Winter illumination

Posted on November 30, 2014 | genkijacs

Today marks the start of the last month of the year, and as per usual in December, the illumination in Fukuoka is in full swing. Most of the streets, businesses and shops around the city have some lights on display, so it's almost impossible not to get into the festive mood this time of year, but for those of our Japanese language students who are particularly interested in checking out the lightups, here is a handy list of some of the most famous lightup spots:

JR Hakata City (until 13 January)

Bayside Place Hakata (Until 31 January)

Canal City Hakata (until 25 December)

Iwataya Tenjin (until 25 December)

Tenjin Chikagai (underground walkway) (Until 25 December)

Fukuoka airport (until 23 February)

Akasaka Le Anges (Church/wedding venue) (Until 25 December)

Fukuoka Tower/Momochi Beach Area (until 25 December)

Happy national pocky day!

Posted on November 10, 2014 | genkijacs

11/11 (chosen because all the 1s look like pocky sticks!) is National Pocky Day here in Japan. This delicious treat consists of a thin, pretzel-like stick, most often covered in chocolate about 3/4 way down, leaving just a bit of stick at the end to grab on to so the chocolate doesn't melt on your fingers. How thoughtful!

Pocky is arguably one of the most famous sweets ever to be produced by the country, and, like all the other candies here, it wouldn't be Japanese if it didn't have some crazy flavour variations.

First, we have your standard chocolate and strawberry types.


Double chocolate (the stick is chocolate as well)


Heart-shaped strawberry pocky, available over Valentine's Day (the stick is shaped like a heart)


Men's Pocky, because everyone knows the truly macho only eat pocky out of teal-coloured boxes. So. Manly.


Maccha pocky (green tea)


And the last of the "standard" pocky variations, though this is one is a bit more rare: Mint Pocky.


Now it starts getting a bit weird...

We have your fruit variety pocky, including but not limited to: kiwi pocky, mango pocky, blueberry pocky, orange-custard pocky, lychee pocky, and banana-chocolate pocky


For lovers of the Halloween/Thanksgiving season, we have your pumpkin pocky


And people who are nuts for nuts are sure to love these almond and peanut-cream varieties


For those of you who don't have quite such a sweet tooth but would still like to try this candy, these semi-sweet flavours are for you: black sesame pocky and "salty" pocky!


Having trouble deciding which flavour to choose? No problem! For the indecisive among us, there is rainbow pocky consisting of 7 flavours (Chocolate, green tea, banana, orange, strawberry, blueberry and vanilla).


In fact, there are so many variations available we don't think you'll ever be able to try them all, even if you ate Pocky for all 3 majour meals per day!


Pocky Day, while not an official holiday, is celebrated pretty widely in Japan. If you're thinking this just involves eating as much pocky in as little time as possible, well, you'd be wrong.

Presenting the Pocky hair guy. In 2011, the date on Pocky day was 11/11/11, and to celebrate this monumental (?) milestone in Pocky history, this guy decided to weave 100 packs of pocky into his hair.

We kid you not.



Unfortunately the original, 22-minute video was taken off Youtube, but since it involved him eating some of the pocky once he was finished, we think it's probably for the best.


Others have since tried to recreate the success of Pocky hair guy's video, but alas.

Not quite the same.

How will you be celebrating Pocky Day this year? Let us know!

Fukuoka Michelin Guide 2014

Posted on October 29, 2014 | evankirby

Michelin Fukuoka

The Fukuoka & Saga edition of the famed Michelin guide was released this summer, and it confirms what we've always thought - Fukuoka has an embarrassment of great restaurants!
There are two three-star restaurants in the city, the sushi restaurant Gyoten, and the traditional Japanese restaurant Sagano. Neither is cheap, of course, but both offer the pinnacle of Japanese food, and should be a wonderful experience. We say "should be" because we haven't had the good fortune to eat at either of them yet. Any students who want to treat the teachers to dinner, don't be shy!

There are another eight two-star restaurants in the city, and a massive 20 one-star restaurants, as well as a lot of honorable mentions. Many of these are not too expensive, and fairly relaxed, so they can be a good introduction to high-end Japanese dining, if getting a reservation at one of the three-star restaurants proves too difficult. いただきます!

The guide itself is on sale at bookshops, and of course Amazon.

流行ポーズ - kawaii poses for girls

Posted on October 15, 2014 | genkijacs

Our Japanese language students are probably all familiar with the popular Japanese custom of striking a pose when taking photos.
Arguably the most popular of these is the "peace sign", which has become fashionable all over the world.


Well, the peace sign isn't the only pose to be seen in Japanese photos. In fact, the custom of posing for photos is such a big deal here that there are websites, blog posts, and even TV show segments entirely dedicated to the most recent popular "kawaii" poses for girls.

And in one survey ran by one of the above-mentioned TV show segments, almost all of the participants said that they knew and utilized the most recent poses in their photos.

One pose that recently made news over here is the 虫歯ポーズ (むしばポーズ - "cavity pose") - one hand held at a slight angle over the cheek, creating a slimming line to give the appearance of a thinner face (so called because it gives the appearance of having a toothache!)




In fact, the pose has gained so much popularity that magazines aimed at young women feature it frequently on their covers.


A variation of this pose is called the 頬に手ポーズ (ほほにてポーズ - "hands on cheek pose"), where both hands are placed on the face at a slight angle. This pose is often seen on the blogs and Twitters of Japanese idols:


But arguably the best version of this pose ever seen was by GenkiJACS' very own Aya-sensei!


Tokyo school expansion almost complete!

Posted on October 12, 2014 | evankirby

Tokyo school new classrooms

Construction work on the new Japanese classrooms at our Tokyo school branch is almost finished, and we should be ready to start running Japanese classes there in just a week or two!


