Waddling to success - Sunshine City's penguin parade

Posted on July 17, 2014 | genkijacs

If you happen to be a penguin-loving Japanese language student who tends to get easily lost in Tokyo, you're in luck!

The Sunshine City Aquarium in Ikebukuro has come up with an ingenious way to attract new customers. The relatively old aquarium, located almost 1Km from the nearest station, had been facing a drastic drop in patronage over the last few years, due to the relative difficulty of finding their location. They had to find a way to renew interest in their business.
Enter Penguin Navi, an augmented reality app utilizing Junaio as a base, which uses your mobile or tablet device to superimpose a number of cute, waddling penguins on your surroundings, leading you from your current location straight to the aquarium.

The app can be downloaded from Penguin Navi's website, although you do need to have Junaio installed first.

Since introducing the cute penguins to escort visitors to Sunshine City, attendance at the aquarium reportedly increased by over 150% - which we can perfectly understand, of course. Who doesn't like penguins??

Check out this video for more information:

Typhoon season!

Posted on July 07, 2014 | genkijacs

We've had quite a few inquiries from students about the typhoon headed for Kyuushu - typhoon Neoguri, scheduled to hit Fukuoka on Wednesday or Thursday. At the moment, though we had some rain yesterday, skies are blue and the sun is out in Fukuoka.


Of course, this could change quickly in the nature of typhoons, but the general feeling among Fukuoka residents is that it won't be particularly serious inside the city. Outlying regions of Kyuushu may feel the effects of Neoguri a bit more severely, and of course it may affect flights to and from Fukuoka, but for the moment we aren't planning on cancelling any classes. If this typhoon should turn out to be pretty bad, or if there are any other major typhoons headed for Fukuoka or Tokyo, we will let our Japanese language students know ahead of time - make sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest updates!

The Start of Summer

Posted on July 06, 2014 | evankirby

Summer has officially started, and with it the biggest influx of students to GenkiJACS ever! More than 65 new students start today, so the school is a hive of activity. It's a great fun time for everyone, and we're looking forward to all the special activities that we can do because we have so many people ready to learn and enjoy themselves! In particular, we can't wait for the beach barbecue, coming up in just a few weeks.
We've been restricting summer enrollments carefully this year, so unlike some previous years, the school should still feel comfortable even during the peak season. For all the people who wanted to come but couldn't, we're so sorry we didn't have space for you this time, but we hope we can see you in future years, or even outside summer when there is more space at both schools.

Japanese soccer terms

Posted on June 23, 2014 | genkijacs

The FIFA World Cup is upon us, and it's the topic everyone is talking about. Whether you're watching the match in a bar, catching the results on the news or betting on winning teams with your friends, we thought our Japanese language students might be interested in knowing some soccer lingo in Japanese. (Most of these are transliterations in katakana, so they should be very easy to remember!)

Midfielder... ミッドフィルダー
Goalie... ゴールキーパー
The Goal... ゴール
Referee... レフェリー/審判役 (しんぱんやく、"shinpanyaku")
Yellow/Red Card... イエローカード/レッドカード
Throw In... スローイン
Offside... オフサイド
Stepover... オコチャダンス/ステップオーバー
Group tournament ranking system... 勝ち点 (かちてん、"kachiten")
Wall pass... 壁パス (かべパス、"kabepasu")
Goal difference... 得失点差 (とくしつてんさ、"tokushitsu tensa")
Attacking midfielder... トップ下 (トップした、"toppu shita")
Free Kick... 直接フリーキック (ちょくせつフリーキック、"chokusetsu furi- kikku")
Indirect Free Kick... 間接フリーキック (かんせつフリーキック、"kansetsu furi- kikku")
Penalty Kick... ペナルティキック/PK
Pass... パス
Juggle... リフティング
Bicycle Kick... オーバーヘッドキック
Shin guards... すねあて ("suneate")


We're of course crossing our fingers for Japan to make it to the finals of the World Cup. Which teams do you support? Who are you hoping will win the finals? Let us know!

Fukuoka and Tokyo both ranked in world's top 10 cities!

Posted on June 22, 2014 | evankirby

Monocle Magazine have released their Quality of Life Survey 2014, and this time Fukuoka has moved into the top 10! Three cities in Japan are ranked in the top 10: Tokyo at 2, Kyoto at 9, and Fukuoka at 10. It's great to see Fukuoka continuing to receive recognition as a great place to live. We can't wait to welcome you here too!

Do you know Hikakin?

Posted on June 18, 2014 | genkijacs

Hikakin is a famous Japanese beatboxer and video blogger who regularly uploads videos introducing interesting Japanese foods or products not often heard about overseas.
Not only are his videos quite funny, but they can also be beneficial to your Japanese language studies, since he always explains what he is doing, and so you can pick up on quite a few verbs as he talks. He also uses English sometimes, and some of his videos are subtitled.


