Japanese

Kiwi Yamabushi on Mt. Haguro

Trials and tribulations on YouTube

Last year in May, I set about climbing Mt. Haguro from the lesser-known Haguro Kodo side in Shonai Town. It was a really unique way to experience one of the most sacred mountains there is, and I spent more than a few hours putting together a 20 minute video of the experience. However, while we …

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A Jizo statue at the top of Mt. Kyogakura in Sakata

Uketamo: the philosophy to live by

Uketamo has a long, long history. There’s a little known mountain region in northern Japan called the Dewa Sanzan that has been used as training ground for the Yamabushi, monks who train in the austerities in the mountains, for over 1,000 years. Although the Dewa Sanzan comprises of only three mountains, currently Mt. Haguro, Mt. …

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You can do a better job of indoctrinating people if you let them learn at their own pace

Japan seems to have a strange infatuation with everyone doing everything at the same time. In general, they don’t have students move up or stay on in a year level, and the reason I got when I asked was that they value the group being together right from the early years. That theory gets a …

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A Kiwi take on a Japanese philosophy

 The Kiwi philosophy of ‘she’ll be right’ is sometimes at odds with Japanese culture, except at the same time it also helps form the basis of one of their core principles. The philosophy of ‘she’ll be right’ is that things will all turn out ok in the end. This is a great philosophy to have, …

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When consideration isn’t consideration

Here in Shonai, people often stick to one lane when they drive, knowing that up ahead the lanes merge. This is fine, except sometimes they do it a bit too early and you get one very long line of cars in a two-lane street. Now, this is ok for me, because I just go in …

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curious little boy playing with brick

The pure desire to play

遊び心 asobigokoro. The pure desire to play. This morning I had the privilege of attending a talk where a representative of the Japan Deaf Football team, Takumi Matsumoto, and the first, at least in Japan, wheelchair-bound paraglider, Kenji Kato, were presenting. Both of the presenters were quite remarkable to say the least. Often when I’m …

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black and white book business close up

One great trick for learning vocabulary

Learning vocabulary in a second language is by far the most time-consuming part. In my case I have been learning Japanese for more than 17 years and every day I come across a new vocabulary, or one that I failed to learn properly. Even once you’ve mastered the pronunciation (which should be the first thing …

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man in suit jacket standing beside projector screen

My Content First Policy

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our presentation. It gives me a great honour to introduce to you today the product that is about to change your lives. This product, ladies and gentlemen, has the potential to make your life 1000x better, while also being awesome!” There I was, sitting watching various groups give a sales …

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