show episodes
 
Helping you better understand Japan and the Japanese language one question at a time. Every episode Tony and Ryan--two guys with master's degrees in Japanese Language & Linguistics--draw on their experiences in Japan and extensive research in both Japanese and English to shed light on all aspects of Japan. From the many interesting quirks of the Japanese language to obscure Japanese history, as well as busting misconceptions about Japan held by both Japanese peole and Westerners, Tony and Ry ...
 
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show series
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What are Japan's most famous dogs? Topics Discussed Who Japan's most famous dogs are About Yukimaru, Prince Shotoku Taishi's beloved dog About Prince Shotoku Taishi Yukimaru's supposed ability to talk to Shotoku Taishi and chant Buddhist sutras The drone Nara made based on Yukimaru Sakhalin huskies/Karafuto-…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What was good and bad about your JET experience? Topics Discussed What the JET Programme is The various positions available to JET applicants Some troubles experienced while on the JET Programme Rural placements Japan's shrinking population On getting placed in Yamagata Prefecture On the lack of privacy that…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Did Tama-chan the seal save the world and cause immigration reform? Topics Discussed The story of the famous seal that appeared in Tokyo's Tama River in the summer of 2002 About Tama-chan the seal How Tama-chan being granted a jūminhyō (residency certificate) by Yokohama's Nishi Ward led to foreigners protes…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a yankī or furyō? Topics Discussed What a furyō is The literal meaning of furyō All about juvenile delinquent culture in Japan The possible origin of the term furyō What a yankī is The possible origins of the Japanese term yankī and its links to Osaka's Amemura area What a tsuppari is Classic furyo f…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Is the story of Kaguya Hime proof that aliens have visited Japan? Topics Discussed An overview of the story of Kaguya Hime (Taketori Monogatari, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) The history of Taketori Monogatari How the tale of Kaguya Hime is sometimes called Japan's first science fiction story Peculiarities …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do you count that in Japanese? Topics Discussed The counter system used in Japanese Japanese counter suffixes The sometimes confusing nature of Japanese counters The correct suffix for counting chopsticks in Japanese Various counters used with different kinds of chopsticks How to properly count squid in …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is Kansai-ben? Topics Discussed What the Kansai dilaect is The different that are found within the Kansai region of Japan Osaka-ben vs other dialects within the Kansai-ben umbrella The stereotype of the Ōsaka no obachan (older lady from Osaka) Leopard print clothing Who uses ōkini and where it is typica…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Are rabbits counted as birds because eating meat was taboo in Japan? Topics Discussed The practice of counting rabbits as if they were birds in Japanese Whether Japanese people eat meat What exactly qualifies as meat The history of meats "bans" in Japan The hypocritical and dubious nature of meat "bans" in J…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do students in Saga Prefecture still have to wear white underwear? Topics Discussed The decision by Saga Prefecture's Board of Education to get rid of an existing rule in some of its schools that made it mandatory for students to wear white underwear under their school uniforms The possibility that some scho…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What should I know about Japan's Bubble Era? Topics Discussed What was Japan's "Bubble Era" The Japanese bubble economy of the late '80s and early '90s Examples of some of the over the top ways people are said to have spent money during Japan's bubble economy era Golden Bomber's "Dance My Generation" Bubble …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What first person pronoun should I use when speaking Japanese? Topics Discussed The most common first person pronouns used in Japanese The tendency for Japanese speakers to avoid using pronouns The lack of true pronouns in Japanese How choosing which first person Japanese pronoun to use can be confusing even…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do you have any funny or embarrassing Japanese mistake stories? Topics Discussed How "sayonara" is not used in most situations when saying "goodbye" in Japanese A mix up at a convenience store Getting used to referring to people in the Japanese language What exactly a rōtari is Being asian Dealing with peopl…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why did samurai have such weird haircuts? Topics Discussed What a chonmage is The Japanese people's pursuit of excellence of the hairstyle The historical origins of the topknots in Japan Hats and their connection to the topknot The supposed reason why samurai started using topknots and shaving