Aka chochin (red lantern)
Drinking place for men and women after work.
All-you-can-eat buffet. Prices around 1,000-1,500 yen for lunch, more for dinner.
Lunchbox. Sold in convenience stores and "bento" stores etc. Often homemade.
Korean dish consisting of rice mixed with meat, vegetables and raw egg etc. Increasingly popular.
End of Year drinking parties, as of November. As of January, the same parties
are called "Shinnen-kai" (New Year drinking parties). Good excuse for parties.
Public "Bon" dances performed in the summer.
Dwarfed potted plants..
Buddhist household altars.
Cha / O-cha
Tea. Includes "hoji cha" (brown and of ordinary quality), mugi cha (roasted barley tea drunk in summer), uji cha, hako cha, ryoku cha (green tea in general), matcha (powdered green tea used in tea ceremonies) and more recently uron cha (oolong tea).
Chinese-style fried rice.
The local town association of residents, with responsibility for cleaning streets, ensuring trash separation and recycling etc.
Rice bowls (both the tableware and food). Popular dishes include gyudon (beef on rice), oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice), tendon/tempuradon (tempura on rice), katsudon (katsu/cutlets on rice) etc. Usually fast and relatively cheap.
Small picture tablets with prayers/wishes that people hang in shrines.
From "ethnic", but meaning food/culture etc that isn't Chinese, Japanese or Western.
Famirii resutoran / famiresu
Half western, half Japanese-style "family restaurants" such as Bikkuri
Donkey, Denny's etc.
"JR" - the Japan Railways train network.
An Automatic Vending Machine. Selling just about everything, but in particular drinks, snacks, tickets etc.
Kafunsho (pollen disease)
Hay fever - pretty common from February to April.
Kaiten zushi (revolving sushi)
Restaurant where sushi is served to customers via a revolving counter. The prices
are usually shown by the color of the plate they are placed on, though a new
variation is to make every serving the same price - usually 100 Yen.
Mystical animal, half dog, half lion, originally from India. Temples are usually
protected by a pair of komainu. On the left side there's a komainu with an open
mouth, on the right side his counterpart with a closed mouth. The komainu protect
the temple against all evil, symbolized through the open mouth which stands
for "a" and the closed mouth which stands for "n", the first
resp. the last syllable of the Japanese alphabet, thus enclosing all syllables
and everything describable in the Japanese language.
A low table with an electric heater inside, covered by a blanket. Unless you have central heating (and you probably won't), its always a good idea to obtain one before winter sets in.
The Mikawa region. The old name for the region of eastern Aichi Prefecture where
Okazaki is, and the name of the local dialect "Mikawa-ben".
Fermented bean paste. There are variations such as aka (red) miso and shiro
(white) miso, with Okazaki's Haccho Miso being the best in the world (and don't
be caught saying otherwise!). It's the key ingredient of Miso-shiru (Miso soup),
without which Japanese cuisine could not exist.
Fermented soy beans, often eaten for breakfast. Usually either loved or hated.
It is a custom to bring a local souvenir from the place one went travelling
to. The safest souvenirs are local food specialities. A good omiage from Okazaki
would be Hatcho Miso.
Sitting on your knees with legs folded underneath you on tatami. Used when you
are supposed to express reverence, or meditating. After anything from 5-20 minutes,
the average gaijin will often have trouble standing up.
The very fast "Bullet Train". Nearest stations are Toyohashi, Mikawa-Anjo and Nagoya.
Deep-fried pork cutlet with batter, usually eaten with miso sauce, shredded cabbage and rice.
Yaki-niku (Korean barbecue)
Mega-populary "grill your own meat" restaurants. Seoul Karubi is one of the more popular in Okazaki.
One of the realities of living in Okazaki is that not many people speak a foreign language with any confidence. If you are going to be staying for a while, it is probably worth learning a little of the language. Below are a few phrases that hopefully will be of assistance to visitors and those of you just arriving.
Good day / Hello
How are you?
o-genki desu ka
Go straight ahead.
massugu itte kudasai
Turn to the left.
migi ni magatte kudasai
Turn to the right.
hidari ni magatte kudasai
I want to buy a (map, drink)
watashi wa (chizu, nomimono) ga kaitai desu.
Can i take a photo?
shashin o totte mo ii desu ka.
Do you speak english
eigo ga dekimasu ka
Does anyone speak english
donata ka, eigo ga dekimasu ka
Do you understand?
How much is a ticket to (Nagoya)?
(Nagoya) made ikura desu ka?
One ticket to (Kanayama), please.
(kanayama) made ichimai onegaishimasu.
Where does this train/bus go?
kono (densha/basu) wa doko yuki desu ka?
Where is the bus/train to (Takisanji)?
(Takisanji/Toyohashi) yuki no basu/densha wa doko desu ka?
Does this train/bus stop in (Higashi Okazaki)?
この[でんしゃ/バス]は (Higashi Okazaki) にとまりますか
kono densha/basu wa (Higashi Okazaki) ni tomarimasu ka?
When does the bus for (Daijuji) leave?
(Daijuji) yuki no densha/basu wa nanji ni shuppatsu shimasu ka?
When will this train/bus arrive in（Toyokawa）?
(kono densha/basu wa nanji ni（Toyokawa）ni tsukimasu ka?)