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Okazaki City Guide
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Glossary:

Aka chochin (red lantern)
Drinking place for men and women after work.

Baikingu (Viking)
All-you-can-eat buffet. Prices around 1,000-1,500 yen for lunch, more for dinner.

Bento; O-bento
Lunchbox. Sold in convenience stores and "bento" stores etc. Often homemade.

Bibimba
Korean dish consisting of rice mixed with meat, vegetables and raw egg etc. Increasingly popular.

Bounen-kai
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.

Bon odori
Public "Bon" dances performed in the summer.

Bonsai
Dwarfed potted plants..

Butsudan
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).

Chahan
Chinese-style fried rice.

Chonai-kai
The local town association of residents, with responsibility for cleaning streets, ensuring trash separation and recycling etc.

Domburi
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.

Ema
Small picture tablets with prayers/wishes that people hang in shrines.

"Esunikku"
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.

Jei Aaru
"JR" - the Japan Railways train network.

Jidouhanbaiki
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.

Komainu
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.

Kotatsu
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.

Mikawa
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".

Miso
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.

Natto
Fermented soy beans, often eaten for breakfast. Usually either loved or hated.

Omiage
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.

Seiza
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.

Shinkansen
The very fast "Bullet Train". Nearest stations are Toyohashi, Mikawa-Anjo and Nagoya.

Tonkatsu
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.

Useful Phrases:

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 Morning
お早う御座います
Ohayo gozaimasu.

Good day / Hello
こんにちは
konnichiwa

How are you?
お元気ですか
o-genki desu ka

Good evening
こんばんは
komban wa

Good Bye
さよなら
sayonara

Yes
はい
hai

No
いいえ
iie

Excuse me
すみません
sumimasen

Go straight ahead.
まっすぐ行ってください
massugu itte kudasai

Turn to the left.
右に曲がって下さい
migi ni magatte kudasai

Turn to the right.
左に曲がって下さい
hidari ni magatte kudasai

I want to buy a (map, drink)
わたしは(地図,飲み物)が買いたいです。
watashi wa (chizu, nomimono) ga kaitai desu.

Can i take a photo?
しゃしんをとってもいいですか。
shashin o totte mo ii desu ka.

Do you speak english
英語が出来ますか
eigo ga dekimasu ka

Does anyone speak english
どなたか英語が出来ますか
donata ka, eigo ga dekimasu ka

Do you understand?
分かりますか
wakarimasu ka

Thank you
有難う御座います
arigatou gozaimasu

You're welcome
どういたしまして
Dou itashimasite

How much is a ticket to (Nagoya)?
(Nagoya) までいくらですか
(Nagoya) made ikura desu ka?

One ticket to (Kanayama), please.
(Kanayama)までいちまいおねがいします
(kanayama) made ichimai onegaishimasu.

Where does this train/bus go?
この(でんしゃ/バス)はどこゆきですか
kono (densha/basu) wa doko yuki desu ka?

Where is the bus/train to (Takisanji)?
(Takisanji/Toyohashi) ゆきの(バス/でんしゃ)はどこですか?
(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) ゆきの(バス)はなんじにしゅっぱつしますか
(Daijuji) yuki no densha/basu wa nanji ni shuppatsu shimasu ka?

When will this train/bus arrive in(Toyokawa)?
この[でんしゃ/バス]はなんじに(Toyokawa)につきますか?
(kono densha/basu wa nanji ni(Toyokawa)ni tsukimasu ka?)


©Declan Murphy / Frontia Corporation - All rights reserved
1-2-1 Hanehigashi-machi, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, JAPAN 444-0832
Tel: +81 (0)564 55 8112 Fax: +81 (0)564 55 8174 Email: info [at] mikawa [dot] cc