• 日本人に多い名前は?

    [From October Issue 2010]

    In Japanese, “namae” usually means a person’s “full name” (given & surname), however, it can also refer to just your given name, a similar concept to English. Generally, Japanese call one another by their surnames, although among close friends they may use given names.

    In Japan, it is said there are about 300,000 different surnames, of which 7,000 comprise 96%. It was only in 1875, after the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, that ordinary Japanese people were permitted to use their surnames. Everyone could freely have a surname, in order to distinguish themselves from other families, and as a result, many people used names derived from where they lived, such as near a mountain, valley, tree, river, rice field, field, hill or the sea.

    The top 10 surnames in Japan are: 1. Satou, 2. Suzuki, 3. Takahashi, 4. Tanaka, 5. Watanabe, 6. Itou, 7. Yamamoto, 8. Nakamura, 9. Kobayashi, and 10. Saitou. The most common, Satou, is used by nearly 2 million Japanese, while the 10th most frequent, Saitou, is used by nearly 1 million.

    Children’s names also reflect the times. In the year the present Emperor married, many girls were named “Michiko,” after the new princess. Then, when MATSUZAKA Daisuke set great high school baseball records, many boys were given his name.

    Until roughly the 1970s, kanji symbols for male names included男, 夫, 雄 (these are read as “o”) as 秀男 (Hideo), while for girls in kanji symbols such as 子 (ko) as in 秀子(Hideko) were generally added to the end. This is similar to English names ending in “o” like Antonio and “a” like Antonia.

    In the 80s and after, the number of parents giving their children unique names increased. According to the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company, which conducts yearly name surveys, 2009’s most popular name for boys was Haruto, while for girls it was Yuna.

    Since 2000, the three most popular boy’s names have been: Haruto, Yuuto and Yuuki. while popular girls names included: Ayaka, Yui and Yuna. However, many different kanji are used for those names. They use various uncommon Japanese kanji characters, making them very difficult to read even for Japanese.

    大翔 (Taiga / Hiroto and other readings), was the most widely used kanji for boys, embodying the image of flying high. For girls it was陽菜 (Hina / Haruna and other readings), which embodies the image of flowers and the grass gleaming in the sunshine. These names seemingly imply the Japanese wish for optimism and a bright future for their children.

    Previously, traditional Japanese boy’s names included Kiyoshi and Makoto, while traditional girl’s names included Kazuko and Ai.




    多い名字のベストテンは次の通りです。1.佐藤 2. 鈴木 3. 高橋 4. 田中 5. 渡辺 6. 伊藤 7. 山本 8. 中村 9. 小林 10. 斉藤。1位の佐藤は200万人近く、10位の斉藤も100万人近くいます。







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  • 日本には英語のメニューがあるレストランは少ない

    [From September Issue 2010]

    Something that non-Japanese must find inconvenient is restaurant menus. Called “oshinagaki” in Japanese, the term “menu” is now also casually used. Nevertheless, most restaurants still only provide ones written in Japanese.

    What many restaurants in Japan do provide are menus with photos so that customers can see what food is available, however, it is still difficult to know what ingredients make up each dish.

    On most menus you will often see the following kanji: “肉” (niku) or meat, “魚” (sakana) or fish and “野菜” (yasai) or vegetable. Meat dishes usually include these kanji: “牛” (gyuu) or beef, “豚” (ton / buta) or pork and “鶏” (tori) or chicken. Most Japanese know these English words, so you can use them when ordering from the waiter/waitress, just in case you forgot the kanji.

    However, most Japanese do not know the English names of specific fish or vegetables, for instance, maguro (tuna), katsuo (bonito), negi (leek) and nasu (eggplant).

    Other important kanji to know are “ご飯” (gohan) or rice and “麺” (men) or noodles, as they are Japan’s staple foods. Also cooking terms such as “~焼” (yaki) or grilled/baked, “~炒め” (itame) or fried, “~揚げ” (age) or deep fried and “~煮” (ni / niru) or boiled are also essential. “甘” (ama / amai / kan) or sweet, “辛” (kara / karai / sin) or hot and “酢” (su / suppai) or sour are also often used.

    Regarding drinks, sake is usually written in kanji as “酒.” Sake traditionally means Japanese rice wine, but it can also refer to any alcohol, including beer, wine, whisky, shochuu, and so on.

