Picture: Mikko in Shogun Armour

Hiroshima Castle 16.09.2007, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Haha, yeah, this is the “nice” part of Hiroshima castle: you get a try on the shogun armour for free! 🙂 It was a slow day in the castle, not many people, therefore we had our own sweet time to pose and play 😛

Picture: Mr KFC in yukata!

Kyoto: Gion Matsuri Eve, originally uploaded by micpohling.

I wonder what else could Colonel Harland Sanders wear – the local costume around the world? At least I found him in Japanese bath robe (yukata) for summer and hold watermelon 😛

UpdateFromMe: Earthquake in Niigata, Kyoto not affected

Well, my sister wrote to me asking if anything ok in Kyoto.

And just now, I got call from my parent-in-law asking how were we doing here. After 2 missed call, they were starting to get anxious. My bad, I did not bring my handphone to dinner just now, and do not usually check the handphone, especially when it is not my handphone 😦

And the reason was because there was an earthquake reported in Niigata, Japan
yesterday morning (17th July 2007). Niigata (新潟県) prefecture is quite close to Tokyo, but far away from Kyoto (2.5 hours Shinkansen/bullet train trip from Tokyo to Kyoto). It did not occur to me or Mikko that we should actually write or call our families back in Finland and Malaysia to assure that we are doing fine here. Our bad, to expect that they would know where the earthquake actually was and it did not affect us here in Kyoto 😦

Almost the same thing happened to Mikko once, when he was visiting me in Malaysia in March 2005. There was an earthquake occurred in Sumatra, Indonesia and a tsunami alarm was reported. Everything was doing fine in Penang and Kulim (where I was living), but due to the overshadow of Indian Ocean Tsunami tragedy which happened not long ago (26 December 2004), his colleagues were concerned and wrote to him. However, it took him few days before he read the email and replied them he was doing fine. So I guess Mikko and I have to be conscious enough to realize that even though we are doing fine over somewhere, but to those who concern us, a disaster occurrence close enough to our location seems to be wary enough, and both of us should be more sensitive towards the concern.

Japan: Maiko

Kelly Osbourne as  Maiko ?

Check this out, it took place in Kyoto, which is why I am eager to show you here 🙂

Japan: Love Hotel

Love hotel, as the name suggest, is for lovers 🙂 You can see how it looks like from this show: Kelly Osbourne Turning Japanese, whereby Kelly (me not a fan) works as hotel receptionist.

Hope you enjoy it 😉

Kyoto: Gion Matsuri

A must-attend event in July! Expect that there will be a lot of trips to Sanjo downtown, a lot of pictures to be taken…

Gion Matsuri

A living symbol of Kyoto’s 1,200 years of rich, colourful history

Gion Matsuri Festival Event Calendar

Hoko and Yama Tate (float construction):
on these three days, the festival’s 32 floats are assembled. No nails are used.

Omukae Chochin (welcoming lanterns):
at around 16:30, men wearing formal kimono and carrying long bamboo poles from which lanterns are suspended, depart from Yasaka Shrine, heading west along Shijo to Kawaramachi.

Mikoshi Arai (mikoshi purification): during the festival, the deities of Yasaka Shrine reside in a temporary shrine called Otabisho. Before moving the deities on the mikoshi portable shrines, mikoshi will be purified with water from Kamo River. The mikoshi depart from Yasaka Shrine at 19:00 and arrive at the bridge at 20:00, then come back to the shrine at 21:00.

Hoko Hikihajime & Yama Kakizome (trial pulling):
the people of each respective float neighbourhood try pulling the newly constructed floats.

Yoiyama (eve of the grand parade):
those three nights before the grand parade, the festive atmosphere gets its peak. Gion bayashi music fills the air and a number of stalls sell various foods. Children chant short songs to attract customers for the chimaki talisman.

Byobu Matsuri (folding screen display): some of the families in the respective areas open the front parts of their homes and shops, allowing the public a first-hand look at their valuable folding screens.

