Sunday, November 22, 2015

はやべん (hayaben)

When my students eat lunch early, e.g. between classes in the morning, they call it はやべん.  The はや is short for 早い (はやい, hayai), which means early.  The べん is short for 弁当 (べんとう, bentou), the word for lunchbox.

The Rap

The Game

Saturday, November 7, 2015

不可知論者 (ふかちろんしゃ, fukachironsha)

不可知論者 (ふかちろんしゃ)means agnostic.  A friend of mine, a philosophy major, taught me this word recently during a conversation about religion in Japan.  It's probably common knowledge that Shintoism and Buddhism are the most practiced religions in the country, a large percentage of the population categorizing themselves as having no religion.  

One source,, cites several surveys.

This topic came up sometimes when I used to teach adults at an eikaiwa.  Quite a number of my students felt that the scarcity of strong commitment within the population to organized religion played a role in the low crime rate and generally safe conditions in Japan...I don't think they were knocking religion; they were trying to say that few people get violent over God/gods over here.

My friend and I were discussing whether the non-affiliated category indicated more of an atheist or agnostic mindset...She also said that a lot of people might not be familiar with the term 不可知論者, as it may be somewhat of a technical term.

Reiwa , 令和, a new era

Reiwa , 令和 , is the name of the era just begun as Emperor Akihito abdicated to his son, Naruhito on May 1, 2019. It has stirred some cont...