo, is a wonderful place to enjoy hot springs. Also, Okinawa is very south and quite a ways from Tokyo, but the beach is absolutely beautiful.

Rafting

2- Water Activities at Rivers

You can also enjoy water activities on rivers throughout Japan in August. You can go away from high heat in August and enjoy the beautiful nature of Japan.

There are many things to do in rivers on this season. For example, you can enjoy rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and canyoning. There are many tours that you can enjoy these fun activities. At the most tour, you don’t have to prepare anything, but you can just go there and have fun.

Especially I recommend, river activities in Niseko (ニセコ) in Hokkaido. Niseko is the very popular sightseeing spot for foreigners and you can enjoy many more activities there. If you want to do water activities in Tokyo, Okutama is a good place.

Sun Flower

8. Flower Fields

If you like flowers or gardens, you can enjoy flower fields in August. There are many beautiful flower fields for you to see, especially in Hokkaido, the northe
island of Japan.

One of the most famous flower gardens is a lavender garden in Furano, Hokkaido. The most famous lavender field in Japan is ファーム富田; ふぁーむとみた (Famu Tomita) or “Farm Tomita.” Many foreign people visit this farm—even the 天皇; てんのう (Tenno) or “Emperor” of Japan himself has visited this farm.

Unfortunately, the peak season of lavender is in July and it’s a little late in August. But if you visit in early August, you still have a chance to see huge, beautiful purple flower fields. Don’t worry! Even if you visit in mid- or late-August, there are many other beautiful flowers to enjoy.

There are also many other flower fields near Farm Tomita that you’re sure to enjoy.

Other recommendations:

  • ひまわり畑; ひまわりばたけ (Himawari batake) — “Sun Flower Field: Himawari-Batake” in Gunma
  • 山中湖花の都公園; やまなかこはなのみやここうえん (Yamanakako Hananomiyako Koen) — “Yamanakako Hananomiyako Flower” in Yamanashi, near Mt. Fuji
  • 京都府立植物園; 京都府立植物園 (Kyotofuritsu syokubutsuen) — “Kyoto Botanical Garden”

Conclusion

If you go to Japan in August, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience. It’s very hot, but there are many fun activities and events.

Particularly, I recommend summer festivals and firework displays. At those events, you can enjoy traditional aspects of Japanese culture such as yukatas and various demise. If you want to enjoy the beautiful nature of Japan, August is one of the bests months to do so. You can also enjoy flower fields and summer foods.

Don’t forget to plan your trip ahead of time because many people travel during this season. That way, you can get tickets at far better prices, especially on weekends and August holidays when it becomes hard to reserve air tickets. So start searching for tickets as early as possible. I hope you have a great experience in Japan.

Teru Teru Bozu: How to Stop the Rain in Japan

If you have a plan to travel, or go on a date, you don’t want it to be rainy. But what if the weather forecast said that it will rain? You will be very disappointed. But you still have hope!

The Japanese sunshine lucky charm, Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), will help you to pray for nice weather. It’s a cute doll made out of white tissue paper, which looks like a Halloween ghost. In Japan, people believe that if they hang Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), it will be sunny the next day. Japanese children make them for their special school events like field trips to have good weather.

Here you can discover Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), how to make the doll, and the right way to pray to get sunshine. I will also explain the meaning of the word and its history.

Rainy Day

1.What is Teru Teru Bozu?

If you translate Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) literally, teru(てる or 照る) means “shine” or “to be sunny” and bozu (坊主) means “Buddhist monk.” So it means “shine shine monk.” It’s a funny name, isn’t it?

Why is Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) called a Buddhist monk? Since Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) doesn’t have hair on his head it looks like a monk’s shaved head. But there’s more important reason.

Japanese Buddhist monks played roles as rainmakers in olden times. When people suffered from want of rain, emperors(天皇; Ten’nō) or shogun(将軍; Shōgun) ordered Buddhist monks to pray for rain. Buddhist monks also prayed to stop floods. Actually, there are many legends in which high Buddhist priests succeed in controlling rain.

The Origin

2. The Origin

The origin of Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) isn’t clear. But it’s said that the custom might have come from China. In China, there was a custom to pray for good weather by using a cut paper (切り紙; kirigami) doll. The doll is a girl who has a broom called So-Chin-Nyan (掃晴娘) in Chinese. If you wish for good weather, she will sweep the clouds out. This is considered the origin of Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu). In the Edo(江戸; Edo) period of Japan, people made Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) from origami(折り紙i) paper. The shape was more like a human. So it was more like So-Chin-Nyan in China. You can’t find the custom in modern China, but Japanese people still use it in their daily lives.

