Cats, cats and more cats

12 de February de 2020 at 13:22

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It’s the Year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac. In fact, the rat is the first in a cycle of twelve animals that take turns representing each passing year. Besides the rat, there’s the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig.

What do we do for Christmas?

20 de December de 2019 at 13:05

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What do people do at Christmastime in a country, like Japan, with no Catholic or Christian tradition? Well, we also celebrate Christmas, but in our own way. Businesses kick off their Christmas campaigns well before the holidays, and the most celebrated time in Japan is actually Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day itself. In fact, 25 December is not a bank holiday.

Goethe wonders: “Is that ‘Gyoete’ me?”

18 de May de 2019 at 8:07

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This post’s title is the translation of some verses popularly attributed to the writer Ryokuu Satô (1868-1904, “Gyoete towa ore no koto kato Gête ii”). At one time, the name of the great German writer’s name was transcribed in different ways in Japanese, giving rise to the coexistence of a variety of transcriptions. Nowadays, the names of the classic writers have established transcriptions; for example, that of Goethe is ゲーテ (‘Gête’).

The second button

20 de March de 2019 at 11:34

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In Japan, March is the month of graduation. Colleges, schools and universities alike hold graduation ceremonies, which mark the end of one stage in students’ lives. For some people, graduation evokes memories of an era full of school uniforms, cherry blossoms and tubes containing their graduation certificates. Graduation is also a time to say farewell to fellow students who won’t be attending the same school the following semester.

Kanji and the woman

18 de January de 2019 at 13:41

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While preparing materials for a Japanese course, we read that the kanji meaning “come back” or “return” (帰) comprises two parts, the left meaning “follow” and the right, “broom” and “woman”. Together, it represents a woman following her man. This kanji, we read, also means “wed” or “return to the house of one’s man”. Such etymology caught our attention and, out of curiosity, we checked some dictionaries and found that some have dedicated more space than others to detail this kanji’s origin.

Fighting the cold!

18 de December de 2018 at 17:58

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Now that it’s really started to get cold, here are some of things the Japanese do to keep warm.

Video: “Japanese for Tourists”

6 de December de 2018 at 13:02

The Travelling to Japan: Keys for Communicating and Discovering the Best Places to Visit event organized by the Centre for Modern Languages took place at the UOC’s centre in Madrid on Thursday 25 October. Dr Emi Takamori, professor at the Asian and African Studies Department at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), gave a very engaging class on Japanese language and culture, entitled “Japanese for Tourists”, which gave helpful insights on handling some of the situations that arise during a trip, such as using public transport, shopping or finding accommodation.

Video: “Japan: A Welcoming, Affordable Destination for Any Tourist”

2 de December de 2018 at 17:15

The Travelling to Japan: Keys for Communicating and Discovering the Best Places to Visit event organized by the Centre for Modern Languages took place at the UOC’s centre in Madrid on Thursday 25 October. Hajime Kishi, Manager of the Japanese National Tourism Organization (JNTO) office in Madrid, gave a talk titled “Japan: A Welcoming, Affordable Destination for Any Tourist”.

Kanji and feminine gender

27 de November de 2018 at 9:11

Although the Japanese language has no morphological markings for gender when it comes to nouns and adjectives, like in Catalan or Spanish, we do find several ways in which the feminine gender is expressed in names of professions. These names have been undergoing changes as social consciousness evolves and new laws develop. Some of these ways of expressing feminine gender are still widely used today, while others have already become obsolete.

Autumn and chrysanthemums

8 de November de 2018 at 17:28

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The chrysanthemum (kiku) is a typical autumn flower in Japan and can be spotted in different spheres of life.