    “O.cha” is generally translated as “tea” in Japanese. Usually in Japan, restaurants serve free drinks such as water “水” (mizu) and Japanese tea “お茶” (o.cha). But if you ask a waiter/waitress for “tea,” he/she will probably bring you red tea, for which you have to pay, just like coffee. So if you want free Japanese tea, please ask for “o.cha” or “green tea.”

    Most restaurant signboards written in Japanese read like “日本料理” (Japanese cuisine), “居酒屋” (izakaya) or pub and “寿司” (sushi). Inside some izakaya that many non-Japanese enjoy, there are more menu items written in Japanese on the walls. So, in order to truly enjoy Japanese food, it is necessary to learn a minimum amount of kanji.

    While katakana is generally used for the names of animals and plants, so can both kanji and hiragana.











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  • 道をたずねる

    [From August Issue 2010]

    While most Japanese do not speak English, they do know some basic English words. When you ask them the way to a station, they will only understand if you use the English word “station.” However, when you lose your way and try asking “Where am I?” few Japanese will understand what you are saying. Instead, you should ask in Japanese, “Koko wa doko desuka?” Furthermore, big city streets in Japan are very complicated, so it is recommended that you bring a map whenever you visit a new place.

    Even if you fortunately encounter an English speaking person, they may not be a local. They still may not be able to help you. On such occasions, it may be best to ask someone in a local shop. If you can not communicate in English, try asking “Eigo o hanasu hito imasu ka.” (Is there anyone here who speaks English?) If you can not find anyone who does, then ask “Kouban wa dokodesu ka.” (Where is the police box?)

    Japan is said to be one of the world’s safest countries, partly because of the system of neighborhood police boxes. In Japan there are more than 6,000 police boxes, each responsible for overseeing a particular area. Therefore, policemen know their local geography well. Even many Japanese ask for directions at the police box.

    “Koko kara donokurai kakarimasu ka” (How long does it take?) is also an useful question. People may reply, “Aruite / kuruma de go-fun” (five minute on foot / by car.” The words “fun / pun” (minute) and “jikan” (hour) are must-learn words.

    When people wait for someone at a train station, they usually meet them at the ticket gate. But there are many ticket gates in big stations like Shinjuku and Shibuya. Each one is usually named “East entrance/exit” and/or “South entrance/exit.” Subway stations generally have exit names like “A1” and/or “B2.” Still, even Japanese can sometimes have trouble finding the right gate.

    Therefore, many people meet at landmarks in front of stations, such as “Studio Alta” at Shinjuku station and “Hachiko” at Shibuya station. These landmarks are very well known. So, for instance if you lose your way at Shinjuku station, just ask someone, “Aruta sutajio wa doko desu ka,” (Where is Studio Alta?) and they will help you easily find it.

    Words and phrases often used when asking for directions include: “~ dori” (~ street), “shingou” (signal), “kado” (corner), “juujiro” (intersection), “T-jiro” (T-junction), “ikidomari” (dead end), “massugu” (go straight), “migi ni magaru” (turn right) and “hidari ni magaru” (turn left). When you go to an unfamiliar place you should learn about some of the area’s landmarks beforehand, such as department stores and public facilities. Those who you ask for directions may say: “xx depa-to no chikaku” (near xx department store), “~ no sangen saki” (three buildings past ~), “~ no mukai gawa / hantai gawa” (the opposite side of ~) and “~ no naname mae” (diagonally across from ~).


    多くの日本人は英語を話せませんが、簡単な英単語は知っています。道をたずねるとき、「Station?」のように、英単語を言うだけで通じるでしょう。しかし、道に迷ったときに、英語で「Where am I?」と言っても、わからない人が多いでしょう。「ここはどこですか」と聞いてください。日本の大都市の道路はわかりづらいので、知らない場所に行くときには地図を持って行ったほうがよいでしょう。







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  • 日本での賢い買い物

    [From July Issue 2010]

    It was once said that Tokyo is the most expensive city to live in, but that has drastically changed. Since Japan is now in the middle of a recession, inexpensive commodities are not only being sold in Tokyo, but across the nation. Depending on how you shop, it’s very easy to buy inexpensive merchandise. The best way is to visit discount stores and specialty shops.

    Many people buy electrical appliances at big discount stores including “Yamada Denki,” “Edion,” “Bic Camera,” “Yodobashi Camera” and “K’s Denki,” which are scattered across the nation. Some places, like Tokyo’s Akihabara and Shinjuku areas, have lots of big discount stores. Although most of their merchandise is inexpensive, it is always better to check the prices at several stores before you buy, as prices can vary from place to place.