the front of t…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we once again ask: What is the best Japanese name for a bear that isn't actually a bear? Topics Discussed Japanese names of animals that have "kuma" in them but are not actually bears What an anaguma is How you say badger in Japanese What a mujina is What honey badger is in Japanese What fukuroguma are What the word…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we once again ask: What annoys you about living in Japan? Topics Discussed The frustratingly useless nature of many English-language versions of Japanese websites Booking hotels in Japan The frustrating but hilarious nature of bad English translations of Japanese (a.k.a. Engrish) Engrish t-shirts The practice of usi…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What annoys you about living in Japan? Topics Discussed Some annoying things you might encounter while living in Japan The annoying practice of book stores in Japan sorting books by publisher rather than author Justifications for why bookstores in Japan arrange books by publishers instead of by the last name…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Who got it more wrong: MatPat or Tony? (This episode is a follow up to episode 11 of Ichimon Japan which focused on the so-called Curse of the Colonel. The episode was recorded in order to address inaccuracies found in that episode.) Topics Discussed A brief summary of the Curse of the Colonel The fact that …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is yakitori? Topics Discussed What yakitori is The difference between yakitori when it is written using kanji and when it is written using only hiragana What qualifies as yakitori An overview of the history of yakitori The supposed origin story of the skewered sparrows that the area around Fushimi Inari…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do you have any funny or embarrassing Japanese language mistake stories? Topics Discussed What Ikigai Connections is How you say "fart" in Japanese The tricky nature of the Japanese passive form Getting similar sounding Japanese words confused The confusion that can occur when you speak more than two languag…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a kirakira name? Topics Discussed What a so-called kirakira nēmu is What kirakira means Five of the most difficult to read "kirakira names" The fact that many Japanese people seem to be unaware that Winnie the Pooh's name is Winnie and not Pooh The famous 1993 case of a baby who almost got named Akum…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do Japanese names work? Topics Discussed How people in Japan normally state their family name before their given name The complicated history of naming practices in Japan Commoners being prohibited from using family names during the Edo Period The Meiji era laws that mandated every Japanese person take a…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why do students in Hamamatsu City have to wear white underwear? Topics Discussed School rules concerning the color of a student's underwear The story of one student who ended up having to go bra-less after it was found that she was not wearing white underwear during a school trip Some of the reasons given fo…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a tsuchinoko? Topics Discussed What a tsuchinoko is How you say "cryptid" in Japanese Tsuchinoko's status as a U.M.A. (Unidentified Mysterious Animal) What a tsuchinoko looks like Some of the abilities tsuchinoko are said to have The areas in Japan where tsuchinoko tend to live The sounds tsuchinoko …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why does to "nyan nyan" mean to "have sex" in Japanese? Topics Discussed Japanese expressions/idioms related to cats What the Japanese expression neko no te mo karitai means and how it is used What pets are most popular in Japan The Japanese festival game of kingyosukui What the Japanese expression nekojita …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Does "hai" mean "bye" in Japanese? Topics Discussed How most people that don't speak Japanese would say "goodbye" in Japanese How sayonara/sayōnara is used fairly infrequently in Japanese Reasons why people in Japan tend not to use sayonara/sayōnara frequently The etymology of sayonara/sayōnara When the firs…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why are school rules in Japan so strict? Topics Discussed Experiences working at and attending Japanese schools A selection of "weird" school rules (kōsoku) from across Japan The history behind why school rules became strict in Japan The case of a female high school student who filed a lawsuit after her scho…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do you create fake kanji? Topics Discussed Kanji radicals The composition of kanji Kanji reading strategies The "Original Kanji Contest" (Sōsaku Kanji Kontesuto) What yūrei-moji (ghost kanji/characters) are Why the kanji character for rice (米) is used to mean "meter" in Japanese The kanji based system us…
 
