A B C D E F G H I K M 29. Glossary of Japanese Words and Phrases
by Pencil Louis
Aburaagefried bean curd
Atakaiwarm, as in water or sake
Bonenkaiend of year party
Bunrakuclassical Japanese puppet theatre
Chainbarasword dance
Chankoa Japanese stew, particularly popular with sumo wrestlers
Chanoyutea ceremony
Chibaprefecture bordering on the north east of Tokyo
Chikua small district, so many chiku form a cho, so many cho form a ku (or ward)
DaijogiLarge beer glass which holds a full 750mlbottle
Dangorice dumpling
Domburidish with a rice base and a variety of toppings
Edothe old name for Tokyo during the reign of the Tokugawa shogun
Enkatradional Japanese song
Fugublowfish, globefish, guppy
Fukuokaprefecture in northern Kyushu
Futonmattress beds used on the floor in Japan
Gaijinforeigner, the opposite of Japanese, nihonjin
Hadagithe undercoat worn during festivals
Hanafubukithe falling cherry blossoms
HanamachiPart of the Kabuki stage, a pathway that leads out into the audience pit
HanamiAppreciation of the flowers
Happithe overcoat worn during a festival (Happi ja nai, I'm not a happi/ Happi o arimasen, I don't have a happi)
Haramakistomach wrap
Honshuthe largest of the Japanese islands
Horumonyakigrilled offal
Hotarufire flies
Inagohoneyed grasshoppers
Ikebanaclassical Japanese flower arrangement
Ikejiri Ohashidistrict of Tokyo
Kabukia type of classical Japanese theatre
Kabutosamurai helmet
KaguraSacred dance at festivals, often on mobile floats
Kamakuracity to the south of Yokohama, famous for its temples
Kanagawa-kenthe prefecture of which Yokohama is the capital
KanjiJapanese writing, the ideographic characters
KantoThe region in which Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Gunma and Ibaraki are situated
Keiro-no-hiRespect for the Aged Day, a public holiday in Japan on 15th September
KendoBamboo sword fencing
KentakiKentucky Fried Chicken
KineMallet used for pounding New Year rice cakes
KotoJapanese stringed instrument
KyudoJapanese archery
Machapowdered green tea
Makizushisushi roll, wrapped in seaweed laver
Manshonapartment in a ferro-concrete building
Matsupine tree
Matsuria festival
Meijithe honorific name of the Japanese emperor who took over from the Tokugawa shogunate in the 19th. Century
MejiroSuburb of Tokyo, stop on the Yamanote line
Mentaikospicy sea bream roe. Yum!
Mosotakebamboo of the Moso breed
NattoFermented soya beans
Nihonshusake, rice wine
NikkoCity in northern Tochigi Prefecture, famous for its temples
Ni-kyusecond student rank in Judo, usually blue belt
NomiTool used for the digging of bamboo shoots
Noriseaweed for eating
ObatarianPushy, older woman
Obentolunch box
ObonFestival for the dead in August
OdenJapanese stew
OkonomiyakiJapanese pancake with toppings similar to a pizza
OLoffice lady
Omikoshiportable Shinto shrine. Omikoshi-san, someone who carries the omikoshi
OmochiNew Year rice cakes
Onigiririce balls with tasty centres
Oolon chaOolong tea
OseiboNew Year festival
Otoriisacred Shinto gates
Ozonisoup made with omochi rice cakes
Rakugoclassical Japanese story telling
Rinshunkanappreciation of the sounds of the insects
Sakabaworking man's pub
Sakespecifically rice wine, but the Japanese refer to booze in general as sake
Sakuracherry blossom
SamuraiJapanese gentleman in the archaic sense of the word, usually of military accomplishment
Sanshoa leaf herb, often served with eel or bamboo shoots
SashimiRaw fish, specially sliced in thin fillets
SekibutsuStone image of Buddha
Senbeirice crackers
Senpaisenior. Most Japanese schools and businesses establish a senior/junior relationship among their members
SentoPublic bath house
Shabu ShabuCook at the table stew, usually with a beef base
ShinjukuMajor district in Tokyo
ShintoAlong with Buddhism, Japan's major religions. While Buddhism had its origins in India and China, Shinto is very much a home-grown faith
ShirakoSperm of the sea bream, often served with sushi rice
Shisoa leaf herb, often served with sushi
Shitamachidowntown. In Tokyo, Asakusa and Ueno. In Yokohama, Minami-ku
ShochuJapanese alcoholic spirit
ShodoJapanese calligraphy
ShogiJapanese board game which has some similarities to chess
ShogunMilitary ruler of Japan. The first shogun was established in Kamakura in the 12th. Century. The most famous Shogunate was run by the Tokugawa family for two and a half centuries. Many Japanese referred to General MacArthur as a shogun during the American occupation of the country after World War II
Shojipaper sliding screens
ShowaOfficial name of the Emperor Hirohito. It is used with the Japanese name for the year. Showa 45, for example, was 1970. Akihito's name is Heisei. 1995 is Heisei 7
Sobabuckwheat noodles
SukkyoJapanese music hall theatre
SumieJapanese traditional ink painting
SumoSumo wrestling, the forgotten martial art
SushiRice balls
Sutekismart, fashionable, chic
Tabithin-souled shoes with a partition between the big toe and the other toes
TaikoJapanese drum
Taiku-no-hiFitness day, a holiday in Japan on 10th. October
Takenokoedible bamboo shoots
Tauerice planting
Temakizushisushi rolled in a cone, wrapped in seaweed laver
Tenpuralightly battered seafood and vegetables
TeppanyakiJapanese steakhouse
Tokorotenarrowroot jelly
Tokugawathe family name of the shogun who ruled Japan from 1600 to the mid-19th. Century
Tsurumigawathe largest river that runs through Yokohama
TsuyuJapanese monsoon
Umeplum, plum tree
Umeboshipickled plum
Umeshuplum wine
Unagifreshwater eel
Usuwooden bowl for pounding rice
Yakisobafried noodles
Yakuzathe Japanese mafia
Yamanotethe train line that rides in a circle around Tokyo
YomesanWife of the eldest son
ZenJapanese sect of Buddhism
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