Tag Archives: kanji

2015 Kanji of the Year

15 Dec

image

Today is December 15th, the day that the Kanji of the Year is chosen in Japan.

The JapanToday website wrote:

The kanji character 安 “an,” meaning peace or safety, has been chosen as the character best representing the sentiment and events in Japan in 2015.
The character refers to the controversial security legislation that the government passed in the summer.

The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a Kyoto-based organization that promotes kanji, conducts the survey nationwide every year. The foundation said 129,647 submissions were received this year, with 安 being the most popular, garnering 5,632 votes.

In an event held on Tuesday, Seihan Mori,the head priest at the world-famous Kiyomizu Buddhist temple in Kyoto, drew the character with a large calligraphy brush, whose bristles were the size of a bowling pin, on a huge piece of “washi” (Japanese paper).

The second most popular character was 爆, “baku” (explosion), a reference to “bakugai,” meaning explosive buying (shopping sprees) by Chinese tourists visiting Japan.

The third most popular kanji was 戦, meaning war, referring to the many conflicts going on in the Middle East and the war on terror.

Could you find the proper restroom?

16 Oct

In Japan, nearly every public restroom has a blue picture of a man on the men’s room door and a red picture of a woman on the ladies’ room door.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, especially at places that don’t get many foreign customers, the doors with be marked with black kanji symbols for male and female on the respective doors.

Would you be able to find the correct restroom? Take this two-question quiz to see.

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 1”.

 

For this quiz, this symbol will be “no. 2”.

How did you do? Did you know the answers, of just guess them? Tell me in the comments section!

Review & Giveaway 19: Mastering Japanese Kanji

11 Aug

Yet another review of a book I’ve received from Tuttle Books!
As always, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Mastering Japanese Kanji: The Innovative Visual Method for Learning Japanese Characters (CD-ROM Included)” by Glen Nolan Grant.

Mastering Japanese Kanji: The Innovative Visual Method for Learning Japanese Characters (CD-ROM Included)

Mastering Japanese Kanji: The Innovative Visual Method for Learning Japanese Characters (CD-ROM Included)

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

The written Japanese language has three scripts: hiragana and katakana (collectively known as “kana“) and thousands of kanji.

The script that is taught in this book is kanji. These are the characters that make up most of the Japanese written language. They were introduced to Japan from China. The Chinese written language uses these characters (albeit often a bit different from Japanese ones), but because Japanese grammar is quite different from Chinese, kana characters are needed in addition to kanji to write Japanese.

These characters are the most difficult to learn because there are so many of them, they are often complicated to write, and almost all have more than one possible pronunciation.

But, if you can read kanji, it helps a lot if you live in, or even visit, Japan!

If you’re serious about learning Japanese, you should begin studying kanji after you learn hiragana and katakana.

Mastering Japanese Kanji: The Innovative Visual Method for Learning Japanese Characters” is an excellent tool for studying Japanese kanji.
It tells the most common pronunciation for 200 common kanji characters, the English meaning, gives examples of compound words with that character, and example sentences.
It also tells how to write each character properly and has spaces to practice. There are quizzes throughout the book to test you comprehension (with the answers at the back of the book).
In addition, there is a free CD-ROM included that demonstrates how to write the characters and how to pronounce words using the characters.

Mastering Japanese Kanji: The Innovative Visual Method for Learning Japanese Characters (CD-ROM Included)” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (gave) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

To enter the drawing for the free book, submit this form by 2015 August 31st:

***** Updated August 31st, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 August 31st. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Review & Giveaway 18: Writing Japanese Katakana

9 Aug

Here’s another review of a book I’ve received from Tuttle Books!
As usual, they have agreed to give (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)” by Jim Gleeson.

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

The written Japanese language has three scripts: hiragana and katakana (collectively known as “kana“) and thousands of kanji.

