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Tanabata: The Star Festival in Japan - Vega and Altair’s Love Story

Do you know why the Japanese focus on the Altair and Vega stars one night a year? This has to do with the Tanabata story, which tells about the love between a cow-herder and a weaver (we’ll give you the full story later in this article!).

During the Star Festival, Japan sets its eyes to the night sky and the Milky Way, hoping that the two constellations, which represent the cow-herder and weaver, will meet.

The Star Festival Japan celebrates offers a fun and unique glance at Japanese culture and thought. Learning about the Tanabata Festival is a wonderful way to improve your language skills, too, as knowing a country’s culture is key to mastering its language!

At JapanesePod101.com, we want to make this learning journey both fun and informative for you!

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1. What is the Japanese Star Festival?

According to the legend, this is the one day a year that 織姫 (Orihime), meaning “the weaving princess,” and 彦星 (Hikoboshi), meaning “the cow herder,” can spend together. On this night, the Japanese people are more concerned about the weather than on any other night, as the weather dictates whether or not the two can see each other.

2. When is the Tanabata Festival?

July 7 is the Star Festival

The Star Festival, or 七夕 (Tanabata), means “the evening of the seventh,” and is celebrated on July 7th each year. This day has been celebrated in Japan since the Edo Period (1603 - 1867), and because of differences between the Lunar and Gregorian calendars, Tanabata festivals are actually held on both July 7th and August 7th.

3. How is Tanabata Celebrated?

China, Vietnam, and Korea have their own versions of the Star Festival, but in Japan, people write wishes on strips of paper and hang them up on bamboo leaves along with decorations shaped like stars and such. Among the wishes written by the children at preschools and elementary schools, there are sometimes those that say, in shaky, just-learned letters, “I wish that Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet each other.” Isn’t that cute?

The most famous festival is held in Sendai from the fifth to the eight of August. Near Tokyo, in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, the largest festival in the Kanto area is held for a few days around July 7th.

At these festivals, people gather on the main street where there are decorations, food stalls, and sometimes entertainment, including music and dancing. The common traditional food of Tanabata includes たこ焼き (takoyaki), 焼きそば (yakisoba), and cold beer.

There is also a well-known song that is sung during Tanabata, 笹の葉・ささのは・sasa no ha, which means “bamboo leaves.”

4. The Tanabata Story

Star Festival Event

So, what is the Japanese Star Festival story? Well…

A long time ago, Orihime, the daughter of the King of Heaven, and Hikoboshi, a cattle herd, fell in love. Orihime’s work was to weave at the loom, while Hikoboshi’s job was to take care of the cattle. Both were extremely hard-working, so the King of Heaven gave them permission to be married.

However, both Orihime and Hikoboshi enjoyed married life so much that as soon as they were married, they stopped working. Angered, the King of Heaven put the Milky Way between Orihime and Hikoboshi, separating them. But, feeling some pity for the two, the King of Heaven permitted them to meet just once a year, at the Star Festival.

The Milky Way has no bridge, but when the Star Festival comes around, birds called European magpies suddenly come flying out of nowhere, and build a bridge for the two of them…

And this is the story of the Star Festival.

So why do people care about the weather on the night of the Star Festival, you ask? Because if it rains, the volume of water in the Milky Way rises, so the European magpies can’t build a bridge, meaning that Orihime and Hikoboshi can’t meet each other.

5. Vocab You Need to Know for the Star Festival

Orihime

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the Japanese Star Festival!

  • アルタイル (アルタイル) — Altair
  • ベガ (ベガ) — Vega
  • 天の川 (あまのがわ) — Milky Way
  • 七夕 (たなばた) — Star Festival
  • 浴衣 (ゆかた) — Yukata
  • 装飾 (そうしょく) — Decoration
  • 織姫 (おりひめ) — Orihime
  • 願い事 (ねがいごと) — Wish
  • 短冊 (たんざく) — Small piece of paper
  • 7月7日 (しちがつ なのか) — July 7th
  • 彦星 (ひこぼし) — Hikoboshi
  • 笹 (ささ) — Bamboo leaf
  • 笹飾り (ささかざり) — Bamboo decoration

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Japanese Star Festival vocabulary list!

Conclusion

What do you think about the Japanese Star Festival and its story? Did you learn anything new today? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

To continue learning about Japanese culture and the language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com! We provide fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free Japanese vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! You can also take advantage of our online community forums to chat with fellow students or ask for help! By upgrading to a Premium Plus account, you can start relishing in the benefits of our MyTeacher program, which allows you to learn Japanese one-on-one with your own teacher!

Continue studying and practicing, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Japanese like a native before you know it. And JapanesePod101 will be here with you on each step of this journey!

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Chichi No Hi: How to Celebrate Fathers Day in Japan

What day is Father’s Day, and what do Japanese traditions look like?

Fathers Day in Japan (known by the Japanese as 父の日 or Chichi No Hi), is similar to Father’s Day in other countries. It’s simply a day to honor one’s father or father-figure, and to show him appreciation and gratitude for all he does.

However, for each aspect of Father’s Day that’s familiar around the world, there’s a distinction that makes it uniquely Japanese. In this article, we’ll be going over common Fathers Day traditions in Japan, from the most popular gifts to its stance next to Mother’s Day.

At JapanesePod101.com, we hope to make this lesson both fun and informative as we examine Japanese culture from the perspective of Chichi No Hi. After all, any successful language-learner can tell you the importance of comprehending a country’s culture in mastering its language.

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1. What is Japanese Father’s Day?

In Japan, Father’s Day is called Chichi No Hi, with chichi meaning one’s own father. The Japanese version of this holiday is similar to versions around the world; Father’s Day is a time to let your father (or father-figure) know how much he means to you.

Just like in many other countries, Father’s Day tends to fall in the shadows of Mother’s Day, however. A Japanese mother is more likely to receive gifts and affection on Mother’s Day than a father is on Father’s Day.

2. When is Father’s Day in Japan?

Father's Day is on a Sunday

So, when is Fathers Day celebrated in Japan?

The date of Father’s Day varies each year, though it always takes place on the third Sunday of June. For your convenience, we’ve prepared a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: June 16
  • 2020: June 21
  • 2021: June 20
  • 2022: June 19
  • 2023: June 18
  • 2024: June 16
  • 2025: June 15
  • 2026: June 21
  • 2027: June 20
  • 2028: June 18

3. How Do the Japanese Celebrate Father’s Day?

A Father with His Daughter and Wife

On Fathers Day, Japan celebrates and shows thankfulness toward fathers, though traditions tend to be profit-oriented. (As seems to be true in the majority of participating countries.)

That said, the most common way that children in Japan show their fathers gratitude is through gift-giving. Gifts tend to be food- or alcohol-related, with Japanese steaks (wagyuu) and traditional alcoholic beverages like sake being the most popular and well-received. A nice family meal is always appreciated, as well.

Other Father’s Day gifts and Father’s Day gift ideas include greeting cards, thank you notes, cash and gift cards, and origami creations. Some children also choose to gift their fathers with flowers at the beginning of the day.

Japanese Father’s Day celebrations don’t typically go beyond gift-giving, which is one way that traditions are unique here. For example, in the United States, spending quality time with one’s father is a popular tradition, and this isn’t the case here.

4. Father’s Day Gifts: The Universal Struggle

We all struggle with Fathers Day ideas. No matter how well we know our dads or how well we get along with them, getting them a gift they’ll actually like is difficult. This struggle exists in Japan, as well.

According to SoraNews24, there’s a huge disconnect in Japan concerning what fathers want on their special day. Children (and entire families) tend to give their fathers more expensive gifts, like the Japanese steaks, when their fathers would actually better appreciate something inexpensive and from the heart—like a thoughtful note of gratitude, or even a little bit of quality time with their children.

