A Gaijin in Tokyo

A Gaijin in Tokyo

In our last article, Alison noted how lazy we Brits are when it comes to getting a handle on the native language when preparing to travel abroad. From my own experience I’ve seen just how extensive this can be and I’m guilty as charged.

In both 2011 and 2012 I travelled to Tokyo for a combined total of 5 weeks. As a generally reserved chap, I wanted to try and make sure that I could be polite and avoid any basic cultural faux pas. So I learnt how to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” & gave myself a crash course in Japanese numeracy and most important of all, ensured I could order a beer. A bit of light reading from a guide book and off I went.
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Autumn colours of Shinjuku

Picture Postcards from Tokyo

Being part of a company working with languages every day really helps stoke the desire to travel. I have just returned from another trip to Tokyo, my third time in as many years. If you have followed some of my previous articles you may be forgiven for thinking I am developing something of an affinity for the place. It’s true, I think if I could, I would relocate there in heartbeat. Read more

nom nom nom cake

Cake for Quake

Its Cake for Quake Day at K International.

We’ve all brought in cake to raise money for the British Red Cross to help them with the Japan Tsunami Appeal.

Here are some pictures. If you are in the area please drop in and give us your cash.

want some cake? put some ££ in the cup

some home made. some not (but best are home made).

they’re going like hot cakes.

Gemma’s beautiful cup cakes

Japanese Company’s Translation Fail Goes Viral

A Japanese company’s new mascot gained them a boatload of Internet attention last month- but probably not the kind they were aiming for.

In October, Fukushima Industries introduced a new mascot in the form of a cutesy flying egg with an indeterminate gender identity and an eerily chipper demeanor. The mascot’s name? Fukuppy, which was apparently an attempt to meld the company name with the last 3 letters of the English word “happy.” Read more


Japanese Came to Japan With Agriculture, Researchers Say

Recently, researchers at the University of Tokyo completed an analysis of the different dialects of the Japanese language and how they evolved. According to the New York Times, the results appear to shed light on the origins of the Japonic language family, which includes both Japanese and Ryukyuan, a related language spoken by islanders to the south.

The researchers were trying to answer a question that has long vexed linguists: where did the Japanese language originate, and who brought it to Japan? There are two possible contenders: the Jomon people, a group of hunter-gatherers who arrived on the island during the last ice age,  or the Yayoi, a group of rice farmers who came later. Read more