Japanese For U

Are you interested in Japan? You're in the right place...
Don't forget White Day!

    Those who have Japanese girl/boyfriends, attention!
    March 14th is called "White Day" in Japan. What is it? Everyone wears white? Does it snow a lot on that day?
    I have to start with St.Valentine's Day. In Japan, 2/14 is considered the day when girls can officially express their love to boys (w/ gift). That's right, girls take action! I guess traditionally it was men's job to initiate relationships (and I hope it still is :) but once a year, we get to do it! I didn't post this info a month ago, because... well, I thought it might work against me...

    Any way, let's continue with "White Day". So exactly a month later, 3/14, is the day when the boys "respond" to the girls. If a girl asks a boy out, he should give yes or no answer to her. If you're already a couple, give her a gift in return. If you got a sympathy gift, well, give a sympathy gift back.
    So why is "White" Day, not pink or blue? My theory is, since the most popular gift for St.Valentine's is chocolate, which is dark, this time the color is the opposite - white. And marshmallow is considered to be the gift of that day. Don't ask me who said that, my guess is probablly some ad agency... I personally like something else :)
    So, if you give someone something this year's St.Valentine's Day, maybe you can suggest to celebrate White Day too. In the end, love is supposed to go both ways, not just one way, right?
    | Japanese Events | 18:27 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | - | - | ↑PAGE TOP
    Merry X'mas!
      I haven't been able to add anything since Thanksgiving... sorry, ごめんなさい!
      Time flies, really. So today is Christmas Eve. Santa is on his way! In Japan Christmas and the New Year's are the opposite. What I meant was, Christman is time for party (and romantic dates), and New Year's Day is for family get-together. If you think about Japan's religious background, it makes sense, right?
      Since Chiristmas is the first big event in winter, it has become a perfect "date" day... it actually is a big deal. You're supposed to be on the best date of the year. If you have someone, this is the happiest day. If not, well... (-_-)

      I was not very fortunate in the romantic department when I was living in Tokyo in my university days. I never went on a date on Christmas Eve. Instead, staring from the end of November, I often received phone calls from my friends.
      "So, Yuu-chan, what are you doing for Christmas?"
      They were not asking if I had a date plan. What they were actually asking was, "Are you working or out of town for Christmas?"
      Then my answer was always the same. "Nothing special."
      Then they went on how they ended up being single around this critical time of the year, and the conclusion was "We should do something!"
      The list of my 'lonely single female & male friends' was somewhat around 10 people by the Christmas Eve. Some were regulars, who showed up every year, and some were returned guests. On 12/24, We had a big nabe party in my tiny Tokyo apartment, and went to clubs or karaoke afterwards, spent all night with officailly lonely yet actually festive friends.
      When I look back those days, I have to admit I was very fortunate in friend department. I miss those days. I miss them. And if anyone from those days are reading this, thank you for spending wonderfully crazy Christmas nights with me!!

      Who are you spending this holiday season? I hope you're with people you love - your family, your partner, or you friends, and I want you to realize how lucky you are to have them in your life.
      So I guess Japanese Christmas spirit is not that different after all: Time to feel how much you're loved.
      | That's funny! | 20:39 | comments(1) | trackbacks(0) | - | - | ↑PAGE TOP
      Happy Thanksgiving! ... I think
        Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
        Japanese people LOVE events... we have adopted western holidays such as Christmas and St.Valentine's Day, and even Halloween. But not this one. I didn't know much about it until I moved here.
        So every year, I ask this question and I haven't got a good answer yet. How do Native Americans spend this holiday? I don't mean to be anti-Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, I think it's nice to have as many occasions as you can to get together with your family. However, when I first learn the history behind it, I cannot stop thinking about this question.
        When I was in school in Japan... like almost 20 years ago, in history class, I remember the controversy over the word "discovery" by Columbus in 1492. Someone lived here already, so how could it be "discovered"? The history should be viewed objectively, said my history teacher.

        So if any one knows the answer, let me know.
        And I hope, if Japanese people ever want to celebrate this holiday, they would understand what this day stands for. It's not just about eating turkeys. Well I don't even know if turkeys are available in Japan...
        | I wonder... | 08:01 | comments(2) | trackbacks(0) | - | - | ↑PAGE TOP
        Am I on YouTube?
          I googled my name and I found out I'm on YouTube... a lot! Well actually those clips are my Japanese lessons from Expertvillage, so I didn't upload myself. I enjoyed reading the comments. They are mostly positive messages, and I cannot thank people enough for taking time to watch my videos! Yes, there were some criticism, which I also appreciate. Unfortunately I'm not controlling those videos so I cannot make modifications or erase them... thanks for adding grammar details and other infos, and I am very sure they are helping those who want to dig deeper on those subjects.

          When I first made those videos for Expertvillage, it was an experiment for both the producers and me. There were not language "how to" videos yet at that time. The challenge for me was to make lessons interesting for the first timers, and each clip has to be a few minutes long. If you feel like studying more after watching them, I think we did okay :) But if you have any comments of feedbacks, please feel free to email me to

          By the way, I talked about my name 優 in my first blog, and my boyfriend Ryan wanted his name written in Japanese. So here are the options:
          ライアン (katakana)
          らいあん (hiragana)
          雷安 (kanji - Chinese characters)

          Usually katakana is used to write English words in Japanese phonetically. Hiragana is the most common letters we use in Japanese. Kanji themselves have their own meanings, and we use them when needed. Japanese is written in the combination of these three kinds of letters.
          Once upon a time, they used only kanji to write Japanese, and for foreign words they had to use kanji phonetically. For example, America was written 亜米利加 (This is why sometimes America is reffered as 米国 usind the second letter from the word, this reads "rice country" but it actually came from the kanji used to phonetically saying America.)
          雷安, although I came up with it as a sound, the meaning of those letter are "thunder" and "peace". So Ryan, a.k.a. Peaceful Thunder... I thought it was pretty cool ;) Would you like your name written in kanji, and hopefully cool meaning attached?
          Now, Ryan says he likes it so much he'd like to have it tatooed. Does anyone has a cool design idea for 雷安, the Peaceful Thunder?
          | I wonder... | 12:35 | comments(5) | trackbacks(0) | - | - | ↑PAGE TOP
          Japanese For U, things you want to know if you're studying Japanese...

            Hi! I am Yuu. Yes, I often confuse English speaking people when I introduce myself. But seriously, my name is Yuu and I teach Japanese in Los Angeles, California. I had a couple of online Japanese lessons on a site called Expertvillage, and some people sent me encouraging messages after watching those, so I thought I'd give a little more to those who're still out there, studying Japanese!
            I'll be telling you my honest experiences, stories regarding the language/cultural matters about Japan. I moved from Japan to L.A. 8 years ago and I often find myself in an interesting place... still Japanese inside, but live like an American... or Los Angelino, I should say. And I'll be happy to hear your stories too!
            By the way, my name is written as 優 and it means "grace", "best", and "kindness". In any way it's very positive and good. I thought about getting myself an American name, but I felt like betraying my parents' wishes. So it's still Yuu. No matter how many jokes can be created out of it, I'll keep it! It's mine, and it's the guide of my life.
            | - | 14:11 | comments(9) | trackbacks(0) | - | - | ↑PAGE TOP
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