Negiyaki at Yamamoto in Juso

I “found” another incredibly famous and non-hidden negiyaki shop in Osaka.

Pretty much every Japanese person in Osaka knows about the Negiyaki shop named Yamamoto. Negiyaki is very similar to Okonomiyaki, except it has tons of green onions inside, and usually not as much sauce.

We ordered the deluxe negiyaki, so it had pork, squid, and beef, if I remember correctly.

Hey, on a side note, apparently in the world of otaku, these negi (leek / green onions) are popular due to a certain anime in which a “leek spin dance” is featured. They actually sell a “soft leek replica” on JList imported straight from Japan. So.. Uh… If you’ve ever wanted a soft leek replica… To spin… You know where you can get it. Apparently, the original leek spin dance song is 17 hours long!?

Hey, what is this leek spin!? I’m completely out of the loop.

Yamamoto is located right in the heart of Juuso, so it’s pretty easy to find. It’s near the 7th Art Movie Theatre in case you’re looking for it! It gets crowded around dinner time, so show up a little early.

The Negiyaki at Kuishinbo in Shinsaibashi is also delicious. You can get it with ponzu sauce which is another unique and wonderful taste!

MMmmm…. Osaka food.

– Harvey

Quickie: Sale at The Japan Shop

Just a quicky shopping link-fest here.

The Japan Shop is having a closeout sale on a few items, including everyone’s favorite textbook series Genki. They’ve also got Japanese for Busy people on sale at the moment, but personally, I would recommend Genki over the Busy People series any day of the week.

Genki Textbook

Also, you’ll see on The Japan Shop’s front page that they are having a weekend sale on 5 dollar downloads, including the Cut-tounge Sparrow Story.
The Japan Shop owner let me try a sample of these downloads, as I’m helping to advertise his product and all, and I must say it’s quality material. The owner’s wife is Japanese, so together they create this valuable content from scratch. Basically his wife reads a famous Japanese folktale, and he provides the English and explanations in the files that accompany it. It’s all put together using flash, so you can click vocab to get explanations and whatnot. Also, you can chose to listen to it in regular, or slow speed as well. It’s good stuff for learning.

Happy shopping for your brain!

– Harvey

Omamori, Japanese Good Luck Charms

If you’ve ever been to a Japanese shrine you have problem seen these omamori around.

They’re not tea bags.

In Japanese they’re called omamori (お守り). They’re good luck charms that are said to have a god inside to keep you safe. There are a wide variety of omamori. There are traffic safety omamori, omamori that will allow a pregnant woman to have an easy child-birth, and omamori to help you with your studies, like this one.

Characters on front: 太宰府天満宮 (dazaifutenmangu) Dazaifutenmangu Official Webpage

Characters on back: 学業お守り – がくぎょうおまもり – gakugyou ommori (omamori for studies)

Sometimes shrines will be known to have especially powerful omamori of a specific type. This dazaifutenmangu which is in Kyusu (english wikipedia) is famous for its ability to improve luck in studying. It works. I’m sure.

You are supposed to return the omamori to the same shrine where you purchased it after one year. Otherwise, the charm will lose its effect.

I have only actually ever done that twice I believe… It’s hard when the temple is far away from your home!

Also, you are only supposed to have one omamori at one time. Otherwise, the gods will fight and none of them will work.

Remember these things… And  good luck.

– Harvey

Gift Idea: Chirimen Bears

Learn something knew everyday…

Have you ever seen items, like womens bags or shawls made of a material that looks like it may have been pieced together from a Kimono? Well that style is called “chirimen”, apparantly, and J-List has these stylin’ chirimen teddy bears available.

Bamboo Charcoal Stuffed Chrimen Teddy Bear

These items that just scream “Japan”! Always make good gifts, or coffee table items for our living room… If you’re the type who likes to buy something for yourself every now and then.

If my mom didn’t already have too much Japan memorabelia I would consider getting her one… But she’s got too much stuff.

Three cheers for appropriate shopping on J-List!

– Harvey

Liberal Help Wanted

This is just your run-of-the-mill “help wanted” poster in Japan.

With a down right dangerous twist.

It says…

年齢伺わず 問わず- We won’t ask your age (meaning any legal age is OK)

性別伺わず 問わず- We won’t ask your sex (meaning they don’t discriminate male or female)

オカマOK – Homosexuals are OK too.

Some joke.

Only in Japan…

(actualy, I’m not sure if I totally understand what’s going on with the verb 伺わず。It’s just the 伺う in the ず form right? Like 食べず〜 and stuff? Is this related to おかまいなく? Just curious.)

It’s 問わず! (とわず) Thanks for pointing that out Ken Y-N. I dropped the ball on that one! 恥ずかしい〜

– Harvey

Learning Japanese through Proverbs

Our friends over at have another great deal. You can get audio, textual, and visual media to help you learn Japanese Proverbs for just 5 bucks.

It’s a PDF, Flash, and Mp3 pack of 25 commonly used Japanese proverbs. You can listen to any sentence in slow, or regular speed, and explanations are included. Check out the product image on their website to see some of the features.

