One of the best blogs to follow to learn Japanese culture facts!

One of the best blogs to follow to learn Japanese culture facts!

Japan is a country of rich and unique culture. Many of us have fallen in love with Japan from learning about its special culture, both traditional and modern. If you love to learn about Japan and its way of life, Japan Australia is a blog you need to check out!

Japan Australia was created in 2009 by an Australia-born blogger and travel writer named John. John has been living in Gifu, in the heart of Japan, for 16 years now, and has had the pleasure of traversing this beautiful country. He channeled his love for Japan, Japanese language, and culture into the Japan Australia blog. On this blog, he writes all about his travels and Japan’s amazing culture.

John’s blog focuses on his life in Gifu and central Japan, but he has written about his travels all over Japan. This blog is great for finding some truly unique experiences, food, and sights to see on your next trip to Japan! You can even search through the blog for what interests you most. On the blog you can find many articles on a variety of topics such as Japanese festivals, things you will only find in Japan, food, and much more!

On Japan Australia you will find articles on Japanese culture that you won’t find anywhere else! One of their most recent articles was on Japan’s 47 Jimoto Frappuccino. I hadn’t heard about this until I read Japan Australia’s article! These Frappuccinos were available for only a limited time. There were 47 flavors available based on the 47 prefectures of Japan. The flavors ranged from edamame paste and matcha green tea for the Miyagi prefecture to red bean sauce and chocolate chips for the Aichi prefecture. This promotion is something I never would have heard of if it wasn’t for Japan Australia!

From Japan Australia’s blog

John writes plenty about his own experiences in Japan, especially Gifu. It is great to read about firsthand experiences in Japan, especially when planning your own trip. It’s a great way to find ideas depending on what you enjoy. Plus, you get trusted advice from John, someone who has already experienced it!

For instance, if you are a coffee lover, John recently did an interesting article on charcoal roasted coffee–who knew that existed? John goes through his experience of trying Sumiyaki’s charcoal roasted coffee. He explains the process for making this unique cup of joe and even gives his opinion on the taste. It’s great for coffee lovers who are heading to Japan and want recommendations!

John’s experience as written on Japan Australia

In his 16 years as a resident of Japan, John has seen plenty of Japan’s culture, and this includes holidays and festivals. On Japan Australia, you will learn not only about Japan’s holidays, but how they are celebrated! Spend some time on Japan Australia’s Festivals section to learn about celebrations going on in Japan year round!

John has had the honor of attending many Japanese festivals through the years, and we readers get to read his personal accounts. It is great for truly understanding Japanese culture and what it is like to attend matsuri. John has articles on famous festivals such as the Sapporo Snow Festival, which is one of Hokkaido’s biggest attractions occurring every February; and Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day), one of Japan’s largest celebrations, taking place during Golden Week. In these articles you will learn the history and culture surrounding these celebrations. You will also read about John’s experiences attending these festivals. See pictures of the parades, festivities, and festival goers. John helpfully includes a map of where to find the festival and schedules too! Definitely check out his articles if you are interested in participating in a matsuri when you’re in Japan!

Japan Australia’s Blog Categories

Having lived and worked in Japan for so long, John has been in the country year round. Because of this, you will also find articles on Japan Australia of activities to do each season! Japan Australia has an entire section devoted to articles about cherry blossom season in Japan–one of the most popular times to visit. He has also written articles on unique things to see and do during other seasons. This includes viewing fall foliage at Gujo Hachiman Castle in the Gifu prefecture, where John resides. Autumn is a popular time to travel to Japan as the fall foliage is gorgeous! He has also written about his experiences during Tanabata. Tanabata is Japan’s “Star Festival” which takes place every July. It is a must-do if you visit Japan during the summer!

Japan Australia’s beautiful photography by John

No matter what time of year you travel to Japan, Japan Australia has you covered. This is one of the major reasons why we recommend visiting Japan Australia. If you are planning a trip to Japan, Japan Australia is a great resource for beginning to plan your trip. On the site, you will find activities available only in Japan. Plus, you will get firsthand accounts and recommendations from an expert!

Even if you are not planning a trip to Japan any time soon and just enjoy learning more about Japan and its culture, Japan Australia is still a great blog to read. Learn  Japanese culture facts and what is going on in Japan now from someone who is living there. See what it is like living in Japan without leaving your home. Japan Australia has been a delight to read the past year, when traveling to Japan has been nearly impossible. Reading Japan Australia’s articles has been a nice retreat from daily life. It allows readers to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and daily life!

Japan Australia’s list of resources

In addition to John’s own experiences, Japan Australia offers resources for those interested in learning more about Japan. You will find John’s recommended books for traveling Japan and learning Japanese culture. You can also find textbooks to help you learn Japanese. It’s no wonder why Japan Australia was rated one of the best Japan Expat blogs! You can read all about John, his travels, and Japanese culture facts on his blog You can also follow him on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

10 Fascinating Facts About the Ancient Culture of Japan

10 Fascinating Facts About the Ancient Culture of Japan

We all know that Japan has one of the richest cultures and history in the world. There’s no doubt about that. Japanese civilisation can be traced all the way back to the first pottery – that’s about 16,000 years ago! You can’t tell me nothing significant happened during that time.

Most of us know Japan for its current, modern fun facts of bright, neon lights and karaoke. But are we well informed of its history? Don’t worry, this won’t be a crash course of Japanese history. We’re going to be bringing you 10 interesting facts about Japan’s ancient culture!

1. Japan was closed to the world for 217 years

Did you know that Japan had little to no contact with the outside world for just a bit over two centuries? From 1635 to 1852, there was a ban on foreign travel due to a law called Sakoku Edict. This also included foreign trade and anyone going in and out of Japan. 

The law was implemented because the country experienced quite a bit of trouble, especially with foreign powers. We won’t go into the gruesome details of what went on back then that caused this passing of the law, but Japan did suffer a bit of a technology lag because of this closure.

The American Navy forced Japan out of closure in 1852, which helped the country to continue developing its unique culture we now know and love.

2. Kamakura was the 4th largest city in the world

There’s a fun fact in this fact: Kamakura was actually the de facto capital of Japan for a bit of time, between 1185 to 1333. During these years, the city was rapidly growing. The population in Kamakura boomed to 200,000, resulting in the city becoming the fourth largest city in the world, at the time. 