Traditional Entertainment Performance:
at Yasaka Shrine, from 15:00 to 18:00, various traditional Japanese entertainments (kabuki, biwa lute, harp, kyogen, dance, etc.) will be performed.

Kencha Matsuri (tea ceremony festival):
from 9:00 at Yasaka Shrine, formal tea ceremony will be performed by Omote Senke School to pray for the development of tea ceremony.

Iwami Kagura (ancient court dance): from 19:00 at Yasaka Shrine, ancient court dance will be performed with the music of flute and bells. It is from the ancient story when the Japanese God got rid of giant snake.

Yamaboko Junko (grand parade):
at 9:00 the main Naginata-boko starts moving. When it reaches at Fuyacho, the chigo sacred child on the float cuts the sacred rope and the real parade begins.

Hanagasa Junko (flower umbrella procession):
at 10:00, about ten large umbrella floats attended by nearly 1,000 people depart from Yasaka Shrine. Various dances will be performed.

Mikoshi Arai (mikoshi purification):
like the one on the 10th, the mikoshi are again purified on Shijo Bridge at 20:00 before the deities are carried back to Yasaka Shrine from their temporary home, Otabisho.

Nagoshi-sai (summer purification ceremony):
it completes one-month-long festival. The ceremony starts from 10:00 at Yasaka Shrine and huge wreath made of rushes is set up. Passing through it is believed to purify the spirit and ward off illness.

MeThink: Japanese Emoticons, cute!

Today, my Japanese friend passed me the result of the emoticon experiment which he gathered from his friends. Talking on the same subject, he showed me some of the usual emoticons which Japanese used in their handphones. Can you tell what does the emoticons featured below mean?

(^0^) – happy
(*^_^*)- shy, blushing, but happy
(;_;) – sad, cry
(T_T) – crying, the tear drips
(ToT) – crying out loud
(>_<) – no eye see?
(¬_¬) – suspicious
(‘_^) – winking
(`ε´) – angry, mad at
(`Λ´) – very angry
(~”~;) – frowning upon
0(`Λ´#)0 – very angry, with the hands waving, and seeing the veins
(`ω´#) – still angry, but more like lover type anger 😉
(^_^;) – sweating
(~.~;) – sweating, relief
f^_^; – sweating, with the handkerchief on the right side
(;-_-)=3 – sign of relief
(*_*) – blur, surprised
(?_?) – what?
m(~ ~)m – am truly very sorry (bowing 90 degree)
(~.~) zzZ – sleepy
v(^_^)v – victory!
(ρ . -) – sleepy, with one hand rubbing the eye

Do you think they look like what they mean? I was having some hard times to guess though 😛 

Learning Japanese: Sentence Format (III)

Compare the format:

1. わたし は うち が 欲しい です。[Watashi wa uchi ga hoshii desu] (I want a house)

2. わたし は 駅から 近い うち が 欲しい です。[Watashi wa eki kara chikai uchi ga hoshii desu] (I want a house which is close to station)

–> 駅から 近い would mean the clause “which is close to station” here.

が 欲しい です can also be replace by: が 好き です、が verb+たい です。


1. 外で する スポシ が 好き です。[Sotode suru supotsu ga suki desu] (I like to do the outdoor sport)

2.パンコン を おく 机 が 欲しい です。[Pankon o oku tsukue ga hoshii desu] (I would like to have the table for computer)

3.わたし は 広い 庭 が ある うち が 欲しい です。[watashi wa hiroi niwa ga aru uchi ga hoshii desu] (I want the house which has a big/spacious garden)

Learning Japanese: Sentence Format (II)

Note on Person+ が+普通形+所(ところ) sentence format


1.わたし が 住んで いる 所 は 京都 です。[Watashi ga sunde iru tokoro wa Kyotou desu] (The place where I am living now is Kyoto/I am living in Kyoto now).

2.佐藤さん が 生まれた 所 は 大阪 です。[Satousan ga umareta tokoro wa Oosaka desu] (The place where Sato-san was born is Osaka/Sato-san was born in Osaka).

