Japanese for Children

Archive for the ‘Japanese Culture’ Category

what in Japanese

Here are the top 3 ways to say WHAT  in Japanese

1: Nani: なに: What

2: Nan desu ka: なんですか: What

3: Nan darou: なんだろう: What

Also if you are in Kansai Region  (the Southern Part of Japan where Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe are located) and speaking Kansai Dialect (Kansai-Ben) you’d say

NANYA!!! なんや!This is saying “what” in a friendly way.

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why in Japanese

Here are the top 3 ways to say WHY in Japanese

Japanese people deeply respect harmony in their society. That is why, asking people WHY perhaps is not as common as other societies. People come to wonder how the Japanese say why. Here it goes

1: Naze: なぜ: Why

2: Nande: なんで: Why

3: Doushite: どうして: Why

Also if you are in Kansai Region  (the Southern Part of Japan where Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe are located) and speaking Kansai Dialect (Kansai-Ben) you’d say

NANDE YANE!!! なんでやね!This is saying “why” in a very surprised but kinda non-threatening way.

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Gion-Matsuri, Festival, in Kyoto Japan

The three major local festivals are  Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka, and Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo.

Every year about 460,000 people attend Gion Matsuri, 1,100,000 people attend Tenjin Matsuri and  300,000 people attend Kanda Matsuri.

Himeji castle in Japan

Japanese castles, the symbols of Japanese heritage, can be found all over Japan. Originally, the castles were samurai’s residences, and the military strongholds that protected towns against the enemy. The oldest castle was constructed in 664 AD, but Most of the castles standing today are constructed between the Sengoku Period and the Edo period.

Among many, four Japanese castles are considered to be special and regarded as national treasure; namely, Matsumoto Castle, Inuyama Castle, Hikone Castle, and Himeji Castle.

Other famous castles are  Hirosaki Castle, Maruoka Castle, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, Matsue Castle, Marugame Castle, Kochi Castle, Matsuyama Castle, and Uwajima Castle.

Onsen - Hot spring in Japan

People who travel to Japan always wanted to visit hot springs which are called “onsen” in Japanese. Many believe that hot springs are good for health and give a relaxed feeling to the body.The Japanese like bathing in hot springs in all seasons, even during the winter…

The open-air hot springs are called Rotenburo. People get rid of stress of while enjoying beautiful scenery at rotenburos because these places are usually surrounded by rich natural settings as can be seen in the picture. The most famous hot spring in Japan is “Beppu Onsen” located in Oita Prefecture.

Matsuri in Japan

Japan holds many regional festivals which are called “matsuri.”  The original meaning of the word is “respect to God.”

Matsuri is usually held in the Shinto shrine. The participants remember the ancestors, express their gratitude for god and wish for success in business and health.

People carry Mikoshi and Danjiri, and dance. Spectators can enjoy Japanese snacks and special cakes sold with Yatai. Many people prefer to wear a Kimono which is called Yukata though dressing casual is also fine.

Level: Advanced. Please check Japanese Culture for simpler, basic information.

Japanese Communication Style

Self-Conception Interdependent (e.g., I belong to… statements)
Ingroup/Outgroup boundary Strict (Company, school, circle, family members are treated very differently)
Wa (Harmony) Omnipresent
Enryo (Conformity) High (Self-deprecating statements are encouraged, harmony requires conformity)
Context Effects High Context/Implicit (e.g. Do you think it is hot in here?)
Uncertainty Avoidance High (e.g. different things should be avoided)
Power Distance High ( huge gap between superiors and subordinates)
Masculinity/Femininity Masculine (Male dominant society, same sex friendships)
directness Indirect(Cautiousness and indirectness needed for harmony, synthetic thinking (focusing on the whole) vs analytic thinking)
Ingroup/Outgroup Conversation Honorifics and different words used for outsiders. Honne vs tatemae, uchi vs. soto
Purpose Information Transmission (persuasiveness should always be avoided)
Topic Management and Turn taking Take turns evenly, use aizuchi
Silence Presence of seniors, outsiders, different gender make it hard to talk. Silence has different meanings.
competence Low confidence in English skills, purpose is instrumental (to get a job)
Uncertainty Reduction Focus on nonverbal behaviour and group membership, background info.
Self-disclosure Low self-disclosure, might not reveal the truth (Honne/tatemae)
Nonverbal Aspects Positive emotions are displayed more often
Relationship Development Amae and sasshi are important in all stages, co-worker and class-mate relationships are more intimate than family relationships
Privacy Use passive-withdrawal when privacy is threatened
Communicaton Style Relaxed, passive criticism, expression of own limitations when admired someone, no explanations after an apology
Predispositions twd. Verbal Behavior More assertive, response, talk longer,erabi world view.
Emotional Expression No actions needed to deal with emotional feeling
Face Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Losing face when disappointing group members. Dominating and integrating negotiations.
Expectations A person who is not direct, not dominant in conversation and tolerating silence

American Communication Style

Self-Conception Independent (e.g., I am … statements)
Ingroup/Outgroup boundary Loose (comm. with strangers does not have distinctive patterns
Wa (Harmony) Not so important
Enryo (Conformity) Low  (independence is a virtue)
Context Effects Low Context/Explicit (e.g., Can you open the window? Sentences starting with I and words like absoluteley, certainly…)
Uncertainty Avoidance Lower (e.g. different things are waiting to be discovered)
Power Distance Low (superiors and subordinates communicate the same way)
Masculinity/Femininity (Relatively)Feminine  (Males and females are more equal, friendships with opposite sex)
directness Direct (subject Centered, analytic thinking (focusing on parts))
Ingroup/Outgroup Conversation No Distinctive comm. Between outgroup members
Purpose Persuasion (language can be used to convince others, threats are not unusual)
Topic Management and Turn taking conversation starter makes most of the talk, questions and comments instead of backchanneling
Silence words are used to control situation, silence is not liked
competence Fluent Japanese speakers are uncommon and usually not much appreciated.(the law of inverse returns)
Uncertainty Reduction Focus on verbal communication and individual ideas opinions
Self-disclosure High disclosure, ask more questions (not age and marital status).
Nonverbal Aspects Negative emotions (distress, anger) displayed more often.More eye contact and more touching
Relationship Development No amae-sashi in advanced relationships, co-worker relationships are not necessarily seen intimate
Privacy Use active-aggressive strategies
Communicaton Style  Attentive, active criticism, direct admiration, explain own behavior after an apology
Predispositions twd. Verbal Behavior Less assertive, talking a lot is looked down, awase world view.
Emotional Expression Emotions are experienced for longer time and with higher intensity, explicitly stated
Face Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Losing face when personally fail in an individual activity.Avoidance used to resolve conflict
Expectations A person who is expressive and has a sense of humour but not self conscious.

Source: Gudykunst & Nishida, 1994.