Right now, Kamakura’s population is around 174,000, which is slightly lower than how it was back in those days. But that’s because this city is extremely close to the capital city Tokyo, and many are choosing to live in the bright neon lit city rather than the laid back vibes of Kamakura.

3. A woman wrote the first Japanese novel

It’s surprising that, despite the strict rules on women and gender inequality back in the days in Japan, it was actually a woman who wrote the first novel. Not the first Japanese novel, but the world’s first novel. In the year 1010, the novel called The Tale of Genji (源氏物語・Genji Monogatari) is written by pen name Murasaki Shikibu. Her real name is unknown to this day.

The author was born into a less powerful branch of the Fujiwara clan. She also served the Empress Joto-mon’in in the court of Emperor Ichijo. 

A brief summary of the book: it follows the romantic adventures of a son of a fictional emperor and a low-ranking concubine. This was set in the Heian Period in Kyoto. It’s like the Japanese version of Romeo and Juliet, with a few waka poems weaved into the tale. 

4. Japan developed colour printing in 1765

Woodblock printing is huge in Japan. Originally, they were in black and white, but in 1765, coloured woodblock printing was invented. Woodblock printing was used for graphic novels and adverts back in the day. Sometimes it was seen as a threat to Japan’s aristocracy because they were often used to cover political controversies. 

5. An african samurai defended Japan

An African slave was brought to Japan in 1579 by the Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano. The African’s origins and real name is still unknown to this day, but his nickname was Yasuke. It’s believed that it’s the Japanese phonetic estimate of his real name.

Yasuke impressed the most powerful warlord of his day with his strength and size. He became the warlord’s personal retainer and bodyguard, and eventually became a samurai in 1581. In 1582, his warlord was betrayed by the samurai general and was forced to commit suicide. Yasuke witnessed the whole thing. 

The African samurai fought the samurai general, and they went back and forth for a while. Yasuke even served the warlord’s son, who was also attacked by the general and committed suicide. Yasuke surrendered instead of committing suicide, which was a more common action. The general then sent him back to the Jesuit mission in Kyoto. After that, things were a blur as to what happened to Yasuke. 

6. Robots already exists in the 1600s

In the 1600s, Japan was already building robots! There were records of automatons like water clocks in Japanese written records from the 8th century. By the time the 17th century rolled around, the Japanese were already making mechanisms like mechanical puppets, known as Karakuri, which were used for entertainment.

In the 19th century, these mechanical puppets were able to shoot arrows or serve tea.

7. Kabuki was invented by a woman

Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performing art of dance-drama. The first known record of this is in 1603, referred to as kabuki otori. A woman called Okuni gathered a group of travelling dancers and actors, who also engaged in prostitution. 

Kabuki was often happening in the red light district because of this. When samurais started fighting for their favourite performers, the government banned women from performing kabuki. The ban happened in 1629, and women were replaced with young boys.

Despite the replacement, the same issues occurred. Young boys were then banned in 1652. Now, we only see old men in kabuki shows.

8. Japan was vegetarian

The Japan we know now loves their meat. Everything from yakiniku and yakitori to shabu shabu and sukiyaki. However, Japan was initially vegetarian, for about 1,400 years. There was a Buddhist law passed in the 7th century that forbade eating meat.

However, in the 19th century, the Meiji emperor ate meat and broke the taboo. SInce then, the Japanese have opened their arms to the Western ideals of eating meat.  

9. Japanese are both Shinto and Buddhist

Japan is full of temples and shrines. These are two different places of worship for two different religions, but in Japan, the people are both Shinto and Buddhist. This is called shinbutsu (神仏). I’ve asked some of my Japanese pals and they say that, for them, there’s no real difference between the two.

Only 40% of Japanese people subscribe to a religion. Most Japanese people, about 80%, are Shinto and practice Shinto rituals, and 34% practice Bhuddist rituals.

10. Christianity was kept secret in ancient Japan

In 1549, Francis Xavier led Christian missionaries to Japan. They focused on the southern part of the nation, in Kyushu. During the time, Christianity was repressed and had loose bans. Sometimes, there were even crucifixes. By the 1650s, Christianity was kept secret because of all of that. 

In 1864, there was a commercial treaty that simultaneously allowed Christianity among foreigners in Japan, but not the Japanese people themselves. The ban on Christianity was lifted in 1873, and churches started to be built on the islands and coasts of Nagasaki and Kumamoto. 

Which fact of the ancient Japanese culture is the most interesting?

Japanese ancient history doesn’t just end with these 10 facts. There are actually so many more, and loads of them have lessons you can learn from. Hopefully, these 10 facts are enough to ease you into the subject and get you more interested in the ancient culture of Japan!

How to Shorten the Time to Learn Japanese

How to Shorten the Time to Learn Japanese

Congratulations! You’ve decided that you want to learn Japanese. Fantastic! The Japanese language is one of the richest languages in the world. One word can hold various meanings, and a phrase won’t have the exact translation for it. 

Of course, with any language, it takes time to learn. The question is, are there any ways to cut down the time it takes to learn it? The answer is yes! In this article, we’ll highlight some of the ways and things you can do to do just that. But remember, at the end of the day, effort is key. So if you combine your efforts with our tips, you’ll be able to reach your desired time goal with no problems!

Understand your native language better first

First and foremost, you have to understand your native language first. If you’re learning Japanese in English, make sure you understand your own language’s sentence structures and grammar. It’s harder to learn another language when you haven’t mastered the backbone of your own.

There’s no shame in that, though. Our native language is one where we learn by ear most of the time. But it’s never too late to build the base and foundation for it. You’ll develop more understanding of how languages work and overtime, learning new languages gets easier. After that, getting into Japanese grammar can be easier. Or at least manageable.

Learn actively, not passively

Some people believe that you can learn a new language the way you learn your first language. That’s not true. You can’t just immerse yourself in the language and expect to naturally pick it up over time. There needs to be effort put into learning. There has to be hard work.

When you’re a kid, it’s easier to learn new languages. You also get more attention from your parents when it comes to the language. When you’re an adult, you have to put in the same amount of attention for yourself, by yourself.

Reach out to people for help. Go to classes. Practice speaking, listening and writing every day. There are no shortcuts to learning. Immersion can be powerful, but useless when on its own. I know people who’ve been in Japan for years but still don’t know any Japanese. 

