Happy Marine Day 🐳

Today is Marine Day, a relatively new holiday in Japan. Here’s a short explanation from this site:

Discussion question:

We’ve talked about national holidays in class and one question I always like to hear the answers to is: If you could create your own holiday, what would it be for and when would it be? Personally, I think we need at least one holiday in June. Maybe we could have a “Hydrangea Viewing Day” or make Father’s Day a 3-day weekend?

Language usage questions:

  • How do you say “sun-worshipping” in Japanese? Do you think it’s similar to 日向ぼっこ (my answer is  “no” but what do you think?)
  • A.K.A is a relatively common acronym/abbreviation in English. Can you find the three words it’s made up of in this short text? Then, can you do a little research (or ask me or another native speaker) how the acronym is used?
  • Try using “make the most of” in your own original sentences, about topics relevant to your life and what you’re studying.
  • This text uses some different words instead of “and so on” or “and etc.” Can you find them? Did you know that native speakers really don’t say “and so on” nearly as often as Japanese speakers do (at least I don’t think so)?


According to this short article from PRI, 99% of the refugees seeking asylum in Japan are rejected. Here’s the story of one who wasn’t. (You can listen to the audio, though it’s not the same as the written text. I suggest reading first and then listening, after you have a good idea about the story).

It’s a good story to learn about the people behind the statistics.

“Meet one of the handful of Syrians granted asylum in Japan”




Humor in a second language is hard. It’s hard to understand, and it’s even harder to imitate. This website might help. The Rising Wasabi is a satirical news site. You can call it “fake news” or you can call it a way to enjoy current news with your tongue firmly in your cheek (Not sure what that means? Guess first, then check here).

In Japanese, the word “satire” is 風刺, literally “wind-stabbing”. Do you know the etymology of that word? Can you find out?

Some recent articles:

“Abe Asks Merkel If She’ll Be Pouring The Beers At The G20”

“JLPT Examinees Prepare Last Minute Unanswered Question Strategies” (the JLPT is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test — 日本語能力試験 — something most non-native speakers of Japanese living in Japan have taken, or tried taking, at least once)

“Entire Carriage Looks At Gaijin As Announcement Is Repeated In English”

“Trump Scraps TPP Trade Deal For More Populist PPAP Barter System”

“UNESCO Adds Whole Of Japan To World Heritage List To Save Time”

“Feminist Gaijin Insists On Being Referred To As A ‘Girljin’”

‘Premium Friday’ Boosts Economy With Expenditures Under The Influence”


A day in Kyoto

Summer vacation is coming soon. Do you have travel plans? Do you make an itinerary, or do you just wing it?

Here’s one person’s travelogue of a day in Kyoto. It’s more meaningful to me because I’ve been there. Have you? Did you do any of the same things she did?

“What to do with one day in Kyoto”

(from Tofugu)

That’s my photo, not one from the article. It’s one of my favorite photos from my last trip to Kyoto. I kept imagining just one crazy bee buzzing around. (Students, do you get why this sign is funny to native English speakers?)

One thought about the article: this may sound too critical, but it seems to me that if you’re in Kyoto for just a day, you should skip the falafel and eat tofu. Kyoto has some really, really amazing tofu shops and restaurants, and it’s much more of a “When in Rome” expierence. But to each her own.