How to Make Teru Teru Bozu

3. How to Make Teru Teru Bozu

To make Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), you need tissue paper and a rubber band. You can also use white cloth or a paper towel instead of tissue paper.

Here is a very simple way to make Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu)

  1. Crumple some pieces of tissue paper and make a small ball. The size of the ball should be bigger than a ping-pong ball.
  2. Put the ball on the center of another piece of tissue paper and wrap it.
  3. Tie it with a rubber band just under the ball. If you want to make cute Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), you can use ribbon or wool to tie it instead of arubber band.

That is it! Isn’t it so easy?

Today, most people draw a smiley face before they hang it. But if you want to do it the right way, don’t draw his face. Draw the face after you get a good result. It’s because if the ink runs, the face would look sad and that causes rain.

Pray for Good Weather

4. How to Pray for Good Weather in Japan

To get a good result, it’s important to know the traditional right way. Hang Teru Teru Bozu (てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) in front of the window. It should be outside. The best timing to hang one is a day before the day you don’t want rain. Be careful not hang it upside down because it means you want it to rain. After you hang it, you can sing the Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) song to pray for good weather. The song is very popular among Japanese children.

The song of Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu)

Japanese:
てるてるぼうず、てるぼうず(Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bozu)
明日天気にしておくれ (Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure)
いつかの夢の空のように(tsuka no yume no sora no yō ni)
晴れたら金の鈴あげよ (Haretara kin no suzu ageyo)

Translation:
Teru teru bozu, teru bozu
Tomorrow, make a sunny day
Like the sky in a dream sometime
If it’s sunny I’ll give you a golden bell

If Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) make your wish come true, draw a smiley face and give him sake(酒; sake) or another type of alcohol. It’s the traditional way to say “thank you” to him. In olden times, people used to float Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) down a river. They thought that he had a soul. But now we can’t do it because of environmental reasons. So you can just throw it in the garbage.

Of course, it sometimes works but sometime doesn’t. However, Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) is cute and it’s fun to make with friends. Why don’t you make one for your special events?

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Want to be better at Japanese? Give JapanesePod101.com a go!

As someone who had wanted to master the basics of Japanese, it had taken me a surprisingly long time to find the most suitable method to tackle the language head-on. It is true that everyone has their own unique ways of learning a language. As for me, I am the type of individual that requires a lot of motivation on my part and a really good teaching resource if I were to self-study, which is why I had decided to venture forward and test out JapanesePod101.com by Innovative Language.

So here’s my take on JapanesePod101 after using it for a week. I’ve summarized the key features in bullet points for your convenience.
Study Time

The Lesson Library

  • Covers a Wide Variety of Topics
  • The topics range from learning how to order food in a Japanese restaurant to getting acquainted with Japanese body language and gestures. This can be really useful for people who not only want to learn the basics of the language, but also the etiquettes and formalities when interacting with the Japanese should they decide to visit Japan.

    The Lesson Library

  • Quality Podcasts
  • Lessons are comprised of audio and video tutorials which can also be called “Podcasts”. The podcasts are well-produced with both non-native and native speakers teaching the content which often at times create interesting chemistry and humour that translate into more fun for the audience. The lesson notes, transcripts and Kanji practice worksheets can all be conveniently downloaded in PDF format. At the end of each lesson, there’s a short interactive quiz that tests your knowledge of the key words and concepts introduced in that lesson.

    Video Podcast

  • Option to Switch to Classic Mode
  • This option is available for those who prefer a more condensed version of the tutorials. This would appeal to people who just want to dive right into the core of the lessons. In both Classic and Normal Mode, the lessons are arranged from Absolute Beginner to Beginner to Intermediate to Advanced. You can also unlock a secret Bonus level after you’ve completed the Advanced level.

    Classic Mode

Vocabulary Content

  • Extensive Vocabulary List
  • This is perhaps one of the most impressive features of the website. Each vocabulary list features words or phrases that are relevant to a specific category or topic of interest. Each word or phrase also comes with its corresponding pronunciation, Kanji and Romaji writing. For example, one could learn how to say “Merry Christmas” in Japanese under the list “Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season”. This is a great way to build one’s Japanese vocabulary right from the get-go.

    Classic Mode

  • Ability to Add Customizable Flashcards
  • This particular feature comes in handy when you want to memorize words/phrases without having to resort to bulky textbooks or dictionaries for cross-referencing.

    Classic Mode

  • Lots of Other Useful Supporting References
  • An online dictionary, a Kanji bank, and Grammar Bank? These are all neat and useful supporting tools that enhance the learning curve. What’s not to love about that?

