Category Archives: EDUCATION

City Spotlight: Nara, Japan

Nara Map Japan

Nara (奈良) is a city with a significant historical importance to Japan, and continues to serve as one of the most beloved tourist spots today. We take a look at how to get there, what to do, and even what it eat in this city spotlight on Nara City!

Nara City at a Glance

Photo: Google Maps

Japanese: Nara-shi (奈良市)

Year: 710 (official city in 1898)

Prefecture: Nara (奈良県)

Region: Kansai (関西)

Population: 359,666

Size/Area: 276.84 km2 (106.89 sq mi)

Mascot: Sento-kun (せんとくん)

Photo: FNN.jp

Access

From Kansai Airport, Nara City can be reached via Japan Rail or Kintetsu Railways. Depending on the train, this trip takes anywhere between 30-50 minutes. There is also an airport limousine bus that departs hourly and goes to and from KIX airport in just 90 minutes.

As a side trip, Nara is conveniently located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. From Kyoto, two railways – JR and Kintetsu – connect to Nara, with the trip taking about 35-45 minutes. From Osaka, you can take either JR or Kintetsu, and arrive in Nara in just over 30 minutes.

Once in Nara City, you can travel around via either Kintetsu Railways or JR West. The main Kintetsu station is an underground station near Nara Park, and the main JR station is a 15-20 minute walk west of the park.

There are also city buses that go from the two main stations to the majority of the main tourist spots. All major IC cards are accepted on the trains and buses around Nara, including Suica and ICOCA. However, many of Nara’s main attractions are found in and around Nara Park, and can therefore be reached on foot.

For more information on traveling around Nara City, including bike rental and sightseeing buses, refer to the official Nara City Travelers Guide website.

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Tips And Tricks For Staying Active In Tokyo Through Pregnancy And Beyond

Mom in Balance Exercises

Since my son was born it’s been four short years, full of some very long days. After a high-risk pregnancy abruptly ended in delivering a tiny, extremely premature baby, fitness just wasn’t my priority. Postpartum, apart from sporadic yoga sessions and a few hikes here and there, I haven’t worked out anywhere near as much as I should. But now my son is in kindergarten, it’s time for mommy to explore her options!

Mom in Balance: kicking my first workout’s butt

Some of my friends are really into Mom in Balance, trainer-led group workouts for moms in parks. One reason these workouts are popular is that there is a babysitter on hand to look after the little ones while moms focus on kicking this workout’s butt!

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How to use ために ( = tameni)

「美容のためにもう寝ます。」

= Biyou no tame ni mou nemasu.

= I am going to have my beauty sleep now.

Hi everyone!

I am your guest teacher Uni Sensei from Barcelona.
We are going to study how to use ために ( = tameni) / ため ( = tame)

1) Expressing one’s aim/purpose/benefit

* How to form:

★ noun + ( = no) + ために ( = tameni)/ため ( = tame)

★ verb dictionary form + ために ( = tameni)/ ため ( = tame)

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* How to use:

★ noun + ( = no) + ために ( = tameni)/ ため ( = tame) :

(to do something) for someone / something, for the sake of ~

Ex. 1) 彼は家族のために毎日がんばって働いている。

= Kare wa kazoku no tame ni mainichi ganbatte hataraite iru.
= He works hard everyday for his family.

Ex.
A:「誰のためにこのサイトを作ったんですか?」

= Dare no tame ni kono saito wo tsukuttan desu ka?
= For whom did you make this site?

B:「日本語を勉強しているみんなのために作りました。」

= Nihongo wo benkyou shiteiru minna no tame ni tsukurimashita.
= I made it for everyone who studies Japanese.

Ex. 彼女の幸せのために身を引きます。

= Kanojo no shiawase no tame ni mi wo hikimasu.
= I am going to step aside for her happiness.

Ex. 健康のために毎日納豆を食べています。

= Kenkou no tame ni mainichi nattou wo tabete imasu.

= I eat natto (fermented soy beans) everyday for my health.

Ex. 世界の平和のために祈る。

= Sekai no heiwa no tame ni inoru.

= to pray for the world peace.

Ex. そんなところにごみを捨てないで!何のためにごみ箱が置いてあると思っているの?