3.田中さん が 行きたい 所 は 広島 です。[Tanakasan ga ikitai tokoro wa Hiroshima desu] (The place where mr Tanaka wants to go is Hiroshima/Hiroshima is the place where mr Tanaka wants to go).

4.  初めて ご主人 に あった 所 は どこ ですか。[Hajimete goshujin ni atta tokoro wa doko desuka] (Where is the place where you first met your husband?)

Learning Japanese: ~V+なくても いいです。

V(あ段)+なくても いいです → need not to …(do the verb)

V is in A-form:

行きます→ いか、よびます→ よば、帰ります→ かえら


1. 名前 を かかなくても いいです。[Namae o kakanakutemo iidesu] (Need not to write down the name)

2.タクシ を よばなくても いいです。[Takusi o yobanakutemo iidesu] (Need not to call the taxi)

3.明日 は 病院 へ 来なくても いいです。[Ashita ha byouin e konakutemo iidesu] (Tomorrow need not to go to hospital)

4.レポト は ださなくても いいです。[Repoto o dasanakutemo iidesu] (Need not to produce the report)

5.お金 は はらわなくても いいです。[Okane wa harawanakutemo iidesu] (Need not to draw/take out the money)

Learning Japanese: Sentence Format (I)

I do not what kind of grammar terminology should I use for it, but I am trying my best to show the difference of sentences and how to use this sentence format.


Compare –
1. a)  あの 人 は 山田さん です。[Ano hito wa Yamadasan desu] (That person is Mr Yamada)

 b) あの 眼鏡 を かけて いる 人 は 山田さん です。[Ano megane o kakete iru hito wa Yamadasan desu] (That person who is wearing glasses is Mr Yamada.)

— So  かけて いる means “is wearing”. [かけます → かけて、います → いる]

2. A: 吉田さん は どの 人 ですか。[Yoshidasan wa dono hito desuka] (Which one is Mr. Yoshida?)

 B: 新聞 を 読む いる 人 です。[Shimbun o yomu iru hito desu] (The one who is reading newspapers now)

More examples:

1. 帽子 を かぶって いる 人 です。[Boushi o kabutte iru hito] (The one who is wearing the hat)

2.白い 靴 を 履いて いる 人 です。[Shiroi kutsu o haite iru hito desu] (The one who is wearing the white shoes).

3. 会議 で 意見 を 言った 人 は 田中さん です。[Kaigi de iken o itta hito wa Tanakasan desu] (The one who gave opinion inside the meeting is Mr Tanaka) 

4.スキ 旅行 に 行かない 人 は 雪さん です。[Suki ryoukou ni ikanai hito wa sukisan desu] (The one who does not go for skii trip is Ms Yuki)

Learning Japanese: 形容詞 (II)


1. い-形容詞 

 positive non past: たかい です

    negative non past: たかくない です

    positive past: たかかった です

    negative past: たかくなかった です

2. な-形容詞

    positive non past: 綺麗(きれい) です

    negative non past: きれい じゃ ありません

 positive past: きれい でした

    negative past: きれい じゃ ありませんでした


1.4月 は 暑い です。[Yon getsu wa atsui desu] (April is hot)

2.この 自転車 は 新しくない です。[Kono jitensha wa atarashikunai desu] (That bicycle is not new)

3.昨日 は 寒かった です。[Kinou wa samukatta desu] (Yesterday was cold)

4.先月 は 忙しくなかった です。[Sengetsu wa isogashikunakatta desu] (Last month was not busy)

5.山田さん は 親切 です。[Yamadasan wa shinsetsu desu] (Mr Yamada is kind)

6.この 試験 は 簡単 じゃ ありません。[Kono shiken wa kantan ja arimasen] (That test is not easy)

7.お祭り は とても にぎやか でした。[Omatsuri wa totemo nigiyaka deshita] (The festival was very lively)

8.先週 は 元気 じゃ ありませんでした。[Senshu wa genki ja arimasendeshita] (Last week was not feeling healthy)

Learning Japanese: 形容詞


2 types of 形容詞 (adjectives)

  • い 形容詞:高い、面白い、新しい、古い
  • な 形容詞:元気、綺麗、便利、親切

Usage and Example:

1. S is … (adjective). (S=subject)

    佐藤さん は どう ですか。[Satousan wa dou desuka] (How is Mr Sato?)