5. Useful Vocabulary to Celebrate Father’s Day in Japan

Shochu

Here’s some of the most important vocabulary you should know for Father’s Day in Japan!

  • 日曜日 (にちようび) — Sunday
  • ビール (ビール) — Beer
  • お父さん (おとうさん) — Father
  • 息子 (むすこ) — Son
  • 娘 (むすめ) — Daughter
  • 夕食 (ゆうしょく) — Dinner
  • 愛する (あいする) — Love
  • 焼酎 (しょうちゅう) — Shochu
  • プレゼント (プレゼント) — Present
  • 祝う (いわう) — Celebrate
  • ネクタイ (ネクタイ) — Tie
  • 挨拶状 (あいさつじょう) — Greeting card
  • 六月の第三日曜日 (ろくがつの だいさんにちようび) — third Sunday in June
  • 父の日 (ちちのひ) — Father’s Day

To hear each of these Japanese Father’s Day vocabulary words pronounced, check out our relevant vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Does your country celebrate Father’s Day, or a similar holiday honoring fathers? If so, how do you celebrate it? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you.

To learn more about Japanese culture and the language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com! We provide practical learning tools for every learner, including insightful blog posts like this one and free Japanese vocabulary lists to expand your word knowledge. You can also listen to our podcasts, chat with fellow Japanese learners on our forums, or upgrade to Premium Plus to take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Learning—and mastering—a language is a formidable task. But with your hard work and determination, combined with our lessons and support, you’ll be speaking like a native before you know it!

Best wishes, and Happy Fathers Day!

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Golden Week: Celebrate Japanese Children’s Day!

In Japan, Children’s Day is celebrated each year as a way of wishing good health and success for its youth. When it comes to Children’s Day, Japan’s history (and that of ancient China) plays a huge role. While the Children’s Day Festival in Japan was founded on ancient myths and beliefs, many of its traditions remain in place today.

In learning about Children’s Day Japan activities, you’re opening your eyes to new concepts and cultural aspects of the country of your target language. At JapanesePod101.com, we hope to make learning about Japanese culture both fun and insightful! So let’s get started on our lesson about the Children’s Day Festival Japan holds each year.

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1. What is Children’s Day in Japan?

The Boys’ Festival is an event that began when the Chinese custom of exorcizing evil spirits with herbs made its way to Japan. In Japan, it has been celebrated as a traditional event since ancient times to pray for the healthy growth of boys. These days, not only boys, but also girls participate in the celebration, which is also known as Children’s Day, a national holiday in Japan.

2. When is Children’s Day?

Children's Day is on May 5

Each year during Golden Week, Japan celebrates Children’s Day on May 5.

3. Reading Practice: How is Children’s Day Celebrated?

Koinobori in Air

How do the Japanese celebrate Children’s Day? Read the Japanese text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

5月5日の端午の節句が近づくと、家の外やベランダ、公園などに、「鯉のぼり」が飾られます。鯉のぼりとは魚の形をした吹き流し(ふきながし)のことです。中国に古い話があります。登竜(とうりゅう)という激しい流れの川を鯉が登ったそうです。そして、そのこいは龍(りゅう)になりました。この話から、「こどもがえらくなりますように」とのねがいをこめて、こいのぼりがかざられるようになりました。たいてい、大小さまざまなサイズの鯉が飾られ、一番大きい鯉はお父さん、次に大きいものはお母さん、小さいものは子供と、家族を表していると言われています。

また、家の中では、「よろい」や「かぶと」をかざります。昔、武士は戦いのとき、身を守るためによろいや兜(かぶと)を身につけました。そこで、男の子の体を守るという意味から、よろいやかぶとを飾るようになったのです。また、「五月(ごがつ)人形」と呼ばれる人形も飾ります。一般的なものには、武士の格好をした男の子や、菱形(ひしがた)の前掛け(まえかけ)をした「金太郎(きんたろう)」があります。

そして、端午の節句には柏餅(かしわもち)を食べます。柏餅はあんこを二つ折りにした餅ではさんで、柏の葉でつつんだ和菓子です。「かしわ」という植物は新しい芽がでるまで古い芽が落ちません。そのことから、「家系がずっと続いていく」、つまり「子孫繁栄(しそんはんえい)」を願って食べられています。

地域によっては「ちまき」も食べられています。ちまきとは中国由来(ゆらい)の食べ物で、笹などの葉でもち米を包んで蒸したもののことです。

As Boys’ Festival on May 5th approaches, the outsides of houses, verandas, parks, and so on are decorated with Koi (”Carp̶ ;) Streamers. Koi streamers are streamers made in the shape of a fish. There is an old tale from China that tells of a koi that appeared to have climbed a dangerous river known as Tōryū. This koi then became a dragon. It is from this story that koi streamers came to be decorated alongside wishes for “children to become mighty.” Usually, koi of various sizes are decorated, with the largest koi said to be the father, the next largest the mother, and the smaller koi the children. These koi are said to represent the entire family.

Also, the insides of homes are decorated with armor and helmets. In ancient times, when a samurai would fight, they would wear a helmet and armor to protect themselves. It is from this tradition that helmets and armor became decorations, because they were said to protect the boy’s body. There is also a doll known as a go-gatsu ningyō or “May doll.” Typically, they are boys dressed as samurai, and Kintarō with diamond-shaped aprons.

Kashiwamochi is eaten on Boys’ Festival. Kashiwamochi is a kind of sweet made by stuffing rice cakes with bean paste. The old buds of the kashiwa, or “oak,” do not fall until a new bud appears. They are eaten with the desire that the “family tree will continue forever,” or in other words, for the “prosperity of descendants.”

Some regions also eat chimaki. Chimaki is a food derived from China, which is made by wrapping steamed glutinous rice with leaves, such as bamboo grass.

4. Additional Information: The Iris

There is a special flower for the Boys’ Festival; Japanese use it for celebration just like they do the flower for the Hinamatsuri (”Doll Festival”). Which flower do you think it is?

It’s the iris. The leaves of the iris have a strong fragrance, and people in ancient China believed that this fragrance exorcized evil spirits. The placing of iris into baths for health, and into sake for drinking, formed the beginnings of the Boys’ Festival. These days, there are also families that take baths called shōbuyu meaning “floating iris leaves.”

5. Must-know Vocab

Kabuto

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Children’s Day in Japan!

  • 菖蒲 (しょうぶ) — iris
  • 端午の節句 (たんごのせっく) — Boys’ Day celebration
  • 子供の日 (こどものひ) — Children’s Day
  • 緋鯉 (ひごい) — red carp
  • 五月五日 (ごがつ いつか) — May 5th
  • 鯉のぼり (こいのぼり) — koinobori
  • 柏餅 (かしわもち) — kashiwamochi
  • かぶと (かぶと) — kabuto
  • 五月人形 (ごがつ にんぎょう) — doll for the Boys’ Festival in May
  • 真鯉 (まごい) — black carp
  • 菖蒲湯 (しょうぶゆ) — bath with iris leaves in it
  • 鎧 (よろい) — armor
  • 吹流し (ふきながし) — streamer
  • ちまき (ちまき) — chimaki

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, visit our Japanese Children’s Day vocabulary list, where you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think of Japan’s Boys’ Festival celebration? Does your country observe a similar holiday? Tell us about it!

To learn more about the culture in Japan and the Japanese language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com. We provide our students with insightful blog posts on various topics, free vocabulary lists, and even on online community to discuss lessons with fellow Japanese students. And if you prefer a one-on-one learning experience, you can learn Japanese with your own personal Japanese teacher through our MyTeacher program!