Practice more, study less

This might contradict my previous point, but always practice. It can be easy to forget that language is a skill, not a collection of knowledge. What’s the point of knowing a language if you can’t use it? The textbook will always be there, but use it as a reference rather than a foundation. You can’t always be walking around with a textbook.

Not being in Japan is not an excuse to not practice your Japanese language. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people to get help. The internet is full of resources for you to find people to practice Japanese with. From apps to websites, there’s no reason for you to not have access to what you need.

Of course, you would want to have your basic Japanese skills down first. Don’t just throw away the textbook. Make sure you know your foundation. Your language exchange partner is not your teacher.

Don’t be a perfectionist 

I can understand the need to be perfect. I’m a perfectionist too. The thing is, if you want to learn a language fast, you can’t afford to be one. You can’t know everything in a short period of time. You may only reach a passable level of communication. 

You should get over your fear of making mistakes, because it’s inevitable. You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s okay. You actually learn more when you make them. When you make mistakes, you put in effort to fix your wrong, and you learn from them better. So actually, in this context, mistakes are good!

Set your priorities

When it comes to learning a new language, the amount of information can be quite overwhelming. Be sure to prioritise properly. Grammar is key. Once you have a solid foundation of vocabulary, you can use grammar points to explain the words you don’t know yet. From there, you’ll be able to learn new words as well.

My mistake was focusing on vocabulary, but you won’t be able to use them if you don’t know how to string a sentence together to express your thoughts. Set your priorities!

Make time, not find time

Last but not least, since we’re on the topic of priorities, make Japanese learning a priority. You shouldn’t slide the learning session in between free slots in your schedule, but rather open up your schedule for learning. Having a consistent learning journey is one of the most significant aspects of language learning. If you’re serious about learning Japanese, you’ll turn your coffee break into a quick, rapid Japanese learning sesh!

Get studying!

If you stick by these tips, you’ll be able to cut down some time off your Japanese language learning. Whether a whole chunk of time or just a little, it’s still some time saved! So grab your books and your language partner, and get studying! 

Japanese Etiquette for Popular Destinations According to Japan Guide!

Japanese Etiquette for Popular Destinations According to Japan Guide!

If you’re excited to plan your next trip to Japan (and who isn’t dreaming of visiting once visitors are allowed again?) then should be an integral part of your planning process. This site is an amazing resource for those hoping to visit Japan. Use the interactive map on their homepage to see some of the most popular locations Japan has to offer. Once you click on your desired destination, you will be taken to a page filled with information on the topic. From there, you will find out about the culture and history of your destination. You will also learn the most popular activities, transportation methods, and more! What else could a traveler need to plan the best trip ever?

We’ve compiled a list of five popular destinations in Japan and used the resources in Japan Guide to learn more about them!

Japan Guide’s Interactive Map

5. Sapporo

Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture. Sapporo is known for its beer, winter activities, and ramen–which was created in Hokkaido! The top rated activity in Sapporo, according to Japan Guide, is the Sapporo Snow Festival or さっぽろ雪まつり (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri). Japan Guide also has a great feature that tells you which activities are most recommended using a point system, and Sapporo’s Snow Festival made the list!

Japan Guide’s Point System

The Snow Festival is held annually for one week in February. Its main site is located at the Odori Site, which Japan Guide helpfully links information to. It also gives a history of the Snow Festival and information on Sapporo.

Like many other matsuri (Japanese festivals), the Snow Festival has delicious food. Hokkaido is well known for its seafood, especially crab, so its most popular matsuri food is crab miso soup. Cooked potatoes, takoyaki, and ramen are also common. These treats keep festival-goers warm during the cold Hokkaido winters.

In Japanese etiquette, it is frowned upon to eat while walking in public. Matsuri are an exception to this rule. You will often see people walking through the festival while enjoying a warm snack. Even so, miso soup or ramen may be difficult to enjoy while walking. You will find many places at the Snow Festival to stop, eat, and marvel at the amazing snow sculptures!

4. Osaka

Next, I used Japan-Guide’s interactive map to “travel” to Osaka and learn more about the beautiful city! Japan Guide has a helpful tool that will list the area’s highest rated activities. Osaka’s top attractions are the Osaka Aquarium and Universal Studios– I didn’t know this existed! It’s so great to explore the destination you are interested in and learn more about them too!

One of Osaka’s most iconic landmarks is the Osaka Castle. Through Japan Guide I was able to learn the history of the castle and what it is like to visit today. There are even ticket prices listed and recommendations for cherry blossom season! The castle–like much of Japan–becomes very popular and crowded during cherry blossom season. Remember to be respectful of others and to stand in an orderly queue as you wait to enter. Orderly lines are very important in Japanese etiquette. They show respect, patience, and organization.

If you plan to be around the castle for the cherry blossom season, you will want more than just a day trip to Osaka! Japan Guide can help you out. You can easily find recommended hotels listed on the site. If you plan to stay long, use Japan Guide’s feature to find nearby day trips to make sure your visit never has a dull moment!

And if you are visiting Japan to witness the cherry blossoms, Japan Guide has you covered there too! You can search destinations by season, and specifically find cherry blossom related activities!

3. Kyoto

According to Japan Guide’s rating system, Kyoto rates as one of the “Bests of Japan!” Also rated as one of the “Bests” is the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. This is the famous Shinto shrine made from thousands of 鳥居 (torii) gates which line the pathways. It’s not surprising that this destination is so highly recommended. It is beautiful and lets visitors truly immerse themselves in Japanese culture.

There is plenty of etiquette to follow when visiting a shrine like the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Most shrines, like Fushimi Inari, have a water basin outside where visitors should wash each hand. It is also common etiquette to bow before entering the shrine to show your respect.

If you have any questions about visiting the shrine or anything related to your trip to Japan, you will find a list of common questions on the side of Japan Guide’s pages. They also have a very helpful forum where you may go to ask your specific questions.

2. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, known as Fuji-san in Japan, is also rated one of the best destinations in Japan. In fact, it is within the top 25 most visited locations! Hiking and climbing are very popular activities in Japan. This is due to the country’s mountainous terrain. Many visitors flock to Mount Fuji just for that! That is what the mountain is known for–but it definitely isn’t the only thing you can do there! You can learn more with the commentated animation Japan Guide provides on what to do near or on Mount Fuji and what to expect! You can find equally helpful videos for most of their destinations!

