Word of the Day: Denwa (でんわ – 電話) Meaning: Telephone. Use ‘suru/shimasu’ to make into the verb “to call on the phone.”
Example 1: あなたの でんわばんごうを おしえて ください。 / あなたの 電話番号を 教えて 下さい。 / Anata no denwa bangou wo oshiete kudasai. = Please tell me (“teach me”) your telephone number.
Example 2: わたしは でんわが にがてです。 / 私は 電話が 苦手です。 / Watashi wa denwa ga nigate desu. = I’m not good at phones. (E.g., I have a hard time speaking on the phone.)
Example 3: でんわしても いいですか？ / 電話しても いいですか？ / Denwa shite mo ii desu ka? = May I telephone (you)?
Example 4: ごご くじに でんわ して ください。 / 午後 九時に 電話して 下さい。 / Gogo kuji ni denwa shite kudasai. = Please call me at 9PM.
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Shinjuku Gyoen is a beautiful and expansive garden in the heart of Tokyo that contains many different sub-areas showing off various aesthetic styles, including Japanese, English, and French.
Nestled in the Japanese areas, there’s even a tea house where you can stop in for a cup of strong ‘matcha’ and a piece of ‘wagashi,’ a Japanese treat that normally accompanies the tea.
Adult admission is only 200 yen, or 2000 yen for a year pass, which makes it a popular place for locals to come to have a picnic or set up a stool and practice their drawing or painting. If you plan a trip to Tokyo, it’s definitely worth a visit!
Japanese food culture: Izakaya （いざかや・居酒屋）
Walk around any Japanese city after dark and you’re likely to stumble upon lots of little bars — often tiny places that seat as few as ten people — that specialize in small dishes of traditional Japanese food. Known as ‘izakaya,’ you can think of these down-to-earth places as the Japanese equivalent of the tapas bar.
The one pictured here specializes in seafood. Starting in the upper left and moving clockwise, the dishes are 1) Shirasu, tarako, and daikon over rice, 2) Whole squid with a sauce made from its insides, 3) broiled broad beans with a pile of salt, and 4) roasted bamboo shoots. These dishes are meant for sharing over drinks, so grab a few friends and check one out!
Fickle weather couldn’t scare away the throngs of cherry blossom lovers in the Meguro area of Tokyo this past weekend. Happy people walked up and down the Meguro river, which forms the center of this charming neighborhood, sipping themed pink champagne and eating all manner of street food. It was a wonderful afternoon.
A great park to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo is Inokashira Kouen, near Kichijouji Station. This was the scene yesterday, when the sun powered through in spite of forecasts for rain.
It’s hanami (はなみ・花見) season here in Tokyo, and people were out in droves yesterday to see the cherry blossoms. This was the view at Ueno Park, where thousands of people laid out tarps and blankets and enjoyed a leisurely lunch, dinner, or both. Couples, friends, groups of salarymen, and families could be seen talking and laughing, and, aided by large bottles of beer and sake at virtually every table, a merry time was had by all. There was a particular sense of urgency since the weather was forecast to go rainy later, which it did that evening. It’s gray in Tokyo today, but here’s hoping we still have some blossoms left to enjoy when the sun comes out again this weekend.
Reporting live from Tokyo, your friendly Human Japanese team.
(す – 巣) Meaning: Nest (for birds, bees, and even animals such as foxes, which might require a specialized word like “den” in English).
Example 1: あれは とりの す です。/ あれは 鳥の 巣 です。/ Are wa tori no su desu. = That’s a bird nest.
Example 2: はちの す に ちかよらないように！/ 蜂の 巣に 近寄らないように！/ Hachi no su ni chikayoranai you ni! = Be careful not to get too close to the bees’ nest!
Photo: Rika Nakajima