Category Archives: EDUCATION

Study Japanese in An Enchanting Winter Wonderland in Rural Northern Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot
Study Japanese in Japan Akita Inaka School Lake Towada

When Dominik Kosik—CEO of Akita Inaka School—told his business partner that he was planning to open a language school in the middle of rural Akita Prefecture, the reply he got was one he’d heard many times before:

“Are you crazy? Who would want to study in the Japanese countryside!”

But after spending just a few days in Kosaka, Dominik knew this was the one. This sleepy town, with its lime green rice paddies and dark emerald mountains, was the perfect place to set up a completely new type of Japanese study program.

Structured around the seasons, the courses would be part language-learning, part deep cultural immersion—which meant placing students in an environment where they were essentially forced to engage with the local way of life.

Kosaka Town in Akita Prefecture.

But when the first program launched in summer 2019, he couldn’t have imagined how integral the school’s picturesque locale would be to its success—and future appeal. Students embraced the quiet Japanese inaka (countryside) wholeheartedly, making friends with the neighbors, joining town events and learning local crafts.

“One of the students even adopted an Akita Inu dog and took him home to Canada,” laughs Dominik.

Since the opening, Akita Inaka School has welcomed people from countries across the world into its pocket of paradise in northern Japan for summer and autumn courses. Now, the school is inviting applicants to its winter course, running for four weeks from February 3 – 28, 2020.

Akita Inaka School: More than a language program

First and foremost, Akita Inaka School is a school for learning Japanese. But what sets it apart from other language schools is the unique learning method, one which starts in the morning classes and continues into the immersive daily activities in the afternoon.

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How to use ぶり&っぷり( = buri & ppuri)


= ii nomippuri dane.

= You drink a lot!

Hi, everyone! I’m Cookie.

I looooove Milk! I could drink just milk all day long.

Today we are going to study the suffix ぶり ( = buri) / っぷり ( = ppuri)

You may remember this sound from expressions like the one indicating “it has been”.

Ex. お久しぶり

= Ohisashiburi
= It has been a long time.

But this time, we’re going to learn a version that does not deal with time or periods of time like the lesson below.

:rrrr: 久しぶり(hisashiburi) + 〜ぶり ( = buri)

You may also remember this common use:

(For the first time in ~ )

Ex. 三年ぶりに日本に行った。

= Sannen buri ni nihon ni itta.

= I went to Japan for the first time in three years.


:w: How to form:

This suffix ぶり ( = buri) / っぷり ( = ppuri) * describes the appearance, state, action, condition, degree or the way one does something.

(The kanji for ぶり( = buri) is 振り)

You may notice that ぶり ( = buri) is part of several other words like:

* 振り= ぶり= ぶり= miburi = body gesture

* 振り = ぶり= ぶり= teburi = hand gesture

You sometimes put them together:

振り振り = ぶりぶり= miburi teburi = (body and hand) gesture(s)

Ex. ナオトはマギーにダンスを身振り振りで教えた。

= Naoto wa Maggie ni dansu wo miburi teburi de oshieta.

= Naoto taught Maggie how to dance with his body and hand gestures.

* 振り = ぶり= ぶり = soburi = look, sign behavior



= Anoko, B no koto zutto sukidatta mitai dayo.

= She has been into you for a long time.


= Sonna soburi zenzen misenai kara wakaranakatta.

= I had no idea. She didn’t show the slightest hint of that.

* 振り= ぶり= くちぶり = …continue reading


Spot the Kanji for Good and Evil in Everyday Japanese

Source: Gaijin Pot
Study Japanese Kanji for good and evil

The two characters for good and evil (or bad), 良(よ)い and わる) respectfully, are really useful characters.

Give us the bad news first

The kanji, for example, can also be added as an adjective to the front of many words to mean an unpleasant version of that.

Take, for example, 悪口(わるぐち) which means “to talk badly of someone.” It can also be added as a suffix to make words like:

  • 気持(きも)ち悪い = A bad feeling
  • 具合(ぐあい)悪い = (Feeling) under the weather
  • 気分(きぶん)悪い = Feeling sick

良い/いい, on the other hand, has the opposite effect and describes a particularly pleasant or nice example of that thing. Generally, いい is more common in spoken Japanese with the exception of 良いお年(とし)を which is another way to wish someone a Happy New Year.

Positive perspective

The Japanese use いい a lot in their language.