Here are some of our favourite Hikakin videos:

Super spicy instant yakisoba
"Interesting Cake Shop" DIY sweets kit (Almost entirely in English!)
Mega-takoyaki kit from Don Quijote (Also learn a takoyaki recipe!...Sort of!)
Russian Roulette spicy snack sticks (Only one in 6 of the snack sticks is super spicy, so you never know when you're going to get a hot one. Play it with your friends and see who is the unlucky one!)

His Youtube channel is here; there are many more interesting food videos, as well as Japanese game reviews and weird product explanations.

Photobooks of Japan

Posted on June 16, 2014 | genkijacs

Heli-san, who has studied at GenkiJACS 3 times in the past, came back to study Japanese language with us again this year, at both our Tokyo and Fukuoka branches.
She brought us these lovely photobooks of her last stay in Japan in 2013, filled with beautiful photos of Tokyo, Fukuoka and GenkiJACS!




Thanks so much, Heli-san!

Emoji and the art of ASCII

Posted on June 09, 2014 | genkijacs

You've probably heard of Japanese emoticons called 絵文字 (えもじ, "emoji"), right?
This refers to the art of taking Western emoticons such as :-) or D: and expressing them horizontally, as in (^v^) or (>_<), often using Japanese or other special characters.

These emoji range from the expressive to the downright bizarre.
For example, this guy has clearly been asked a very difficult question:
And this guy, well... Have you ever been so angry you turned into a wobbly pudding of rage?

Considering the popularity of these emoji, very frequently used in informal mails and texts, it should come as no surprise that Japan also has some of the most amazing ASCII art in the world.

ASCII art takes the creativity of emoji to a whole new level.

For example, some people create short manga using only computer characters:

People with slightly more time on their hands draw famous anime characters:


This person has clearly transcended the bounds of normal human talent and exists in a parallel universe where people can control computer keys with their minds.

Sites like this one have a whole bunch of different styles of ASCII art if you're interested in seeing more.

Keeping cool

Posted on June 05, 2014 | genkijacs

As we head into summer, we'd like to remind everyone coming to study Japanese language with us from June onward that Japan gets hot. Very hot. It can be quite easy to forget about the heat when you're out having fun on the beach or in the city, but the sun can be quite dangerous, and with temperatures soaring above 45 degrees Celsius a lot of time, even some Japanese people (who are used to the heat) had trouble keeping cool last year.

We've blogged about this before, but here is a quick refresher on how to avoid overheating this summer:

- stay out of the sun between 10AM and 3PM. These are the hottest hours of the day, so if you're planning on hitting the beach, try to avoid going during those hours.
- drink lots of water. It can be quite easy to get dehydrated in summer - water will keep you cool and make sure you don't dry out in the heat!
- get a folding fan. Hand-held fans (called 扇子 - せんす, "sensu") are available at all 100yen shops, and literally everyone uses them here. They are compact and convenient to carry around!
- if you have to walk some distance in the city, do some store-hopping. All majour stores and convenience stores are air-conditioned, so you can make your way down the street by dashing from cool haven to cool haven.
- eat spicy food. It sounds counter-intuitive, but hot foods like curry make you sweat, which cools your body down. Japanese curry is famously not as spicy as its Indian or Thai cousins, but some spots like CoCo Ichibanya allow you to customize your spice level (just don't go too high - they do have some kick!)
- use a cooling spray. These sprays (called 冷却スプレイ or れいきゃくスピレイ, "reikyaku spray") come in many different brands and are available from most convenience stores and drug stores. They also make cooling sheets, which are great for cooling your forehead and neck.

GenkiJACS Tokyo - 1 year anniversary

Posted on June 04, 2014 | genkijacs

On Friday, GenkiJACS Tokyo celebrated their 1 year anniversary. We're very proud of how much our Tokyo school has grown in the last year, and are vry excited to see where the future will take us! Our students and staff in Tokyo celebrated by going to a samurai-themed restaurant. 
Check out more pics of the event on Facebook!

We here at Fukuoka school weren't to be left out of the celebrations, and had our own party at school.

Our Japanese language students joined us for some delicious taco chips, sushi, and...


And then the fun really began when teachers and students decided to turn on the Wii. You'd think between 4 people, this would be an easy task. Alas.

"How does this work?"

20 minutes later...(Three remotes, but 4 players.)

30 minutes later... Still no Wii.
Time to call in some reinforcements!

Finally! Success.

GenkiJACS Wii: a spectator sport.

We wish everyone at our Tokyo school a great year ahead, and hope our students there continue to have a lot of fun in Japan while studying the language!