Hiking the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Trail in 2018 - A Round-Up

Hiking the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Trail in 2018 - A Round-Up

The week I spent last spring walking the first leg of the Shikoku 88 pilgrimage trail was peaceful, thought-provoking, and challenging - often all at once.

Here’s all my writing about that trip in one place.

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What to Write in Japanese New Year's Cards

What to Write in Japanese New Year's Cards

Every year, Japanese households send and receive New Year’s postcards called nengajō (年賀状). The cards are sent to friends and family, as well as to people you have work connections with.

If you post your cards in Japan before the cut-off date in late December, the postal service guarantees to deliver them on January 1st.

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Three Ways You Should Be Using The Japanese Honorific お (Part 1)

Three Ways You Should Be Using The Japanese Honorific お (Part 1)

Fairly early on in your Japanese-learning journey, you'll learn some set phrases like:

o-genki desu ka? (How are you?)

o-shigoto wa nan desu ka? (What's your job?)

Usually I teach that the “o” in o-genki desu ka makes the question more polite. This is true, but it’s not the whole story.

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Are Loanwords "Real" Japanese?

Are Loanwords "Real" Japanese?

Shortly after I started studying Japanese at university, I got an email from a friend in Sweden:

“How’s it going? Learned any more ‘Japanese words’ like camera and video?”

I’d copy-pasted her some of the "new words" from my textbook. There was a list of them - words like kamera (camera) and rajio (radio)…

I felt like I was cheating. These aren’t Japanese words!

Or are they?

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Is it Nana or Shichi? A Brief Introduction to Japanese Numbers

Is it Nana or Shichi? A Brief Introduction to Japanese Numbers

Counting 1-10 should be easy, right?

“Ichi, ni, san, yon... (or is it shi?), go, roku, nana (or shichi), hachi, kyuu (but sometimes ku)...”

Oh, yeah...Japanese has multiple words for the same number! Seven can be either "nana" or "shichi", for example.

So how do you know which word to use?

Sometimes, either is fine – like when you count 1-10, for example. But sometimes, only one word will do.

Let's take a look at some of those special cases.

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