If you do enjoy the outdoors, you can search Japan Guide for similar activities to add to your itinerary. Go to Interests on the top header and you can find outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, hot springs, nature walks, and more in Japan! You can also search for other interests like history, art, food, and entertainment!

  1. Tokyo

Japan Guide’s number one most visited destination is, unsurprisingly, Tokyo! Who doesn’t want to visit the bustling capital of Japan? By filtering Japan Guide’s most popular destinations, I found that the Shinjuku and Shibuya districts are Tokyo’s most visited locations. There is so much to see and do in Tokyo, it may be hard to narrow it down. Luckily, Japan Guide makes it easy. You can find local events, or even search by your interests!

Tokyo, like many cities, can be daunting when it comes to getting around and not getting lost. With Japan Guide, you can learn about how to get to and from airports, which trains to take, and how to get passes. They also provide helpful links and resources too. Just make sure you know public and travel etiquette in Japan! Check out our recent post on Japanese etiquette for train travel!

We’re sure you are now even more excited to plan your next Japan trip. Japan Guide is an invaluable resource that will guide you along every step of your journey. From finding destinations that fit your interests, to researching destinations, even helping you book hotels and find transportation. On top of all that, they can even help you prepare for traveling abroad! Traveling to Japan has never been easier–or more exciting!

Top 10 Japanese Animal Noises you should learn right now!

Top 10 Japanese Animal Noises you should learn right now!

Something that doesn’t automatically come to mind is how animal noises can be different in various languages. The noise a cat or a dog makes in English is not the same in Japanese. That’s true for a lot of other languages as well, like French and Italian. 

At this point, you’re wondering then how a dog barks in Japanese, or how a cat meows in Japanese. In this article, we list out the top 10 Japanese animal noises! Keep scrolling!

Why Learn Japanese Onomatopoeia?

Japanese onomatopoeia is not something you read in a textbook or have popped up in a language proficiency exam. That makes it the perfect break from studying without actually taking a break. I mean, isn’t it better to learn a language while you’re having fun? 

Japanese onomatopoeia actually has a few categories. If you haven’t read our previous article on that, check that one out first! This one zooms into specifically animal noises. The category for this is called giseigo (擬声語), which classifies human and animal sounds. 

The fun part about Japanese onomatopoeia is figuring out how it came about. Like how “doki doki” (ドキドキ) is the sound of heart beating. I bet it’s much more interesting figuring out animal noises!

Top 10 Animal Noises in Japanese

The list for Japanese animal noises can go on and on forever, and it can get quite overwhelming learning them all. So, to make it easier for you, we’ve listed out the top 10 ones, along with a bit of explanation to it!

1. ワンワン

This animal noise is the Japanese equivalent of “woof” for dog noises! I know, it’s nowhere near to a barking noise, but if you look at cute Japanese inu (犬, dog), it can kind of fit the look. In Japanese, “to bark” is “hoeru” (吠える)

2. ニャーニャー 

Of course, the second most popular animal noise is the cat, or neko (猫). This is a “meow” in Japanese, but sometimes, cats hiss as well. That’s “しゃーっ”. You can also use this as a verb という音を出す to make “シャーっという音を出す”. This literally means “to make out the sound of a hiss”.

3. ピチュピチュ 

You see birds everywhere in Japan, and the noise these tori (鳥) make is said to be ピチュピチュ. Sometimes, they also make the sound チュンチュン (ちゅんちゅん). I guess that’s the Japanese version of “tweet tweet”, but all birds sound different, anyway. The verb to say “to tweet” is “さえずる”. This can also mean “to chatter” or “to whistle”. 

If you don’t like birds, like me, shoo them away with “しっしっ!”

4. モーモー

Oh, the English onomatopoeia is “moo” for cows (牛). In Japanese, it’s pretty similar: もーもー. Cows are described to make braying noises, and the verb “to bray” in Japanese is “いななく” .

5. ヒヒーン

Horses make the noise “neigh” in English. You wouldn’t believe what they sound in Japanese: ヒヒーン. The sound horses, or uma (馬) in Japanese, make in Nihongo isn’t what you’d expect, is it? The verb “to neigh” in Japanese is “いななく”.

6. ケロケロ 

One English onomatopoeia that I like the sound of personally is “ribbit”. Frogs are called kaeru (カエル) in Japanese. The sound that they make is ケロケロ. If it’s a bigger frog, they’ll make the noise ゲロゲロ instead. 

There’s not one verb to describe croaking, but there is a noun: しわがれ声. If you want to say “to croak”, say it like this: カエルのしわがれ声.

7. ガーガー 

One Japanese onomatopoeia that’s more accurate to the sound of the animal compared to the English onomatopoeia is the duck sound. In English, it’s “quack”. In Japanese, it’s ガーガー. “Duck” in Japanese is “あひる”.

There is also a Japanese equivalent of the noun “quack” in English. It’s “偽医者”or “やぶ医者”. This actually means “false doctor” or “bogus doctor”.

8. ウキウキ

When I found out this Japanese animal noise, I was quite surprised. Monkeys make the “ooh ooh aah aah” noise in English, but in Japanese, monkeys (or saru, 猿) make the sound ウキウキ. Sometimes, the sound is also just “キキ”.

In Japanese, the word “金切声” refers to the noun for “screech”, while “怒鳴る” is a verb to mean “to roar”, “to bellow”, “to shout” or “to cry”.

9. ブーン 

We all hate flies. The sound it makes for us is “bzzz”, but in Japanese, it’s much more accurate. Hae (蝿) makes the noise “ブーン”. The noise can also be described in a verb, which is “ざわめく”. This verb can describe anything from a buzz to a murmur or a mumbling sound, like a few people talking at once.

10. ぴょんぴょん

Last but not least, there’s the rabbit noise. In English, usagi (ウサギ) doesn’t really have an onomatopoeia, but in Japanese, there’s a noise that they make when they hop: ピョンピョン. It’s so cute! You can also describe the action of ears flopping when they hop with this noise.

Bonus: ガオー

There’s one Japanese animal noise that’s multipurpose, and it’s the “roar”. A lion (ライオン), tiger (虎) or even a monster roars, so what’s that in Japanese? It’s “ガオー”.

