Category Archives: FEATURED

New Japanese Sports for 2020 Olympics

An Olympic athlete waits at a starting line

The committee in charge of sports nomination for the 2020 Olympics today announced a raft of new sports and rule changes to give the Japan Games a more local flavor.

“I am every excited to announce today, that the 2020 Olympic Games is gearing up to be the best installment of the games yet,” said Suitachisuke Yongatsu, head of the For Olympic Organization Licensing Sub-committee (FOOLS). “Japan is a nation unlike any other, and to this end we have come to the decision that our sports should reflect this.”

The decision is likely to be contentious within the international sporting community as the changes are likely to heavily favor Japanese participants and some contestants have already voiced their concerns, with Chinese gymnast Sì Yuè Yī Rì, Latvian shot-putter Balandžio Pirmoji and Welsh sprinter Ebrill Gyntaf all making their opinions known on twitter.

2020 Olympic Event Rule Changes:

  • Participants taking part in the 100 meters will be required to wear alternative footwear, with spikes being swapped for wooden geta sandals.
  • The izakaya marathon will replace the regular marathon, with each mile point marked by a Japanese restaurant in which contestants must drink a highball and eat a plate of karaage.
  • Contestants in all cycling events will be required to to ride mamachari bicycles laden down with three bags of groceries and a three year old child on the back. All breaks must squeak deafeningly.
  • Beach volleyball will remain essentially unchanged, except that contestants will have to shout ‘Atsu! Atsu! Atsu!’ each time that they step on the hot sand.
  • All swimming events will be held in specially designed 50m onsen baths. Participants must be naked. Expected to the best spectated event.

2020 Olympic Event New Sports:

  • The ‘subway squeeze’ is a new a sport where teams must fill a subway compartment with as …continue reading

Coredo Muromachi: Combining Fine Traditions With A Modern Twist

Located between the two tourist meccas of Asakusa and Ginza and just a stone’s throw from Tokyo Station is the Nihonbashi area where you’ll find the elegant Coredo Muromachi complex, a modern facility which offers top-class shopping and cultural experiences under the same roof.

Back in Edo era Japan, Nihonbashi was an important center of commerce, trade and entertainment. The big bridge, from which Nihonbashi gets its name, is one of the major bridges of Tokyo. Right next to Coredo Muromachi is the picturesque Fukutoku Jinja Shrine, which serves as a well-loved symbol for the local community and provides a perfect spot for photo ops after shopping. Coredo Muromachi today stands as a symbol of both modernity and preservation of the area’s traditional cultural values, a commercial complex that caters to customers’ needs, be it dining and wining or hunting for traditional crafts.

What’s in store at Coredo Muromachi?

Divided into three shopping buildings (Coredo 1 to 3), each with several stories, Coredo Muromachi offers a wide array of restaurants and lifestyle stores, many of which focus on traditional Japanese crafts and cuisine from across the Japanese archipelago. During a recent visit to the complex, in just a couple of hours, I “travelled” to Kyoto, Fukui, Ishikawa and Niigata, all without leaving Tokyo. Coredo Muromachi has a wealth of shops to interest both international visitors and residents alike, along with many restaurants and even a movie theater. The Nihonbashi Information Center is handily located in B1 of Coredo 1, with multilingual assistance on tourism, events and history of the area.

During a recent visit to the complex, in just a couple of hours, I ‘travelled’ to Kyoto, Fukui, Ishikawa and Niigata, all without leaving Tokyo.

While it is certainly difficult to choose your favorites and when visiting it’s …continue reading


The Roots: Obscure Origins of Unusual Katakana

Source: Gaijin Pot
The Roots: Obscure Origins of Unusual Katakana

As learners explore the weird and wonderful world of katakana words, it can easily lead to a false sense of confidence. After encountering yet another term that is simply English or a familiar European language it is easy to assume that we don’t even need to both learning them. However recently, increasingly stranger kana have started to appear that are a new and unique category. These katakana are those taken from other languages where the original meaning has been changed to something uniquely Japanese.

One of the most common examples is the verb サボる (not coming to class). Like most learners that encounter this weird mixture of カタカナ and ひらがな, I was amazed to learn that this word was connected to the French word “sabotage.”

