Monday, April 30, 2012

Help others to help themselves for FREE!

New users to Kiva can get a free $25 loan to give to a deserving low-income entrepreneur! All you have to do is select your borrower and sign up for Kiva! It takes less than 5 minutes, but it can make a lasting impact on the life of a borrower and his/her family/community. So please sign up for a free trial of Kiva!

What's Kiva?
We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
What is microfinance?
Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. Microfinance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. While some studies indicate that microfinance can play a role in the battle against poverty, it is also recognized that is not always the appropriate method, and that it should never be seen as the only tool for ending poverty.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Korean Cuisine Myeong-dong 韓国料理明洞(ミョントン)

A new Korean restaurant just opened in Towada this past week (Thu. Apr. 26, 2012).

Korean Cuisine Myeong-dong 韓国料理明洞(ミョンドン)
Hours営業時間: 11:00-22:00 (LO 21:30) daily
(Closed 2nd & 4th Tue. of the month 定休日:毎月第2・4火曜日)
Mobile携帯: 080-1680-3043
Address住所: 3-4 Honami-cho (十和田市穂並町3-4 )
Parking駐車場: available 有
*No English menu, but it's a picture menu so ordering is easy*

You can eat in the restaurant or get take out.

If you order the kimchi--Chinese cabbage (白菜hakusai) or Japanese radish (大根daikon)--it comes in a plastic container so you can take home the leftovers. And unless you really really love kimchi or you go there with a lot of people, chances are you will be taking it home! (Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the kimchi. ^^;; ) It's a pretty good deal for 500yen.

Everything else I tried was also delicious!
Tteobokki トッポッキ (500yen)
Jijim チヂミ (500yen)
Naengmyeonネンミョン (700yen)

[A minor digression: I learned today that Korean cuisine was apparently the inspiration for one of Morioka's famous noodles: 冷麺 reimen (a cold noodle dish) came from naengmyeon. Another famous Morioka noodle, じゃじゃ麺 jajamen (noodles with a special miso & meat sauce) was apparently inspired by a Chinese noodle dish zha jiang mian. At Myeong-dong, you can order jajangmyeon which is a Koreanized version of zha jiang mian.]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Contractions and abbreviations

(This has been sitting in my post list as a draft for a while, so since I had some time today I figured I'd finally post it.)

Spoken and manga Japanese is full of contractions/abbreviations. Some of them are widely known and used while others are not. It can make things rather difficult for a non-native speaker. Here's a short list of some of the random ones that I often use/hear or have simply stuck in my head:

konbini コンビニ = convenience store コンビニエンスストア
(Ubiquitous in Japan and actually very very convenient)

shaapen シャーペン = sharp pencil シャープペンシル
mechanical pencil

K.Y. = kuuki yomenai 空気読めない
can't read the atmosphere, clueless

goukon 合コン= goudou kompa 合同コンパ
group blind date (a group of guys meets with a group of girls in equal numbers)

konkatsu 婚活= kekkon katsudou 結婚活動
marriage hunting; activities leading to marriage (e.g. dating, courtship, etc.)

enren 遠恋 = enkyori renai 遠距離恋愛
long distance relationship

enkou 援交 =  enjo kousai 援助交際
dating with compensation; schoolgirl prostitution
(Got this from the Kimi ni Todoke 君に届け manga. My Japanese teacher friend was more than a little surprised when I asked her what it meant.)

konmisu コンミス = concert mistress コンサートミストレス
apparently the concert master/mistress is second only to the conductor in an orchestra

paarii パーリー = part leader パートリーダー
eg. the trumpets' (part) leader
(Got this from the Aozora Yell: Yell for the Blue Sky 青空エール manga, whose main character is part of the school brass band. I think the short form sounds an awful lot like the French/Japanese pronunciation of "Paris"...)

*TKG = tamago kake gohan 卵かけご飯
a dish of rice (gohan) topped with  (raw) egg (tamago), usually mixed with a little soy sauce
(*some boys in one of my junior high school made this one up)

*daijoubanai = daijoubu de wa nai 大丈夫ではない
not OK
(*another one made up by some of my junior high school boys)

Fellow students of Japanese, what are some of your "favourites"?
(Incidentally, mine are TKG and daijoubanai even though probably because they were made up by my students and therefore aren't widely used--kind of like an inside joke.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring 2012 Events in Towada

Spring has come (?) to Towada and with it come a whole bunch of events!!

