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Japanese History

What does Kioi-chō mean?

JapanThis! Where etymology, Japanese history, and James muthafuckin’ Bond collide. Yeah, you read that right.

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Japanese History

What does Shinjuku mean?

Shinjuku is one of the craziest places in Tokyo. Guess what. It’s ALWAYS been like that!

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Japanese History

What does Chōfu mean? (Part Deux)

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 Cloth Fetish, but as it turns out the fetish isn’t as freaky as Setagaya and […]

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Japanese History

What does Chōfu mean? (Part One)

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.

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Japanese History Tokyo Rivers

The Edo River

Soy sauce, sweet rice vinegar, Disneyland, oh my! The Edo River has it all! Plus fireworks!

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Japanese History Tokyo Rivers

The Tama River

The Tama RIver is another river associated with the Edo Period, but in reality, it's history goes back much further…

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Japanese History

What does Tabata mean?

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 […]

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Japanese History

What does Suitengumae mean?

Want to announce your pregnancy the sneaky Tokyo way? This is the article for you.

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Japanese History

What does Hamamatsu-cho 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 […]

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Japanese History

What does Sendagaya mean?

Today’s topic was a reader request. But to be honest, I’ve been wanting to write about this place for a while.