= Sonna tokoro ni gomi wo sutenai de! Nan no tame ni gomibako ga oite aru to omotte iru no?

= Don’t dump the trash in such a place. Why* do you think we put the trash box there?

(何のために= nanno tame ni: the literal translation is “what for” but you often translate it as “whyなぜ = naze)

Ex. (On the phone)

直人:「お母さん、今日は、夕食いらないからね。」

= Naoto: “Okaasan, kyou wa, yuushoku iranai kara ne.
= Naoto: Mom, …continue reading

    

Common Japanese Phrases To Help You Study JLPT N2 and N3 Grammar

Source: Gaijin Pot
Common Phrases JLPT

Studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N2 and N3 exams can be pretty exhausting. I lost track of the number of times that I drilled myself with the grammar books or free apps for studying Japanese to the point that the key sentences for understanding each grammar point became a mantra that I’d recite even in my sleep.

Zzzzzzz… その問題(もんだい)をめぐって賛否(さんぴ)が分(わ)かれた. Zzzzzzz… “We are divided on things surrounding this issue.”

Luckily a lot of these grammar points aren’t necessarily found in seldom-used sentences like the one above.

Take, for example, two grammar points that I struggled with which were: ~得(え)ない and ~たて.

These are often found in exam sentences like 現実(げんじつ)では起(お)こり得ない and 大学(だいがく)を出(で)たてのお医者(いしゃ)さん.

But how do you remember the meaning of sentences like this?

Overheard in Japan

If you’ve lived in Japan long enough you’ve probably heard the term あり得ない (Unbelievable!) overused to the point of redundancy.

So it isn’t too much of a leap from that to remembering that ~得ない means (Cannot be done) and therefore working out the meaning of 現実では起こり得ない (That couldn’t happen in reality).

Similarly, while learners may struggle with a tricky subject like 大学を出たてのお医者さん in a sentence, you probably wouldn’t if you remembered きたてパン —the freshly baked bread that you come across every time you go to a bakery.

high five white bread GIF

Immediately, the meaning of ~たて (Just done) reveals itself and you can work out that 大学を出たてのお医者さん is used to describe a doctor who is freshly graduated from college.

This is one of the interesting things about this kind of grammar; it’s all around us and by practicing it daily we can put ourselves on the road to mastery.

Concentrating on small talk

One of the best ways that learners can master JLPT grammar it is by talking about every Japanese elderly guy’s favorite small-talk topic: the weather.

Believe …continue reading

    

Osorezan (恐山): Japan’s “Fear Mountain”

osorezan lake

Japan’s Mount Osorezan (恐山) in Aomori Prefecture is ranked along with Koyasan and Hieizan as one of the three most sacred places in the entire country. Today, it known as the site of Bodai-ji Temple, where female mediums called itako are said to be able to communicate with the deceased. Read on to learn all about Japan’s fascinating “fear mountain”.

History

Osorezan is one of eight peaks that make up the Osore-zan Mountain Range (Osore-zan Sanchi, 恐山山地), which runs from east to west in the center of the Shimokita Peninsula. Mount Osorezan’s most recent eruption was 10,000 years ago, but the peak still has a number of crevices letting out steam and volcanic gases, which indicate that it is still an active volcano. The most potent gas is sulfur dioxide, and the Lake Usori at the mountain’s center is filled with highly acidic water. The mountain was once actually called Mt. Usori, but over time the name changed to Osore, meaning fear or dread.

It is said that the Buddhist monk Ennin, who first discovered the peak in 862 CE, was taken aback at how much the landscape resembled the description of Hell from Buddhist writings.

The mountain’s volcanic crater is surrounded by eight peaks, at the center of which lies Lake Usori, which is fed by a small stream. This matches the Buddhist description of hell almost exactly, and Ennin associated the stream with the Sanzu River, which, according to Japanese Buddhist tradition, everyone must cross over when they die. It was the combination of the mountains with the stream that convinced Ennin that he had found the gateway to hell. He founded the Bodai-ji Temple there not long after.

It’s no surprise that Osorezan would come to be called by such a terrifying name, and even today, Osorezan’s landscape still remains quite …continue reading