    Online Kanji Dictionary

The Pricing

The above features described can be accessed by signing up for their Premium account which is $10/month for a two-year subscription. That’s not a steep fee considering the amount of content that you can get your hands on. Otherwise, it’d be $25/month if you decide not to opt in for the subscription. However, you could upgrade to their Premium Plus account for $23/month (also comes with a two-year subscription). The main add-on of Premium Plus is that users can have one-on-one online lessons with a tutor. This option is geared towards more devoted learners instead of casual learners. If you want a Basic membership ($4/month for a two-year subscription), you could get access to their lessons but only 100 words and phrases compared to 2,000 of them if you sign up for Premium.

Final Thoughts

Overall, JapanesePod101 is an organized and sophisticated learning website that caters to people regardless of their Japanese proficiency. The biggest advantage for users who sign up for their Premium account is the breadth of content that’s readily available and you could take the content with you wherever you go by downloading their mobile app on your smartphone. With JapanesePod101, learning Japanese doesn’t have to be stressful anymore, but the caveat is that you do need to keep yourself motivated. Otherwise you’d be doing yourself a disfavour by not using their enormous content to the fullest extent.
Countryside in Japan

10 Famous Japanese Movie Quotes

Watching Japanese movies with English subtitles can be one of the best ways to improve and keep your Japanese listening and speaking skills tip-top.

Here are some of the best Japanese movies and TV series, dating from mostly the previous century, to keep you on the edge of your seat. We also give you some of their quotes to memorize, if you choose. If you can’t catch it yourself, why not ask your JapanesePod101 facilitator to translate the quote for you in Japanese! Imagine how impressed your friends will be when you speak like a Japanese native…!

Battle Royale

1. Battle Royale

  • Japanese Title: バトル・ロワイアル
  • Romanization: Batoru rowaiaru
  • English Title: Battle Royale

This futuristic, dystopian Japanese movie was shot in 2000 and was based on an adaptation of a novel with the same name. The book was written by Koushun Takami. The movie’s dense plot revolves around a group of ninth-grade Japanese students who are forced, by government legislation, to kill one another on a deserted island in what is referred to as the ‘Battle Royale’. They are to fight to death, leaving only one victor, or commit suicide. The drama and themes such as betrayal, lost love and friendship keep the movie relatable, but it was still released with a rarely-used R-15 rating in Japan. The teenagers’ gruelling battle is launched with the class teacher’s chilling words: “So, I would like everyone to kill each other today.”

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

2. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Released in 1983, this famous human drama, directed by Nagisa Ôshima, is set in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. It centers on the battle of wills between the Japanese camp commander, and the captured British soldiers. One of the captives, John Lawrence, acts as interpreter and attempts to mend the cultural divide between the British and the Japanese. The movie is based on a book by Laurence van der Post, called The Seed and the Sower.Its title is also its most famous quote, uttered in the bittersweet end by Japanese prisoner Gengo Hara, played by Kitano Takeshi.

Sailor Suit and Machin Gun

3. Sailor Suit and Machine Gun

Called one of the defining satirical or comedy-action films of Japanese cinema in the early 80s, the Sailor Suit and Machine Gun tells the story of an average school girl who gets charged to take over her uncle’s yakuza clan. The yakuza are the Japanese equivalent of the mafia. The script was based on a novel by Jiro Akagawa, called Sêrâ-fuku to kikanjû, which was also the film’s original title.The character is a strong girl called Izumi Hoshi, and she was played by Japanese idol Hiroko Yakushimaru. It is a satirical take on the usually testosterone-fuelled yakuza movies, and its femme fatale wears the traditional Japanese sailor-style school uniform. One of the film’s famous, rather bleak quotes was uttered by Izumi as she shoots her machine gun in front of a crowd: “Feels so good.

Otoko wa Tsurai yo aka

4. Otoko wa Tsurai yo aka Am I Trying aka It’s Tough Being a Man

The first of a series, Otoko wa Tsurai yo centres around the antics of the relatable, endearingly-imperfect main character Tora-san, masterfully depicted by actor Kiyoshi Atsumi. It was released in 1969, and directed by Yoji Yamada. The film’s plot is simple enough - Tora-san is a traveling salesman estranged from his family. He returns to the lives of his aunt, uncle and sister after 20 years, and effortlessly wreaks havoc for them. The movie was so popular that a 48-episode TV series was conceived with the same characters.Some critics say that this film and the subsequent series will inform any viewer of the unique underpinnings of Japanese culture better than any sociology class could. It’s most famous quote is peppered throughout the series, and roughly translates as: “You shouldn’t say that!” The phrase means, in essence, that ‘if you say that, it’s the end of everything!’ Pure over-the-top comedy.