When the word サボる first entered the Japanese language, it was connected with the power plays during the labor disputes of the Taisho era and as a result had something like its original meaning. It took students starting to use similar tactics to these labor disputes by walking out of class and organizing protests for the verb to take on its current meaning: to play hooky from school.

One of my favorite word origins has always been the シャープペンシル (a mechanical pencil). In this case, the origin was the original pencil, which, in order to make its use as easy-to-understand as possible, was called the Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil. Obviously, this mouthful was too much for most Japanese people and as a result the pencil was abbreviated to シャープペンシル.

While the origins of サボる and シャープペンシル are well-documented, at other times the origin can be so obscure that researching it can feel like digging through fan theories of JRR Tolkien’s or George RR Martin’s novels. An example of this a few years ago was マンネリカップル (a couple stuck in a …continue reading


10 must know phrases to cheer someone up in Japanese

“Learning another language is like becoming another person.” – Haruki Murakami

Photo from Pixabay

Hello everyone. Hope you are all doing great! As I write this, I wish I was outside(soto, 外、そと) today. It’s such a beautiful day today here in Pacific Northwest. I hear rain (ame, 雨、あめ)is coming tomorrow, which will be no fun. It’s still cold(samui, 寒い、さむい )out, but we gotta enjoy this weather while we have it.

So, I picked this topic today, “How to cheer someone up in Japanese..” because just last night my younger son went to a soccer(サッカー、さっかー) tryout for an academy team here, and turned out that he did not make the cut. We knew that the tryout was going to be one of the hardest ones to make, but still it was a disappointing moment for my son. So, here are some of the phrases that came to my mind as I was trying to cheer him up last night.

1. Cheer up!

Genki dashite!

元気 出して!

(げんき だして!)

2. You did your best out there today.

Kyo wa honto- ni ganbattane.

今日は 本当に 頑張ったね。

(きょうは ほんとうに がんばったね。)

3. I could see you working hard out there.

Issho- kenmei ganbatterunoga mitete wakatta yo.

一生懸命 頑張ってるのが 見てて 分かったよ。

(いっしょう けんめい がんばってるのが みてて わかったよ。)

4. This was a very good experience for you.

Konkai wa ii keiken ni nattane.

今回は いい 経験に なったね。

(こんかいは いい けいけん に なったね。)

5. I was so proud of you!

Hokori ni omou yo.

誇りに 思うよ。

(ほこりに おもうよ。)

6. Let’s try again next time.

Mata tsugi ganbaroune.

また 次 頑張ろうね。

(また つぎ がんばろうね。)

7. Good job today!

Kyo wa otsukare sama.

今日は お疲れ様!

(きょうは おつかれさま!)

8. Keep working hard for the next opportunity.

Tsugi no kikai no tameni korekara mo ganbarou.

次の 機会のために これからも 頑張ろう!

つぎの きかいの ために これからも がんばろう!

9. I believe in you!

O-en shiteru karane!


(おうえん してるからね!)

10. Don’t worry about today, let’s focus on what you can do for next one.

Kyo no koto wa shinpai shinaide, tsugi no tameni naniga dekiruka shuchu shiyou.

今日の ことは 心配 しないで、 次のために 何が 出来るか 集中しよう。

(きょうの ことは しんぱい しないで、 つぎのために なにが できるか しゅうちゅう しよう。)

As he has another tryout coming up in about a month, there is no …continue reading


Cheapo Weekend for March 24-25: Cherry Blossoms!

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

According to the forecast, it’s a good weekend to see Tokyo’s iconic cherry blossoms. So get your picnics and cameras ready, it’s time for sakura!
Cherry blossom festivals
Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival (March 21-April 8): The rowdiest, most iconic spot in all of Tokyo to enjoy cherry blossoms. Ueno Park is decked out with blue picnic tarps (good luck finding a spot), illuminations, food stalls and a ton (we mean A TON) of people.
Rikugien Gardens: Cherry Blossom Illuminations (March 21-April 5): The stunning cherry trees at Rikugien in Komagome will be illuminated at night for a limited time. Most famous is the mystical and giant weeping willow. Entry to the gardens is 300 yen for adults.
Bokutei Cherry Blossom Fes

The post Cheapo Weekend for March 24-25: Cherry Blossoms! appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

…continue reading