See this site for a comprehensive listing of events (Japanese only):
Towada Spring Festival 2012 Event Map/Information

栗林隆WATER >|< WASSER (ウオーター ミズ ヴァッサー)
Takashi Kuribayashi WATER >|< WASSER
Date:  Sat. Apr. 21-Sun. Sep. 2, 2012
Time: 9:00-17:00, Tue.-Sun. (closed Mondays, except Apr. 23, May 1, Aug. 8 & 13) 
   11:00-17:00 Sat. Apr. 21
   9:00-19:30 Fri. Apr. 27-Sun. May 6; Fri. Aug.3-Sun. Aug. 5, Fri. Aug. 10-Sun. Aug. 12
Location: 十和田市現代美術館、中心商店街ほか Towada Art Center, around the Central Shopping Arcade, etc.
Admission:  500yen; 300yen/person for groups of 20 or more;  free for high school students and under

栗林隆アーティストトーク Takashi Kuribayashi Artist Talk
Date: Sun. Apr. 22
Time: 14:00-15:30
Location: 十和田市現代美術館 Towada Art Center
Admission: Free *exhibit ticket required* **limited to first 50 people**
Special Guests:
- 中田英寿(一般財団法人TAKE ACTION FOUNDATION 代表理事)
Hidetoshi Nakata (TAKE ACTION FOUNDATION, Representative Director)
- 南條史生(森美術館館長) Fumio Nanjo (Mori Art Museum, Director)

第9回桜流鏑馬 (Sakura Yabusame)
Cherry Blossom* Horseback Archery
(PDF poster)
Date: Sat. Apr. 28-Sun. Apr. 29, 2012
Time: 10:00-14:00
Location: 中央公園緑地 Chuo (Central) Park (map)
Admission: Free
- 流鏑馬競技(初級・中級・プロ級・団体戦) Women's competitions (all levels)
-体験乗馬、馬車運行など Horseback riding; horse-pulled cart rides, etc. 
- やぶさめビンゴゲーム Yabusame BINGO Game (Sun. Apr. 29 only)
* The event is called "Cherry Blossom Horseback Archery" but considering the cherry blossom blooming period of the past few years (around Golden Week--i.e. the first week of May) and the particularly long, cold winter this year, unfortunately it's entirely probable that there won't actually be any cherry blossoms out in time for the event

Men's Yabusame Exhibition
Date: Mon. Apr. 30, 2012 (Showa Day Substitute Holiday)
Time: 11:00-14:00
Location: 中央公園緑地 Chuo Park (map)
Admission: Free

Dance in 駒っこ広場 (Komakko Hiroba)
(Street the party vo.1)
Date: Sun. Apr. 29, 2012
Time: 13:00-15:00
Place: 駒っこ広場 (官庁街通り) Komakko Hiroba (Kanchogai Dori) - across from the Police Box on Kanchogai Street *雨天時はアートステーショントワダ or Art Station Towada (map) in the event of rain*

よさこい元気祭り Yosakoi Genki Matsuri
Date: Mon. Apr. 30 (Showa Day Substitute Holiday)
Time: 13:00-15:00
Location: 駒っこ広場 Komakko Hiroba *雨天時はアートステーショントワダ or Art Station Towada (map) in the event of rain*

Lit Up Wax Globes Made by Local Nursery School Students
Date:  Sat. Apr. 28 - Sun. May 6
Time: 18:00-20:00
Location: アートステーショントワダ (AST) Art Station Towada (map)

桜展望台 Cherry Blossom Viewing Observation Floor
Date: Cherry Blossom blooming period
Time: 9:30-20:00
Location: 市役所新館5階展望ロビー City Hall (New Building), 5th flr (map)
Admission: Free

夜桜と光の演出 Night Sakura Illuminations
Date: Cherry Blossom blooming period
Time: 18:00-22:00
 Location: Kanchogai Dori (Street) & Chuo (Central) Park
Admission: Free 

太素ウオーク 2012 (Taiso Walk)
Date: Thu. May 3 (Constitution Memorial Day Holiday)
Time: 8:30-15:00 (Registration 7:30-8:30)
Location: 太素塚集合 Start at the Taisozuka (Nitobe Memorial Museum area)
Fee: 1500 yen (includes lunch, insurance, etc.)
Courses: A Course (19km), B Course (14km), C Course (6km)
Registration Period: Tue. Apr. 3 - Fri. Apr. 20
Contact: 社団法人 十和田市観光協会 Towada Tourism Bureau
TEL:0176 -24 -3006

太素祭 Taiso-sai (Taiso Festival)
Date: Thu. May 3-Sat. May 5
Time: 10:00-19:00
Location: 太素塚 Taisozuka (Nitobe Memorial Museum area)
Admission: Free
Events: Student choral performances, karaoke contests, Japanese drum (taiko) performances *stage performances are only on Thu. May 3 & Fri. May 4*

ToWaCoN まちコン 
Towada Singles Party (Goukon*)
Date: Sat. May 12Time: 18:00-21:00 (Registration 16:30-17:30)
Location: アートステーショントワダ (AST) Art Station Towada (map)
Fee: 6000yen men; 4000yen women
Registration: Single men & women over 20 years of age should register in pairs (of the same gender) online
*See JeKai for a concise explanation of "goukon" and a Feb. 14, 2012 Japan Times article for an explanation about the recent "Machikon" phenomenon