JapanThis! Where etymology, Japanese history, and James muthafuckin’ Bond collide. Yeah, you read that right. Continue reading What does Kioi-chō mean?
Shinjuku is one of the craziest places in Tokyo. Guess what. It’s ALWAYS been like that! Continue reading What does Shinjuku mean?
調布の玉川Chōfu no Tamagawa (a reference to cloth production and dyeing on the Tama River) In reference to my article entitled Setagaya and its Freaky Horse Fetish, I was going to name this article The Tama River Basin and its Freaky … Continue reading What does Chōfu mean? (Part Deux)
Chōfu is a suburb west of the 23 Wards that is home to many historical treasures. It’s best known as the hometown of Kondō Isami, leader of the Shinsengumi. Continue reading What does Chōfu mean? (Part One)
Soy sauce, sweet rice vinegar, Disneyland, oh my! The Edo River has it all! Plus fireworks! Continue reading The Edo River
The Tama RIver is another river associated with the Edo Period, but in reality, it's history goes back much further…
Continue reading The Tama River
田端Tabata (on the edge of the field) First Let’s Start with the Kanji, Shall We? 田ta rice paddy 端hata edge, boundary, beside, close to This is a place name found all over Japan, with reading variations. It’s also a family name found all over Japan… yes, also with reading variations[i]. And despite sounding really backwatery to our modern ears, many people with this family name can apparently claim descent from the 源氏 Minamoto-shi/Genji Minamoto clan. So, stuff that in your pipe and smoke it. In the Edo Period, 田端村 Tabata Mura Tabata Village was located on a section of the … Continue reading What does Tabata mean?
Want to announce your pregnancy the sneaky Tokyo way? This is the article for you.
Continue reading What does Suitengumae mean?
浜松町 Hamamatsu-chō (seaside pine town, more at Hamamatsu town) . There’s not a lot to go on with this place name. A lot of it adds up, but a lot of it doesn’t. As such, we’ll probably have to do a little more filling in the gaps than I like to do. But anyways, let’s see where this takes us. . On the record, here’s what we’ve got. . At the beginning of the Edo Period, the 増上寺代官 Zōjō-ji daikan magistrate of Zōjō-ji[i] 奥住久右衛門 Ozumi Kyūemon[ii] lived here. Because of that, the area was called affectionately called 久右衛門町 Kyūemon-chō Kyūemon Town. However, … Continue reading What does Hamamatsu-cho mean?
Today’s topic was a reader request. But to be honest, I’ve been wanting to write about this place for a while. Continue reading What does Sendagaya mean?
Today we’re talking about Kameari in Katsushika Ward. It’s an interesting place name that’’s easy to speculate about because of the kanji. Continue reading What does Kameari mean?
This place name is a hot mess. All aboard the Tangent Express!!! Continue reading What does Myogadani mean?
Recently, we’ve looked at a few places in Sumida and Katsushika. Today let’s learn about the river that linked these two places together and what happened to that river. Continue reading What does Hikifune mean?
Kappabashi Dōgugai is a shopping street between Ueno & Asakusa famous for stores selling everything needed by restaurateurs incly Continue reading What does Kappabashi mean?
Today, Roppongi is a party town. For years it’s been popular with foreigners due to its proximity to so many foreign embassies. Because of this proximity, the area is relatively English-friendly which makes it a destination for foreigners visiting Japan and the seedy businesses that often cater to (or try to take advantage of) foreigners. But in the Edo Period, this was home to sprawling mansions of the elite ruling class. Many of the street blocks still correspond to the locations of these residences. Continue reading Why is Roppongi called Roppongi
Most people seem to think the name Yotsuya is old. Old as in it pre-dates the Edo Period. But one thing that is consistent in most of the etymologies is the first kanji, 四 yottsu four. Much of the mystery of this place name seems to come from the final character. That said, the “number 4” character is also suspect. So let’s be skeptical, shall we? Continue reading What does Yotsuya mean?
OK, so I’ve wanted to write about Ichigaya for a long time, but it is connected to a few other place names which have made it difficult to cover until now. I’m just gonna through this out there now and say my gut instinct tells me none of the etymologies we’ll see today are correct and we’ll never know the true etymology. That said, there’s a little Ota Dokan connection, so heads up to all the Ota Dokan fans out there. Continue reading What does Ichigaya mean?
Asakusa – one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Japan. Continue reading What does Asakusa mean?
Kasai seems like a place name, and the term is used, but in Tokyo, there actually isn’t any real area named Kasai. Yet, the name is very ancient. So, say hello to my little friend, Kasai. Continue reading What does Kasai mean?
Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward and Saitama’s Kita-Katsushika and Minami Katsushika Districts derive their names from the pre-modern Katsushika District of Shimōsa Province, but where did the ancient name come from? Continue reading What does Katsushika mean?
At the very end of the Marunouchi Line in Suginami Ward lies an area called Ogikubo. The name, “grassy basin” seems straight forward enough, but might there be a Buddhist connection as well? Continue reading What does Ogikubo mean?
Formerly part of the outer enclosure of Edo Castle and now a shopping district next to Ginza, Yurakucho is strange name with an elusive past. Continue reading What does Yurakucho mean?
Kondo Isami’s dōjō? The birthplace of the Shinsengumi? Lead poisoning? Shinjuku? WTF??? Continue reading What does Ushigome-Yanagicho mean?
Middle class and upper middle class samurai? Yes, please! Continue reading What does Ushigome Tansu Machi mean?
牛込 Ushigome (Crowd of Cows) 。 。 牛 ushi cow 込 komi[i] swarming, huddling, amassed, crowded, “in bulk” 。 According to Japanese Wikipedia[ii], in 701, in accordance to the Taihō Code, a livestock ranch was established in this area. In fact, two were established which were sometimes referred to as 牛牧 gyūmaki a cow ranch and 馬牧 umamaki a horse ranch. These two locations came to be referred to as 牛込 Ushigome and 駒込 Komagome. The fact that there was a cattle/dairy ranch here in the Asuka Period is a known fact (it’s documented). The horse ranch is a different … Continue reading What does Ushigome mean?
A rich guy, a castle and a nature preserve walk into a bar… Continue reading What does Shirokane mean?
Went a little long on this on… sorry about that. But I love Tokyo. I wanted to explore the forgotten side… Continue reading What does Edo mean?
10 Quick Questions From Readers!
(Still took 2 days to write… lol) Continue reading 10 Random Quickies – Japan This Lite
Meguro is the name of several postal codes, a river, a handful of bus stops and train stations, and one of the 23 Special Wards of the Tokyo Metropolis. The name means “Black Eyes.” Weird. Continue reading What does Meguro mean?
Christopher Hitchens claimed that religion poisons everything. In this case, it may have poisoned a place name… but not too badly. Continue reading What does Nishiarai mean?