With this, the Tokyo school is nearly as large as our Fukuoka Japanese school, which is quite an accomplishment, seeing as it has been open for less than a year and a half! It's a testament to the popularity of Tokyo as a destination, and also to the hard work of Tomoe-sensei and other staff who put in some incredibly hard work to set up a great school.


And thanks of course to all the students who believed in us and have helped to make the atmosphere at the Tokyo school so fun!

Here's the view from the window of one of the new classrooms. Can you imagine a better view for a Japanese language school to have??


If you haven't already visited the school, now's your chance. We can't wait to have you learn Japanese with us!

Typhoon Update

Posted on October 05, 2014 | evankirby

To all GenkiJACS Tokyo students: Classes will be held as normal today, Monday the 6th of October. Do be careful, and don't forget your umbrella!
(Classes at Fukuoka branch will of course be held as normal too.)

2014 Asiad

Posted on October 02, 2014 | genkijacs

Wow! It is already approaching autumn in Japan, which means the climate should be cooling down – but just over in nearby South Korea, the competition is heating up at the 17th Asiad! For those of you that are unaware, the Asian Games have been held every 4 years since their inauguration in New Delhi in the year 1951. It is considered a global sporting event reflective in terms of popularity and seriousness of competition, behind the World Cup and Olympics.


Did you know Japan is the all time medal count leader at a whopping 2,650 medals? That is a lot of medals. To be more accurate, 910 of those medals are gold! That is also a lot of gold. This year, Japan is ranked 3rd in the medal count so far behind the host South Korea (#2) and China (#1). The competition has been fierce, and there have been all kinds of sports available to watch nightly here in Japan! It seems that Japan has been dominating swimming, fencing, judo and gymnastics! As a fan of volleyball star Kimura Saori, I have been keeping an eye out for the Japanese women volleyball matches.


It promises to be an exciting matchup in the semis; with China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand making the cut! Are you keeping up with the Asian Games? Have you heard of this huge sporting event? At any rate, the games end tomorrow! 日本、日本!頑張れ!!



Posted on September 28, 2014 | genkijacs

On Saturday, we said a very sad (temporary) goodbye to one of the teachers who has been with us the longest, Machiko-sensei. Previous Genki students will know what an integral part of the school she was - we can't imagine a GenkiJACS where Machiko-sensei isn't busily bustling around on Monday morning getting all the new students sorted into class!

GenkiJACS Fukuoka staff - with a special appearance by Tokyo school's Tomoe-sensei! - celebrated the end of summer, as well as Machiko-sensei's farewell, at Mitsubachi, a beautiful restaurant in Nakasu, located right on one of the canals.



Teachers and staff had a great evening enjoying delicious food and drinks, before Machiko-sensei got a special surprise from the restaurant managers!


As well as some gifts from GenkiJACS.


Before Yuji-sensei and Tetsuya-sensei ended the evening with a special Hakata-style 一本締め (いっぽんじめ, "ippon jime" - hand-clapping to celebrate the conclusion of an event).


Machiko-sensei is taking an extended leave of absence to travel to London, but it won't be forever! She promised to be back soon. We'll miss her dearly while she's gone!

In the meantime, Nabe-sensei has taken over overseeing Beginner 2 and above students.

We're not saying さようなら, because we will definitely meet again. See you again soon, Machiko-sensei!


Check out our Facebook for more photos!

The crying politician, Ryutaro Nonomura

Posted on September 03, 2014 | genkijacs

If you've found yourself going online with any kind frequency during the last few months, you've probably seen the video of the "crying Japanese politician", Ryutaro Nonomura.


Nonomura broke down emotionally at a press conference held in early July. The 47-year-old politician was accused of "misusing" an alleged ¥3m in public funds for personal gains, and forced to apologize for his conduct in a national press conference.

If you haven't seen the video, this is it:

Things start to unravel at around 1:30, and it's all downhill from there.

The video was uploaded to the internet shortly after the conference, and, in the way of these things, immediately went viral. It became so popular that Nonomura even has his own line of mechandise, including:


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LINE stickers


Various fan art

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and even his own series of Dubstep remixes:

His passionate cry of "この日本…世の中を変えたい!" (このにほん・・・よのなかをかえたい!) (at around 3:37-ish in the original video) is set to become one of the 流行語 of 2014.

Nonomura has since resigned from his position in the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly.

**Guest blog** Miyazaki surf trip

Posted on August 27, 2014 | genkijacs

Our Fukuoka Japanese language students went on a weekend surfing trip to beautiful Miyazaki on the 16th. Our student lifestyle coordinator, Yuuki-san, organized the whole trip, and was kind enough to write us a blog entry about the experience.



We went to Miyazaki for a Surf Trip on 16-17th Aug. My family and I, Kayo-san, and 11 students went to Miyazaki together!! Miyazaki is one of the best surf hotspots in Japan. When we arrived, there were already many other surfers from all over Japan. All the students who participated were beginners, so my husband (Shintarou-san), Gordon-san, and Shigenaga-san (a family friend) entered the sea and pushed everyone’s surf boards. Thanks to them, some students were able to stand on their boards! We stayed at a private home providing meals and lodging along the beach. Dinner was delicious chicken Nanban, a famous Miyazaki meal, and sashimi. Breakfast was Japanese style “Washoku”. It was very delicious! It was only a short trip of 2 days and 1 night, but everybody seemed to enjoy the hot summer in Japan. On the way back to Fukuoka, the traffic was very congested because of the national Obon holidays, so it took seven hours to get back to Fukuoka…! Otsukaresama!! I hope we can make it again next year :-)
Special thanks to Shintarou-san, Gordon-san, Shigena-san, and Kayo-san!!


Check out our Facebook for some photos of the trip!