Lupin the Third

5. Lupin the Third, The Mystery of Mamo

Lupin the Third was a manga series that became popular in the late ‘60s, written and illustrated by Monkey Punch. The series relates the adventures of an agile thief, Arséne Lupin, who is the grandson of the well-known French gentleman thief with the same name, from the popular Maurice Leblanc novels. Lupin III comics appeared first in the Weekly Manga Action magazine, and The Mystery of Mamo is the first film in a series of Japanese anime, science fiction, adventure-comedies based on the Lupin III franchise. It remains one of the most popular Japanese anime series worldwide.The Mystery of Mamo follows the young thief’s antics as he tries to foil Mamo, who is a powerful, rich hermit seeking eternal life. Of course, Lupin also tries throughout the movie to win the heart of his rival and objet d’amour, Fujiko Mine. A quaint quote comes from Inspector Zenigata addressing a thwarted-in-love princess: “That guy stole an irreplaceable thing. Your heart.” He refers to the irresistible Lupin III, naturally.

Trick

6. Trick

Trick started as a single TV-series in 2000, the brainchild of director Yukihiko Tsutsumi, and later segued into two more seasons on TV, four movies and three feature-length specials. The plotlines centres on the main character of Naoko Yamada, a young woman who got fired from one job after the other. In her own mind, she’s a talented magician though, so eventually she lands with Professor Ueda, and together the two debunk tales of supernatural phenomena, expose fake spiritualists, and solve mysterious murders and other crimes.The quote most used in the series and the movies is: “I know what you’ve done!” This is uttered by the triumphant protagonists upon solving a mystery.

Violent Cop

7. Violent Cop

A 1989 film, Violent Cop follows the blood-spattered story of detective Azuma, a Japanese police officer who follows his own head and rules to get results. This loose cannon gets entangled in a drama involving gang-violence, drugs, his close friend and police partner, Iwaki, and his feeble-minded sister, who gets kidnapped. The film was originally written to be a comedy, but no trace of funny is left in the final product of this very dark, nihilistic crime thriller. One cryptic quote from drug-dealing character, Shinkai about sums up the feeling: “Everybody is crazy”.

Onimasa

8. Onimasa

Another brutal movie, Onimasa, is an epic gangster family melodrama released in 1982, and is sometimes referred to as Onimasa: A Japanese Godfather. The story deals with the life and drama of a crime syndicate boss and his family on Shikoku Island - patriarch Masagaro (aka Onimasa), his wife and their two daughters; one is adopted and called Matsue, and the other daughter is blood related. The film was directed by Hideo Gosha, and won a number of awards, but critics slated it for drawing heavily on the mega-successful The Godfather.The quote is from Matsue, who exclaims: “Don’t make a fool of me!” She is a striking female lead in the film, whose headstrong, unconventional character somewhat redeems this lengthy movie with its overladen plot. Portrayed as strong-willed and liberal, Matsue stands out in a chauvinistic, male-dominated society.

Porco Rosso

9. Porco Rosso

The title, Porco Rosso, literally means “crimson pig”, and this is another hugely popular Japanese animated comedy-adventure film, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released in 1992, and relates the tale of a World War II ex-Ace pilot who gets cursed and turned into an anthropomorphic pig. He rescues distressed damsels and other victims of kidnapping pirates. The movie was based on Miyazaki’s Hikōtei Jidai or The Age of the Flying Boat. Porco Rosso stoically and famously says: “A pig who doesn’t fly is just an ordinary pig.”

Ringu

10. Ringu (aka The Ring)

In 1998, a horror movie was quietly released in Japan, and forever changed the face of this genre. Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata, was soon remade for the English-speaking market as The Ring, and scared the wits out of movie viewers across the globe with its masterful depiction of menacing death approaching slowly. The film follows a female reporter, Reiko Asakawa, and her ex-husband as they chase a story about a killer video - everyone who watches it dies within a week.“This kind of thing… it doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own,” is how one of the characters explains the video’s horrific effect to Reiko. Don’t watch it alone.

Watching TV

How Can Watching Japanese Movies and TV Help you Improve your Japanese?