    -佐藤さん は 面白い です。[Satousan wa omoshiroi desu] (Mr Sato is interesting)

 -佐藤さん は いい です。[Satousan wa ii desu] (Mr Sato is nice)

 -佐藤さん は ハンサム です。[Satousan wa hansemu desu] (Mr Sato is handsome)

 -佐藤さん は 親切 です。[Satousan wa shinsetsu desu] (Mr Sato is kind)

2.S is a … (adjective) N. (S=subject, N=object,noun)

    京都 は どんな 町 ですか。[Kyouto wa donna machi desuka] (What kind of town is Kyoto?)

 -京都 は 綺麗な 町 です。[Kyouto wa kireina machi desu] (Kyoto is a beautiful town)

 -京都 は 静かな 町 です。[Kyouto wa shizukana machi desu] (Kyoto is a quiet town)

 -京都 は いい 町 です。[Kyouto wa ii machi desu] (Kyoto is a nice town)

 -京都 は 古い 町 です。[Kyouto wa furui machi desu] (Kyoto is an old town)

Learning Japanese: (V)て いる


  1. (V)て いる [Te-form + iru] shows present progressive tense.
  2. The examples using this form are:
  • あの 茶色の 服 を 着でる 人 は 田中さん です。
  • 田中さん が 住んで いる ところ は 京都 です。

More examples:

1. あの 茶色 の 服 を 着でる 人 は 田中さん です。[Ano chairo no fuku o kideru hito wa Tanakasan desu] (The person who is wearing the brown clothes is Mr Tanaka)

2. あの 眼鏡 を かけて いる 人 は 山田さん です。[ano megane o kakete iru hito wa yamadasan desu] (The one who is wearing the spec is Mr Yamada)

3. Reminder:

    着て いる → 着ます (Clothes/blouse/shirt…)

 はって いる → はきます (Pants/shoes…)

 かけて いる → かけます (Spec/sunglasses…)

 かぶて いる → かぶります (Hat/cap…)

 して いる → します (Necklace/watch/ring/earring…)

4. 田中さん が 住んで いる ところ は 京都 です。[Tanakasan ga sunde iru tokoro wa Kyoto desu] (Mr Tanaka is living in Kyoto now)

5. a) 電話 を かけて いる [denwa o kakete iru] (Is talking on the phone now)

 b) PC を 撃って いる [PC o utte iru] (Is typing on PC now)

    c) お茶 を 飲んで いる [Ocha o nonde iru] (Is drinking the tea now)

 d) 新聞 を よんで いる [Shinbun o yonde iru] (Is reading the newspaper now)

More note here.

Learning Japanese: N1 は N2 に ã‚ります/います

Note on simple grammar:

N1 は N2 に あります/います

N2: 場所(ばしょ) [Place]

N1: もの [Object, inanimate things] -> あります

N1: 生き物 [Animate things, living object] -> います


  1. 先生 は 図書館 に います。[Sensei wa toshokan ni imasu] (The teacher is in the library)
  2. 田中さん は 教室 に いますか。[Tanakasan wa kyoushitsu ni imasuka] (Is mr Tanaka in the classroom?)
  3. 辞書 は どこ に ありますか。[Jisho wa doko ni arimasuka] (Where is the dictionary?)
  4. 本 は 箱 の 中 に あります。[Hon wa hako no naka ni arimasu] (The book is inside the box)

Learning Japanese: N に V ã§ã™

A note on simple grammar:

N に V です. Whereas N is 時刻(じこく)、時(とき) [Time]


