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Japanese History

What does Myogadani mean?

This place name is a hot mess. All aboard the Tangent Express!!!

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Japanese History Travel in Japan

What does Haneda mean?

Nobody ever thinks about the etymology airport names. Be one of the few chosen ones!

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Japanese History Travel in Japan

Tokyo Train Line Names

Most of the train lines in Tōkyō have names based on whatever major area they originated/terminated – or at least stopped at. For example, the Marunouchi Line’s most important stations were in the former Marunouchi (Daimyō Alley) and the Yamanote Line connected centers of the “new Yamanote.[ii]” Some of the more ambitious, longer train lines have names that describe their start/stop points in general terms. This type of name usually reflects the tendency of the Japanese language to make new matches out of existing kanji.

Most of these names are self-evident to the Japanese, especially people who live and/or work in and around Tōkyō. But many of these names may be slightly mysterious to foreigners.

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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.

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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
Japan Japanese Music

Top 10 Japanese Songs of Summer 2

Part 2 of the JapanThis list of Top 10 Songs of Summer in Japan. This list is less traditional. But screw it, I’m busy as hell and have no time to write or go to festivals or anything. Indulge me this month for slacking off, please.

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Japan Japanese Music

Top 10 Japanese Songs of Summer 1

Japanese Top 10 Songs of Summer (part 1) This list is divided into 2 parts. The first part is a little more traditional, or at least songs that you’ll associate with summer because they only are heard in the summer or because they are about the summer. The second half is made of songs I […]

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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 […]

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Japan Japanese iPhone Travel in Japan

Free Wifi for Travelers in Japan

So you’re planning a trip to Japan. You have a smartphone or PC and you’re worried about only having wifi in your hotel room. Flets will give you access to their hotspots around Tokyo (and some other cities). It might not be perfect, but it’s better than nothing. And it’s FREE!

Categories
Japanese History

Two Famous Murders in My Neighborhood (part 2)

Today I continue with Part 2 of “Two Famous Murders in my Neighborhood.” Last time we talked about the assassination of interpreter, Henry Heusken. Today, we’ll talk about the douchiest 志士 shishi (men of high purpose) of the Bakumatsu, Kiyokawa Hachiro who was killed in Azabu-Juban.

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Japanese Castles Japanese History

Check Out These Japanese Castles!

I’ve talked about Edo Castle quite a bit on Japan This! If you wanna see some great pictures and descriptions of Edo Castle and other Japanese Castles, please check out Jcastle.info. It’s a bad ass site and I know you’ll love the shit out of it! #japanesecastles #japanesehistory #japan #castle #twinglish

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Japanese History

Conflag Hag – How Fires Shaped the Face of Edo and Tokyo

Major fires (conflagrations) have changed the organization and look of Tokyo, Japan. Today let’s look at some of the major disasters that made Tokyo what it is today!

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Japanese History Japanese Sex

What does Yoshiwara mean?

Why is Yoshiwara called Yoshiwara?

It’s considered one of the most beautiful times and places in Japanese history. But so-called “Western sensibilities” shut it down. But the legend still persists as the a place to go for fun. Western cultures slut shaming Asia again…

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Uncategorized

The Difference Between Donkeys and Oxen

In yesterday’s blog, Why is Hanzomon called Hanzomon?, I posted this picture: In the picture comments, I said something about “donkey people” as a joke. Someone pointed out that these are actually oxen. I know. It actually cracked me up that I got e-mails about this. Not so much that I wanted people to think […]

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Japanese History

Why is Shinjuku called Shinjuku?

新宿 Shinjuku (New Shuku → New Post Town) The word 宿 shuku (宿場 shuku-ba “rest town”) was used in the Edo Period to refer to post towns on the highway system connecting various feudal domains. When a certain daimyō built his lower residence in the area, a new post town was created on the Kōshū Kaidō post […]

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Japanese Manners

Japanese Manners (part 3)

In my commute back from work today, I thought of some more Japanese manners that I hadn’t mentioned before. If you haven’t seen parts 1 and 2 yet, please take a look: PART ONE – 4 manners that you absolutely must know when visiting Japan. PART TWO – 4 more manners that will help you […]

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Japanese Manners

Japanese Manners (part 2)

This is PART 2 of a three part series on Japanese Manners. You should read these all before you come. When in Rome do as the Romans do and you’ll have more fun. Guaranteed!

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Japanese Holidays Japanese Manners Travel in Japan

Japanese Manners (part 1)

Going to Japan for the first time? There are a lot of manners and commonsensical behaviors that people do here and just take for granted that everyone knows. But the fact is that if you’re visiting Japan for the first time, you probably don’t know most (or maybe any) of the local customs. If I […]

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Japanese History Travel in Japan

Japanese Toilets!!!

The history of Japanese toilets starts with crude holes in the ground but now Japanese toilets lead the way in excitement and innovation!

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Japanese iPhone

Using Japanese Emoji on Facebook Update

UPDATE: Due to constant updates in iOS, the information in this blog post is no longer relevant.  (3/25/2013) A few months ago, I described how to enable the Japanese keyboard on an iPhone to access the Emoji characters.  It’s not difficult to do, but if you don’t need a Japanese keyboard, it seemed kind of […]

Categories
Haunted Tokyo Japanese History

Yodobashi – A Haunted Bridge in Nakano?

Ever heard of Yodobashi Camera? Sure, you have. Ever heard of Yodobashi Ward, Tokyo? Probably not. Every heard of the Yodo Bridge in Tokyo? Most likely not. Have you ever been to Shinjuku or Nakano? Probably, yes….

Categories
Japanese Food

Ramen References for the People

Just a quick follow up to my TOP 5 RAMEN SHOPS IN TOKYO. Before I try a new ramen shop, or if I get a craving for ramen but I’ll be in a part of town where I don’t know any next level ramen, I usually check the Ramen Database.  This site is an awesome […]

Categories
Japanese Food

Marky Star’s Top 5 Ramen Shops in Tokyo♪

Laziness is one of my strong suits, and keeping true to form, I haven’t updated this blog in ages. Sometimes I feel guilty about it, but work and the social life have been keeping me busy — and even though it takes a few minutes to read a blog entry, it actually takes much longer […]

Categories
Japanese iPhone Japanese Slang

Customize iPhone’s Japanese Dictionary

UPDATE: Due to constant updates in iOS, the information in this blog post is no longer relevant.  (3/25/2013) I previously wrote about an iPhone app called 辞書登録Lite (Jisho Tōroku) which allowed you to add words to the iPhone’s Japanese dictionary and determine what yomigana input would trigger the kanji conversion. The app I was writing […]

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Japan Japanese Holidays Travel in Japan

Japanese New Year

OK. This is gonna be loooooooooooooooooooooong. I promise to try my best to be concise, but I’m also trying to include as much as possible for people interested in life in Japan. Japanese New Year is the most important holiday of the year. It’s a big family holiday, much like Christmas, but a bit more […]

Categories
Japanese Music

Lady GAGAku

Gagaku is the name of a type of Japanese music that was developed in the Imperial Court during the Heian Period (794-1185). This music features classical wind, wood and string instruments originally imported from China and Korea.  Even if you don’t know much about East Asian music traditions, I think you’ll agree this one is […]

Categories
Japanese Holidays

Christmas In Japan!

So a lot of people have asked me about Christmas in Japan. Well, the Japanese are masters at appropriating elements or foreign cultures and then thoroughly Japanizing them to fit the the needs of their own culture.
Christmas is no exception.