As mentioned in the beginning, watching movies can increase your exposure to native Japanese, and train your ear to the language’s finer nuances. You will be surprised just how much you will learn by watching movies!To practice your speaking, why not memorize the quotes from these famous Japanese films and TV series. Remember - the more you practice, the closer you’ll come to perfect! At JapanesePod101, we help you reach this goal in fun, effective and easy ways. Practice core vocabulary with learn-on-the-go apps and tools; download thousands of detailed PDF lesson notes, and engage in a lively community of other Japanese language learners and knowledgeable and energetic hosts. Get access to a nearly inexhaustible Lesson Library that allows you to learn the language at the pace that suits you best. Soon you’ll be ready to make your own famous Japanese movie!

How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in Japanese

How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in Japanese!

Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

Table of Contents

  1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
  2. Japanese Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
  3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
  4. How Can JapanesePod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
  5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Japanese - Testing New Technology

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1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in Japanese? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million Japanese words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

  1. joke - 冗談を言う - jōdan o iu
  2. funny - 面白い - omoshiroi
  3. sneaky - こそこそ - kosokoso
  4. humor - ユーモア - yūmoa
  5. fool - ばか - baka
  6. surprise - 驚かす - odorokasu
  7. prankster - いたずら者 - itazuramono
  8. prank - いたずら - itazura
  9. play a joke - からかう - karakau
  10. lie - うそをつく - uso o tsuku
  11. deceptive - だます - damasu
  12. April 1st - 4月1日 - shi-gatsu tsuitachi

2. Japanese Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

Japanese Phrases for April Fools' Day

Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in Japanese to prank your favorite Japanese friend or colleague!

  1. I learned Japanese in 1 month.
    • 1ヶ月で、日本語を習得しました。
    • I-kkagetu de, Nihongo o shūtoku shimashita.
  2. All classes for today got canceled.
    • 今日のクラスはすべてキャンセルになりました。
    • Kyō no kurasu wa subete kyanseru ni narimashita.
  3. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
    • 申し訳ありません。あなたのお気に入りのメガネを壊してしまいました。
    • Mōshiwake arimasen. Anata no o-ki ni iri no megane o kowashite shimaimashita.
  4. Someone has just hit your car.
    • 今さっき、あなたの車にぶつかっていった人がいました。
    • Ima sakki, anata no kuruma ni butsukatte itta hito ga imashita.
  5. I’m getting married.
    • 結婚します。
    • Kekkon shimasu.
  6. You won a free ticket.
    • 無料チケットが当たりましたよ。
    • Muryō chiketto ga atarimashita yo.
  7. I saw your car being towed.
    • あなたの車がレッカーで移動されていくのを見ました。
    • Anata no kuruma ga rekkā de idō sarete iku no o mimashita.
  8. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
    • 建物の前で無料のギフトカードを配っています。
    • Tatemono no mae de muryō no gifuto kādo o kubatte imasu.
  9. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
    • かっこいい男性が外であなたを待っています。
    • Kakkoī dansei ga soto de anata o matte imasu.
  10. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
    • きれいな女性にこの電話番号を渡してほしいって言われました。
    • Kirei na josei ni kono denwa bangō o watashite hoshī tte iwaremashita.
  11. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
    • ちょっと下の階に来てくれますか。渡したい物があるんです。
    • Chotto shita no kai ni kite kuremasu ka. Watashitai mono ga arundesu.
  12. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
    • 今朝のラブレター、ありがとう。私のことを想ってくれていたなんて思いもしませんでした。
    • Kesa no rabu retā, arigatō. Watashi no koto o omotte kurete ita nante omoi mo shimasen deshita.

Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

Choose Bad or Good

Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in Japanese, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

Cockroach prank

1- Infestation

This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

3- Something Weird in the Restroom

At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

Funny Face

4- Call Me Funny

Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

5- Minty Cookies

This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

6- Wild Shopping

At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

8- Sneeze On Me

Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

9- Word Play Repairs

Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

10- Scary Face

Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

11- Wake Up To Madness

Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

Computer Prank

12- Computer Prank

This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

13- Monster Under the Cup

This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

Door Prank

14- Prank Door

Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

4. How Can JapanesePod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

If you happen to visit Japan, or if you work for any Japanese company, knowing the above Japanese prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core Japanese words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

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Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in Japanese - bone up your Japanese language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, JapanesePod101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in Japanese below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at JapanesePod101.

5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Japanese - testing new technology

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The 5 Aspects of a Great Japanese Course

I started searching for a Japanese course a little over 6 months ago, when I really started to get interested in language learning. I quickly discovered that there weren’t a lot of options out there for students of the language. The lion’s share of materials were aimed at people learning languages like Spanish or French.

A few of the most notable courses left me disappointed. They simply didn’t do a good job of teaching the Japanese language. Some of the most popular options didn’t really have that much to offer. In this article we’ll look at 5 aspects of a good Japanese course. We’ll also look at how JapanesePod101, is a rare exception among most courses, as it thoroughly fulfills all 5 aspects.

