Summertime temptations at Kyoto’s Nishiki Market

生ビール冷えてます。

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?

Originally posted 2012-09-15 10:30:36.

甘食 国産 小麦粉 使用した 懐かしい 味わい  ヤマザキ Click on the photo to see

甘食 国産 小麦粉 使用した 懐かしい 味わい  ヤマザキ

Click on the photo to see the characters on this packaging  more clearly.  How many of the seven words that I’ve transcribed below the photo can you read or understand?

Hover your mouse over them with the rikaichan popup dictionary or use  your favorite reference tool if you need help.

This package appealed to me because of its clean, no frills design and the number of useful kanji that it includes in a compact message.

These lightly sweetened muffins are made by Yamazaki,  one of Japan’s largest baked goods companies and an iconic brand here.  The link will take you to their English site, which has a short, interesting summary of their history.

From there, if you click on the Japanese site link,  you can get some fun, quick reading practice by trying to pick up words on the revolving header that features lots of color and photos of their products and a limited amount of script, so it won’t overload you.  Interesting too to get a sense of what the general public’s taste buds are responding to these days.

You can also click on their CM情報 link to see their latest commercials, for some authentic listening practice.  Commercials are referred to as ‘CM’ in Japanese.

The entire site’s dynamic and well done and is worth a quick look even if you don’t read Japanese, just to get a feel for how large companies like this market themselves here.  If you study Japanese and are building your reading skills,  rikaichan or another popup dictionary can help you to pick out some content here and on other sites and enjoy it without getting bogged down.

Oh, and the 甘食 were good, too.  My resolve to wait until after I wrote this to eat them obviously wasn’t very strong!

 

Originally posted 2012-08-28 13:47:10.

If you’re learning katakana, try reading this sign that I saw in Kyoto and you’ll discover what kind product they sell.  Sort of.  I honestly can’t quite picture their merchandise,  as far as what makes it distinct from my own setup.  I wonder what I’m missing out on?

I took this picture in part because the company’s van quite considerately has the name written on its side in the roman alphabet,  so that you can check your reading skills by slowly scrolling down to the next picture, after you give this sign a whirl.

Keep scrolling……..
almost there………

Originally posted 2012-08-27 07:45:29.

Kana Kanban

寿司

If you’re learning hiragana, give this Kyoto restaurant sign a look.  It caught my eye because of the elegant, stylized script that might make this otherwise easy to read word a bit of a challenge, if not for the context of the photo.

You might also already be used to sight reading the word in its often seen kanji incarnation that I’ve written just below the photo.

These particular kanji are most often associated with this word and are seen in other forms much less frequently,  so learning them as a set is common.

Originally posted 2012-08-25 22:40:25.

自転車 バイク 修理 販売

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.

Even if you’re learning katakana and aren’t very familiar with kanji yet,  you might be able to sight read these words based on the context of this photo, or recognize individual characters or often seen elements within them.

The katakana word will also give you a clue about what the others might mean, and about what products and services this shop offers.

Originally posted 2012-08-24 22:44:56.

Katakana Japanese Reading Practice #30: Dance Studio’s Sign

Old Kyoto Japan dance studio's sign in katakana Japanese alphabet

ダンス スタジオ

If you’re learning katakana, try reading this sign.It caught my eye because of the colors and graphics, which might help you to decipher the meaning.  Then again, the more I look at the two figures above the words, it looks like a barroom brawl or a shootout!  So it might be best to focus on the pair on the bottom………

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 won’t help with most personal names,  but this one, which serves as the name of the business, is also written in the Roman alphabet on the sign.

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Originally posted 2012-08-21 23:29:06.

Katakana Japanese Reading Practice #31: Craft Store’s Sign

アート&クラフト

If you’re learning katakana, try reading this shop sign that I saw in Kyoto and you’ll discover what kind of store it is. Kyoto is written in Kanji at the bottom along with the name of this branch, taken from the name of the street that it’s on.

Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help.

Originally posted 2012-08-21 04:13:18.