Categories
Japanese History

What does Miyakezaka mean?

The Miyake clan may not be very famous, but they definitely left their mark on Edo-Tokyo topography.

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Japanese History

What does Narimasu mean?

The greatest fast food capital you’ve never heard of (plus, the shittiest castle ever).

Categories
Japanese History Tokyo Rivers

The Meguro River

The 7th and final installation on my series “RIvers of Edo-Tokyo.” Today I’ll talk about the glorified storm drain called the Meguro River.

Categories
Japanese History Tokyo Rivers

The Edo River

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

Categories
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 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.

Categories
Japanese History Japanese Sex

What does Kameari 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.

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Japanese History

What does Kappabashi mean?

Kappabashi Dōgugai is a shopping street between Ueno & Asakusa famous for stores selling everything needed by restaurateurs incly

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Japanese History

What does Yotsuya mean?

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?

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Japanese History

What does Ichigaya 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.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Toranomon mean?

I’m not even joking when I say I think this name was chosen just because it sounded cool.

Categories
Japanese History Travel in Japan

What does Asakusa mean?

Asakusa – one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Japan.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Kasai 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.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Katsushika 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?

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Japanese History

What does Ogikubo 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?

Categories
Japanese History

10 Ways to Learn Japanese History

Today, I’d like to answer a few readers questions in one post. In short, how can I get an overview of Japanese History? I’m also going to recommend a few online sources that will help you broaden your understanding of Japanese history and culture.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Yurakucho 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.

Categories
Japan Japanese History

What does Ushigome-Yanagicho mean?

Kondo Isami’s dōjō? The birthplace of the Shinsengumi? Lead poisoning? Shinjuku? WTF???

Categories
Japan Japanese Castles Travel in Japan

What does Ushigome 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 […]

Categories
Japan This Lite Japanese History

10 Random Quickies – Japan This Lite

10 Quick Questions From Readers!
(Still took 2 days to write… lol)

Categories
Japanese History

What does Meguro mean?

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.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Nishiarai mean?

Christopher Hitchens claimed that religion poisons everything. In this case, it may have poisoned a place name… but not too badly.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Adachi mean?

Adachi is a very ancient place name that is now generally associated with the Japanese equivalent of “white trash.”

Categories
Japan Japanese History

Why does Japan have Prefectures?

Many countries have states or provinces or regions. But only Japan and France have prefectures. So what’s up with dat?

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Japanese History

What does Musashi mean?

Musashi was an old Japanese province, however the name is still with us today.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Setagaya mean?

Setagaya may not be the most exciting place in the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo, but it’s no slouch. Famous for its inaccessibility, it offers affordable housing and… the Ii Clan’s Funerary Temple in Edo.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Daizawa mean?

Easiest place name ever.

Categories
Japan Japanese History

Samurai Archives Podcast (part 1)

So……… yeah. Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter may have seen my giddy posts about doing a podcast with some of the guys from Samurai Archives. I finally got to do it and although I was super nervous to talk with them, it actually was the most normal and natural thing […]

Categories
Japanese History

What does Daita mean?

One of the official place names near Shimo-Kitazawa is Daita. It seems to have a mythological origin and a possible tie in to the original creation myths of Japan.