    In the clothing market “Uniqlo” remains the most popular because of its durability, nice design and reasonable pricing. However, to compete with Uniqlo, famous overseas brands such as Sweden’s “H&M” and “Forever 21” from the USA, have started doing business in Japan and are becoming popular with young women.

    “Tokyu Hands” stores are very popular. They are one-stop shops where well-designed, do-it-yourself, home and lifestyle products are available. “Loft,” which sells mostly sundries, is also another popular, variety goods store. “Don Quijote” is the most famous of the discount shops. They are filled to the rafters with items, some even hanging from the ceiling, making the stores resemble a jungle.

    Furthermore, 100 Yen shops are also very popular. You can buy items ranging from stationary to the household goods and even watches for only 100 yen. For the price, the quality of the items is good, with almost no difference compared with regular-priced items. And because everything is so affordable, it makes purchasing easier, even for those who have no intention to shop to begin with.

    While most English product-words are now understood by store staff, some exceptions – refrigerator (reizouko), washing machine (sentakuki), vacuum cleaner (soujiki) and rice cooker (suihanki) – still exist. It is also recommended that you learn the word “hoshousho,” or guarantee, which usually comes with most items. Recently, as the number of foreign customers is increasing, many big discount shops now also employ English and Chinese speaking staff.

    Color is always an important element in clothing, and most Japanese understand the common English words for white (shiro), black (kuro), red (aka), blue (ao), yellow (kiiro), green (midori) and purple (murasaki). Traditional Japanese words such as “haiiro,” “daidai,” and “momoiro” are not used much anymore, having been replaced by “gurei,” “orengi,” and “pinku.” With sizes, you can say “ookii” for large, “motto ookii” for larger, “chiisai” for small and “motto chiisai” for smaller.




    衣料品では、「ユニクロ」が断然人気です。丈夫で、デザインもよく、しかも安いのが受けている理由です。最近は、ユニクロに対抗するように、スウェーデンの「H&M」やアメリカの「 Forever21 」など、海外ブランドショップも日本に進出し、若い女性に人気を得ています。



    製品名はほとんど英語で通じます。英語で通じにくい製品は「冷蔵庫」(refrigerator)、「洗濯機」(washing machine)、「掃除機」(vacuum cleaner)「炊飯器」(rice cooker)。また、製品についてくる「保証書」(guarantee)も覚えてください。最近は、外国人客が増えたため、英語や中国語を話すスタッフを用意している大型店も増えました。


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  • 手軽に食べられる日本食

    [From June Issue 2010]

    There are a variety of different foods available in Japan, including Chinese, Korean and Western cuisines, and among them is the Japanese light meal, or fast food. “Yoshinoya,” “Matsuya” and “Sukiya” are well-known gyu-don (beaf bowl) chain restaurants where you can have a regular-sized bowl for less than 300 yen. “Tenya” is another well-known chain restaurant that specializes in ten-don (tempura bowl).

    “Don” means bowl, and “gyu” mean “cow” or “beef,” so together it’s a bowl of beef, with gravy, on rice. “Ten-don” is a tempura rice bowl, and “una-don” is unagi (eel) rice bowl. “Katsu-don” is made with a batter-coated and deep fried pork cutlet, while “oyako-don” is mixed chicken with eggs, on rice. In Japanese, “oyako” means parent and child, and since a chicken and an egg are similar, that’s how it got it’s name.

    Ramen (noodles) is the most widely eaten food in Japan, with more than 25,000 ramen restaurants across the country, and about 3,000 in Tokyo alone. Though ramen came from China, its cooking has been developed in Japan to meet Japanese taste for so long that it is considered to be Japanese food. Originally, it was cooked with a soy sauce broth, but nowadays there are many varieties, including miso-based and salt-based flavors. In Japanese, “men” means “noodle.” Other noodles like soba and udon are also included in “men.”

    Traditionally, sushi was considered a luxury food. However, now that kaitenzusi has spread across Japan, inexpensive sushi is now readily available at kaitenzushi restaurant chains such as Sushiro, Kura-zushi and Kappa Zushi. In kanji, sushi is written commonly as “寿司,” but it is originally written as “鮨.” The kanji is a combination of “魚” (fish) and “旨い” (tasty), and means “tasty fish.” This kanji is also used now.

