August 17, 2013: The Japanese have a word for it!

It never fails.  We'll be out walking the dogs or preparing dinner or working out when Akemi will turn to me and ask: "What's the English world for...".  And then proceed to lay out the most ridiculously detailed scenario like "What's the English for when you're trying to lose weight and keep at it for…

August 16, 2012: Blue! Green! Fists of Fury! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! Irresponsible!

"Blue!"announces Akemi the second the traffic light turns green. "Green!"I correct her. "Blue!"she chimes as if she didn't hear. "What color is that?"I ask, pointing up at the traffic light. "Green,"she concedes. "But they're blue in Japan?" "No, they're green in Japan."  Beat.  "But they call it blue." "Why do they call it blue if…

April 12, 2012: Garvige Day! Things Japanese! Mailbag!

"Garvige day?"I asked.  "What's garvige day?" "Gar-vige,"Akemi enunciated for me.  "Garvige day." "You mean garbage day,"I said. "Yes,"she confirmed as if that's what she'd been saying all along.  "Garvige day.  Why?  How do you spell it?" "G-A-R-B-A-G-E".  I said the letters aloud as I wrote them in big block letters on the piece of paper.…

March 29, 2012: In Japan, the dogs go “waan waan”, the cats go “nyan nyan”, and the sheep go “meeeeeeeeh”!

Since returning from Tokyo in early February, I've set aside about an hour every day to study hiragana and katakana, two of Japan's syllable-based writing systems.  Each contain about 48 characters, some frustratingly similar in appearance (like many of you, I occasionally have trouble distinguishing between シ and ッ,or ザ and せ), others so downright bizarre you would think they…