  1. わたし は 7時半 に 起きます。[Watashi wa nanajihan ni okimasu] (I wake up at 7.30am)
  2. 11 時 に 寝ます。[juichi ji ni nemasu] (Sleep at 11 o’clock).
  3. 日曜日 に テニス を します。[Nichiyoubi ni tenisu o shimasu] (Play tennis on Sunday)

Learning Japanese: Noun & Adjective 丁寧形 → æ™®é€šå½¢


Change from 丁寧形 to 普通形 on

1. Nouns 名詞

 雨 (あめ) です → 雨 だ [Change from desu to da]

 雨 じゃ ありません → 雨 じゃ ない [Change from arimasen to nai]

 雨 でした → 雨 だった [Change from deshita to datta]

 雨 じゃ ありません でした → 雨 じゃ なかった [Change from arimasen deshita to nakatta]

2. I-adjective い-形容詞 [Just get rid of desu]

 大きい です → 大きい

 大きくない です → 大きくない

 大きかった です → 大きかった

 大きくなかった です → 大きくなかった

3. Na-adjective な-形容詞 [The change is similar to NOUNS]

    きれい です → きれい だ

 きれいじゃ ありません → きれいじゃ ない

 きれい でした → きれい だった

 きれいじゃ ありません でした → きれいじゃ なかった

Learning Japanese: (V) 丁寧形 → æ™®é€šå½¢

Change from 丁寧形 (ていねいけい) to 普通形 (ふつうけい)

動詞 (Verb) – divide into 3 main groups:

a) non-negative non-past

b) negative non-past

c) non-negative past

d) negative past

Learning Japanese: ~(S) と è¨€ã„ます/言いました


~(Subject) と 言います/言いました。Someone says/said …(subject)

Just like “~と 思います” rule, the SUBJECT before the word と will change according to the rule:

  • If it is a VERB, it has to be in the 普通形 (Informal form)
  • If it is a I-ADJECTIVE, it remains the same form.
  • If it is a NA-ADJECTIVE, add だ after the adjective.


  1. 食事 の 前 に ”いただきます” と 言います。[shokuji  no mae ni, “itadakimasu” to iimasu] (Before eating, “Itadakimasu” is said/we say “Itadakimasu”)
  2. 首相 は 来月 アメリカ へ 行く と 言いました。[shushou wa raigetsu amerika e iku to iimashita] (The prime minister said that next month he will go to America)
  3. 吉田さん は あした 東京 へ 出張 する と 言いました。[Yoshidasan wa ashita toukyou e shucchou suru to iimashita] (Mr Yoshida said that tomorrow he will be going for bussiness trip in Tokyo)
  4. 田中さん は 経済 の 問題 は 難しい と 言いました。[Tanakasan wa keizai no mondai wa muzukashii to iimashita] (Mr Tanaka said that the problem of economics is difficult)

Learning Japanese: ~ と æ€ã„ます


~ と 思います。Means “I think…”

There is a rule applied to the word before と:

  • If it is a VERB, it has to be in the 普通形 (Informal form)
  • If it is a I-ADJECTIVE, it remains the same form.
  • If it is a NA-ADJECTIVE, add だ after the adjective.


  1. 明日、雨 が ふる と 思います。[Ashita, ame ga furu to omoimasu] (I think tomorrow will be raining)
  2. 田中さん は 会議室 に いる と 思います。[Tanakasan wa kaigishitsu ni iru to omoimasu] (I think Mr. Tanaka is in the meeting room)
  3. 日本 に 物価 が 高い と 思います。[Nihon ni, bukka ga takai to omoimasu] (In Japan, the price is expensive I think)
  4. 相撲 は おもしろい と 思います。[Sumo wa omoshiroi to omoimasu] (I think Sumo is interesting)
  5. 日本 は 交通 が 便利だ と 思います。[Nihon wa koutsuo ga benrida to omoimasu] (I think the transport system in Japan is convenient)

More notes here and here.

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