    Many so-called “famiresu” or “family restaurants” such as “Gusto,” “Denny’s,” “Saizeriya” and “Jonathon’s” are often frequented by non-Japanese, especially tourists. There, you can enjoy meals in a relaxed atmosphere, with different dishes to choose from, all at reasonable prices.

    Upon entering, restaurant staff members will usually greet you with “irasshaimase” (welcome, or come in), but you don’t have to reply as it is just a customary greeting. And don’t forget that in Japan tipping does not exist.

    At some restaurants you may come across these signs: “本日休業” (closed today), “臨時休業” (temporarily closed),“営業中” (now open), or “準備中” (under preparation).

    The following Japanese words are often used at the table.

    Mizu (water), o-cha (tea), biiru (beer), koppu (glass), hashi (chopsticks), satou (sugar), shio (salt), koshou (pepper), wasabi (horse radish), shouyu (soy sauce), sousu (sauce), su (vinegar), kaikei (bill), otsuri (change), and ryoushuusho (receipt). Often used phrases include “mada desuka” (Not ready yet?), “okawari” (another one), “xx arimasuka” (Do you have xx?) and “ikuradesuka?” (How much is it?).











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  • 日常生活に欠かせないコンビニ

    [From May Issue 2010]

    “Konbini” or “convini” is the Japanese short form for convenience stores, the system of which was imported from the USA. They open from early morning to late at night, some remaining open for 24 hours. Japanese convenience stores do more than just sell daily items – they also provide a variety of other services.

    One of them is an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). Besides making deposits, withdrawals or bank transfers, you can also use them to pay your monthly gas, water and electricity bills. A photocopy machine is usually available, and you can also purchase movie and special event tickets there.

    The peculiarity of Japanese convenience stores is the high volume of lunch box (bento) purchases, which can account for 40% of a store’s total sales. The lunch boxes range from sushi to noodles to sandwiches, but among all edible items, onigiri is number one. However, you can not see an onigiri’s ingredients, and there is no written English description.

    If you want your lunch box or onigiri warmed up, at the counter just say, “Atatamete kudasai,” and the staff will heat your food into their microwave. There is also a large, hot and cold beverage selection, offering colas, teas, coffees, Japanese tea, alcohol and drinks made with nutritional supplements.

    In Japan there are some convenience stores that do not sell alcohol or cigarettes, outside of which there is usually a sign reading “酒、たばこ.” And, while the Japanese are fond of beer, the newest trend is for both low-malt and dai-san beers (beers made without highly-taxed barley). Furthermore, with more restaurants turning non-smoking, convenience stores have set up ashtrays for smokers next to their outdoor trash containers.

    Other store amenities include a magazine corner, personal hygiene items such as tooth brushes and health masks, and umbrellas for sudden downpours. Thus, convenience stores provide all kinds of goods and services necessary for daily life.








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  • 銀行を利用する基礎知識

    [From April Issue 2010]

    While living in Japan it is important to learn how to use the various banking services. The Japanese word for “bank” is ginkou, however, most Japanese understand the term “bank.” There are three major banks in Japan: “Tokyo-Mitsubishi-UFJ,” “Sumitomo-Mitsui” and “Mizuho.”

    To convert foreign currency to yen, follow the signs to a kawase or gaika ryougae (money exchange counter), and take a number from the automated dispenser. When it is your turn, your number will be displayed on an electronic signboard, and called out loud.

    The word for bank note, or bill, is shihei or satsu. Japan uses four different bank notes: sen en (one thousand yen), ni-sen en (two-thousand yen, which is rarely used nowadays), go-sen en (five thousand yen) and ichi-man en (ten thousand yen). Japan also uses six different coins: they are ichi en (one yen), go en (five yen), juu en (ten yen), go-juu en (fifty yen), hyaku en (one hundred yen) and go-hyaku en (five hundred yen).

    Learning how to count money properly is also important – 1, 000 yen is not issen en, but sen en, 10,000 yen is not pronounced juu sen en, but ichi-man en.

    The method of opening a kouza (your account) differs from bank to bank. The kouza-mei (the account holder’s name) is usually registered in kanji, but for non-Japanese it can be in either katakana or English. In Japan a hanko, or inkan (personal seal/stamp) is generally necessary, but for non-Japanese people many banks will accept your signature instead.