Know that all of the hard work you’ve put into your language-learning journey and your strong determination will pay off! You’ll be speaking Japanese before you know it, and JapanesePod101.com will be here for each step on your way there. Best wishes!

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The 5 Best Cities to Visit in Japan & Things to Do

Japan is a lovely place, decorated with frills of excitement and laced with serenity. But we’ll admit that some destinations in this unique country that you may enjoy visiting more than others. So in this article, JapanesePod101.com will introduce you to the top five destinations in Japan along with fun things to do in each. Your visit or move to Japan will be all the better for it!

1. Kyoto

Bicycle in Front of Shop

The former imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto lays claim to the “Cultural Capital of Japan.” In addition to being Japan’s biggest tourist destination and cultural center, attracting more than ten-million visitors every year, it’s preserved much of the atmosphere of the past.

There are so many things Kyoto has to offer and several places to go. Let’s take a look.

Temple

Things to Do

Byodoin Temple:
The Byodoin Temple is a characteristic example of the temple architecture of the Heian period. The site was originally occupied by a country residence which belonged to Minamoto Toru, Fujiwara-no-Michinaga, and Yorimichi. Its most well-known feature is the Phoenix Hall, of which guided tours are offered for the cost of 300 yen (approximately $2.75 USD).

Daikaku-ji Temple:
Established in 876 as a temple, it’s located adjacent to the Osawa pond. In the 1600s, Emperor Saga’s imperial detached villa, Saga Palace, was taken apart and reassembled here. The beauty of this temple is further emphasized through its place in Japanese history, including the peace conferences that took place here, ending a civil war between the imperial courts of the North and South during the 12th century.

Daitoku-ji Temple:
This is one of the principal temples of the Rinzai sect. The temple, founded in 1324, was destroyed during the Civil Wars of the 15th century; the present structures date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Of the total of 22 buildings, seven are open to the public. Of particular interest are the Zen gardens (dry gardens in kare sansui style).

Fushimi-Inari Shrine:
The Fushimi-Inari Shrine is much frequented by merchants and tradesmen who pray for prosperity. One of the greatest shrines in Japan, founded in 711, is dedicated to the goddess of rice-growing, Ukanomitama-no-mikoto.

Ginkakuji (or Silver Pavilion) Temple:
This temple lies in the northeast part of the city. In contrast to the Kinkakuji (or Golden Pavilion) Temple, this was never decorated with a covering of silver. It was built in 1482 by the eighth Ashikaga Shogun as a country residence. On his death, it was converted into a Zen temple. It stands by a pool in which the two-story building is reflected. In its upper story it houses a gilded statue of Kannon. Behind it is the main hall with an important statue of Buddha. There is a tearoom adjacent.

Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa:
This was originally constructed for Prince Hachijo Toshihito (1579-1629), brother of the Emperor Goyozei. Much of it was built by 1624, and it was completed by 1658. The garden is so designed that the visitor always sees things from the front. Around the pool are grouped a number of small gardens, and in the distance the summits of Mounts Arashiyama and Kameyama can be seen. The three parts of the building, offset from one another, have influenced modern architecture in Japan and even in other countries. The main buildings were thoroughly restored between 1974 and 1981.

Kiyomizu Temple:
Like the Chion-in Temple, this Temple is in the eastern part of the city, situated on a hill up which runs a road known as “Teapot Lane” (good porcelain). The Temple was founded in 790 and is dedicated to the eleven-headed Kannon. (The statue of her is a protected monument.) The present buildings were erected after 1633 in the period of the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu. They stand mainly on a rocky outcrop above the Otowa Waterfall.

Koryuji Temple or Uzumasa-dera:
This was founded by Hata Kawakatsu in 622, but the present buildings are later. The Lecture Hall, the second oldest building (1165) in Kyoto, contains three old statues: in the center a seated figure of Buddha, flanked by figures of the Thousand-Handed Kannon and Fukukenjaku-Kannon. In the rear hall (Taishi-do, 1720) is a wooden statue of Shotoku-taishi, probably a self-portrait (606).

Nijo Castle:
This has belonged to the city of Kyoto since 1939. The castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603. For a time during the Meiji Era it was the seat of government, and it was from here that the Emperor issued the rescript abolishing the Shogunate. From 1871 to 1884 it was occupied by the prefectural administration, and during this period many of the works of art contained were badly damaged.

Nishi-Honganji Temple:
This is the chief temple of the original Jodo-shinsu sect and an outstanding example of Buddhist architecture. Only part of this temple is freely open to the public; to see the other parts, an application must be filled out in advance to the temple offices. (So if you want to visit here, you may want to get started on this right away!)

Sanjusangen-do Temple:
The “Temple of the 33 Niches” takes its name from the way it’s built. Its façade is divided into 33 (sanjusan) niches (gen), to reflect the belief that Kannon, the goddess of compassion, could take on 33 different personifications. The Temple was originally built in 1164. The present building was put up in 1266, after a fire. In days gone by, archery competitions used to be held in the Temple grounds, as is still shown clearly by the holes in the pillars and timbers.

2. Tokyo

In addition to its title of Capital of the Land of the Rising Sun, Tokyo is also the political and financial center of Japan! There’s no shortage of things to do. It could take a lifetime to explore this fascinating city, which manages to tastefully mix historic sights with state-of-the-art architecture and technology.

Things to Do

Akasaka:
Akasaka has so much to offer a prospective visitor, most notably an excellent combination of great restaurants. It also offers nightlife for the more mature crowd, which is located near the nearby banking and governmental districts (where we broadcast from!).

Ameyoko:
Ameyoko is a market with tons of cheap shops and great food! We recommend taking some time to wander this marvelous shopping street, whether to pick up some fun Japanese souvenirs (think trinkets and cute clothes!) or hunt down a tasty snack. A little birdy (the market’s website) told us there’s chocolate to be found here!

Asakusa-Kannon:
This is a Temple surrounded by an interesting shopping district, and is the most popular of several temples in the area. When visiting this temple, you’ll first pass through the Thunder Gate (or in Japanese, Kaminarimon). This serves as the temple’s main entrance as well as the beginning of a stretch of shops. Here you can buy several Japanese souvenirs, from traditional clothing to food.
Once you pass through the second gate, Hozomon, you can make your way into the actual temple which composes largely of reconstructions. If you plan on visiting in May, you’re in for a treat—that’s when this temple hosts its annual festival!

Ginza:
This is a place for shopping and entertainment galore, with department stores, upscale shops selling brand-name goods, and movie theaters. If you long to spend your time in Japan shopping, visit here, especially if you have some extra spending money and want to have a taste of the finer things in Japan. Even if you’re not interested in shopping, there are so many ways you can enjoy a visit here: people-watching, admiring the lavish scenery, and ultimately gaining knowledge about Japanese culture.

Harajuku:
This is the fashion capital of Japan (and perhaps the world). This hip and trendy location stands alongside Shibuya and Omotesando as being one of the areas in Tokyo where cutting-edge fashions seem to converge. Harajuku’s streets are lined with shops of international brands and famous clothing designers from all over Japan and around the world. Among these, the fashion building Laforet Harajuku stands as a symbol of the area, packed full of what is “now” in Tokyo fashion.

On the streets, companies like Malkomalka are represented by a group of youngsters called “Harajuku kids.” Most adults are flabbergasted by these kids “walking down the street in their gaudy clothing,” but the “Harajuku kids” are not just playing around with exterior decoration. An increasing number of fashions allow us to read the designers true intentions from behind the scenes.

Some even say that one can get a better sense of what modern day Japan is all about by ignoring politics altogether and looking at Harajuku’s youth.