They’ve got all the classic “kotowaza”, such as…

石の上にも三年 Literally, sitting on top of the rock for 3 years. A proverb for perseverance. And…

十人十色 Literally, 10 people, 10 colors. A proverb that means everyone is unique.

Click here for a larger image. Click here to go to product page.

Back in my early days of learning Japanese we went through a lot of these in class. Proverbs are a great way to pick up new vocabulary, learn about Japanese culture, and impress native speakers all at the same time. Native Japanese are usually astounded and very happy to hear when foreigners can quote proverbs. These days many young Japanese don’t know the more difficult ones. I would be willing to bet that any high school kid these days (except for the roughest of the ruffians) would know all 25 included in the JapanShop package.

So, the proverbs they include are very basic, so if you’re already an advanced learner of Japanese this probably won’t be terribly useful. However, if your Japanese is beginner to low-intermediate, it looks like a great deal!

You can pay with PayPal and download the stuff immediately. Instant gratification. Yum.

Other Proverbs on JapanNewbie

By the way, check out a few more proverbs that I have introduced in the past… Like a Rolling Stone, and The Light of Money.

Learn Proverbs With Our Favorite Cat-like Robot Doraemon

For more Japanese Proverb fun, check out this episode of Doraemon called “Proverb Game” (kotowaza game) in its entirety on YouTube. The proverbs introduced in the episode and their literal and interpreted meanings are…

早起きは三文の徳 – hayaoki ha sanmon no toku

Literally: Waking up early brings three coins of profit.

Meaning/usage: Waking up early will bring good things to you.

In Doaremon: The father woke up early and happened to see a famous actress during his morning walk and tells the main character, Nobita-kun. Nobita really wanted to see the actress and starts to head out to get her signature, but his father tells her she’s already gone. Nobita should have woken up early!

棚からぼたもち – tana kara botamochi

Literally: A botamochi (a type of snack) falls out of the cabinet.

Meaning/usage: Good things can happen unexpectedly.

In Doraemon: Nobita thinks that he can just lie under the cabinet and wait for an actual botamochi to fall out. He didn’t know the proverb. Instead, they accidentally stumble upon his moms secret stash of cash.

急がば回れ – isogaba maware

Literally: If you want to hurry, take the round-about way.

Meaning/usage: If you want to arrive at your destination quickly, don’t take the more dangerous and risky shortcut. Instead, take the long way around and you’ll be more certain to reach your destination safely and on time.

In Doaremon: Nobita is going to his friends house, so instead of taking the direct route he takes the long road. On the way there he happens to run into his friend, which is lucky! Good thing he didn’t hurry to take the direct route.

情けは人のためならず – nasake ha hito no tame narazu

Literally: Pity/compassion doesn’t help people.

Meaning/usage: Traditionally, it means that showing compassion to people not only helps them, but will also bring good fortune to the person who showed the compassion later. Some people these days mistakenly interpret this to mean that if you’re too overly compassionate to people it won’t help them in the long run.

In Doaremon: Nobita sees a little girl who has fallen and hurt her knee. Due to the literal meaning of the proverb he almost doesn’t help her, but gives in to his good nature and decides to carry her home anyway. Later Doraemon explains the actual meaning of the proverb and Nobita feels better.

仏の顔も三度 – hotoke no kao mo sando

Literally: On the third time, even someone with a face like the Buddha… (will get angry)

Meaning/usage: No matter how nice someone may be, the third time (or eventually) they will get angry!

In Doaremon: Nobita and his friend see the town bully getting scolded by his mom for fighting. They get an idea and decide to tease him just twice, because they figure he won’t get angry the first and second time. They’re right… But some other friends accidentally taunt him a third time causing Nobita and his friend get beat up anyway.

泣き面に蜂 – naki tsura ni hachi

Literally: A bee will come to a crying face.

Meaning/usage: Once something bad happens, more bad things will follow.

That’s all!

By the way, I didn’t know 泣き面に蜂! Passed JLPT level 1, and there are still things about Japanese to learn from kids shows. Isn’t Japanese great!? The fun never stops.

– Harvey

Books for Trade/Sale/Giveaway

If you haven’t noticed the blurb in the upper right, I am trying to reduce the number of books in my room.

A mostly correct list of the books available is here.

If you’re interested in any, contact me via the Talk2Me form, but be SURE to include your replyto email address in the BODY of the form as well as in the email field. As noted on the page, for some reason this form  likes to drop the information in the email field, so I often receive nice comments with no way to reply to the sender.

So if you’ve ever tried to contact me and never heard back, that’s why.  (This means you Hamish! Please try again!)

I’m not trying to make money on  this, so I’ll sell cheap, and even give some away. In the case that I want to trade, I’m willing to give away 2 or 3 books for 1 of yours. I’m really just trying to reduce the amount of space taken up by my stash.

I can meet up in Umeda, Honmachi, or Namba, and other places in Osaka to deliver the goods.

Anyway, hope to hear from you!

– Harvey

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