Carlton Japanese Club Friday 16th October 2020

Last week’s class was awesome! Thank you everyone for your participation and enthusiasm! 😀

We covered an absolute boatload of cultural stuff 🙂



I forget exactly what all the questions were but the trickiest was one Beth asked about the nuance of the の particle in the context of objects being on top of bookshelves etc.

It sometimes helps to think of の as “apostrophe s” but that does often then lead to a mental translation which is odd-seeming to English speakers.

I shared these two pictures to try to help. The first was my attempt to caption our dinner picture from the previous week, and the second is the corrected version by my old boss in Japan (to whom I sent the image!)

It says “We eat ‘Toad in the Hole'”. Here are the two forms copy-pastable:



My way is more like “Hole with a toad inside” and Rie’s is more like “Hole’s inside’s Toad”. I trust the native speaker that this is much more natural in Japanese, but it helps demonstrate why の can be unintuitive!

Remember though, both of these would be very strange to a Japanese person because ❛穴の中のヒキガエル❜ is not a stock Japanese phrase. It would be much more natural to transliterate “Toad in the Hole” as “トードインザホール” (“tohh-doh-in-zah-hohh-roo”). But this time it was more amusing to me (and others!) to try the literal way.

1. Josh’s Picture

Josh sent me this picture in the week before the class and we discussed the sign:



“YA” often goes on the end of an object or a name to make it a shop about that thing.

にく = meat
にくや = butcher shop

さかな = fish
さかなや = fishmonger

みしま = a common Japanese surname
みしまや = Mishima’s shop! (There is a famous hobby shop in Nagoya called “Mishimaya” – it’s where I took those pictures I showed you and indeed Mr. Mishima is on one of them!)

If Beth had a shop maybe it would be “Coleman-Ya” or if Elin had one it might be “Jones-Ya”. I took their surnames and added “ya”. You get the idea.

Anyway, what does Zuboraya mean? We couldn’t really figure it out and I kinda assume that “Zubora” is just a name, either of a person or a place or maybe even just something that they figured sounds cool.

But get this…IT’S A REAL PLACE:

The game models it pretty much perfectly. I wanna play the game now! Elin says we should all go to Japan and go there and ask them about the name. I agree. We still didn’t really get to the bottom of it!

Learn more about づぼらや here:

And here:;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7&ff=319729561

And here:

2. Takenoko no Sato

We read the box of this snack:

It’s Takenoko no Sato! I’ve talked about it a bit before even on this blog and I’ll talk about it again for sure (there is a lot to say – I went into some detail on Friday which I won’t repeat here because I’m planning a longer article that covers it all).

The important thing to know is that there is another similar snack called Kinoko no Yama.

And they are RIVALS! Some people identify as TEAM TAKENOKO NO SATO or TEAM KINOKO NO YAMA. Hey, it’s like Twilight with TEAM EDWARD and TEAM JACOB!

The meanings are “Bamboo Shoot Village” and “Mushroom Mountain”.

If I can get some from the Asian supermarkets I’ll share them in class 😉

3. New Year’s Card

Lily asked me in the previous week to send her hiragana practice and this was one of the images. You have to read it in columns up to down, right to left. What does it mean? Well actually it’s pretty much exactly the standard New Year Card phrasing that is even in the kana book we’re studying! Sadly it has nothing to do with the scary guinea pig on the card XD

4. My business card, bank card, and hanko (signature stamp)

Why were we talking about this again? I think at about 9.10pm I was getting really tired and felt like the textbook wasn’t a great idea so had begun to incoherently babble about things from my life in Japan. That sounds like me, right?!

But I guess these things are interesting! A few years ago I wrote about the hanko here: and about the business card here:

Hey Jim you had a blog where you wrote about all this stuff?! And you were trying to write every day for a year?

Yeah, but I failed and stopped. It’s okay though, I will go back to writing blog entries on here next year. I’ve just been busy and planning out how to do it in a less intense way! 😉

5. Yuma

After showing the business card and hanko I told The Yuma Story.

It is very sad, but to be honest sometimes I tell it sadder than I think it really was. It’s the only thing close I have to a sad story of my time in Japan so maybe I feel I need to ham it up a bit.

In truth, all the ladies at that hostess bar (especially Yuma) probably found it entertaining and much more interesting than their usual nights. I also don’t think I was as rude as I make out when I tell it, but it’s more dramatic if I tell it like that.

However, I’m still not going to repeat the story here!

But remember, if you want to tell someone to shut up and go away say:


It’s very rude though. It literally means “noisy” or “loud” or “annoying”.

Don’t say it to people unless you mean it!

6. The Oyasumi Nasai Song

I figured out some flexible middle lyrics for the Oyasumi Nasai song. (It’s to the tune of “the farmer in the dell”).


It means: “goodnight, goodnight, Japanese club is over, good night”. But you can replace “にほんごクラブ” with anything really. I guess it needs to have 3 syllables for the song to work though 😉

Hey Jim! にほんごクラブ isn’t 3 syllables though because クラブ is pronounced “ku-ra-bu” rather than “club”

That’s true 😥 I guess if you want to sing my version of the song you have to cheat a bit and say “club” as one quick syllable, English-style.

7. The REAL Oyasumi Nasai song

The reason for the oyasumi nasai song is that I said “oyasumi nasai” to everyone the other week and Lily started singing it and saying “where it that from? where is that from?”. We couldn’t figure it out so I made up the above lyrics. But then Adam actually found what it was Lily had in her head! How?! How did he do that? The man is a GENIUS. てんさいです!

It’s this!

8. And finally

Adam found some more Japanese tongue twisters here:

We’ll incorporate some into future lessons!

9. No wait, ACTUALLY and finally

Oh I nearly forgot. I cut out some hiragana practice from the Japanese for Busy People textbook. Not the Kana Workbook we’ve been using but the actual textbook we can tackle once we’ve got our hiragana and katakana LOCKED IN.

We were supposed to look through it in class but it’s just as good for you to try it yourself.

Here you go!

See you on Friday!