Afraid of Japanese Grammar

1) It isn’t afraid of Japanese grammar

In the language learning world Japanese grammar is a beast all its own. With attributes such as honorific language, a flexible word order, particles, and clause-modifiers of nouns all work together to make the Japanese grammar system incredibly fascinating, but undeniably difficult for native English speakers. A quick search on Reddit or Quora will reveal a host of puzzled Japanese learners who are doing their best trying to grapple with the language. Linguistically speaking, you can’t get much further from English than Japanese. It’s consistently ranked as one of the hardest languages for native English speakers to learn.

More often than not a language learning company will slap a Japanese sticker on what’s essentially a Spanish or French course. They make little to no accommodation for the mechanics of the Japanese language. Some language courses even ignore the grammatical difference entirely!

The way you learn a romance language like Spanish will not be the same way you should approach an asian language like Japanese. One thing I love about JapanesePod101 is that it dives straight into Japanese grammar from the get go. Every lesson highlights a very specific aspect of grammar as it’s used in the audio portion of the podcast, and you are given a list of explanations and example sentences to go along with it.

It’s essentially as if JapanesePod101 took the best parts of a Japanese language class and put it right at your fingertips.

Kanji

2) It doesn’t ignore Kanji or Hiragana

Just as Japanese grammar is notoriously unique, so is its writing system. In fact it’s writing system is cited as one of the most difficult in the world. This is mainly because it combines 3 different writing systems into one. Hiragana and katakana aren’t usually too hard for native English speakers to pick up, but it’s the logographic Kanji that pose the real challenge.

9 times out of 10 a Japanese course only includes romaji (Japanese written in latin script) in their learning materials. Users aren’t exposed much, if at all, to the writing system actually used in Japan. Romaji isn’t always bad, and it certainly has its uses, but it’s definitely not a substitute for actual Japanese writing.

JapanesePod101’s lesson transcripts (available in English, romaji, kanji, and hiragana) are just about the perfect tools for familiarizing yourself with the Japanese writing system while learning grammar and vocabulary. The site’s built in spaced repetition flashcard system is also ideal for committing kanji to memory.

Listening

3) Helps you listen in Japanese

Listening comprehension is an often overlooked skill when learning any foreign language, not just Japanese. It’s one thing to know words when you see them in a textbook or when you speak them. But it’s a whole different ballgame when you try to understand native speakers talking at normal speed. Syllables and sounds gets reduced or dropped and whole phrases are spoken in rapid succession. If you haven’t practiced listening to native speakers then your first Japanese conversation could be a rude awakening.

This is why good audio courses can be so powerful. If they’re worth their salt they acclimate your ear to the language gradually over time. At first the speakers talk slow and space out their words, but as the course progresses the dialogue becomes more difficult. JapanesePod101 has a great slow playback feature that allows you to listen to individual words at a regular or reduced speed. This is a superb option for easing yourself into the Japanese sound system.

Vocabulary

4) Gives you practical vocabulary

There are a lot of language courses out there that simply fail to provide you with relevant vocabulary that you can actually use in a conversation. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the language learning world, and I’ve written extensively about language learning programs that do this. You don’t want to spend valuable time and energy learning vocabulary that you’re not likely to use, especially if you’re a beginner.

Sentences like “the cat drinks milk”, or “the man runs”, just aren’t all that useful in the real world. While there is an aspect of vocabulary that is inevitably personal (your job, personal interests, etc), there are still words, phrases, and grammatical constructions that carry over to a variety of uses. Part of the genius of JapanesePod101 is that each lesson is built around a dialogue between native speakers.

This is great because you see grammar and vocabulary in action. It’s a lot easier to remember how to make a certain sentence construction when you first heard it in a conversation. The contexts of the podcast are also highly practical. You’re talking to someone on the street, to friends in a restaurant, or maybe speaking with a loved one over the phone. Throughout the podcast series there’s a real push to learn grammar and vocabulary in a practical setting. This is a feature sorely lacking from far too many Japanese courses.

Listening

5) It should be interesting, even fun!

A dull language course is the worst. Language learning isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. At its heart the language learning process is one of continual discovery, and a good Japanese course should reflect that. Thus I appreciate the hosts in JapanesePod101, because they do a good job of engaging the listener. Even though you are learning a great deal of grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights; their playful tone and banter help keep things lively and interesting. It’s a far cry from some older more traditional audio courses.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, 5 things to look for in a good Japanese course. Remember when learning a foreign language, using a good course or method is important; but even the best course isn’t a substitute for hard work and consistent practice. If you stay focused and put in the effort you will see your language skills improve!

