Katakana Japanese Reading Practice #29: Coffee Shop’s Sign

Old Kyoto Japan kissaten coffee shop's sign in katakana Japanese alphabetTry reading this sign if you’re learning katakana.

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!

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Originally posted 2012-09-18 08:22:01.

みみ はな のど If you’re studying hiragana, try reading this

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.

Originally posted 2012-09-18 06:34:07.

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.

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.

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.