Foreign culture

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Profession undoubtedly defines your way of thinking. When I hand my first PhD I already realised that there is no turning back. I will always pay attention to the things that most people seem to miss, enjoy them and talk about them. The recent events proved to be no different. When the world was gasping at each Coronavirus news, I was enjoying the news about terminology. Recently, due to the sudden outburst of the Novel Coronavirus Japan has learned new terminology such as “cluster”, “overshoot” and “lockdown”. They all came from the English language epidemiologic background and were presented to the Japanese as クラスター, オーバーシュートandロックダウン, in other words as the so-called カタカナ語(Katakana language). A short time later, […]

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If someone told me about this in advance, I might have had a chance to run away. Who am I kidding? I would still fall in this very pitfall and be happy about it. So, you are a foreigner and you are thinking about doing your grad education in Japan. There are some things you should know before making the final decision. Here’s a three-item list of the things that I would recommend to consider. It requires more money than you imagine Remember this financial item called jyukenryou (受験料 – exam fee) in your exam portfolio? Basically, the school asks you to pay for looking at your application papers. Well, […]

On February 15th JR announced a release of an IC card that targets foreigners in Japan. This commuter card is dedicated to those who use public transport for a short time period. It’s called “Welcome Suica”, and, apart from its designs that features Japanese sakura, it benefits its users by providing prepaid public transportation services free of deposit. Normally, you pay a 500 yen deposit to have an IC card issued. But in the case of Welcome Suica foreign guests are welcome to take it as a Japanese souvenir. It covers all the areas that are covered by SUICA and PASMO, including buses, trains and underground. The sales start in […]

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One of my colleagues moved into the new apartment the other day. She said that she had to read the contract together with the owner for an hour. That’s what Japanese apartment contracts are! I should probably mention this more often, but Japan is an incredibly bureaucratic country. Their mind set on putting everything on paper, that’s why there are a lot of manuals and contracts. The bureaucracy has its plusses, once the deal is made you are fully protected by various papers. But there are also minuses, such as no one dares to set off the right path of a manual, for example. The rent contracts are part of […]

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When you speak Japanese with your Japanese friends you can’t avoid this question: “What Japanese do you like most?” or as they say it 好きな日本語はなんですか? (Suki na nihongo wa nan desu ka?) I am always at a loss. What do they want me to say? There are different dialects in the Japanese language, there are different idioms, different characters, onomatopoeia, polite speech, not very polite speech – it all qualifies as Japanese. So how exactly should I answer this tricky question? I’ve asked my Japanese friends and here is what I found out: The answers may contain but are not limited by a word or phrase with a pleasant meaning […]