  • いい人(ひと)です = Good guy/gal
  • いい匂(にお)い = Nice smell
  • 運(うん)がいい = Lucky
  • 頭(あたま)がいい = Smart
  • いいやつだ = A good dude/bloke
  • 仲(なか)がいい = Get on well with

Another example, いい夫婦(ふうふ) which we mentioned in our Japanese Words for Weddings article, uses Japanese number code to interesting effect, too.

So far, so simple, right? However, from here things get a little more interesting. Both 悪い and いい/ 良い have some fascinating grammatical usages that all learners should be familiar with.

MC Grammar

Readers growing up in the 90s will recognize the use of (僕(ぼく)) が悪い as similar to that old stalwart of 90s-ness: the saying ‘”My bad’… presumably with a “dude” not far behind. While this may sound a little dated in English, it’s still a beloved expression among Japanese people.

This phrase is mostly used to admit a mistake, but it can also be used alongside certain disrespectful pronouns, as in sentences like お前(まえ)が悪いよ (You are wrong!) and だれが悪いのか (Who is at fault?).

~が悪い is also used in some other forms to create descriptions of things.

Top 10 Things to Do in Japan in November 2019

Hanko, Japanese name seal stamp

November in Japan is when the leaves reach their peak autumn beauty, and the first cold winds remind you that winter is not far away! November is full with a variety of autumn parades, an international carnival in Okinawa, and even a famous World Character Summit in Saitama! Here are the top 10 things to do in Japan in November 2019!

1. Mt. Tsukuba Momiji Festival (筑波山もみじ祭り)

The autumn leaves of Mt. Tsukuba begin to color around the summit from around late October, and in the middle of November when it is in full bloom, it becomes crowded with many tourists near the Tsukuba shrine and the summit. Besides various events held during the festival period, a light-up of the autumn leaves is also done on weekends only.

WHERE: Mt. Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture

WHEN: November 1 – 30, 2019

2. Honjō Festival in Saitama (本庄まつり)

This event originated as a grandfather’s grand festival in autumn and is referred to locally as “a festival of guardians.” It is a beautiful event that’s reminiscent of the era, full of emotion and elegance. The highlight of this festival is the procession of 10 stunning luxury Edo-style floats being paraded around the late-autumn Nakasendo atmosphere.

WHERE: Honjō City Downtown Area, Saitama Prefecture

WHEN: November 2 – 3, 2019

3. Usuki Takeyoi (うすき竹宵)

This bamboo illumination festival is held every year on the first Saturday and Sunday of November. Bamboo lanterns are lit up in the streets, and local people make and display impressive handmade bamboo crafts and art.

WHERE: Nioza, Usuki City, Oita Prefecture

WHEN: November 2 – 3, 2019

4. Karatsu Kunchi (唐津くんち)

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Fuji-san & Early Mornings – What climbing a mountain made me realize about a morning routine

Routine is what gives you control over your life, and a proper routine starts in the morning. But finding a time or opportunity to start that routine can be as difficult as sticking to it.

Climbing Mt. Fuji to watch the sunrise forces you to follow a plan. And if you can climb the tallest mountain in Japan, starting a simple morning routine shouldn’t be too hard.


“Earn the sunrise.”

first heard this line while listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast, as
Joe talked about Jocko Willink. For the unaware, Willink is an
ex-Navy SEAL with a strictly regimented daily schedule that runs from
from the early morning to late evening. He
begins every single day at 4:30 to work out and “earn the sunrise.”

Naturally, to see one man impose discipline upon everything in his life prompts well-due introspection. One year has passed since my arrival in Japan, and while many things have changed, many things appear to have stayed the same.

Ambition without direction is a ship without a captain, and this last year has seen a captain who has been inconsistent in his command.

In light of the arrival’s anniversary, I found it high time to helm my ship and guide it into port. This thought was foremost in my mind as I climbed Mt. Fuji last week to earn the sunrise on July 23rd.

My 23rd birthday.

Yoshida 5th Station Trailhead, the start of the journey

A monumental mountain for a momentous occasion

This was a special birthday for me in a few ways. It marked my first birthday in Japan, and exactly one year since I launched this blog. And turning 23 on the 23rd made the day special in that once-in-a-lifetime sort of way.

In short, it felt momentous, and I meant to capitalize on this occasion.

Fuji sat alone as the final endeavor on …continue reading