The verb “to roar” has a few in Japanese: one is “donaru” (怒鳴る), another is “unaru” (唸る) and last is “hoeru” (吠える). One that is more familiar to me is “todoroku” (轟く), which can also be used as a noun “todoroki” (轟).

More Animal Noises?

Which Japanese animal noise is your favourite? There are so many more Japanese animal noises, but it would take ages to list them all. Use them as a fun learning break from your grammar and vocab sessions!

Basic Japanese: What You Need to Know!

Basic Japanese: What You Need to Know!

When learning a new language, starting out can be the hardest part. The Japanese language is no exception. It can be quite difficult to take that first step. But don’t worry, basic Japanese isn’t that hard to conquer! There is so much information on the net, it can be overwhelming. We’re here to break it down for you. There are only 3 parts that you need to know about basic Japanese: learning basic phrases, learning the Japanese alphabet, and learning basic Japanese grammar!

Keep on reading for a comprehensive guide on how to jump into learning basic Japanese!

Learn Basic Phrases

The first step you have to do is to learn the basic phrases. Even those who aren’t learning Japanese know the basic “konnichiwa” (こんにちは) and “sayonara” (さようなら). But there are tons of other basic phrases that are used on a daily basis.

To get you started, we’ve listed out a few of the ones that are daily usages in Japan. 

Onegaishimasu (お願いします)

This Japanese phrase is one of the most useful one. In our podcast series, Season 1 Episode 1, we introduced this phrase as one of the most essential Japanese phrases to know. It’s so flexible and can be used in any situation.

“Onegaishimasu” can be translated to “please” and it’s used when making a request. For example, if you’re at a konbini (コンビニ) and the cashier asks if you would like a plastic bag, you can respond with “hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、お願いします). This means “yes, please”.

Arigatou gozaimasu (ありがとうございます)

This next phrase is one you definitely will use every day. “Arigatou gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます) translates to “thank you very much”. Just like in English, it’s such a common phrase to say to service staff when you’re out and about shopping, ordering food or paying for something. 

You can also shorten this phrase to just “arigatou” (ありがとう), which is equivalent to the English short form, “thanks”. 

There’s also another word that can be translated to “thanks”, and that’s “doumo” (どうも).

Sumimasen (すみません)

You might find yourself caught on a busy train and want to get out, or trying to get the attention of the waiter. In English, we would use the phrase “excuse me”. That’s “sumimasen” (すみません) in Japanese. You can use this just as you would in English. This is a pretty handy phrase to know, since you’ll definitely be using it during your time in Japan.

“Sumimasen” can also be used to apologise, but a better word for “sorry” is “gomennasai” (ごめんなさい).

Sou desu (そうです)

Up your Japanese language game by learning “sou desu” (そうです). This means “yes” or “that’s right”. While you can use “hai” (はい), this is a more conversational and colloquial language. While talking to people who you’re familiar with, you can drop the “desu” (です) and just say “sou” (そう).

Chigaimasu (違います)

We might find ourselves in a situation where something’s different from what you expected. You might have a waiter serving you a different dish from what you ordered. In this kind of situation, you can use the phrase “chigaimasu” (違います), which means “it’s different”. This comes from the verb word “chigau” (違う), which means “to vary” or “to differ”. You can also use this phrase to talk about things that are different, like varying opinions.

Another phrase that’s similar to this is “machigatteimasu” (間違っています). This means “this is wrong”. 

Daijoubu (大丈夫)

Another phrase that we introduced in the first episode of our podcast series is “daijoubu” (大丈夫). This phrase is quite versatile and can be used in a lot of various situations. One is to say no by saying “it’s okay”. If you don’t want a plastic bag when you’re at the supermarket, you can use “daijoubu”.

This phrase can also mean “I’m okay”, as a response of “are you okay?” If you want to know more in detail about this extremely versatile phrase, check our podcast episode!

~ wa doko desu ka? (〜はどこですか?)

This phrase is one we find the most useful. Especially if you’re not good with directions or not familiar with the place, you might find yourself lost. Or if you’re just looking for the toilet in a restaurant. Approach a staff member and ask “where is the toilet” by saying “toire wa doko desu ka” (トイレはどこですか?). The phrase “wa doko desu ka” translates to “where is”. Just add the place you’re looking for before the phrase!

Learn Japanese Alphabet

One of the first few steps you need to take to master basic Japanese is to learn the Japanese alphabet. While there’s romaji (ロマジ), which is writing out Japanese words in the Roman alphabet, it won’t benefit you in the long run. We highly recommend learning all three: hiragana (ひらがな), katakana (カタカナ) and kanji (漢字).

Hiragana has 46 syllabic written characters and they’re used to form sentences, along with kanji characters. Katakana also has 46 syllabic written characters but they are used to write out words from other languages. Kanji are Chinese characters that symbolise the meaning of things in just one character.

Many might struggle with kanji, but it’s best to at least recognise common characters like “入口” to mean entrance and “出口” to mean exit. Another important pair is “女” for women and “男” for men. This will get rid of any confusion with the toilet doors! 

Learn Basic Japanese Grammar

Last but not least, learn the basic Japanese grammar. Think about the reason why you’re learning Japanese. Do you want to be able to survive day-to-day interactions, communicate with locals or for work? But regardless of the reason, you have to start somewhere.

The most basic Japanese grammar point is the sentence structure, which is usually subject-object-verb. For example, to say “I eat ramen”, it has to switch to “I ramen eat”. In Japanese, that’s “watashi ha ramen wo tabemasu” (私はラーメンを食べます). 

The particle ha (は) indicates subject and the particle wo (を) indicates object. 

If there’s no action in your sentence, drop the verb. For example, to say “this is a book”, it’s said as “kore ha hon desu” (これは本です).

Simple, right?

Let’s Master Basic Japanese!

As you can see, basic Japanese isn’t so hard once you actually get into learning it! If you follow our three steps to starting basic Japanese, you’ll have a solid foundation to build the more advanced Japanese learning on. Get studying, and good luck! 

Why should you work in Japan? Here are 7 great reasons.

Why should you work in Japan? Here are 7 great reasons.

Working in Japan sounds like a dream come true for some of us. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. And I can tell you that it’s definitely an experience to remember! Japan has such a rich culture that affects every aspect of life here, which includes the work environment. There are just some things about the Japanese working culture that you can’t experience anywhere else in the world!