Kabuki-cho:
Located in East Shinjuku, Kabuki-cho is notorious for its many bars and nightclubs. We recommend visiting if you’re traveling alone or with a group of friends, but taking the whole family (especially with young kids) is probably not a good idea.

That said, there’s all sorts of fun to be had here, depending on your taste (and your budget!). A walk down “Piss Alley,” a simple visit to the Samurai Museum, a couple drinks at the zombie-infested Lockup bar, and even a giant Godzilla figure atop a hotel await your arrival in Kabuki-cho. (Oh yeah, Godzilla even growls and lights up from time to time!)

O-daiba:
O-daiba is a large, reclaimed, waterfront area that has become one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping and entertainment districts. Maybe its most defining feature is the man-made beach and complementary boardwalk-themed shopping area, though it features several fascinating stores and shops throughout. This is a great place to enjoy relaxing scenery, find a couple of cool souvenirs, and indulge in hours of lighthearted fun as you roam the shopping centers.

Lovely View of Brightly Lit Street

Roppongi:
Roppongi is a district of Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan, chiefly known for its nightlife and the presence of Western tourists and expatriates. There’s a little something for everyone here, considering its expanse of great dining options, three art museums referred to as the Roppongi Art Triangle, and even a Snoopy museum (yes, the cute little cartoon dog from Peanuts). And, as with most destinations in Tokyo, you can expect to spend some good money here at its multiple shops.

Shinjuku:
Shinjuku is Tokyo’s capital where the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is located. Skyscrapers, major department stores, camera and computer stores, and hotels can be found in this area. You’ll have to spend a little to enjoy most attractions here, but we think it’s well worth it. You’re likely to notice right away how crowded the railway station is—over 3.5-million people pass through it each day!

Shitamachi:
Shitamachi, often called “Old Tokyo,” is a great place to visit in Japan, especially during summer as this is the opportunity to see its three spectacular festivals. But perhaps the first thing you’ll want to do upon arriving and settling in is visit the Shitamachi Museum. Here you can learn lots of useful historical information about the area, as it does indeed have a rich history.

Be prepared during your visit to encounter a few stray cats as well, as this is a common cultural feature of the area.

Several Tall Buildings in Tokyo

Tokyo Tower:
The Tokyo Tower affords excellent views of the bay. This used to be the tallest 構造 (こうぞう) or “structure” in Tokyo, before the Tokyo Sky Tree surpassed it in the year 2012. The Tokyo Tower actually serves as an antenna for broadcasting. Inside the tower, visitors are provided not only with spectacular views, but a cafe and shopping opportunity!

Tsukiji Fish Market:
The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as the Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the largest seafood markets in the world. Here you can buy a variety of freshly caught seafood as well as other items you may want to have in the kitchen. You can also enjoy fresh sushi and other seafood dishes during your visit here, up until early afternoon.

Ryogoku:
Here you can visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum as well as the renowned National Sumo Stadium. In fact, Ryogoku is well-
known for its sumo theme, including restaurants that serve the foods sumo wrestlers would eat.

Ueno:
Ueno is home to a large park with several art museums and other cultural venues that are sure to please. The Ueno Station serves places north of Tokyo, which is a large commute spot. Also on our list of recommendations for Ueno are the Ueno Park, Ueno Zoo (where you can see Pandas), and its major national museums. In spring, Ueno Park and adjacent Shinobazu Pond are prime places to view cherry blossoms.

3. Hokkaido

Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost main island, and it’s a dream come true for anyone who loves the outdoors. Here, you’ll find skiers in the winter and, when it warms up, hikers! Hokkaido is certainly another popular travel destination.

Things to Do

Daisetsuzan:
Daisetsuzan is Hokkaido’s largest national park. Hikers and other outdoor lovers should definitely not pass up this opportunity to explore nature. Deer and brown bears can also be seen roaming around here. In comparison to many of the other Japan destinations on this list, this is definitely a breath of fresh air for the nature lover!

Furano:
Furano is known for its pleasant and picturesque rural landscapes. In July and August, lavender fields bloom into a landscape indescribable by word, and in winter, the region turns into a ski resort. Another fantastic getaway for the nature lover and explorer at heart!

Overview of City

Hakodate:
Hakodate is one of Japan’s oldest harbor cities, and hosts nice hotels to ensure you have a comfortable visit. During your stay, you can enjoy delectable fresh seafood meals as well as some of the loveliest views from Mount Hakodate.

Noboribetsu:
Noboribetsu, a very reputable hot spring resort, is a must-experience location during your visit to Japan. At Jigokudani or “Hell Valley,” one can view (and smell) sulfurous steam vents, streams, and ponds. With demon statues to admire, costume parades, showdown performances, and, of course, delectable Japanese food, this is a place full of excitement!

Clock Tower Surrounded by Flowers

Sapporo:
Sapporo, Japan’s fifth largest city, is the place to go if you want some good food and a refreshing Japanese beer! Especially well-known is its ramen. Not to be missed is its annual Snow Festival, where you can not only sled and play in the snow, but enjoy snow- and ice-related art including ice sculptures!

Shiretoko National Park:
Shiretoko is one of Japan’s most beautiful and unspoiled national parks. Kamuiwakka Falls is one of Japan’s ultimate hot spring experiences.

Perhaps Shiretokogoko is the attraction most thought of when it comes to Shiretoko. It is known from the “God made five lakes from his five fingers” folklore. The lake, which is surrounded by virgin forest and praised for its clear water, reflects the Shiretoko Mountain Range on its surface. Many people make their way here in order to catch a glimpse of this fantastic scene, especially in fall. The mountains all turn autumnal at the same time, making it possible to enjoy a scene that’s “more like a picture than a picture.”

4. Osaka

Osaka is the historical commercial capital of Japan, and is renown for its unique culture! It’s also the third largest city in Japan with a population of 2.7 million.

Things to Do

Minami:
Minami (”South”) is one of Osaka’s two major city centers. The other one is Kita (”North”) around Osaka and Umeda Stations. The South (Minami) is Osaka’s most popular entertainment and shopping district and includes:

  • Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
  • Amerikamura (”America Village”)
  • Nipponbashi Den-Den Town (shopping area for discount electronics)
  • Doguyasuji (shopping area for non edible restaurant supplies)
  • Dotonbori (the entertainment district)

Lovely Building and Garden

Osaka Castle:
In 1583, the construction of this castle began. Thirteen years prior to its construction, the building which stood here was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga. Essentially, this castle was designed in hopes of unification in Japan.

Today, the Osaka Castle is known for the views it offers, as well as educational holograms about its history.

Brightly Lit Portion of City

Shinsekai:
Called “New World” in English, Shinesekai is located south of Osaka’s downtown or “Minami.” Tsutenkaku Tower (“Tower reaching heaven”) lies at the center, and it’s renown for its kushi-katsu, which is various kinds of meat, fish, and vegetables all breaded and deep-fried on small sticks.

5. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain at 3776 meters (12,388.5 feet). This dormant volcano last erupted in the year 1708. It can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama on clear days.

Things to Do

Climbing Mount Fuji:
This can make for lifelong memories. When the skies are clear, you’re assured some wonderful views. You’re sure to never forget the climb, especially in the early morning.

Mt. Fuji with Cherry Blossom Trees in Front

The Fuji Five Lake region (Fujigoko):
This is located in the mountainous Yamanashi Prefecture at the base of Mount Fuji. It’s one of the best places to view Mount Fuji and allows easy access for climbing the mountain (August only).

Hakone:
Located within 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) of Tokyo, Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Renown for its hot springs and the spectacular view of Mt. Fuji, Hakone is a favorite of locals and international tourists alike.

Hot Springs

Conclusion

As you can see, Japan is rich in fascinating and beautiful places. With these destinations in mind, your upcoming trip to Japan is sure to be a wonderful experience—and we don’t blame you if you want to visit again and again!