Japanese Plus Alpha is the latest podcast in the JapanKyo Podcast Network. Produced by Tony Vega, Japanese Plus Alpha focuses on the Japanese language and its many fascinating quirks. The show is designed as a fun way to learn about the Japanese language while at the same time gaining insight into Japanese history, culture, linguistics, and more. I…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What's so scary about the hour of the ox? Topics Discussed All about Japan's old way of telling time that was based on the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac (eto) Which "animals" in the old Chinese Zodiac based way of telling time correspond to which hours in the modern way of telling time Why the "hour of th…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What are your favorite places to visit in Osaka? Topics Discussed A basic overview of the main areas of Osaka Osaka's best burrito place: El Zocalo Osaka Castle and Osaka Castle Park The Umeda Area Yodobashi Camera The Minami area Universal Studios Japan and its Cool Japan special events/rides Super Nintendo…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we finish off the discussion on seppuku that we started in episode 18 with two very interesting examples of people cutting themselves open. Topics Discussed General Maresuke Nogi The death by (kind of sanctioned?) seppuku of General Nogi Maresuke The cork-sized plugs found in General Nogi's rectum Nogi Shrine in Tok…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is seppuku? Topics Discussed A breakdown of the word seppuku A breakdown of the word hara-kiri Whether "hara-kiri" is a term used only by foreigners The glorification and beautification of seppuku The history and origin of seppuku/belly cutting The differences between the terms seppuku and hara-kiri, an…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why do Japanese people love Hawaii so much? Topics Discussed Why Hawaii is such a popular travel destination among Japanese travelers How many Japanese people came to Hawaii in 2019 How the amount of Japanese travelers to Hawaii compares to the amount of travelers from other places How many Japanese people w…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Can sexy things give you anime style nosebleeds? Topics Discussed Whether getting sexually aroused causes nosebleeds What it would be like if people in the real world had explosive nosebleeds like in anime The idea that eating large amounts of chocolate causes nosebleeds The idea that eating large amounts of…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Have you ever had any weird experiences in Japan? Topics Discussed Weird/crazy/surprising experiences had in Japan Peculiar Japanese coworkers/teachers A teacher who wanted to go to France to become a witch Whether English is the lingua franca of witches trained in France Eating cat... not really, but kind o…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why are vegetables so unsulting in Japanese? On this episode we are honored to once again be joined by Kyle Broyles of the Tokyo Splosion podcast and Hard Officers YouTube channel. Topics Discussed Some funny Japanese vegetable-based insults and their (supposed) etymologies What the term daikon ashi means Wh…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What's life like in Japan during the coronavirus pandemic? We also investigate the cute sneeze conspiracy that is going on in Japan. This episodes features special guest Kyle Broyles of the Tokyo Splosion podcast and Hard Officers YouTube channel. Topics Discussed What it's like living in central Tokyo durin…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What's better: rural life or city life in Japan? Topics Discussed The pros and cons of living in rural Japan The pros and cons of living in a big city in Japan Life in Ishikawa Prefecture Life in Kobe Life in Osaka Where Ishikawa Prefecture is located Whether rural people are friendlier than city people in J…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is the Curse of the Colonel? Topics Discussed What the famous Curse of the Colonel is How tall and how heavy the statues of Colonel Sanders that are seen at Japanese KFC locations are How the tradition of the Dotombori Dive began The Hanshin Tigers How the Hanshin Tigers were named after the Detroit Tig…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is Panty Town? Topics Discussed The town of Shimogigaoka (下木ヶ丘) and its plan to use panty vending machines for publicity The history of the town of Shimogigaoka What fundoshi are How rural towns across Japan are trying to both boost tourism and attract new residents through various headline-grabbing PR …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Was Momotarō a thief? Topics Discussed The folktale/fairy tale of Momotarō Whether Peach Boy is a good English title for Momotarō How old the story of Momotarō is Kunio Yanagita The most common motifs of the Momotarō story Some of the many variations that exist of the story of Momotarō The possible connectio…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What are your Japanese studying tips? Topics Discussed How and why Tony and Ryan started studying Japanese The structure of Japanese Strategies and tips for studying Japanese and any foreign language The difficult part about learning Japanese Whether Japanese is a complex language The usefulness of talking t…
 
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