Katakana Japanese Reading Practice #27: Pool Hall’s Sign

Old Kyoto Japan pool hall's sign in katakana Japanese alphabetビリヤード  玉

If you’re studying hiragana, try reading this sign. Click on the photo to enlarge it and use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool with my transcription below the photo if you need help with the katakana or the kanji.

This old establishment has actually announced what it’s offering in three different scripts, with the kanji character for ‘ball’ as well as English and katakana.

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Originally posted 2012-10-07 04:44:25.

How’s business?

カジュアルフロア おさわり禁止

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?

Originally posted 2012-09-21 22:57:57.

Katakana Japanese Reading Practice #28: Fresh Fish Label

Fresh fish package label with price in kanji and katakana Japanese alphabets生サーモン ノルウェー産

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!

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Originally posted 2012-09-19 22:40:24.

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.

車庫 Before going to the second paragraph, try

車庫

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.

Originally posted 2012-09-16 01:44:07.

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.

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.

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.