The script that is taught in this book is katakana. This script is mainly used for writing foreign words (such as English), onomatopoeic words and also it’s used for emphasis (in a similar way that italics are used in English).

I’d recommend learning hiragana before katakana, just as Japanese children do…so, if you don’t already know hiragana, there’s still time to enter the drawing for the free copy of the (a) hiragana study book in this series. (Click here)

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)” is a good book for those who wish to learn Japanese. When studying Japanese, you should start by learning to read and write hiragana…and then, you should study katakana next.
Not only will it help you to be able to read signs, menus, etc in Japan…but knowing and using katakana will help you to pronounce foreign words and onomatopoeia in the way that Japanese people understand them.

This book has plenty of spaces for you to practice writing the katakana characters as you learn them…which is the best way to remember them.
It also has you write some example sentences using the characters you’ve learned up to that point.

Writing Japanese Katakana (An Introductory Japanese Language Workbook)” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (gave) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

To enter the drawing for the free book, submit this form by 2015 August 31st:

***** Updated August 31st, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 August 31st. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Review & Giveaway 16: Japanese Kanji Made Easy

20 Apr

Yet another book from Tuttle Books!
Once again, they have agreed to give (given) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

(Click here to read all of my reviews and giveaways.)

This book is titled “Japanese Kanji Made Easy: Learn 1,000 Kanji and Kana the Fun and Easy Way (with audio CD)” by Michael L. Kluemper.

“Japanese Kanji Made Easy: Learn 1,000 Kanji and Kana the Fun and Easy Way”

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

The written Japanese language has three scripts hiragana and katakana (collectively known as “kana“) and thousands of kanji.
This book introduces useful 1000 kanji and kana in an easy-to-remember method with illustrated pictographs.
Each kanji has the English meaning written, as well as the pronunciation in romaji (English alphabet).
It even has a CD so you can listen to the correct pronunciation of each word!

I already know all of the kanji (and of course, kana) in this book, but I can tell that it would make learning them easier than the straight memorization way that I did!

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, this book would be immensely helpful to you!

Japanese Kanji Made Easy: Learn 1,000 Kanji and Kana the Fun and Easy Way” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (given) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

To enter the drawing for the free book, submit this form by 2015 May 10th:

***** Updated May 10th, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 May 10th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

2014 Kanji of the Year

15 Dec

Every December, a kanji (Japanese (Chinese) written character) is chosen that represents the biggest news of the year that is just ending. It’s called 「今年の漢字」 (“The Kanji of the Year“).

Last Friday, the kanji of the year for 2014 was chosen. It’s 「」 (zei) which means “tax“.

Every year, when the 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year”) is chosen, it’s presented to the public at a special ceremony at a temple in Kyoto where the head monk writes the character and it’s broadcast on TV, newspapers and the internet.

The Kanji of the Year (今年の漢字) for 2014 is 「税」 (“tax”).

The reason that this character was chosen to represent 2014 is because the sales tax in Japan was increased this year for the first time in years.

When I came to Japan in 1990, the sales tax here was 3%. (Until just a couple of years before I came to Japan there was no sales tax here at all!)
It stayed at 3% until 1997 when it was raised to 5% (that year, a law was also passed that the after-tax” price must be shown on all products).
Japan’s sales tax was 5% for seventeen years. It was increased to it’s current 8% last spring (thus the Kanji of the Year is “tax”).
The Japanese government plans to increase the sales tax again next year (in 2015) to 10%!

2013’s “kanji”

13 Dec

Every December, a Japanese kanji character is chosen as 「今年の漢字」 (“the kanji of the year”).

You can click here to read my post about last year’s (2012) kanji of the year,
click here for 2011‘s,
click here for 2010‘s,
click here for 2009‘s,
and click here for 2008‘s.

This year’s (2013) Kanji of the Year was just chosen.

kanji-rin

It’s 「」 (りん(“rin“)).

It means “ring” and was chosen in honor of the Olympics rings because of Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 summer Olympics.