While there’s always pros and cons to everything, we’re going to focus on the pros here. In this article, there’s a list of 7 things why you should work in Japan! 

We actually have a whole season dedicated to the theme of “Working in Japan” in our podcast series, Season 6, so if you’re interested to know more about working life in Japan, check that out!

1. Job Security

The first reason you should work in Japan is job security. For full-time workers, once you get offered the job, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a long-term contract. It’s quite difficult for companies to fire employees without a clear reason. 

Plus, Japanese companies look to hire employees who will be able to work for them long-term. In fact, they will go to extreme lengths to not let go of their employees. Instead of cutting people off, companies here are known to shift employees around into different positions, implement hiring freezes or other similar ways to cut costs.

So don’t worry about getting sacked a few weeks into the job. You’re pretty much good for a few years.

2. Health Insurance

Depending on the country you come from, you might not have healthcare covered. That doesn’t happen in Japan, which is another plus point when you work in Japan. 

A lot of Japanese companies provide health insurance with your working contract. However, the amount covered by your insurance plan can vary. It depends on the type of policy your company provides. Some companies offer an insurance plan where you basically get check ups for free! The most common type of plan involves you paying your consultation for a very low price. You don’t have to worry about paying $300 on just a five minute consultation.

On top of that, Japanese companies often provide annual health checks for free. While you might have to endure being poked and prodded for a few hours, these regular checkups are pretty essential at catching diseases at early stages.

3. Allowance

One of the best things about working in Japan is that you don’t have to pay a single penny commuting to work. The company covers that as well! In Japan, it’s normal to commute almost an hour or more to work. Sometimes, that can rack up quite a bit of cost, especially if you’re taking a few different lines on the train.

An average commuting expense costs about ¥20,000 a month, but sometimes even more. You don’t have to worry about setting aside the sum of money from your paycheck, because your Japanese company will add that into your payslip, on top of your monthly salary!The best part is that this applies to both part-time and full-time positions.

You have the option to get a teikiken (定期券), which is a commuter pass. It’s a set price for a route from point A to point B for a month, but even if you alight anywhere in between, you still won’t get charged. Oftentimes you save between ¥5,000 to ¥9,000 a month!

4. Taxes

Oh boy, don’t we all hate taxes and doin them. Unless your job is an accountant, this can be quite a chore. In Japan, there are various types of taxes as well. It can all get quite confusing, too. But when you’re working in Japan, your company takes care of your taxes for you! Isn’t that a good enough reason to work in Japan?

Companies would spread the tax payments over the course of the year. This not only saves you time by not doing the paperwork yourself, but you’re also budgeting your finances better. You won’t have to pay a lump sum in April to cover tax charges. 

5. Customer Service Skill

Japan’s level of customer service is top notch. That’s all thank to the “omotenashi” (おもてなし) culture, which translates to the Japanese hospitality. When you work in Japan, you’ll be put through a ton of training and practice of the traditional style of service. And that’s not a bad thing. There’s a thing about Japanese hospitality that we can all learn from.

You’ll be able to notice what’s wrong without having to ask, not disagreeing directly while still standing your ground, and make your clients feel comfortable. I believe those things are the positive things you can take away from the omoteshi culture while working in Japan!

6. Clean and safe environment

As we briefly mentioned before, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. You wouldn’t have to worry about going home alone after dark or being followed. While these are situations that could happen in the country, Japan is one of the countries with the very low crime rates!

On top of that, it’s also extremely clean! You wouldn’t know how much an unclean environment affects your day-to-day mood until you’re in one that’s sparkling. Even though it’s hard to find a bin on the streets, you’ll be surprised how little litter you see on the floor!

7. Opportunity

Last but not least, another reason why you should work in Japan is the opportunity the country has to offer to foreign workers. Most positions are well-paid with perks and benefits. You have your visa settled for a few years. Sometimes, your accommodation is provided by the company you work for as well. 

Not to mention that when you commit to a Japanese company for a long time, it really bumps up your resume. You’re going to acquire so many various skills that will be able to make you stand out from the crowd of people in your industry.

Let’s work in Japan!

Are those reasons not good enough for you to job hunt for a position in Japan? Well, check out Season 6 of our podcast series! We discuss various aspects of working in Japan – the good, the bad and the in between. Head over there for more exclusive content! And happy job hunting! 

What is the JLPT (and the best strategies to learn Japanese)?

What is the JLPT (and the best strategies to learn Japanese)?

If you’re reading this, that means you’re planning to take the JLPT. Or at least, you’re planning to learn Japanese. That’s great news! Learning a new language is always an amazing adventure. And Japanese is a beautiful and rich language.

Now, it’s only natural for some of you to be wondering how long it would take to reach various levels of proficiency. This question can be quite difficult to give a straight answer to. Everyone has their own pace and methods of learning. For this article, we’ll give a rough estimate of how long one would take to learn Japanese to pass the various levels of JLPT.

What is JLPT?

First of all, what is JLPT? It stands for Japanese Language Proficiency Test. This is a standardised test to determine how much you understand the Japanese language. There are a total of five levels. N5 is the lowest level, and it goes up to N1, which is the highest proficiency level. 

With each level, you are required to learn a number of kanji (漢字) characters, vocabulary words and grammar points. Even from the basic level of N5, you would also be required to know all writing systems like hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ).

Passing JLPT N5

Let’s start off with JLPT N5. As mentioned previously, each level requires a certain number of kanji characters, vocabulary words and grammar points. For this basic level, you are required to know 100 kanji characters nad 800 vocabulary words.

If you were to attend five hours of Japanese lessons with 10 hours of self study per week, it adds up to 60 hours per month. Some say it might take you 2.5 months to reach N5 level. 

However, some say you would need more than that. For those who already understand kanji characters, generally, you would need at least 350 hours of study for this level. This equals 5 to 6 months. 

Those who have no knowledge of kanji characters, it might take up to 465 hours of study. This is equivalent to 7 to 8 months. Some say it might take up to 600 hours of study, which is 10 months. 

Whether or not you understand the kanji characters, it’s recommended that you start off by taking this level of Japanese proficiency. 

