All posts filed under: Japanese news

Japanese News: kanji of the year 北

You probably read or heard about it if you follow the news about Japan: the kanji of the year 今年の漢字 is officially 北・きた. Link to the NHK article on the subject. The 今年の漢字 is a kanji chosen at the end of each year by the Japanese kanji proficiency society 日本漢字能力検定協会 to represent the year that is about to end. It is revealed on December 12th in Kyomizu temple 清水寺・きよみずでら in Kyoto. During the ceremony, the chief abbot 貫主・かんじゅ of the temple writes the selected kanji on a large piece of Japanese paper 和紙・わし with a big brush. I think anyone can easily guess why 北 was chosen. It’s true that concerns about North Korea 北朝鮮・きたちょうせん were very present in the news. Let’s read the article and learn some new words! 北? 北朝鮮 The first meaning of 北 in our context is North Korea. The article says that the multiple launches of ballistic missiles from North Korea have created a menace and anxiety. A ballistic missile is “弾道ミサイル”. 弾道・だんどう means “trajectory”, “line of fire”, “path of a projectile”. …

Japanese News: Emperor Akihito will retire on April, 30th 2019

You may have heard that a date was finally set last week for the abdication of Emperor Akihito. I think it is time for me to try reading political articles, but I will start with a very short one. Link to the article. (😲😨😱 As I check this link again, I realise that they completely changed the article in the meanwhile. When I studied it, it was a very short one… I am very sorry for that, but as this post is mainly focused on vocabulary, I think it is still okay…) This article published on Asahi does not bring much information but given that I can’t read the title, I think it is a good material to study some vocabulary. Let’s start with the title: 天皇陛下退位「2019年4月30日」 政令を閣議決定 To me, this is typically the kind of sentence that I can understand because I know the meaning of each kanji, but I could not possibly read it out loud with confidence. The only two words I already knew for sure are: 天皇・てんのう Emperor 決定・けってい decision (to say …

Japanese News: 「九十歳。何がめでたい」

I have found an interesting article this morning. Published on Asahi, the article’s title is 年間ベストセラー発表 1位は「九十歳。何がめでたい」. Link to the article The title would not have caught my attention if I hadn’t read recently an article about the “アラハン” (around hundred) phenomenon in Japan. I read about this in the magazine 일본어 저널, which is a Korean monthly magazine to learn Japanese (see my review here). I find it to be a very interesting topic, so I will first write about アラハン and then move to the Asahi article. アラハン Source: 일본어 저널, 2017 November, p.74-75. The term アラハン comes from “around hundred”. Recently, many women around 100 have published books where they look back on their lives and transmit something to younger generations, especially women who could be their daughters and grand-daughters. Even if they lived at a time when women didn’t work, these women all pursue diverse activities, among which, writing books. It seems that these books’ main readers are women in their 40’s or 50’s. The article says that they want to learn …

Japanese News:

Today, I will study an article published on NHK News Web about the Zama 座間市 murder case in which Shiraishi Takahiro 白石隆浩 killed 9 people. In fact, I heard this report this morning, on the site NHK Radio News (report from the 24th November, 9:00 to 9:05). It appears that what the journalist said on the broadcast is the exact same contents than this article. I tried to understand as much as possible by only listening before reading the article. Link to the article I find this article easy to understand, even by only listening to it. It talks about the youngest victim of  Shiraishi Takahiro 白石隆浩, a high-school student of only 15. The article explains how the police could retrace her last known movements. We know that she bought a new tee-shirt, entered a station and probably changed to her newly bought black tee-shirt in the toilet while throwing her belongings (phone and IC card) away. It seems that she was told to do so by Shiraishi Takahiro to prevent the police from finding her …

Japanese News: Tokyo Olympics countdown in Ginza

This is an article published on Asahi website yesterday evening about the Tokyo Olympics countdown clock. Link to the article I don’t know why the clock was unveiled yesterday, that is, 981 days before Tokyo Olympics. The article does not say whether this date was strategic or not. Anyway, let’s see what words I can learn from this article! The countdown clock カウントダウンクロック made its appearance 登場・とうじょう on November 16th. The clock that is 3 meters high was designed and built by the brand Omega. Omega is the official 公式・こうしき timekeeper タイムキーパー of the Olympics. The clock represents the Japanese flag 日の丸・ひのまる and can be seen before the Omega shop 店舗・てんぽ in Ginza, Tokyo. The unveiling お披露目・おひろめ ceremony セレモニー featured Chad le Clos, London Olympics Gold medalist in the swimming race 競泳・きょうえい and the actress Nanao who said: 2020年へのカウントダウンが始まってわくわくしている。皆さんが素晴らしい結果を出してくれるよう祈っています source I am excited that the countdown for 2020 has started. I am praying for everyone to get fantastic results.  (I wonder if the presence of くれる allows us to translate that she is speaking of Japanese participants …