How to Say Happy New Year in Japanese & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Japanese New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join JapanesePod101 for a special Japanese New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Japanese

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Japanese? Let a native teach you! At JapanesePod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Japanese New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in Japan
  2. Must-Know Japanese Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Japanese
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn Japanese

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Japanese New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Japan

On New Year’s Day, the whole world celebrates the start of the year. While the calendar marks only January 1st as a holiday, in Japan we celebrate the period from the 1st to the 3rd, known as 三が日 (Sanganichi). Some companies and stores close during this time, and a number of unique events and customs take place. When you meet someone for the first time in the new year, be sure to greet them with, “明けましておめでとうございます。(Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu!)” That’s Japanese for “Happy New Year!”

You’ll also hear 良いお年を。(Yoi o-toshi o.) at the end of the year and it’s often translated into “Happy New Year!” in English. The difference between 明けましておめでとうございます。 and 良いお年を。is, 良いお年を。is only used before the New Year and 明けましておめでとうございます。 is used in the New Year. 謹賀新年 (きんがしんねん; kingashinnen) means ‘Happy New Year’ too but it’s a written form so you’ll only see it on your 年賀状 (ねんがじょう; nengajou), which is a Japanese New Year’s card.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: what do you call the morning of New Year’s Day?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.

New Year’s Day celebrations generally begin with the first sunrise of the year, with people worshiping at homes, the beach, and mountains. 雑煮(zōni) - “rice cakes boiled with vegetables” - and おせち(osechi) dishes - “festive New Year’s food” — are eaten on New Year’s Day. 雑煮 (zōni) is a soup containing rice cakes, the seasoning of which depends on the family and region. There’s a saying that goes, “Just like a rice cake stretches, so shall one’s lifespan.” So, this soup is eaten with the hope for longevity. おせち(osechi) dishes are also eaten with the wish of having a happy and safe year. In order to seek blessings for the year, families and friends wear their finest clothes and visit a shrine.

In Japan, it’s customary to send New Year’s cards to friends or acquaintances who have helped you in the previous year. In the cards, we write greetings and hopes for the year, as well as information on how the person or family is getting along. A picture of an animal representing the zodiac sign for the new year is also included. In the past, people would either visit the homes of their acquaintances, or receive acquaintances as guests in their homes with the New Year’s custom called お年始 (o-nenshi). This custom has been simplified gradually to the point where only greeting cards are exchanged.

Children receive お年玉 (o-toshidama), meaning “New Year’s gifts” from their parents, grandparents, relatives, and parents’ friends. The traditional gift is money. Since this only happens at New Year, children get very excited about it. お年玉 (o-toshidama) are placed into a paper envelope called an お年玉袋 (o-toshidama bukuro). The average amount given to an elementary school-aged child is around 3,000 to 5,000 yen. As they grow older, middle school-aged children receive around 5,000 yen, and those in high school receive around 10,000 yen.

Here’s our fun fact for the day! Did you know that while people go to a shrine to pray during New Year’s Day, some visit the shrine at midnight as time passes from the previous year to the New Year? This practice of making a midnight visit is called 二年参り(ninen-mairi).

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: what do you call the morning of New Year’s Day?

The correct answer is 元旦 (gantan). Two characters form this word. The second character, 旦 (tan), is made up of the character for “sun,” with a single horizontal line drawn under it. With these pictographs combined, the character represents the sun rising over the horizon. And taken together, the two characters 元旦 (gantan) represent the morning of January 1st.

Happy New Year!
明けましておめでとうございます。
Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu!

2. Must-Know Japanese Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Japanese Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year


toshi

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Japan could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

真夜中
mayonaka

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

元日
Ganjitsu

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

4- Party

パーティ
pāti

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

踊り
odori

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

シャンパン
shanpan

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

花火
hanabi

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

カウントダウン
kaunto daun

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

正月
shōgatsu

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

紙吹雪
kamifubuki

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

大晦日
ōmisoka

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

乾杯
kanpai

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

決意
ketsui

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

パレード
parēdo

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At JapanesePod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Japanese New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Japanese word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at JapanesePod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Japanese friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

本をたくさん読む。
Hon o takusan yomu.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Japanese in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Japanese language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

家族と多くの時間を過ごす。
Kazoku to ōku no jikan o sugosu.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

やせる。
Yaseru.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

お金を貯める。
O-kane o tameru.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to JapanesePod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

禁煙する。
Kin’ensuru.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

習い事を始める。
Naraigoto o hajimeru.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

お酒の量を減らす。
O-sake no ryō o herasu.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

運動の習慣を身につける。
Undō no shūkan o minitsukeru.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

健康的な食生活を心がける。
Kenkō-teki na shokuseikatsu o kokorogakeru.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Japanese with JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101.comで日本語を勉強するつもりです。
Japanīzu poddo ichi maru ichi dotto komu de Nihongo o benkyō suru tsumori desu.