To learn more about Japanese culture and the language before you take that big step of visiting the country, visit us at JapanesePod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts like this one, free vocabulary lists, and even an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow Japanese learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program with a Premium Plus account if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning approach with your own personal Japanese teacher!

Which of these destinations is your favorite? Do you plan on visiting one (or more) of them? Let us know in the comments!

What is White Day in Japan? Celebrate Japanese White Day!

On White Day, which is precisely one month after Valentine’s Day, men return the favor for the chocolates they received on February 14th. Whether the chocolate was given to them out of a sense of obligation or love, men who receive chocolate on Valentine’s Day return the favor by sending gifts including sweets.

Since ancient times, Japan has had a custom in which a person should give something in return for any gift that they receive. This idea is probably unique to Japan, because its people place great importance on honesty and politeness in interpersonal relationships.

Learn more about White Day in Japan to gain a better understanding of the culture. This will also help you learn Japanese in context, which is an absolute must! Let JapanesePod101.com show you all you need to know about White Day in Japan.

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1. What is White Day in Japan?

White Day in Japan is essentially a second Valentine’s Day, and men give women gifts just as they were given gifts on Valentine’s Day a month before. Except they’re supposed to give that gift threefold! No skimping on giving your lady a gift, guys! Common White Day presents include chocolate, flowers, and even jewelry. Of all the Japanese celebrations, White Day may just be the most looked forward to by women!

2. When is White Day in Japan?

March 14 is White Day

Each year on March 14, Japan celebrates White Day—exactly a month after Valentine’s Day. Keep reading for more information on how March 14 (White Day) is celebrated.

3. Reading Practice: How is White Day Celebrated in Japan?

Chocolate and Flower Bouquet

Read the Japanese Kanji text below to learn how White Day is celebrated in Japan. You can find the English translation directly below it.

—–

ホワイトデーを楽しみにしているのは誰かと言えば、もちろん、バレンタインにチョコレートを贈った女性たちですね。愛の告白をした人は、その返事に期待が高まりますし、義理チョコをあげた人も「どんなお返しがもらえるだろう」とワクワクするもの。特に、雑誌やテレビでは「男は三倍返し」と言い、「もらったチョコレートの三倍に値する(あたいする)お返しをすべき」、などと勧めるので、女性たちはホワイトデーを心待ちにしています。
恋人同士、あるいは夫婦の場合、お菓子などの贈り物に加えて、相手の女性が好みそうなアクセサリーなどを一緒にお返しすることも多いです。パートナーとの愛情を確認し合えるイベントの一つとして、またバレンタインデーと切り離せない行事として、ホワイトデーも広く認知(にんち)されています。

—–
The ones who look forward to White Day the most are, naturally, the women who have given chocolate on Valentine’s Day. A person who has professed their love gets very excited about their return gift, and even those who sent chocolate out of a sense of obligation are curious, thinking “what I will get in return?” Magazines and TV shows often announce that “the man should return the gift multiplied by three,” recommending that men give a return gift three times the value of the chocolate they received. Therefore, women really look forward to White Day.

In the case of lovers, or husbands and wives, the lady also often receives some kind of accessory that she may like in addition to sweets. As well as the ubiquitous Valentine’s Day, White Day is widely recognized as an event in which someone can see the affection of their partner.

While there are several theories as to the origin of White Day, it is said that it comes from a long-established candy store in Fukuoka Prefecture that used to sell white marshmallows on March 14th.

4. Additional Information

So, whose idea was White Day?

The confectionery industry’s. As Valentine’s Day became popular, they came up with the idea of having another day for giving a gift in return for the chocolate received on Valentine’s Day. Seeing how chocolate sales increase rapidly as February 14th approaches, they started advertising for people to return the favor on White Day. This idea has slowly caught on, and is now an established tradition.

5. Must-know Vocab

Man Giving Woman Gift

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for White Day in Japan!

  • ありがとう。(ありがとう) — Thank you!
  • お菓子 (おかし) — snack
  • アクセサリー (アクセサリー) — accessory
  • チョコレート (チョコレート) — chocolate
  • バレンタインデー (バレンタインデー) — Valentine’s Day
  • ホワイトデー (ホワイトデー) — White Day
  • デート (デート) — date
  • お返し (おかえし) — reciprocation
  • ギフト (ギフト) — gift
  • 愛 (あい) — love
  • ハート (ハート) — heart
  • 3月14日 (さんがつ じゅうよっか) — March 14th

If you want to hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Japanese White Day vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know all about White Day in Japan. What do you think of this idea? Does your country have a similar holiday, where women receive gifts from men? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Japanese culture and the language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com and create your own account! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and even an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Japanese learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Japanese teacher!

We hope you enjoyed learning about White Day in Japan. Know that all of your studying and hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Japanese like a native before you know it!

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How to Say I Love You in Japanese - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in Japanese could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your Japanese partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At JapanesePod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your Japanese lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make Japanese dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. Japanese Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. Japanese Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn Japanese Faster?

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your Japanese love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the Japanese word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these Japanese date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

Japanese Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • あなたは私と一緒に夕食に出かけたいですか?
  • anata wa watashi to issho ni yūshoku ni dekaketai desu ka?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in Japanese is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • この週末は暇ですか。
  • kono shūmatsu wa hima desu ka?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • 私と一緒にブラブラしたいですか?
  • watashi to issho ni burabura shitai desu ka?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • 明日、何時に会いましょうか?
  • ashita nanji ni aimashō ka?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • どこで会いましょうか?
  • doko de aimashō ka?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • 元気そうですね。
  • genki sō desu ne.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • あなたはとてもかわいいです。
  • anata wa totemo kawaī desu.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • この場所をどう思いますか?
  • konobasho o dō omoimasu ka?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your Japanese language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • また会えますか?
  • mata aemasu ka?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • どこか他のところに行きましょうか?
  • doko ka hoka no tokoro ni ikimashō ka?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • いい場所を知っています。
  • ī basho o shitte imasu.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • あなたを家まで送ります。
  • anata o ie made okurimasu.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • 素晴らしい夜でした。
  • subarashī yoru deshita.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • いつまたあなたに会えますか?
  • itsu mata anata ni aemasu ka?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • 電話します。
  • denwa shimasu.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the Japanese phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in Japanese below!

Date Ideas in Japanese

museum

  • 美術館
  • bijutsukan

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • キャンドルディナー
  • kyandorudeinā

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • 動物園に行く
  • dōbutsuen ni iku

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • 長い散歩に出る
  • nagai sanpo ni deru

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • オペラに行く
  • opera ni iku

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • 水族館に行く
  • suizokukan ni iku

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • 浜辺を歩く
  • hamabe o aruku

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • ピクニックをする
  • pikunikku o suru

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • 一緒に食事を作る
  • issho ni shokuji o tsukuru

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • 夕食を食べて映画を見る
  • yūshoku o tabete ēga o miru

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in Japanese

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in Japanese - think how impressed your date will be!

4. Japanese Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in Japanese yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in Japanese? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your Japanese love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in Japanese

I love you.

  • あなたの事を愛しています。
  • Anata no koto o aishite imasu.

Saying ‘I love you’ in Japanese carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • あなたは私にとって、とても大事な存在です。
  • Anata wa watashi ni totte, totemo daiji na sonzai desu.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • バレンタインを一緒に過ごしてくれる?
  • Barentain o issho ni sugoshite kureru?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • 君はとても美しいよ。
  • Kimi wa totemo utsukushii yo.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in Japanese, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • 私は、友達以上としてあなたのことを考えている。
  • Watashi wa, tomodachi ijō to shite anata no koto o kangaete iru.

