show episodes
 
Speculative fiction writer, long-term resident of Japan and Bram Stoker Award finalist Thersa Matsuura explores all that is weird from Japan—strange superstitions, folklore and folktales, cultural oddities, and interesting language quirks. These are little treasures she digs up while doing research for her writing.
 
Helping you better understand Japan and the Japanese language one question at a time. Every episode Tony and Ryan--two guys with master's degrees in Japanese Language & Linguistics--draw on their experiences in Japan and extensive research in both Japanese and English to shed light on all aspects of Japan. From the many interesting quirks of the Japanese language to obscure Japanese history, as well as busting misconceptions about Japan held by both Japanese peole and Westerners, Tony and Ry ...
 
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show series
 
The baku (獏) is a Japanese mythical creature that, when invited, slips into your room at night to gobble up your nightmares. Below is an example of the Takarabune (宝船) image with the old character for baku (獏) on the sail. Tuck this under your pillow on New Year's Eve for some extra lucky dreams. You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.co…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do you have any funny or embarrassing Japanese language mistake stories? Topics Discussed What Ikigai Connections is How you say "fart" in Japanese The tricky nature of the Japanese passive form Getting similar sounding Japanese words confused The confusion that can occur when you speak more than two languag…
 
"The Dream of Akinosuke" is Lafcadio Hearn's translation of a sweet Japanese (originally Chinese) folktale. In it you'll learn how insects can manipulate a person's soul. You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapan Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncannyjapan/ Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thersamatsuura Instagram: http…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a kirakira name? Topics Discussed What a so-called kirakira nēmu is What kirakira means Five of the most difficult to read "kirakira names" The fact that many Japanese people seem to be unaware that Winnie the Pooh's name is Winnie and not Pooh The famous 1993 case of a baby who almost got named Akum…
 
Let's visit some local haunted areas or shinrei supotto in Japanese. The Suicide Forest, a very haunted tunnel, and a Severed Head Grave are all in today's show. You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapan Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncannyjapan/ Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thersamatsuura Instagram: https://www.i…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do Japanese names work? Topics Discussed How people in Japan normally state their family name before their given name The complicated history of naming practices in Japan Commoners being prohibited from using family names during the Edo Period The Meiji era laws that mandated every Japanese person take a…
 
Yuurei are Japanese ghosts and they come in quite a few varieties, from the protecting shugorei to the vengeful and very dangerous onryou. Kahada Koheiji is an example of a male onryou. You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapan Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncannyjapan/ Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thersamatsuura …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why do students in Hamamatsu City have to wear white underwear? Topics Discussed School rules concerning the color of a student's underwear The story of one student who ended up having to go bra-less after it was found that she was not wearing white underwear during a school trip Some of the reasons given fo…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a tsuchinoko? Topics Discussed What a tsuchinoko is How you say "cryptid" in Japanese Tsuchinoko's status as a U.M.A. (Unidentified Mysterious Animal) What a tsuchinoko looks like Some of the abilities tsuchinoko are said to have The areas in Japan where tsuchinoko tend to live The sounds tsuchinoko …
 
An oiran is not a geisha. Although at first glance they may look alike, one is a more reserved entertainer who is still in existence today. The other is a high courtesan, long disappeared, who wore flamboyant brightly-colored kimono and walked on 20 centimeter high geta. You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapan Facebook: h…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why does to "nyan nyan" mean to "have sex" in Japanese? Topics Discussed Japanese expressions/idioms related to cats What the Japanese expression neko no te mo karitai means and how it is used What pets are most popular in Japan The Japanese festival game of kingyosukui What the Japanese expression nekojita …
 
You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapan Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncannyjapan/ Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thersamatsuura Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uncannyjapan/ Amazon: https://amzn.to/3mgCVsd YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqAtoUS51HDi2d96_aLv95w Website: https://www.uncannyjapan.com…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Does "hai" mean "bye" in Japanese? Topics Discussed How most people that don't speak Japanese would say "goodbye" in Japanese How sayonara/sayōnara is used fairly infrequently in Japanese Reasons why people in Japan tend not to use sayonara/sayōnara frequently The etymology of sayonara/sayōnara When the firs…
 
Koumare Ishi is one of the nanafushigi or seven mysterious occurrences from my area. The belief is that a rock is born from the side of the mountain, and when it falls the head abbot of the nearby temple, Daitoku, dies. It's been going on for hundreds of years, and even today there is a perfectly round stone poking halfway from the mountain. Below …
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why are school rules in Japan so strict? Topics Discussed Experiences working at and attending Japanese schools A selection of "weird" school rules (kōsoku) from across Japan The history behind why school rules became strict in Japan The case of a female high school student who filed a lawsuit after her scho…
 
Bon Odori or Bon Dancing is a summer tradition held all over Japan. It's a chance for families to get together and have an enjoyable time dancing to the rhythmical music. Seeing as how the Obon season is also when ancestors visit from beyond the grave, they, too, can take part in the festivities if they wish. You can also find me on: Twitter: https…
 
On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: How do you create fake kanji? Topics Discussed Kanji radicals The composition of kanji Kanji reading strategies The "Original Kanji Contest" (Sōsaku Kanji Kontesuto) What yūrei-moji (ghost kanji/characters) are Why the kanji character for rice (米) is used to mean "meter" in Japanese The kanji based system us…
 
Ever wonder why a jellyfish looks the way they do? Well, the Japanese folktale "The Jellyfish Takes a Journey" (Kurage no Honenashi) tells you how that came about. Then after that folktale, I'll give you a little trivia about the connection between eel and seppuku. You can also find me on: Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapan Facebook: https:/…
 
Japanese Plus Alpha is the latest podcast in the JapanKyo Podcast Network. Produced by Tony Vega, Japanese Plus Alpha focuses on the Japanese language and its many fascinating quirks. The show is designed as a fun way to learn about the Japanese language while at the same time gaining insight into Japanese history, culture, linguistics, and more. I…
 
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