Remembering the Kanji and Running with Swords

I have yet to use the popular book Remembering the Kanji by Heisig to, well, remember how to write my Kanji yet… But I have heard that it works wonders.

I can read a ton of Kanji, but I cannot remember how to write them to save my life. Word processors and cell phone text mail have completely handicapped me. I’m considering going through Remembering the Kanji after I finish with my current school in order to really nail down how to write them.

Apparently the Heisig methodology works such that you remember what each commonly used component of a Kanji means, and then you are able to make stories that work the sections together for each Kanji.

So for example…


Is the Kanji I want to remember how to write. It is has a meaning of “exceeding”, or almost “super”. As in 超パワフル! meaning, super powerful! Or 超満員 (ちょうまんいん) for, “extremely, or overly crowded”. 超音速 (ちょういんそく) means “super sonic speed”.

Now, here is my story!

走る (はしる) means to run. The left side of this character is that.

刀 (かたな) means, well, Katana! A sword. There it is in the upper right.

口 (くち) means mouth. See it in the lower right?

Now, what is a good story for all of these? Wait for it…

“Dude is so powerful. He runs while carrying a sword in his mouth!”

“Dude” here someone kinda like ZORO (ゾロ) from the popular Japanese manga, One Piece! Watch him go...

I will never forget this Kanji now… Hopefully anyone reading this who studies Kanji won’t either!
– Harvey

Vote for Tim

Hey guys, one of my friends is auditioning for a Japanese talent contest that I don’t quite understand yet…

But I want you to vote for him!

To vote for him, view Tim’s profile here, and click the big yellow button under his picture which says 「この子に投票したい人はこちら」.

Once you click, your vote is cast. You can apparently vote as many times as you want and they don’t care to track it… So click away.

The audition is called Gyao… Check out the official Gyao homepage to find out more… It’s all in Japanese though.

For some reason, like 90% of the other candidates are Japanese girls… And EVERYONE is wearing glasses… I don’t get it yet. There seems to be one other gaijin guy in the running.

I’ll update this post when I have time to learn more about the contest!


This is for an internet TV program it seems.

Notice how everyone is wearing glasses? It’s cause one of the sponsors for this project is a glasses store. They gave everyone glasses to wear for the profile shots.

– Harvey

Flaming Blowfish Sake

I have been in Japan for quite some time now
Yet I still have first-time experiences quite frequently.

A while back I had “blow fish sake” at a blow fish specialty shop in Kobe. The meal consisted of blow fish sashimi, followed by blow fish nabe (a type of hot pot), and after our first beers we had this blow fish sake to top it off… And knock us out.

It comes in an innocent looking cup.

But when it is served, the waitress will reach inside, pull up a chunk of blow fish which has been floating inside and set it on fire!

Burn blow fish burn.

The alcohol content of this felt very strong, though I don’t think it was any stronger than regular sake. The fact that it is extremely hot, and also has a very almost bitter and sour taste to it because of the blow fish make it go down rough.

Give it a try!

I was a little out of it the next day…

– Harvey

ALC 英辞郎 on CD

Anyone who is a serious student of Japanese has likely come across the excellent ALC (英辞郎) dictionary on the web.

Have you ever been in the situation where you’re working on something at home, really wanted to get out of the house and say, go work at a cafe… But your local cafe doesn’t have internet, and it would be murder to be without your ALC dictionary?

Happens to me all the time.

Well, I just learned that you can actually buy the entire ALC dictionary on CD-ROM. It costs 2500 yen, and you can order it online, or even buy it in Japan at your local Kinokuniya bookstore.

ALC, I have you now!

::via Stippy

– Harvey

Meiji Shrine

During the Tokyo Tour we stopped by Meiji Shrine near Harajuku.

If you come to this shrine on for new years, as in midnight on Jan 1st, you’ll be in for an insane line of people coming to do their “ohatsumoude” 「お初詣」, or first temple visit of the year. I hear it is the single most crowded shrine in Japan at this time.

I’ve never been here during new years!

Makes for a nice picture, but this is the area where you are to wash your hands before entering the shrine grounds.

It was cold outside.

The water is freezing.

I didn’t wash.

I’m sorry.

If you want to have a quaint quiet wedding, just for your loved one and your immediate family…

Don’t have it at Meiji Shrine.

Pretty much everyone with a camera at the temple at the time started snapping this lovely couple as soon as they stepped on the scene.

Can you believe those insensitive people? Some people today… No respect for privacy.

Here’s my pictures.

This is just a tree in th shrine area, but I love it. Look at the size of this tree!

Love it.

So long Meiji Shrine.

– Harvey

Japan not safe for Gold

Japan is safe, but apparently no longer safe enough to leave a million dollar chunk of gold bullion lying around.

There is a museum in Hida Takayma (yeah the same Hida with the Sarubobo!) that has a giant hunk of gold on display inside of a case with holes in it, so the guests can touch it.

But, the gold got stolen.


I’ve been there actually!

So, readers of JapanNewbie, put your gold bullion in a bag, or like, under your bed or something.

You don’t want this to happen to you.

– Harvey

Kintaro Walks Japan

This is not new, but it’s incredible nevertheless.

This Tyler guy is intense!

Watch the trailer, watch the music video, and go buy the DVD if you’re interested!

Dude walked the length of Japan and made a movie about it.

I’m gonna get it as soon as I get a job again!

I sometimes regret that I haven’t done something as spectacular in Japan yet. My biggest travel adventure has to be the month in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, but that was tame compared to this hike. Tame. Heck, I even used buses planes and boats…

I’m really curious though as to who tagged along the whole time to shoot the video…

This guy walked!

– Harvey

Kansai-ben Lesson 10 – haru

Kansai-ben lesson Point 「Verb+はる」
A-san is speaking standard Japanese
B-san is speaking Kansai Dialect

A: 「B-san、田中先生知らない?今日見てないんだけど。」

A: “B-san, do you know where Tanaka-sensei is? I haven’t seen him today…”
B: “Tanaka-sensei isn’t here today. He is on a business trip.”

A: 「あ〜、今日宿題が多いな。」
B: 「田中さんは何の勉強してはりますか?」

A: “Ah, I have a lot of homework…”
B: “What are you studying Tanaka-san?”

B: 「このお寺でお坊さんたちが毎年いろいろな行事をやってはる。」
A: 「そうですか?おもしろそうですね。」

B: “At this temple the priest do all kinds of ceremonies every year.”
A: “Oh really? Sounds really interesting.”

A: 「田中先生は何時の電車に乗ってくるか知ってる?」
B: 「田中先生は電車じゃなくて、車に乗って来はると思う。」

A: “Do you know what which train (time) Tanaka-sensei is coming in on?”
B: “Tanaka-sensei isn’t coming by train, I think she’s coming by car.”

A: 「私が撮った写真は美術館に先週あったよ。」
B: 「見てくれはった人たくさんいてよかったな。」


B: 「たくさんの人が見に来てくれはってよかったなぁ。」

A: “The picture I took was in the art museum last week.”
B: “It’s great that lots of people came to see it huh!”

The 「はる」ending for verbs, is said to be used by people in the Kyoto area as a type of “polite” speech. It is not true honorific form, though sometimes it seems to be used that way, and if you are in Kansai no one is likely to tell you any different… Except for maybe a Japanese language teacher from Kanto of course.

The verb construction comes in many forms, as you can see from the examples. However, the examples should be enough to understand what’s going on.

This one is kinda tricky, as always post a comment if you have any questions!

As a bonus, here is a blog in which the author makes it a point to always post in Kyoto-ben! 天然どすえ。京都弁の日記どす

– Harvey

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