Thursday, 5 September 2013



This term, we are trying Zondle to help us remember our Japanese words we've learnt in class.
It's a free app and you can also play online.

Make sure you choose the vocabulary I've assigned to you. There's a leader board and you can also achieve badges..

 You can change your avatar..

I look forward to seeing your progress..
Good luck がんばってください!

Thursday, 13 June 2013


The Soroban is an abacus developed in Japan. It is derived from China and imported to Japan in 1600.

The soroban is composed of an odd number of columns or rods, each having beads: one bead having a value of 5, called go-dama and 4 beads each having a value of 1, called ichi-dama. Each set of beads of each rod is divided by a bar known as a reckoning bar.

The beads and rods are made of a variety of different materials. Most soroban are made of wood and have wood, metal, ratten or bamboo rods for the beads to slide on. The beads themselves are usually biconal (shaped likea double-cone)



Thursday, 2 May 2013




May 5 is Children's Day, when families celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children.
The fifth day of the fifth month was traditionally called Tango no Sekku and was a festival for boys.

 Some families make special lunches for their children. Can you see the Koi?

On Children's Day, families with boys fly huge carp-shaped streamers (koinobori) outside the house and display dolls of famous warriors and other heroes inside. The carp was chosen because it symbolizes strength and success; according to a Chinese legend, a carp swam upstream to become a dragon.

In recent years, as more people have moved into apartments and smaller houses, the carp streamers have also gotten smaller, and there are now miniature versions that are decorated indoors.

Also on this day, families often take baths sprinkled with iris leaves and roots. This is because the iris is thought to promote good health and ward off evil.

Monday, 15 April 2013

New school year in Japan

Did you know? In Japan, the new school year starts in April. Entering a new school is called 入学 (nyūgaku) in Japanese.
Every April there is a 入学式 (nyūgakushiki - entrance ceremony) for the new students who enter the school

Japanese Schools:

Japanese children enter the first grade in April after their sixth birthday. They dont have prep year.  There are around 30-40 students in each class!!The subjects they study are: Japanese, Maths, Science, Social studies, music, English, crafts, Phys Ed and home economics (to learn simple cooking and sewing skills) Students also learn traditional Japanese arts like shodo (calligraphy) and haiku (form of poetry)
Most school building are 3 stories high due to lack of space.

School Life:

Classes are divided into small teams for many activities. For example, every day the students clean the classrooms, halls and yards of their school.

School provide lunches and students take turns serving lunch to their classmates. After lunch everyone cleans their teeth.

Students take their shoes off when they enter school and wear school shoes for the day. When they go outside they wear their normal shoes.
Students also dont have to wear a uniform in Primary school, only in high school.

入学式 (nyūgakushiki) is held from Elementary school (小学校 - shōgakkō) to University (大学 - daigaku). It is common to see parents attending the ceremony with their kids and taking pictures.



Thursday, 14 March 2013

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Japanese Tea Cermemony

The tea ceremony involves preparing powdered tea for guests according to custom and enjoying its austere taste quietly and serenely. Influenced by Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony seeks to purify the mind and attain oneness with nature.
This week, the Students enjoyed a Tea ceremony with Hara Sensei. They learnt how to drink tea and the names of the objects needed to make green tea.


Ocha (おちゃ)






Ochawan (おちゃわん)


 Ochasen (おちゃせん)


Did you know these items also have green tea in them???

kit kat

Friday, 1 March 2013



The Japanese Doll Festival (or Girls' Day) is held on March the 3rd. Platforms with a red carpet are used to display a set of ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, attendance and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period.

Traditional, these dolls were believed to have the power to take bad spirits away. That is why they have to be taken down from the display soon after hinamatsuri ends. If the dolls are left up past March the 4th, it is said that it will result in a late marriage for the daughter.
Traditionally, girls in Japan invited their friends to a home party and had a good time. Many people still prepare a special meal for girls on this day. Common food for hina matsuri are chirashizushi, clam soup and sakura-mochi.
Hishimochi is a special kind of Mochi (rice cake) that is coloured pink, white and green. The pink is for chasing evil spirits away, the white is for purity and the green is for health.

Explanation of the dolls stand
A Japanese pop song by Minimoni about Hinamatsuri
Traditional Song for Hinamatsuri
See if you can try and sing along with the lyrics.