    Katakana is Japanese script based on foreign word sounds, and does have its limitations. For instance, in Japan there is no such word as “victor,” because there is no ‘v’ sound in Japanese, so it may be written as “ヴィクター,” or “ビクター.” There are no official katakana rules, so you can choose your own spelling.

    You can access your account in person, or more likely by using your bank card at an ATM. If you want to withdraw money from your overseas account, or get a cash advance on your credit card, places are usually limited to post offices and 7-ELEVEN convenience store ATMs. Also, some overseas credit cards are not accepted in Japan, so remember to check beforehand.

    When receiving money from overseas in the form of a money-order, expect banks to charge a fee of roughly 5,000 yen per transaction. For instance, if you have a money-order valued at 10,000 yen, after paying the fee, you will only receive 5,000 yen, so it is best to get money sent from overseas in a lump sum, or check Japan’s post offices, where the fees tend to be less.










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  • 駅の設備は便利

    [From March Issue 2010]

    Japan’s train stations offer commuters many different conveniences, including public toilets. The word “toilet” has been adopted in Japanese, but the final “t” is silent. It is pronounced “toire.” In Japanese (romaji) “l” is generally replaced with “r.” You won’t find the signs of “男 men” or “女women,” at the entrance of most of toilets, however “men” and “women” pictographs are displayed. Some toilets have a Japanese sign written as “お手洗” (otearai: literally translated meaning “washing hands”).

    In Japan there are two kinds of toilets which are quite different from one another; youshiki, which is shortened word for seiyou-shiki (洋式western-style) and washiki (和式Japanese-style). “Wa” (和) was the old name for Japan and is often used in comparison to western items such as “washoku” (和食Japanese food) “washitsu” (和室Japanese room) and “washi” (和紙 Japanese paper). Instead of “washiki,” you can say “nihonshiki” (日本式Japanese style).

    Another convenient station facility is the “coin-locker,” in which for 300 yen (in the case of standard size) per day, you can store your luggage. In Japanese (romaji) “Koin-rockaa” is written with a “K” instead of a “C.”

    If you’ve lost or forgotten something in a train, you can report it to “Lost and Found.” But, while most large stations do have one, some of the smaller stations don’t. In that case, you must say to the station clerk, “densha no naka ni wasuremono o shimasita” (I left something in the train). The clerk will then ask you the station you were at, what time you were on the train, and what item(s) you left behind. And while it may take some time to find your items, there is a good chance that you will get your lost property back.

    Due to the popularity of cellular phones, public phones have recently started disappearing. However, station phones remain extremely convenient especially when you’ve forgotten your cellular phone, or if its battery runs out. Some public phones even let you make international calls. “Telephone” is commonly pronounced as “terehon” in Japanese. To make a phone call you need coins or a telephone card (available at most station kiosks).

    At most stations you can find kiosks, where beverages, snacks, masks as well as newspapers and magazines (mostly in Japanese) are sold. Furthermore, plastic umbrellas are also available, usually costing only 500 yen. Some bigger stations also offer coffee shops and standing noodle shops for a quick bite. And these days, some stations even offer bakeries, bookstores, flower shops and full convenience stores.

    Some station entrances and exits are named for directions, such as “East,” “West,” “South” and “North,” while other are named “Central Gate” and “Yaesu Gate” indicating locations. Subways usually have simpler names such as “Al” or “A2”.









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  • 駅の案内板には英語表記もある






    小さな駅へ行く場合には、駅がどこにあるか知らない人が多いと思われますので、路線(ライン)も言わないとわからないかもしれません。たとえば、小田急線の喜多見駅なら、「おだきゅう・せん の きたみ・えき」と、言ってください。(大きな駅には英語で駅名が書かれたパネルもあります)





    [:en][From February Issue 2010]

