Tag Archives: history

Book Review: “Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics, and Culture” by Patricia J. Graham

Despite my obsession with studying Japanese language for a major chunk of my life, I’ll admit to a weakness of knowledge when it comes to Japanese culture. Though I feel I know many of the basics, especially concerning modern Japan, I know very little of Japan’s history and there are many areas of their culture which I… Read More »

Kendama (けん玉): a traditional Japanese toy for training the mind and body

Kendama is a traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ball (玉, tama) and cross-shaped base (usually made out of wood) which are connected via a thin, long string (糸, ito). In addition to the handle, which can be held comfortably with one hand, the base contains three small indented areas of various sizes (called “皿”,… Read More »

Why write nouns in part Hiragana, part Kanji? (Japanese)

As you may already know, Japanese has three different alphabets: Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji. Many words are written in only one of these scripts (ex: カタカナ、ひらがな、漢字), and using a split of Hiragana and Kanji is required when writing verbs (ex: 食べる). However, occasionally one sees a noun also written this way, such as “子ども”. Why not just… Read More »

Language is always evolving

One frustrating thing about learning foreign languages is that many aspects of language (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.) can appear to be random or arbitrary. I remember when learning Spanish my teacher used to respond to such comments by saying “One day, a long long time ago, there was a man who sat on a hill and decided… Read More »