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the Japanese dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • 百個のハートでも、君を愛しているというのは表現しつくせない。
  • Hya-kko no hāto demo, kimi o aishite iru to iu no wa hyōgen shi tsukusenai.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • 「愛」はただ単に「愛」である。説明なんてできない。
  • “Ai” wa tada tan ni “ai” de aru. Setsumei nante dekinai.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • あなた、とてもハンサムですね。
  • Anata, totemo hansamu desu ne.

Ladies, this phrase lets your Japanese love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • 私はあなたに一目惚れした。
  • Watashi wa anata ni hitomebore shita.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • あなたは私により良い男になろうと思わせてくれた。
  • Anata wa watashi ni yori yoi otoko ni narō to omowasete kureta.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your Japanese girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • どんな事も愛情をもってやりなさい。
  • Donna koto mo aijō o motte yarinasai

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • あなたは私の太陽、そして愛です。
  • Anata wa watashi no taiyō, soshite ai desu.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • 言葉であなたへの愛情は言い表せられない。
  • Kotoba de anata e no aijō wa iiarawasenai.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • 私たちは一緒になる運命だったんだ。
  • Watashi-tachi wa issho ni naru unmei datta n da.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • これを読んでいる時に誰かの事を考えているなら、あなたは恋に落ちているに違いない。
  • Kore o yonde iru toki ni dareka no koto o kangaete iru nara, anta wa koi ni ochite iru ni chigainai.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. Japanese Quotes about Love

Japanese Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your Japanese lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in Japanese that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

Japanese Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your Japanese lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the Japanese custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

Japanese Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • 私達、話し合った方が良いね。
    • Watashi-tachi, hanashiatta hō ga ii ne.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • あなたのせいじゃない。私のせい。
    • Anata no sei ja nai. Watashi no sei.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your Japanese lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • まだ付き合うとか考えられないんだ。
    • Mada tsukiau toka kangaerarenai n da.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • 友達のままでいましょう。
    • Tomodachi no mama de imashō.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in Japanese, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • 距離を置いたほうがいいと思う。
    • Kyori o oita hō ga ii to omou.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • 君にはもっといい人がいるよ。
    • Kimi ni wa motto ii hito ga iru yo.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • お互い、他の人を探すべきだよ。
    • O-tagai, hoka no hito o sagasu beki da yo.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • 一人になりたいんだ。
    • Hitori ni naritai n da.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • 急ぎすぎたんだと思う。
    • Isogisugita n da to omou.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • 仕事に集中したいんだ。
    • Shigoto ni shūchū shitai n da.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • 自分はあなたにはふさわしくないと思う。
    • Jibun wa anata ni wa fusawashikunai to omou.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • もう気持ちが冷めてしまったんだ。
    • Mō kimochi ga samete shimatta n da.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • 相性が良くなかったんだよ。
    • Aishō ga yokunakatta n da yo.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • これでよかったんだよ。
    • Kore de yokatta n da yo.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • こんなに離れてしまっていたんだ。
    • Kon’na ni hanarete shimatte ita n da.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn Japanese faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. JapanesePod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the Japanese language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn Japanese Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your Japanese speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    JapanesePod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you Japanese, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn Japanese even faster.

    2- Having your Japanese romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced Japanese language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive Japanese lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your Japanese partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why JapanesePod101 helps you learn Japanese Even Faster when you’re In Love

    Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking Japanese is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at JapanesePod101 is translated into both English and Japanese. So, while your partner can help you learn Japanese faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with Japanese Culture
    At JapanesePod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Japan. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your Japanese partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic Japanese Phrases
    You now have access to JapanesePod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your Japanese soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    Setsubun: Celebrate the Japanese Bean-throwing Festival!

    Japan is a country with quite a rich culture and history, and the Setsubun Festival reflects this. Find out why the Japanese hold the Bean-throwing Ceremony each year and much more about this holiday’s events with JapanesePod101.com!

    After you’ve learned about this holiday, you’ll have gained much insight into Japan as a whole. So let’s get started by finding out what exactly the Setsubun Festival is.

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    1. What is Setsubun Day?

    Setsubun Day, also known as the Japanese Bean-throwing Festival, is a unique Japanese holiday. Essentially, the Bean-throwing Festival is celebrated as a way of chasing demons away and summoning good fortune.

    In ancient times, many believed that evil spirits were born during the changing of the seasons, and these spirits would make people ill or destroy their crops. To protect themselves, they created a special event to exorcise a symbolic evil spirit, or demon.

    This special event is still performed each year, through throwing beans and reciting chants to keep demons away. Read on for more information about these celebrations.

    2. When is it?

    Season

    節分 (Setsubun) literally means “the day that marks the change from one season to the next.” In the spring, this day is called 立春 (risshun); in the summer, it’s 立夏 (rikka); in the fall, it’s 立秋 (risshū); and in the winter, it’s 立冬 (rittō). Since the Edo period in the 16th and 17th century, the day before 立春 (risshun), meaning “spring,” has been the only one with the name 節分(Setsubun). It’s held each year around February 4.

    3. How is it Celebrated?

    Throw Roasted Soybeans

    There are some fascinating Setsubun traditions that take place on this day. Take, for example, the following.

    At places such as homes and temples, people say, “鬼は外、福は内! (Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!)” meaning “Demons outside, fortune inside!” Then, they throw roasted soybeans, known as 福豆 (fukumame) or “fortune beans.” Each family member sows beans at home, though in recent years they have become available at stores like supermarkets.

    At temples, men and women known as 年男 (toshi otoko) and 年女 (toshi onna), meaning they were born in the same Chinese zodiac sign as the current year, throw the beans. These people are said to be vulnerable to disaster that year. After throwing the beans, one bean is eaten for each year of age, and prayers are made for good health over the course of the year.

    Demons are a big part of throwing the beans. However, since demons are fictional and don’t actually exist, fathers will often wear a demon Setsubun mask (or Setsubun oni) and dress as a demon. At kindergartens and nurseries, teachers will play the role of the demon. While children are a little scared, they cheerfully throw beans while chanting “demons outside, fortune inside.” The demon then rushes away and escapes through a door.

    At 節分 (Setsubun), 恵方巻 (ehōmaki) is eaten for good luck. This is a large sushi roll stuffed with Japanese omelette (also known as Tamagoyaki), cucumber, and gourd. Sushi rolls are usually cut into bite-size pieces, but ehōmaki is eaten just as it is, approximately twenty centimeters (almost eight inches) in length.

    There’s also an interesting custom of eating this meal while facing the “lucky direction” for that given year. Further, it’s considered good luck to finish eating the roll in total silence, and many people choose to think about their wishes for the new year as they eat it. One possible wish could be for 無病息災 (Mubyō sokusai) or a “state of perfect health.”

    4. Additional Information

    Did you know that while in most regions people chant “demons outside, fortune inside,” in some places people chant “fortune inside, demons inside?” At temples dedicated to demons, it’s thought that demons are for the use of a god, and so chanting “demons outside” is taboo. This offers a glimpse into an interesting facet of the Japanese culture and how thinking differs on this topic.

    Another interesting fact about this holiday is that sardines are attached to a holly branch, which is then hung on the door. Thorns also grow on holly trees, and it is believed that they too have the power of a talisman to ward away demons.

    5. Must-know Vocab

    Here’s some helpful vocabulary for you to study so you can celebrate Bean-throwing Day to its fullest!