Passing JLPT N4

Moving on from N5, a step up is the JLPT N4. This is still considered one of the basic levels of Japanese proficiency. For this level, you’re required to know 300 kanji characters and 1,500 vocabulary words. Of course, by this point, you’re able to read the Japanese writing systems.

With the similar concept, if you were to attend five hours of Japanese lessons with 10 hours of self study per week, some say it might take 5 months to reach this level. That is 300 hours of study.

However, that might not be accurate. Some say it can go up to 550 hours for those with kanji knowledge. That is about 9 months. If you don’t have kanji knowledge, it can be about 785 hours. This is about 13 months. 

Passing JLPT N3

The next level is JLPT N3. I personally would say that the jump from N4 and N5 to N3 might be a big one. This level requires you to know 650 kanji characters and 3,700 vocabulary words. I would say N3 is where the business Japanese language starts coming in.

Using our previous scenario of 60 hours a week, some say to learn Japanese at this level would require 7 months. That means it would take 420 hours. Others say it can take up to 900 hours for those who are familiar with kanji. That would mean 15 months.

For those without kanji knowledge, it can take up to 22 months, which is 22 hours. 

Passing JLPT N2

Of course, N2 has a way bigger jump from N3 as compared to before. For this level, you’re required to know 1,000 kanji characters and 6,000 vocabulary words. When you get to this stage of proficiency, you’re pretty much fluent. Well, according to me.

So similarly, if you study 60 hours a week, some say it can take 10 months to get to this level. Now, that can be quite a reach for some. Here’s a more realistic calculation. For those with kanji knowledge, it might take you about 24 to 25 months. This is equivalent to 1475 hours of JLPT study.

For those without kanji knowledge, it might take you up to 2200 hours. This is about 36 to 37 months of study. You’ll be crunching numbers!

Passing JLPT N1

Now, for the final level. JLPT N1 requires you to know 2,000 kanji characters and 10,000 vocabulary words. If you manage to get to this level, you’re fluent! You’ll be able to read newspapers and, well, basically anything in Japanese.

If you study 60 hours a week, some say it might get you to this level within 15 months. Realistically, it might take you closer to 2,150 hours for those with kanji knowledge. This is about 35 months. 

For those without kanji knowledge, it can go up to 3,900 hours. This is 65 months. 

Which JLPT level of proficiency are you going to aim for?

These are all rough estimates to reach the various levels of proficiency. I know some people who have reached them within less time, while others take more time. At the end of the day, it really depends on the individual. So, which JLPT level of proficiency are you aiming for? Good luck studying! 

5 Thrilling Autumn Festivals in Japan you can’t miss!

5 Thrilling Autumn Festivals in Japan you can’t miss!

Everyone wants to see sakura (桜) during spring in Japan. Others anticipate the powdered yuki (雪, snow) during Japanese winter. Summer in Japan calls for beach and bikinis. Autumn’s left out of this hype.

Contrary to popular belief, aki (秋, autumn) is actually one of the most festive seasons in Japan! The foliage is reason enough to be roaming around the country sightseeing. Japanese tourists try to catch an autumn festival (祭り, matsuri) or two while they’re in a different town. But here’s the thing: there are too many festivals to choose from! So we’ve shortlisted 5 of the most thrilling ones for you to look out for. 

1. Tori no Ichi (Nationwide)

Credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA on Flickr Creative Commons

An aki matsuri (秋祭り, autumn festival) you don’t want to miss is Tori no Ichi. This translates to “Day of the Bird”. This festival can be dated back to the Edo period and is celebrated nationwide. The biggest celebration of this festival you can find is in Tokyo. But don’t worry, if you’re not in the city during that time, there are others in various cities. The exact date follows the lunar calendar and falls on the day of the rooster. In olden days, this day let farmers know to harvest and sell their goods. Generally, it’s either early November or late November, around the 8th and 9th or 20th and 21st.

2. Takayama Autumn Festival (Gifu)

Credit: Johnathan Khoo on Flickr Creative Commons

Up in Gifu Prefecture, there’s the Takayama Autumn Festival. It’s one of the more famous ones. In a year, more than 100,000 guests from Japan and overseas travel to Takayama City just for this occasion. The celebration has been going on annually for more than 350 years. The main highlight of this festival is the floats. You’ll see rows of them parading down the street. Each float is based on a theme of Japanese culture (文化).

This festival usually happens in early October. If you miss out on this one, the Takayama Spring Festival happens in the middle of April. It’s just as thrilling and exciting.

3. Kurama Fire Festival (Kyoto)

Credit: Victorillen on Flickr Creative Commons

If you find yourself in the ancient capital city of Kyoto at the end of October, you’re right in time for the Kurama Fire Festival. This matsuri is all about fire (火, hi). It takes place not too far from the central city of Kyoto. It is in the mountains of Kurama, though, so bring your outdoor clothes!

Unlike the first two, this festival only starts after sunset. Those involved in the parade will be in costumes and carrying torches as they walk down the streets towards Yuki-jinja Shrine. This festival is like Obon, as it welcomes the spirits from the shrine to the village. It’s believed that the spirits can offer protection for the residents. Stay till the end for a huge bonfire!

4. Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival (Fukushima)

Credit: Ed Blankestijn on Flickr Creative Commons

Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival is all about lanterns. Duh! This festival takes place in Fukushima at Nihonmatsu Shrine at the start of October. You’ll be able to witness more than 300 lanterns all lit up, surrounded by approximately 65,000 people! The lanterns are arranged on 7 different floats and the celebration begins after sunset. You’ll hear taiko drums and flute music accompanying the parade.

This matsuri honours the Hachiman and Kumano gods of Nihonmatsu Shrine. Locals believe that they these gods give power to the rice plants and harvesting season.

5. Supernatural Cat Festival (Tokyo)

Credit: Hideya HAMANO on Flickr Creative Commons

Last but not least, we circle back to central Japan, in Tokyo! Out of all the crazy festivals this city has, Bake Neko has to be the one we highlight. Supernatural Cat Festival falls on the 13th of October every year in Kagurazaka neighbourhood. It’s all about…neko (猫, cat)! You put on a cat costume, pay an entry fee of ¥500, and join the parade! If you don’t have a costume, the on-site makeup artist can transform you into one.

Bake Neko isn’t just a parade, although that’s the main attraction. There are performances and food and souvenir stalls for you to enjoy. Not your typical traditional Japanese festival, but it is uniquely Japan.