    Trains are convenient for getting around in Japan. People who can not speak Japanese will have no problem at stations since most of the information boards and signs also use English besides Japanese. Recently Chinese and Korean are also used. Well then, let’s go to a station.
    If you can’t find a station, or a ticket office, to ask for directions just say “Station?” or “Ticket?”, then someone will kindly direct you to these places. These words are now used as Japanese terms. Most English words used in the station can be understood. The word “train” is one of them.
    You will buy a ticket through an automatic ticket machine. The station names and train fare are written on a panel on the wall, so you just put the amount of the fare into the machine. Generally the station names are written in kanji. If you don’t read kanji, just tell a station worker your destination. Then, the person will help you find the fare.
    If you are going to a small station, it is likely that not many people know where it is, so you will have to tell the name of the line (sen), too. Take for example Kitami station on the Odakyu Line. Say “Odakyuu-sen no Kitami eki.” (Some of panels in big stations show station names written in English.)
    Next, you will go to a ticket gate, kaisatsuguchi in Japanese. You should learn the word kaisatsuguchi since not many Japanese understand “ticket gate.” The ticket gate is also automatic. Put your ticket into the ticket mouth of gate and then collect it from the other side. These days most people buy a train pass, which can be purchased in units of 1,000 yen. It will enable you to pass through ticket gates just by holding the pass over the illuminated scanner on the ticket gate.
    You will do the same thing at the station where you get off. Your train fee will be automatically deducted from your pass. If you don’t have enough money on your pass, the ticket gate door will be automatically closed. In that case, with a nearby fare adjustment machine you will either pay an additional fare by touching the additional fare button written as “精算,” or deposit some money by touching the charge button written as “チャージ.”
    Then, you will go to the platform. Each platform is numbered like “1 ban-sen” and “2 ban-sen.” As you see, the word “ ~ sen” is also used here. On a direction board you probably find the word “houmen” like “Shinjuku houmen” (for Shinjuku). If you don’t know the platform number.
    There are basically two kinds of trains. One is called kakueki-teisya (各駅停車local train). Usually the shortened word kakutei (各停) is used, which stops at each station, and the other called kyuukou (急行express), which stops only at big stations. Besides these, other categories of train are running, including junkyuu (準急semi-express), which runs at the speed between kakutei and kyuukou, and tokkyuu (特急), which runs faster than kyuukou. Furthermore, the word kaisoku (快速) has different meanings depending on each railway company. English words are not commonly used for such words as kakutei and kyuukou. Norikae (乗換transfer) is also often used. It is advisable for you to learn them.[:]

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  • 英単語は日本語として使える


    You can Use English Words as Japanese





    The lunch at that restaurant is best.

    That movie was exciting.





    New Year’s card

    National holiday






    Many English words have been adopted as Japanese. For instance, “head,” “hair,” “eye,” ”ear,” ”neck,” “hand,” and “foot” can be understood by Japanese. The number of foreign words (mainly English) which are used as Japanese is approximately 3,500. It means that people from English-speaking countries already know so many words and can express themselves fairly well without knowing many Japanese words.
    On the other hand, written Japanese is one of the easiest in the world if you do not have to learn kanji. The spoken language consists of 46 syllables and 58 syllables in modified forms. Hiragana and katakana characters represent these syllables. In other words, hiragana and katakana are phonetic. Katakana is basically used for foreign words.
    Even beginners of Japanese can communicate with Japanese using katakana (English) words if you know basic Japanese grammar and what you say can be expressed in hiragana and katakana.
    The lunch at that restaurant is best.
    That movie was exciting.
    As you see, it is not difficult to express yourself. However, as kanji is used in newspapers, magazines, signboards and so on in daily life, you cannot ignore kanji. Kanji learning is a burden to Japanese learners, but is useful.
    In Japanese there are many words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. For instance, “kawa.” You don’t know in hiragana whether it is “river” or “skin.” If they are written in kanji you can easily distinguish them.
    If you do not know these kanji, type “ka” and “wa” on your computer. The kanji list for kawa, including the meaning “river,” “skin” and “leather,” will be shown. Checking these words with a dictionary, you will be able to find the one you want to use. You can input text with Japanese word processor software, which is convenient to learn kanji, in hiragana or romaji.
    The best part of kanji is that you can express contents briefly, as below.
    New Year’s card
    National holiday
    When you are in a city you will notice there are many signboards using hiragana, katakana and English besides kanji.
    For example, a signboard that says “to let.” As shown in the pictures, some are written in kanji only, in katakana, English or in combinations.
    Nowadays instead of kanji, katakana words and English words are more often used. A few decades ago a camera was called “shashinki,” computer “denshi-keisanki,” tennis “teikyuu” and toilet “benjo.” Now very few people use these kanji words.
    Japanese use English words as modern or “fashionable” words, just like kanji had been adopted in Japanese. In accordance with the increase of Japanese who study English, more English words will be used as Japanese in the future.
    [From January Issue 2010][:]

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