Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool with my transcription below the photo if you need help reading this sign.
The numbers below refer to the kanji I’ve transcribed below the photo, and correspond to their order of appearance in both Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji and Kanji in Context.
To learn more about how to work with this information and get the most out of my daily Kanji Kanban series, please read this.
Kanji In Context(KIC218)
If you’re studying katakana, try reading the words on the sign around this fellow’s neck to find out what they have on offer upstairs.
Halloween happens to be on the horizon, but he’s a fixture in front of this Kyoto clothing store throughout the year.
Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool with the words I’ve transcribed below the photo if you need help reading the katakana, or the message in his mouth.
The vertical hiragana/kanji can be seen more clearly if you click on the photo to enlarge it and then click again on his mouth. A very common verb and kanji compound that you can likely guess the meaning of from the context.
I wonder what kind of greeting’s waiting for me on the second floor?
If you’re studying katakana, try reading the words from this label that I’ve transcribed just below the photo. Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool if you need help with that or with the kanji above or in the text below.
The katakana will give you the name of the fish and its origin. The character 生 is also seen and discussed here, in a post I recently wrote about beer.
This reminds me, I’d better polish this off before the 消費期限 sneaks up on me, the 21st is just around the corner!
You’ll see lots of signs touting this sort of coffee shop fare in Japan, but you’ll never see another sign quite like this funky old one that caught my eye recently in Kyoto.
The first word is spelled コーヒー these days, but it’s not hard to understand what it means in either case, if you’re up on your katakana!
みみ はな のど
If you’re studying hiragana, try reading this small medical clinic’s sign that I came across recently in Kyoto. It follows the rule that characters that are read vertically are read from right to left.
The parts of the body that this medical specialty is concerned with are referred to in the same order in Japanese as in English, which might well help you guess their meaning even if you don’t study Japanese!
Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help. Rikaichan will give you the English definitions and the kanji.
Before going to the second paragraph, try reading the characters on these old doors, and use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool on the kanji I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help.
These are both常用漢字 (general use kanji) and they make an interesting pair visually, with the one on the left becoming an element in the other, where it’s partially enclosed by a component that’s referred to as a まだれ, or sometimes as a ‘dotted cliff’ in English.
The first character is one of the first that beginning kanji students often learn, but this reading is different from the one used when it stands alone.
Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help reading this sign.
It includes an often seen kanji/katakana pairing, so even if you’re still getting katakana down, this is a good chance to get some exposure in a natural context to a very high frequency kanji character and perhaps learn one of its readings and meanings. Give it a try before continuing.
If you go out to eat or drink in Japan, this one will serve you well, in case you needed a bit more motivation. Asking for なまビール will do the trick, or just say なま and save your energy for sipping! Your draft beer will appear in a flash.
I like the way the shopkeeper embellished the standard sign(you can often get this and others like it at the 100 yen shop, the local version of a dollar store) with a glittery approximation of a cup of suds, with bubble wrap quite capably standing in for the head.
Admittedly, I noticed these details only after considering buying one as it was a typically muggy August day, but it was only early afternoon, so I somehow resisted the urge.
I came across it when I was strolling through Nishiki Market, which is a must do when you’re in Kyoto. It’s a narrow, covered street with a 400 year history that’s home to a wide variety of traditional shops. It’s packed with tourists on weekends and there’s a certain energy about that that can be fun, but weekdays allow for more elbow room and the chance to take things in at a more leisurely pace.
A great place to stroll and indulge your senses, soaking up sights, sounds, tastes and smells that will linger in your mind long after your visit. And a good number of shops, like this one, offer foods that you can eat or drink on the spot and on your feet, to tide you over between meals.
But with possibilities like raw, skewered cubes of tuna marinated in olive oil and Italian spices along with more traditional delicacies in no short supply, why not go with the flow, graze your way from end to end and call it lunch?