Japanese News: Looking for suicide partner on Twitter

You probably have heard of Takahiro Shiraishi and the murder case that stroke Japan this week. Takahiro Shiraishi killed 9 people, among whom persons who were looking for a suicide partner on Twitter. Far from committing suicide with his victims, he killed them and hid their bodies in his apartment. Today’s news article is a rather long one, published on Asahi this morning. I will only study some parts of it and try to focus on information less generally conveyed in English sources. Link to the article First of all, some vocabulary relative to suicide that I found in the article. 自殺志願者・じさつしがんしゃ: 志願者 means “candidate”. 自殺志願者 means someone who wants to commit suicide. 自殺募集・じさつぼしゅう: 募集 means “recruiting”. 自殺募集 is a hashtag on Twitter for people looking for suicide partners. 自殺仲間・じさつなかま: suicide partner 自殺未遂・じさつみすい: suicide attempt The article mainly focuses on the case and on how people who want to commit suicide 自殺を望む人 use Twitter to find partners, through the hashtag 自殺募集. This problem didn’t appear with Twitter. In 2005, a man killed three people he …

Japanese news: on natto, vitamin K and femur fractures

I found an intriguing article today on the Asahi website. The title of the article is : 中高年の骨折は「西高東低」 原因は不明、納豆が関係か. 骨折・こっせつ fracture of a bone The title says that concerning bone fractures of middle-aged and elderly persons, it is “high in the West and low in the East”. Even if the reason for this difference is unclear 不明, it may be related to the consumption of natto 納豆. Link to the article What is defined as “high” or “low” is the proportion 割合・わりあい of persons who broke their femur 大腿骨骨折・だいたいこつこっせつ. 大腿骨・だいたいこつ is the femur or thighbone. Together with 骨折・こっせつ, which means “fracture of a bone”, it means “fracture of the femur”. Research groups 研究グループ・けんきゅう say that the differences between West and East Japan could be related to eating habits 食生活・しょくせいかつ. The survey 調査・ちょうさ carried out is based on data coming from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare 厚生労働省・こうせいろうどうしょう. The survey concerned people above 40 who had a femur fracture 大腿骨骨折をした40歳以上の男女. The goal of the survey was to examine the differences by prefecture: 都道府県別・つどうふけんべつ 都道府県・とどうふけん is …

Japanese news: カズオ・イシグロ received the ノーベル文学賞

For today’s news article, I have selected a short and easy one. I still don’t feel confident in reading long articles or articles about politics, I fear they might be discouraging… Anyway, there is a subject that interests me this week: the British writer Kazuo Ishiguro カズオ・イシグロ receiving the Nobel Prize ノーベル文学賞. Link to the article This is a short article published on Asahi this morning, mainly focused on Kazuo Ishiguro saying that a part of him is Japanese, as announced by the title: イシグロさん「私の一部は日本人」 ロンドンで取材対応 The word 取材・しゅざい means “collecting data”, “doing research for an article”, “covering a story”, “gathering news”. Here, we can simply translate it by “interview”. To say “to grant an interview” we use the verb 応じる・おうじる:取材に応じる.We find this expression at the beginning of the article: “取材に応じた”. In our title, we have the noun 対応・たいおう which can be used in a lot of situations and have different meanings. Here it simply carries the meaning of “response”. The article starts by describing Ishiguro’s reaction when he heard (about the information) that he received …

Japanese News: France not going to Pyeongchang?

I was very surprised when opening Asahi website this morning to see an article stating that France may not attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang if the relationship with North Korea gets worse. Let’s analyse Asahi’s article Link to the article The title is not difficult to understand: フランス、平昌五輪不参加の可能性も 北朝鮮情勢を懸念 The word underlined is Pyeongchang. I am always fascinated with how Japanese use kanji for Korean places and names, when Korean themselves don’t use them anymore (they write everything in hangeul, even Names). For example, Japanese newspaper, when talking about Korea’s actual president, would write 文在寅(ムンジェイン)when Korean do not usually use the kanji and simply write the name in hangeul. That’s interesting because Japanese could use the sole katakana transcription like they do for other foreign names. But given that Koreans do have kanji names, Japanese media prefer to use them. The problem is the pronunciation. I don’t know how 文在寅 or 平昌 would be pronounced in Japanese but it would be different from the Korean pronunciation. That’s why the Korean pronunciation is given in most cases. …

NHK radio journal’s “シリーズ戦争を考える”: War orphan ~ 小倉勇さん

This week, the NHK radio journal has started a series to commemorate the end of the war. I listened to the first episode and, as usual, was totally unable to follow what was being said. I understood enough to know that a man in his 80’s (whose name is M. Ogura) was talking about his experience of American air raids. As I really wanted to hear his story, I listened to the episode several times and was finally able to understand enough to follow the narrative. When the NHK announcer speaks, I can follow, but sadly, I can’t understand well what M. Ogura says. But, as I really would like to be able to comprehend everything, I feel motivated to keep studying. This episode is called 終戦が地獄の始まりだった~戦争孤児・小倉勇さん and was launched for the commemoration of the end World War II in Asia, on August 15th. This episode is about 小倉勇さん(おぐら・いさむ)who is now 85 years-old, and is telling for the first time his experience of the war. Even if I listened to the interview/reportage several times, I still …