Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

So, Nagasaki is a great place to live for festivals. Nagasaki has its own unique festivals during the year, and they aren't quite celebrated the same anywhere else in Japan. The Lantern Festival is one of these festivals. The festival itself is 2 weeks long, during the Chinese New Year.

It is surely worth checking out. Nagasaki's China town and shopping arcade is packed full of people from all parts of Asia and Japan. It is also a great place to find other JET members looking around.

A few things you must do if you ever attend:

  • Eat  Nikuman. A soft white bun with a meat centre.
  • Eat Anman. A soft white bun with a red bean centre.
  • Eat Marakao. It sort of looks like a small muffin.
  • Just eat festival food in general.
  • Check out the Megane bridge. This historic bridge looks great with lanterns hanging over it.
  • It is a playground for photographers. Bring your camera.
  • Check out the numerous events. From Chinese acrobats to 2 stringed instruments.
  • Too much to do... just walk around and things will find you.
Nakasaki China Town

Megane bridge



Sunday, 13 February 2011

What to bring with you to Japan --updated view--

So, I did a post some time ago about what you will really need to bring to Japan. I've looked at it again and will change a few things. If you are about to come to Japan on the JET programme, maybe this will help.

Toothpaste. Well, the toothpaste I brought from home ran out, and I've been using Japanese toothpaste ever since. Before I came here many said that it couldn't protect your teeth, but my teeth seem to be doing fine after 4 months. Perhaps my Japanese toothpaste actually has fluoride in it? Anyway, just saying, it is no big deal if you decide to forget toothpaste.

Shoes & socks. So my opinions about shoes haven't changed. You'll still need to bring plenty of shoes if you have large feet. US 12inch (30cm) seems to be the max size. Even then I can't find many size 12 shoes here, pretty rare. Another thing, if you do have big feet, then bring big socks haha. Many of the socks here seem to stop at about 28cm.

Clothing. Most people don't have many problems with clothes. But if you are larger (esp if your a lady) then it may be harder to find some clothes. You may be limited to a few stores (and that is if you live in a city). In my home country (NZ) I would fit a M or L t-shirt. But in Japan, it always seems to be Large that works.

Anyway, that is it for the revisions.

Another example of Japanese Church & Worship

Here is another video of worship in Nagasaki, Japan.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

My impressions of the Japanese Language Course books for JETs

So, before I even received my first Japanese course book from JET, I was told it was rubbish. But, after 3 books of the beginner's course, I've realised they are quite good.

Many said they were not very helpful, and there are a few things the beginners course could improve on, but overall it teaches great Japanese. Some of the bad points about the beginners course is that it uses romanji instead of hiragana and katakana. It would really help if it dropped you into the language fully. I mean, it could of even thrown in some of the beginning Kanji to help out. Saying that, they do send you an additional (separate) hiragana/katakana/kanji book. It would have been great if they used it in the lessons though.

But that aside, I still think it is overall worth the effort to do. The vocab and grammar it teaches is great. The exercises are great. (the friggin voice on the CD drives me crazy!!!! Honestly it is recorded torture...small annoyance, had to bold it though. You'll understand.) I'm only 3 books in and it is teaching some really helpful grammar. Although, I've noticed, it is very hard to remember the vocab! I've done other courses (Japanesepod101) and it just sticks, but here it just runs and hides. So I recommend downloading Anki (flash card program) and turning all that vocab into flash card goodness. Anki really is a great flash card tool, free too.

As I said, I also study using Japanesepod101. This is where most of my Japanese knowledge has come from. If your serious about Japanese, I recommend you also study it else where aside from the JET standard issue course. You really should be tackling kanji, hiragana, and katakana head on. It will make life easier in the long run.

Any way, end of that. Do the course! It does have some good fruits in it. Make sure you get the appropriate level for yourself!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Church in Nagasaki

Hey there,

So just a quick post about going to church in Nagasaki. In general, church in Japan is probably not as big or the same as wherever you come from. I came from a very large church and now attend a small family like church in Nagasaki.

Check out their website here 

So my observation of my church anyway: fundamentally the same beliefs, emphasis on singing and praise, many new original Japanese songs but also many older English hymns. My church also has a strong focus on spiritual gifts. I'm not sure if this is common or not across Japan.

Anyway, I really just wanted to post a video here to show you what a Japanese worship song is like. This one i'll post is a regular song at my church. Here it is:
I took this video at the anniversary of the 26 Martyrs of Japan in Nagasaki.
If you do look around Nagasaki you'll find a few memorials and influence from the Christian faith. I think it is great to see. I mean, apart from all the grand old churches around there is the 26 Saints memorial, the waterfall memorial for Christians who suffered at Glover garden (perhaps Nagasaki's biggest tourist attraction).  There really is an interesting Christian history in Nagasaki city. However, as it goes, the 26 saints are famous because they were martyrs, so it was obviously pretty hard-times for that faithful back then.

Anyhow, maybe post more videos later ;) Cheers!