Japanese thoughts, Vocab and Grammar

Hansei (反省)or Self reflection

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It is that time of the year when all of us are in a self reflective mood – What did I set out to do? What  have I accomplished? Am I at least on the right track?

In the Japanese context “hansei” or “self reflection” is something that is encouraged right from childhood. School kids could be asked to write a passage (hansei sakubun) reflecting on a bad deed. At home too a child could be told “hansei shite kudasai”  meaning “reflect on what you just did”. Works similar to “take a good look at yourself” I suppose:-).At the corporate level regular team meetings (hansei kai) are held to reflect on failures and sometimes even successes. While after failure “Hansei kai” is held to analyse how and why things went wrong, “hanseikai” after success is held to objectively identify areas of improvement. In this sense “Hansei” is something that reminds one to constantly strive to improve and better oneself.

In these ever changing times, what could be more relevant than “hansei”? You think you did well? – don’t let it get to your head.. “hansei” to get better. There is so much room for improvement. You think you didn’t do well – “hansei” again. There is always a next time!



Japanese thoughts

Japanese Matsuris

No matter what time of the year it is, there seems to be a “matsuri” or “festival” going on in some part of Japan. “Matsuris” can be broadly classified into two – seasonal and religious. It is during the religious festivals that a “palanquin” or “Mikoshi” is taken around the surrounding area of a Shinto shrine. Some local shrines allow kids and foreigners too to participate in carrying the “Mikoshi”. At least in cases that I have seen the whole exercise seemed like a huge community activity. At the end of it, the kids who helped are given snacks and sweets. “Mikoshi” pulling is so similar to the  “Temple car” pulling that we do in Tamil Nadu – the difference being that in Tokyo it seemed less religious and more community driven.

Both “seasonal” and “religious” festivals have rows and rows of food stalls and game stalls – think choco bananas, takoyaki and yakisoba stalls jostling for space with “sakana sukui” (fish scooping),Shiyateki(target shooting),Wanage (ring tossing) stalls. Cheerful and noisy youngsters dressed in Yukatas add to the overall festive flavor. “Taiko” drums can be heard well into the night.

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The morning after the festival, one suddenly notices that the stalls have all been cleared. The roads are clean with no sign of the previous days festivities – the whole area is enveloped in eerie silence interrupted now and then only by the clickety clack of an office girl’s/salary man’s heels as they’re rushing to the station….leaving one wondering if all the noise and revelry of the previous evening was just a dream.



Japanese thoughts, Movies and Dramas

A super fun way to learn Japanese

…is watching cooking programs in Japanese. It helps beginners-intermediate level students to check if they can follow simple instructions, pick up vocab and grammar points too. If the program is hosted by someone like Rola, the learning experience becomes all the more fun:-)


Japanese thoughts, Movies and Dramas

Blue light Yokohama

….or should I say “bru raito yokohama”:-). Caught bits of this delightful song in the trailer of the movie “Aruite mo Aruite mo”. The movie’s title has been borrowed from this song.

“Aruite mo aruite mo, kofune no youni,

watashi wa yurete yurete,

anata no ude no naka”

The lines roughly mean, “As I keep walking, I sway like a boat, in your arms”.

This song  released in the year 1968, captures the romantic spirit of Yokohama. Strangely even after all these years, Yokohama still retains it’s charm as a romantic hangout making this song an evergreen tribute to the city.

Love this song for it’s simple lyrics.