Karuta かるた : the surprising features of Japanese card games

Karuta refers to a variety of card games in Japan, in particular card matching games.

Karuta (かるた) comes from the Portuguese word carta, meaning card. Indeed, the Portuguese introduced card games to Japan during the 16th century. However most card games that were introduced at the time were replaced with purely Japanese ones, with cards bearing Japanese imagery.

Originally, the word Karuta referred to basically any card game, however today it mainly points toward card matching games, whose origins go way back.

In modern day Japan, a certain type of Karuta holds competitive matches and is, similarly to darts, considered as a sport due to its intensity.

karuta no fuda

Continue reading “Karuta かるた : the surprising features of Japanese card games”

Quicktip #5: Don’t pressure yourself, enjoy Japanese


Stating the obvious again, it’s been widely known that you learn a WHOLE LOT faster when you’re enjoying what you’re learning. And I don’t only mean to state the obvious, but I also want to share something that I’ve come to realize by my own experience. I found that, although I was enjoying Japanese and learning it, it sometimes happened that trying too hard to understand came over actually understanding. An exemple of that was when I was first started to read the book Ring in Japanese. 

Continue reading “Quicktip #5: Don’t pressure yourself, enjoy Japanese”

Yama-Dera 山寺

Yama-Dera (山寺, lit. meaning « Mountain Temple ») is a Tendai Buddhist temple complex, located in Yamagata prefecture, built on a small mountain. Founded during the 9th century AD at the beginning of the Heian Era, by Buddhist monk Ennin, Yama-Dera offers a 1 000 steps climb, with exceptional scenery throughout the whole ascension allowing for an incredible experience.

« At the top awaits a feeling that you’ll never experience, unless you climb. »

«  登らなければ味わえない感動が、そこにあります。 »

It’s that kind of experience.

Let’s find out more about this temple’s history and what is has to offer!

sutra of yama-dera

Continue reading “Yama-Dera 山寺”

5 Beautiful places in Okinawa you MUST check out 沖縄穴場

1 今帰仁村 Nakijin-son

Nakijin is a town of around 9 500 people on located on Okinawa’s main island.
Nakijin is said to be ぬーねんしが (nūnenshiga) which is Okinawa’s dialect for 何もないけど (nanimo nai kedo) meaning “there’s nothing but…”
In Nakijin there are no shopping malls, no family restaurants or big scale amusement installations. Only untouched traditional and natural scenery remains. “There’s nothing but we’re satisfied”, that’s Nakijin.

Continue reading “5 Beautiful places in Okinawa you MUST check out 沖縄穴場”

Quicktip #4: Add every new word to Anki

Captain obvious is back: gotta add every new word to Anki (flashcard app). Everytime there’s a word you don’t know, look it up and add it to Anki.
As obvious as it may sound it’s really important to do so. Of course, when you’re a beginner or don’t have much vocabulary yet, you’ll end up adding pretty much every word you encounter and you’ll get bored just as fast. So at first I recommend to just add words that you encounter frequently and that make you think “man, I know I’ve seen this word, what does it mean already?”
That kind of stuff. Then I suggest adding words that attract your attention when you encounter them. And then obviously the best thing is to add every word you don’t know that you come across. I personally try to do this as often as possible, although I’m human and there are always times when I’m watching something and there’s a word I want to remember, but I’d rather keep watching the video while eating biscuits.

new word: skill unlocked!