    • 豆 (まめ) — green bean
    • 節分 (せつぶん) — Bean-throwing Ceremony
    • 神社 (じんじゃ) — shrine
    • 鬼 (おに) — devil
    • 立春 (りっしゅん) — the first day of spring
    • 無病息災 (むびょうそくさい) — state of perfect health
    • 恵方巻き(えほうまき) — fortune sushi roll
    • 福は内、鬼は外 (ふくはうち、おにはそと。) — Devils out! Good luck in!
    • 鬼の面 (おにのめん) — devil’s mask
    • 豆まき(まめまき) — bean-throwing
    • 節分祭 (せつぶんさい) — bean-throwing festival

    To hear the pronunciation of each vocab word, check out our Japanese Bean-throwing Day vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each vocab word with an audio file for you to listen to.

    Conclusion

    As you can see, the Setsubun Festival is rooted deeply in Japan’s history, especially in terms of early religion and spiritual beliefs. While some of these beliefs have dwindled over time, this is still a widely celebrated holiday and is enjoyed by many Japanese people each year.

    What do you think about the Setsubun Bean-throwing Ceremony in Japan? Is there a similar holiday in your home country? Let us know in the comments!

    Interested in learning more about Japanese culture? Visit us at JapanesePod101.com, and take advantage of our free vocabulary lists as well as our informational blog posts. You can even utilize our online community to discuss lessons with fellow students, and download our MyTeacher app for a one-on-one Japanese learning experience.

    We hope you enjoyed learning about this Japanese holiday and that you’ll continue delving into Japan’s fascinating culture as you learn the language. JapanesePod101.com will be here for you every step of the way!

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    Seijin No Hi: Celebrate Japanese Coming of Age Day in Japan

    Learning about the different holidays in Japan is a great step in better understanding Japan’s culture. This is because Japanese holidays and traditions offer both insight into the country’s past and values, as well as opportunities to learn the language itself more efficiently. (Because context can mean everything!)

    In particular, Coming of Age Day in Japan holds great value to the country’s youth and elderly alike. This is a day to celebrate all of those Japanese youth who have turned 20 years old, Japan’s legal age of adulthood.

    In addition to celebrating this momentous occasion in every Japanese adult’s life, this day is also designed to encourage them to be the best adults they can be.

    Despite the fact that what was once one of the most popular Japanese holidays is losing momentum, many people still hold to this holiday’s traditions in Japan.

    Learn more about this monumental day in the lives of young Japanese adults, including vocabulary and information about the Coming of Age Ceremony in Japan, with JapanesePod101.com.

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    1. Why Should You Know About Coming of Age Day?

    Coming of Age Day in Japan is an exciting day for the country’s youth, and is celebrated throughout Japan. This day is a reflection of Japan’s culture in that it promotes the wellbeing and success of those who have officially become adults.

    The passage from childhood to adulthood is important in Japanese culture (as it is around the world!), and in Japan this happens at the age of 20. As one of the most significant public holidays in Japan, there are some interesting holiday traditions in Japan for recognizing it.

    Learn more about Japanese Coming of Age Day and its significance to the Japanese people!

    2. What is Coming of Age Day in Japan?

    Young People Celebrating Coming of Age Day

    On Japanese Coming of Age Day (or Seijin no hi), Japan celebrates its youth who have turned 20 years old—the age which signifies official adulthood. And this is no minor celebration; it’s celebrated openly across the country, and is one of the most popular Japanese holidays.

    This day is marked by the Coming of Age Ceremony, during which town officials around Japan hold celebrations for these new adults to welcome them into adulthood.

    3. When is it?

    The Month of January

    Japanese Coming of Age Day takes place on the second Monday of January each year. For your convenience, here’s a quick list of the date of this holiday for the next ten years:

    • 2019: January 14
    • 2020: January 13
    • 2021: January 11
    • 2022: January 10
    • 2023: January 9
    • 2024: January 8
    • 2025: January 13
    • 2026: January 12
    • 2027: January 11
    • 2028: January 10

    4. How is it Celebrated?

    1- Coming of Age Ceremony

    On this day, the most important celebration is a Coming of Age Ceremony; one of these ceremonies takes place in various regions of Japan. All those who’ve turned 20 years old attend and are granted congratulations by town officials, as well as given a souvenir to remember the event by.

    These ceremonies also serve as an opportunity for the new Japanese adults to step up and show their maturity. It’s common for there to be a “representative” participant at these ceremonies, who gives a speech on behalf of each new Japanese adult. Oftentimes, these speeches contain promises of growing to become good and successful people, as well as hope for the future.

    Another special feature of the Coming of Age Ceremony is that participants from the previous year are also welcomed to attend. This not only allows the new adults to see their older friends and acquaintances; it also gives the older visitors the opportunity to cheer on their younger friends and reflect on their own Coming of Age Ceremony the year before.

    2- Dress

    It’s common for the young people to dress up in nice traditional clothing, particularly the young women who wear a 振袖 (ふりそで) or “furisode,” which is a special type of kimono. Men tend to opt for a suit and tie themselves, but on occasion will choose to wear a kimono with a 袴 (はか)
    or “hakama,” which are like loose-fitting trousers.

    3- Food and Fun

    After the ceremonies are over, some of the young people choose to spend time partying with their close friends and family. Oftentimes, they go out drinking and enjoy eating 赤飯 (せきはん),
    or “sekihan,” which is a popular dish with rice and red beans often associated with holidays and special events.

    Despite recent changes in the holiday (namely: lesser participation among youths and lowered age of maturity to 18 soon to take effect), it remains a significant day in the lives of many new adults and their families.

    5. Must-Know Vocab for Coming of Age Day

    Sekihan, A Popular Rice and Bean Dish

    Now that you’ve learned more about Japanese Coming of Age Day, let’s delve into some vocabulary you should know to celebrate this Japanese holiday to its fullest!

    • スーツ (スーツ)
      • English Translation: Suit
    • 袴 (はか)
      • English Translation: Hakama (loose-fitting trousers sometimes worn by young men on this day)
    • 成人の日 (せいじんのひ)
      • English Translation: Coming of Age Day
    • 振袖 (ふりそで)
      • English Translation: Furisode (a special kimono worn by females on this day)
    • 二十歳 (はたち)
      • English Translation: Twenty years old
    • お祝い (おいわい)
      • English Translation: Celebration
    • 成人式 (せいじんしき)
      • English Translation: Coming of age ceremony
    • 赤飯 (せきはん)
      • English Translation: Sekihan (a dish with rice and red beans)
    • 1月の第2月曜日 (いちがつの だいにげつようび)
      • English Translation: The second Monday of January
    • 新成人 (しんせいじん)
      • English Translation: New adult
    • 羽織 (はおり)
      • English Translation: Haori coat (a type of coat worn on top of a kosode)

    If you want to learn how to pronounce these words, be sure to check out our Japanese Coming of Age Day word list. Here, you can find audio pronunciations along with each word to help you better learn them.

    Conclusion

    Now you have a greater knowledge of Japanese Coming of Age Day, including the most important vocabulary for you to know.

    If you want to learn even more about Japanese culture, be sure to visit JapanesePod101.com! We have an array of helpful tools to help you learn Japanese efficiently and in an entertaining manner. These include vocabulary lists, blog posts on various Japanese topics, and our MyTeacher app which gives you access to one-on-one training as you learn Japanese.

    We hope you found this article helpful, and that you enjoy your Coming of Age Day celebration in Japan!

    Blood Type Personality in Japan: What It Says about You

    If you have ever visited Japan or stayed in Japan for quite some time, you have probably noticed that a lot of Japanese people ask “what is your blood type?”. This question is one of the most common questions that Japanese people ask. In Japan, it is perfectly fine to ask about a person’s blood type, especially if you want to get to know someone very well instantly, in particular, on a blind date. The reason is that Japanese people believe that each blood type has its own distinct personality and it is the quickest way to determine a person’s temperament and even compatibility with others. You may feel confused as to why people ask about blood types in Japan, but don’t worry. If you are asked this by a Japanese, that means that the person wants to get to know you better.