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Japanese, especially with us! Learning how to speak Japanese can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. JapanesePod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Japanese new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Japanese, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Japanese incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with JapanesePod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Japanese could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Japanese - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Japanese - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with JapanesePod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Japanese! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that JapanesePod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Japanese at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Japanese that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Japanese with JapanesePod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Japanese

How to Say Merry Christmas in Japanese

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Japanese? JapanesePod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Japanese Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Japanese speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, JapanesePod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Japanese!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Japan
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Japan

Christmas Words in Japanese

As everyone knows, Christmas is a holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. In Japan, this holiday is a major event but does not have any religious association. Instead, it’s celebrated with secular traditions. The day is an especially happy one for children, who receive a present from Santa Claus.

Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: when did Christmas come to be recognized in Japan?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later.

From the start of November, cities are adorned with Christmas trees and Christmas sales begin. It’s a happy time when people choose presents for their family, friends, and partners. The stores play a never-ending selection of Christmas songs, which helps to excite the hearts of the shoppers. Department stores, bakeries, and convenience stores often sell Christmas cakes. A wide variety of Christmas cakes are sold, ranging from the ever-popular strawberry and fresh cream cake, all the way to some quite elaborate versions. Some places accept orders from October. Also, sales of chicken increase at Christmas in Japan. Trees on the streets are decorated with LED lights that beautifully illuminate the nights of midwinter.

On Christmas Eve, children place a stocking by their bed and are excited to wake up the following morning to find a present left by Santa Claus. Parents prepare in advance by asking their children what kind of toy they would like.

At Christmas, more and more Japanese are enjoying a Christmas dinner at home with their family rather than eating out. Single people often eat dinner with their friends or partner, and they exchange gifts and hold parties. Among the younger generation, there is tendency for people to spend a romantic Christmas with their boyfriend or girlfriend.

Here’s our fun fact for the day! Do you know what the most famous Japanese Christmas song is? It’s no exaggeration to say that the most famous song is “Christmas Eve” by 山下達郎 (Tatsuro Yamashita). It’s a popular song in which the lyrics speak of lovers unable to meet on Christmas Eve.

Now it’s time to answer the quiz question: when was Christmas recognized in Japan?

The correct answer is the Meiji era, beginning in the late 19th century. 明治屋 (Meiji-Ya) is a food import company that established a branch in Ginza and held one of the first Christmas sales there. Because of this, celebrating Christmas became more widespread. With each passing year, Christmas becomes more and more of a major annual event, and perhaps could be considered one of the most fun occasions for the Japanese.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

メリークリスマス!
Merīkurisumasu!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Japanese? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

クワンザおめでとう!
Kuwanza omedetō!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

良いお年を。
Yoi o-toshi o.

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

ハヌーカおめでとう!
Hanūka omedetō!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

良い冬休みを!
Ī fuyu yasumi o!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

また来年!
Mata rainen!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

ご多幸をお祈りしています。
Go-takō o oinori shite imasu.

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Japanese Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

良い休暇を!
Ī kyūka o!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Japanese, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

休暇を楽しんでね!
Kyūka o tanoshinde ne!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Japanese, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

新年が良い年でありますように。
Shin’nen ga yoi toshi de arimasu yō ni.

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Japanese! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At JapanesePod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

クリスマス
Kurisumasu

This is the Japanese word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Japanese will include this word!

2- Snow


yuki

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

雪の結晶
yuki no kesshō

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

雪だるま
yukidaruma

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

七面鳥
shichimenchō

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

リース
rīsu

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

トナカイ
tonakai

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

サンタクロース
Santa Kurōsu

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

妖精
yōsei

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

赤鼻のトナカイ
akahana no tonakai

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

北極
hokkyoku

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

そり
sori

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

プレゼント
purezento

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell


suzu

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

煙突
entotsu

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

暖炉
danro

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

クリスマス
Kurisumasu

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

装飾 装飾
sōshoku

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

靴下
kutsushita

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

ヒイラギ
hiiragi

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

ジンジャーブレッド・ハウス
jinjābureddo hausu

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

キャンディケイン
kyandī kein

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

ヤドリギ
yadorigi

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Japanese, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Japanese! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

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