Get Festive!

There are all sorts of festivals happening in Japan all year round. Autumn festivals are abundant, but these five shouldn’t be missed! Whether it’s appreciating the gods or shape shifting into a feline, trust Japan to have a celebration for that.

What to Do in Japan in Fall: Top 10 Amazing Autumn Activities

What to Do in Japan in Fall: Top 10 Amazing Autumn Activities

Fall is one of the best seasons in Japan to travel around the country. Even the locals take time off to witness the leaves change colours to a mix of red, orange and yellow. Not to mention the various autumn festivals happening nationwide. There’s quite a lot to do and see in Japan in the autumn season. Trying to cram all of them into one trip is more of a problem than not having anything to do.

Instead of packing your schedule with too many activities, we’re going to highlight the 10 best things to do in Japan in the fall.

1. Enjoy the autumn foliage

The most popular activity in Japan during the autumn season is enjoying the autumn foliage, known as kouyou (紅葉) in Japanese. Locals and tourists alike take day trips to witness the vibrant leaves. Travellers go north and south for the best views. The most popular destinations include Kyoto and Nikko. Kyoto is just a half an hour’s train ride away from Osaka; Nikko is an hour and a half away from the capital city Tokyo by train.

Even if you don’t have the time to travel to these cities, the entire country is full of autumn-vibrant trees. Parks and gardens in Tokyo and Osaka are just as magnificent as any other.

2. Feast in autumn season cuisine

Credit: Raita Futo on Flickr Creative Commons

The weather is not the only thing that changes with the seasons in Japan. The Japanese love their seasonal dishes. Take this opportunity to feast in autumn seasonal cuisine. The most popular autumn dish is anything to do with Japanese sweet potato. This vegetable is known for its high nutritional value and rich flavours. You’ll likely find them roasted, known as “yakiimo” (焼き芋) in Japanese. They’re sold everywhere from street stalls to travel vans.

Autumn is also the best time to savour wagashi (和菓子), Japanese sweets. During the fall, you’ll get flavours of apple, permission, chestnut and, of course, sweet potato.

3. Visit fall festivals

Credit: Adrian on Flickr Creative Commons

If you don’t already know yet, Japan is full of festivities all year round. Most say that summer is the best season for festivals, but autumn has its fair share of exciting and thrilling neighbourhood events. Fall festivals (aki matsuri, 秋祭り) are mostly entertaining deities with dance and music. This is a way of thanking them for a successful harvest.
In Osaka Prefecture, one of the most famous festivals is called the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival. This is one of the more classic ones and historically practised as a prayer for a successful harvest.

4. Celebrate Halloween the Japanese way

Credit: Big Ben in Japan on Flickr Creative Commons

For some of us, the biggest event in fall is Halloween. If you happen to find yourself in Japan during the time, don’t expect to celebrate this holiday the way you would in Western countries. Japan has their own unique way of celebrating this fun event.

You could definitely spend Halloween at theme parks like Disneyland, DisneySea and Universal Studios Japan. In October, these theme parks go through a makeover that includes the likes of pumpkins and spider webs.
But the best event you wouldn’t want to miss out on is on Halloween day itself at Tokyo’s Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Hundreds and thousands of people dress up and gather in this area. A similar but smaller-scale version happens at Osaka’s Amemura neighbourhood.

5. Drink up at Oktober Fest

Credit: kinpi3 on Flickr Creative Commons

If Halloween isn’t the first event that pops in your mind for October, then it definitely has to be Oktober Fest. Japan also celebrates this event in big cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama. The most popular one is at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, where the event Yokohama Oktoberfest runs for almost the whole month of October.

From musical performances and other events to European snacks and a few pints of German beer, it’s almost like you’re not in Japan anymore.

6. Admire Kochia scrubs

Credit: Reginal Pentinio on Flickr Creative Commons

A unique plant called “kochia” changes colour throughout the year. In fall, it transforms into a reddish-pink. This is a sight you don’t want to miss. If you find yourself in Ibaraki Prefecture, drop by Hitachi Seaside Park where there are hills of these scrubs. Definitely worth a visit and take a picture or two for the gram.

7. Stroll through pampas grass

Credit: peaceful-jp-scenery on Flickr Creative Commons

Another nature spot to explore in the fall in Japan is the Sengokuhara area in Hakone. Hakone is just two hours away from the capital city Tokyo, making it the ideal location for a day trip.

During this time of the year, you’ll get to stroll through fields of tall, pampas grass in Hakone. With the cleared path making it easy to navigate through, you’ll be able to peacefully admire nature’s beauty. This is a perfect break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo city.

8. Go hiking or trekking

Credit: oonnuuoo on Flickr Creative Commons

For those looking for a bit more of an adventure, autumn in Japan is the perfect time to go hiking or trekking. The weather cools down enough for pleasant outdoor activities. You don’t have to venture too far. Close to Tokyo, Mt. Takao is a popular choice for those looking to break a sweat. In fact, this is the most climbed mountain in the world! Not only will you get a workout in but you’ll also be able to see the autumn foliage of the mountain. Kill two birds with one stone!

9. Frolick in the cosmo fields

Credit: Alan Levine on Flickr Creative Commons

I’m a sucker for flowers, and if you are too, don’t miss out on Tokyo’s Showa Kinen Park. Here, you’ll be able to view cosmo flowers in full bloom. In fact, you’ll get to frolick in cosmo fields as big as 15,000 square meters! There’s even a festival for these blooms called the Cosmos Matsuri. Definitely drop by if you’re in town any time from mid-September to the end of October.

10. Gaze at the harvest moon

Credit: hn79 on Flickr Creative Commons

One of the highlights of fall in Japan is the annual tradition of moon viewing. Known as otsukimi (お月見) in Japanese, this hundreds-of-years-old event happens between the middle of September and the start of October. Family and friends gather to view the full moon while eating dango (団子). Some areas hold events like a moon-viewing event for people to celebrate this occasion together.

Which will you be doing first?

The list of activities to do in Japan in the fall can go on and on, but these 10 are a good start to get you off on the right foot. Japan’s a country that’s always full of things happening. Even if you don’t plan your trip specifically, you’ll definitely be able to wander the streets and come across an activity randomly. So, which activity will you be doing first in Japan during the autumn season?