Thank you. 「ありがとう。」 Arigatou.

Thank you for visiting this site.
With this site, you will learn the Japanese language and cultural information.   My name is Yuko, and I am the writer of “Explore Japan.”

I was born and bred in Japan, the land of the rising sun.

We call our country ‘Nippon’ in Japanese, which means the place where the sun rises.
I want to share true Japanese culture and what’s going on in Japan with you through my experience.

I noticed that there was a lot of information about Japan in English, but most of articles are written by non-Japanese.
So, I thought of what I can do as a Japanese person and decided to make this app. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m going to talk about myself a little bit.  My hometown is Saitama located next to Tokyo.  When I was a kid, there were lots of rice fields around my neighborhood, so I grew up in the farming area. 
My house is also close to the capital in Japan, Tokyo, so I have experienced urban life, too, since I was a kid.
Tokyo is a fun place to visit, especially for shopping.  There are many unique shops with their own characters and specialties.  Tokyo has different districts inside the city because Tokyo is in fact not a city but a prefecture like a state in the U.S.
In Tokyo, there are more than 50 cities and towns.  That’s why each district has its distinct characteristics.
For example, Akihabara has developed as the center for Japanese anime fans.  The city is also appealing to many “otaku” from everywhere in the world.  (“Otaku” is a Japanese word, which means “geek(s)’. )
When I was a kid, Akihabara was famous only for electronic home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators.  Things have changed.  The city has transformed to the mecca of the world for anime and manga fans.  You can also get good bargains of electronic devices there, too.
If you are interested in fashion, Shibuya is the best place to shop.  But there are many people on weekends, and you might be surprised by being surrounded with many people.
Let’s say you look at one point in front of you at Shibuya station on Sunday, you will definitely see hundreds of people in your view.
So, be ready for a crowd of young people when you go to Shibuya on weekends.
Lately, Odaiba has been popular among young people.  The area is relatively new compared to other places in Tokyo.  That is because, when I was a child, the place didn’t exist.
The district was artificially made with landfill materials, which means that Japanese created the land with trash!  Can you believe that? 
The land was partly made from waste from construction sites and the wreckage of buildings after fire and natural disasters.
But, don’t worry!  There’s no bad smell at all, and the land is stable.  In Odaiba, there are several amusement theme parks, the Ferris wheel, and a couple of huge shopping malls. 
So, Tokyo has been changing and still developing.  So, maybe one-time visit is not good enough to enjoy Tokyo completely.
But, do you know that the capital city of Japan was not Tokyo?
Around four hundred years ago, Tokyo was just a local city.  Before that, Kyoto was the center of Japan since 794.  
Therefore, if you want to feel a core of Japanese tradition, you should go to Kyoto. There are many historical sites and temples that have more than 1000 year-old history.
As you know, Japan is isolated and surrounded by the sea.  Thanks to its geography, the Japanese unique culture has flourished.  Japanese people mixed imported Chinese practices with Japanese customs and have nurtured its own culture.
Buddhism reached Japan through China in 538. (Of course, it originally started in India.) Then, it became the biggest religion in Japan. According to the 2011 data by Bureau of Statistics in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, there are 75935 Buddhism temples.
In the Internet, people are surprised by the number, and I am one of them. Wow, 75935 temples! No wonder we see more temples than McDonald’s in Japan.  (There are about 3,300 McDonald’s in Japan.)
Most of Japanese don’t often go to temples, but the Japanese culture is absolutely based on Buddhism customs and tradition.  For example, we have funerals at temples, and our cemeteries belong to local temples.  We have a special week in summer that we welcome our ancestries’ souls.
I think Japan has two mixed phases: tradition based on long history and a new pop culture (anime & manga).  They are totally different, but at the same time, they coexist in our life.
Japan is well mixed old and new cultures; I want to introduce you both sharing my daily experiences.
In Japan, there are many historical places, cultural practices, and local traditions that you must not miss. This is a reason why I chose the title of this app as “Explore Japan.”  I want to be your guide of Japan. 
Stay with me. 
Today, you need to learn this word: “ありがとう”; “Ah – ri – ga – toh”. 
The meaning is “Thank you.”  I think this is one of the most important words to know first in a foreign language.
You can listen to my voice here.   Copy my sound, and you will learn it.

★ A-ri-ga-tou.

Keep in mind that the Japanese language doesn’t have either strong accent or rhythm.  The way to pronounce Japanese well is to try speaking flatly.



Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply


Page Top