Author - Tim Patrick

Today is the Emperor’s Birthday

February 23 is the emperor’s birthday, a national holiday in Japan. Well, at least that’s the case this time around. As a holiday, it keeps jumping all over the calendar. Something to do with the 126 Japanese emperors...

The Weather Cities of Japan

The essayist Charles Dudley Warner famously quipped, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” That changes today. While I can’t fix your crazy weather, I can at least help you identify...

The Yayoi and the Origins of Modern Japan

The Jōmon, the hunter-gatherer civilization that populated parts of the main Japanese islands for most of its prehistory, had by 300BC almost completely disappeared from the archipelago. Life was always difficult in the...

Today is National Foundation Day

Today is National Foundation Day (建国記念の日), an official Japanese holiday. It is a time to remember the origins of Japan, to instill a heartfelt love for the country, and to fight over whether you need an apostrophe or...

AmaoJapan Podcast Episode 16

Episode 16 of the AmaoJapan podcast is now available. As with other episodes, this one reviews recent news stories as found on the Yahoo! Japan ニュース web site and other sources.

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Reading Japanese Size-based Names

When you take a formal Japanese language course, the sample dialogs will introduce the characters by surname, often names like Tanaka (田中) and Ogawa (小川) that are formed with simpler kanji. Occasionally, the textbook...

The Many Political Parties of Japan

Today I am going to introduce you to the major political parties in Japan. Don’t get too excited; as is the case with other countries, there is little to party about in Japanese politics. Also, politicians here seem...

Japanese in the Wild: 勝手口

Your kitchen is the most selfish room in your home. It exists solely to meet your personal needs. Naturally, some effort is required on your part; you need to wash the dishes instead of just throwing them out every time...