Saturday, June 29, 2013

Another example of "Japanese English": something is not quite right with Don't Rush onto the Train. Part of the problem here is that the idea "Don't Kakikomi" is expressed much more efficiently in Japanese than in English. Kakikomi describes the action of barging through doors as they are closing, just as a department store is closing, say, or a train is about to leave the station.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Coins to jingle in your pocket
Our largest coin is the 500-yen piece, worth about $6 last time I looked, which makes it pretty much the highest denomination coin circulated anywhere in the world. It's mostly copper and is about the size of the volume knob on an amplifier. The design is a tree.

(You should know that yen is always pronounced "en" and that it's always singular--no "ens".)

Then there's the copper/nickel 100-yen coin, which might buy you a small beer in a hole in the wall. It's decorated with cherry blossoms.

The 50-yen copper coin, decorated with a bouquet of chrysanthemums, has a hole it it, making it easy to identify in the dark (but it doesn't help that the 5 yen coin of exactly the same dimensions also has a hole in it).

The 10-yen copper coin celebrates a temple in Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan before Tokyo took that function over.

As I say, the 5-yen brass coin also has a hole in it, thanks very much. It shows rice growing.

Lastly there's the 1-yen coin, which is made of aluminum and so light it floats. (It must cost more to make them than it's worth, but it's the yen after all, so it survives. Years ago the yen coin used to be gold, then silver, but now it is so nearly a bother than it is considered an insult to pay anyone back with a sack of yen coins. 

- Marcus Amnity 

Friday, June 21, 2013

At the station, after graduation

Friday, June 14, 2013

Waiting for the 4:52

Monday, June 10, 2013

Billboard ad for something...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Used-book store in Jimbocho

In a restaurant in Japan, how to ask for the check

Nobody will bring you your check unless you ask for it, so when you are ready to leave, you could say "Okanjo kudasai," which means Check please, but this is crude, a rough request, good maybe for a simple place where everyone is sitting at a counter attacking bowls of noodles and there's not much talk.
Nicer, more polite, and much more common would be to stand up after you've finished, maybe knocking off a quick bow in the direction of anyone looking, and say "Gochiso-sama deshita," which means something like Ah, I've eaten very well… This is a well-understood phrase that indicates you're ready to leave and would like to pay. 

--Amos Hemingway