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    So who developed this concept? The blood type personality theory was developed by a Japanese person named Masahiko Nomi who graduated from the University of Tokyo. He began his first career as a journalist and his first book “Understanding Affinity by Blood Type” became a bestseller in the 1970s. The idea then spread outward and it is popular in some Asian countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan. You are probably wondering, ‘so what’s this all about?’, so let’s have a look at the description of each blood type to see if it matches with your personality. Then let’s look at the compatibility of blood types.

    Blood Type A

    1. Blood Type A

    According to the Japanese blood type personality chart, it is said that people with blood type A are known to be diplomatic and friendly, however due to their sensitive natures, they prefer staying alone to being in a group; therefore they may feel uncomfortable in crowded areas or parties. Also, they are fragile-hearted and easily get hurt, therefore it takes time for them to open up to people. Others may take this negatively and view them as snobs, since people with blood type A are good at hiding their feelings and do not express themselves a lot compared to other blood types such as blood type B or O. If you want to be friends with a person with Blood Type A, the best way is to be patient and get to know them slowly. Once you get to know them you will find that they are very friendly and down to earth! Also, they are punctual and always expect the best results in everything they do, therefore others seem them as perfectionists. When people describe blood type A, you will often hear:

    A型は、几帳面で細かいそうです。
    Aがたは、きちょうめんでこまかいそうです。
    A-gata wa, kichōmen de komakai sō desu.
    “People with type A blood are earnest and sensitive.”

    Blood Type A Personality in Japanese

    • 几帳面 (きちょうめん, kichōmen) = “methodical”
    • 慎重 (しんちょう, shinchō) = “cautious”
    • こだわりが強い (こだわりがつよい, kodawari ga tsuyoi) = “stubborn”
    • 細かい (こまかい, komakai) = “detailed”

    Blood Type Compatibility for A

    • The best blood type compatibility is O, followed by A.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is B.

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    Blood Type B

    2. Blood Type B

    According to the Japanese blood type personality chart, it is said that B types are the most outgoing compared to other blood types. Also they are independent and are passionate about the things that they are interested in. Type Bs always seek stimulation and they are not afraid of speaking their minds. Therefore, they can be seen as self-centered because they express their opinion, regardless of what the other person might feel.

    In Japan, men with blood type B have a negative reputation for being playboys and for not suitable for a stable relationship. But don’t worry, although blood type B has a negative reputation for being the blood type of playboys, there are many positive traits too. They are curious, honest and enjoy attention, therefore people with blood type B can make friends easily, like a social butterfly! When people describe blood type B, you will often hear:

    B型は、創造的で楽観的なようです。
    Bがたは、そうぞうてきでらっかんてきなようです。
    B-gata wa, sōzōteki de rakkanteki na yō desu.
    “People with blood type B are creative and optimistic.”

    Blood Type B Personality in Japanese

    • 創造的 (そうぞうてき, sōzōteki) “creative”
    • 楽観的 (らっかんてき, rakkanteki) “optimistic”
    • 利己的 (りこてき, rikoteki) “selfish”
    • 無責任 (むせきにん, musekinin) “irresponsible”

    Blood Type Compatibility for B

    • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by O.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is A.

    Blood Type O

    3. Blood Type O

    They are known to be energetic, practical and friendly. Also blood type O is labeled as a natural leader. They are experts at expressing their opinions in a constructive way, making sure that everyone listens to them, while still being friendly to everyone. They know how to control their emotions very well, giving others a great impression of being stable and under control. Research indicates that blood type O is the most prefered blood type by CEOs and coworkers because of the traits mentioned above. However, although they might have a reputation of being strong outside, they are very sensitive inside. People with blood type O have some difficulties expressing their feelings due to a fear of rejection and also they tend to burn themselves out trying to get things done perfectly. The best way to describe type Os in Japanese is:

    O型の人は情熱的だと言われています。
    Oがたのひとはじょうねつてきだといわれています。
    Ō-gata no hito wa jōnetsuteki da to iwarete imasu.
    “It’s said that people with type O blood are passionate.”

    Blood Type O Personality in Japanese

    • おおらか(おおらか, ōraka) = “easygoing”
    • 社交的 (しゃこうてき, shakōteki) = “outgoing”
    • 高慢 (こうまん, kōman) = “arrogant”
    • 嫉妬深い (しっとぶかい, shittobukai) = “jealous”

    Blood Type Compatibility for O

    • The best blood type compatibility is A, followed by B.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is AB.

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    Blood Type AB

    4. Blood Type AB

    They are the most interesting type compared to the others because this blood type is labeled as either genius or psycho. They are unpredictable because they often jump around from one activity to the next and their temperament is mixture of blood type A and B, therefore their personalities change quickly depending on their mood and the situation, and sometimes they don’t have control over it. Also type ABs are rational thinkers, therefore they cannot stand it when they find some situations to be irrational. As a result, they may have some difficulties interacting with people, giving others the wrong impression of being moody or two-faced. One of the ways to describe blood type ABs is:

    日本でAB型の人は少ないです。
    にほんでABがたのひとはすくないです。
    Nihon de ĒBī-gata no hito wa sukunai desu.
    “We don’t have many people with the AB blood type in Japan.”

    Blood Type AB Personality in Japanese

    • 合理的 (ごうりてき, gōriteki) = “rational”
    • 才能がある (さいのうがある, sainō ga aru) = “to be talented”
    • 批判的 (ひはんてき, hihanteki) = “critical”
    • 風変わり (ふうがわり, fūgawari) = “eccentric”

    Blood Type Compatibility for AB

    • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by B.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is O.

    Now, let’s have a look at few useful Japanese sentences which you can use right away.

    Talking about Blood Type

    5. Talking about Your Blood Type in Japanese

    “What’s your blood type?”

    • Informal: (あなたの)血液型は何型? ((あなたの)けつえきがたはなにがた? Anata no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata?)
    • Formal: (あなたの)血液型は何型ですか。 ((あなたの)けつえきがたはなにがたですか。 Anata no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata desu ka.)

    “My blood type is…”:

    • Informal: 私の血液型は、…。 (わたしのけつえきがたは、…。 Watashi no ketsueki-gata wa, … )
    • Formal: 私の血液型は、…です。 (わたしのけつえきがたは、…です。 Watashi no ketsueki-gata wa, … desu.)

    Example:

    A: なおこの血液型は何型?
    A: (なおこのけつえきがたはなにがた? Naoko no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata?)
    A: “What’s Naoko’s blood type?”

    B: なおこの血液型は、O型。
    B: (なおこのけつえきがたは、Oがた。, Naoko no ketsueki-gata wa, O-gata.)
    B: “Naoko’s blood type is O.”

    Tokyo

    6. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn more Japanese

    You’ve learned some secret Japanese blood type personalities with useful Japanese phrases to describe your blood type personality.

    To sum up, we had a look at each blood type and its personality and temperament, and blood type compatibility for each type. Do you think that they are true? Also, do you know how to describe your personality in Japanese? JapanesePod101 has prepared a list of useful Japanese adjectives to describe your personality for you to study. It is available online, so feel free to download it for free.

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    So next time you run into a Japanese person and want to understand their personality quickly, why not ask a simple question, like:

    血液型は何型ですか。
    ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata desu ka.
    “What is your blood type?”

    JapanesePod101 has many vocabulary lists available on our website for you to download for free. Why don’t you prepare a self-introduction, including your blood type and your personality in Japanese? Click “10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself” to learn practical phrases in Japanese.

    Thank you and we hope that you enjoy learning Japanese!

    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!