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May 2018


I’ve been debating this one for a bit, but I think I’m going to wade in anyway. There’s a YouTube channel called “Find Your Love in Japan”, a channel run by a YouTuber named “Nobita”.  He recently made several videos about how he feels about “Black” people and their perceived attitudes. I’m not going to go into how I feel about what he said to any degree, for obvious reasons.  Suffice it to say he had a few valid points and a few not so valid ones, and the valid… Read More »Nobita


We Americans do not greet people the same way Japanese people do, and I think it says a lot about our culture. A typical greeting for Americans might be “Hi!  How are you?”  “I’m fine, and you?”  “Fine!”  “Nice to meet you”  “Nice to meet you too”  “See you later”. I’ve noticed Japanese courses would translate this to the following dialogue in Japanese, and actually teach it: “こんいちわ!お元気ですか?” ”元気です、あなたわお元気ですか?” ”元気です!” ”よろしくお願いします” ”よろしくお願いします” ”さようなら” These are phrases taken from actual beginner courses I took, through Rosetta stone and otherwise.  These are perfectly… Read More »Greetings


A new Kinokuniya just opened in Austin.  I discovered it by accident, as it is right next door to Kura Sushi, which is one of my favorite places to eat sushi. As I walked in, two thoughts filled my head.  “Holy crap, I just found the mother lode” was one.  The other was “There goes my budget”. They have Japanese language magazines.  They have Japanese language books.  They have Japanese language manga.  They have books on how to learn Japanese.  They have plushes, they have stationery, they have novelties, they… Read More »Kinokuniya

The Limits of Language

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world” – Wittgenstein This is a topic that I have been thinking a lot about for the past couple of weeks – in fact, I’ve even wrote a couple of posts touching on this idea.  In general, language shapes our thinking and our perception of the world – if there is something that is unexpressible in language, we then try our hardest to find a way to express it in language, and more often than not, we will usually take… Read More »The Limits of Language

Sunday Song #1: Oogoe Diamond (AKB48)

This will be a new weekly feature.  I will take a specific song from a Japanese group or artist, and do a deep dive on the lyrics (as much as I can with my current lacking Japanese skills).  The first song will be a popular AKB48 song, but I’ll pick from all sorts of groups and artists. Oogoe diamond is a very sweet and a little heartbreaking song, written in a minor key.  This actually is something I’ve noticed that Japanese pop groups tend to do – they mix modalities. … Read More »Sunday Song #1: Oogoe Diamond (AKB48)


Every year, around springtime, the cherry trees in Japan (sakura, or 桜) bloom. It’s only for a few days, and I’m to understand it is justifiably considered a national treasure.  People come from all over the world to see the beautiful blooming of the cherry trees, and there is much said in Japanese art and music about the cherry trees.  In fact, several AKB48 songs reference cherry trees, such as Sakura No Hanabiratchi, Sakura No Shiori, and maybe one of the more heartrending, Sakura no Ki Ni Narou: I will… Read More »Sakura

In the Beginning

While I am a little (okay, a LOT) burned out on it, I am a bit of a theology nerd.  This is not a theology blog and it will not become one.  But as in the post Kami, there are some interesting theological insights to be gained from seeing how western theology interacts with Japanese culture. The Bible has been translated into Japanese.  The very first sentence is this: まだ何もなかった時、神は天と地を造りました Note the character 神, which means Kami, or God. Here in the west, we have a very specific idea of who… Read More »In the Beginning


One thing I love about learning a new language, is that once you get past the basics, there is always something to discover.  I’m still a beginner by all means, but I consider having learned hiragana and katakana, and getting to the point where I understand the language enough to actually discover things, to be “getting past the basics”. Even though arguably I have not. Yesterday, I encountered the word “大日本”, which means “greater Japan”.  I found that it was pronounced “dai-nihon”.  I knew the characters for “nihon” (日本), and I know… Read More »Discovery

A Post About Actually Learning Japanese

After all of the posts about Japanese culture I’ve been spewing forth, I thought I’d write one about actually learning Japanese. I finally found a tool that I actually like, and I finally feel like I’m actually learning things. Putting the effort into learning hiragana and katakana has been completely invaluable.  I say this because it underpins absolutely everything else, and I think that this is probably the first thing that needs to be done – before kanji, before pronunciation, before everything.  Because it makes everything past that so much… Read More »A Post About Actually Learning Japanese