Friday, 22 February 2013


Setsubun comes either on February 3rd or 4th depending on the year

On the night of Setsubun, many households do mame-maki - a bean-throwing ceremony. They fill a masu (a wooden measuring cup) with roasted soybeans and throw the beans all about the room, shouting "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" meaning "Out with the goblins and in with fortune!" They also open the windows and throw the beans outside. Mame-maki began as a New Year ceremony (in the traditional Japanese calendar) to drive out evil spirits and the seeds of misfortune, as well as to pray for the family's well-being and good business.

After the mame-maki is over, everyone eats the same number of beans as their own age. It is believed that by doing so, people will be free of sickness during that year.


Friday, 1 February 2013

New Years in Japan

New Years Day -

January 1 is New Year's Day, a national holiday and one of the biggest events on the calendar of annual festivities in Japan.

From well before dawn on New Year's Day, people flock to shrines and temples to pray for a healthy and happy year. This is called hatsu-mode and is one of the most important rituals of the year. When we greet our acquaintances, moreover, we say "Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu  あけましておめでとうございます" (a happy new year) to convey our wishes that the year to come will be full of hope and good health.

One thing children look forward to doing on New Year morning is reading nengajo (New Year greeting cards) from friends and acquaintances.


The biggest treat on New Years Day is receiving otoshidama (money given as a gift at the beginning of a year) from parents, relatives, and other adults they meet during New Year.

On January 6 and 7 each year, a temple in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, hosts a fair of daruma dolls. These dolls are bright red likenesses of Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who founded Zen Buddhism in the sixth century. Legend has it that the monk sat meditating in a cave for so long (nine years!) that he lost the use of his legs.
This is why the daruma doesn't have any limbs. It's a roly-poly doll that returns to an upright position when tipped over. It's also a good luck charm that helps people fulfill their wishes; it encourages us to keep working toward our own goals even when others are trying to knock us over.
A new doll doesn't have its eyes painted in yet; this is because the purchaser draws in one eye while making a wish, and draws in the other when the wish is fulfilled.

 What will your goal for this year be???


Welcome to Year of the Snake!  We're likely to see significant developments in the area of science and technology this year. Research and development are apt to flourish. This is a Water year as well, the element most closely associated with education and research, making 2013 a very special year for scientists and scholars. Snake is a great sign, a positive one, with energy that can help us face all of the challenges ahead of us.
Find out what year you were born in and see if the description sounds like you?
Write and tell me what you think below.
Tiger: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 Tiger people are brave, powerful, loyal, intelligent, competent, and stubborn. Tigers make great friends. Tiger people tend not to respect their elders and that can get them in a lot of trouble.
Rabbit: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 Rabbit people are lucky, happy, independent, affectionate, bright, ambitious, and trustworthy. Rabbit people have little interest in learning to appear smart. They simply like to know how things work.
Dragon: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012 Dragon people are honest, full of energy, stubborn, loyal, strong, and protective. Dragon people are incredibly lucky. They love flattery, and can be attracted to bad behavior. That is their weakness.
Snake: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013 Snake people are wise and focused. They trust their own judgment. Snake people cannot help but do their best because they hate to fail at anything. Snake people believe everyone should lend a helping hand.
Horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014 Horse people are popular, cheerful, quick witted, and shy. For some reason, horse people have a great deal of trouble believing they are loved, when in fact, horse people are easy to like and love.
Ram (Black or Gray Sheep): 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015 Sheep people are elegant, wise, gentle, shy, and compassionate. They can be bossy, but that's because they're worried things will not get done correctly. This character trait often makes money for them.
Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016 Monkey people are quick, funny, nosey, clever, witty, and successful. They have wonderful memories and are well informed about everything. They tend to chatter. This does drive friends away sometimes.
Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017 Rooster people are early risers, proud, alert, deep thinkers and good speakers. They like to stay close to home. If you can break through their natural suspicion, they make wonderful friends.
Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 Dog people are loyal friends, quick to learn, eager to please, and always try to do their best. They prefer to be with people they know and like. Dog people cannot stand injustice.
Pig: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019 People who are born in the Year of the Pig are intelligent, sincere, brave, popular, and treat all people with great kindness. Pig people are often late and often forgetful.
Rat: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020 People born in the Year of the Rat are famous for cheerfulness and kindness. They are generous with those they love. Rat people love to gossip. That can cost them many friendships if they are not careful.
Ox: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021 Ox people are easy going and have a great deal of self-assurance that helps help them to be successful. Ox people have thoughtful responses. Ox people love deeply and share their strength with those they love.