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Tuesday

May has been and gone now, and taken with it all the pretty colours of spring, leaving us only with the creeping humidity and threatening reveal of dozens of praying mantis eggs.

Anyway, this month saw us pass 100,000 hits since late last year, and the growing AccessJ team provided you lovely readers with some great posts as a thank you.



Monday

Recent changes in the JLPT mean that it's now easier to take the test in Japan than it previously was. You can now take any level test twice a year (previously only the two highest levels were available twice). In celebration, here's a brief guide on how to apply.



Sunday

This Sunday's worksheet is a nice little story knocked together by my talented 婚約者, Laura. It makes use of a typically English scenario (easily converted to your home country) to practice the appropriate use of "was" and "were".



Friday

This article is a bit dated, but I only stumbled across it fairly recently: In May of 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hinted in a press conference that it would like to start taking Japanese language ability into consideration when issuing visas to or renewing landing permissions for foreign residents.

(A Youtube video of the press conference is also available; there's no particular variation between it and the written record, but of additional interest on Youtube are the scathing comments in Japanese about former Minister of Foreign Affairs Masahiko Komura and his "antinational" proposals.) 



Wednesday

Japanese toilets come in three guises.
  1. a toilet
  2. a hyper-toilet with loads of buttons etc (well founded stereotype)
  3. squatty potty
In times of old (20 years ago or something), most number 2s were done in number 3s. Nowadays, you'll still find squatties in most train stations, country schools and other public facilities. Some people go on about squatties being good for your rectum or something, but to be honest I think you'll be fine either way. At least with a regular toilet there's little risk of urinating in your own pocket.

Anyway, below is my deftly illustrated guide on how to correctly operate over such a thing.



Monday

Registration of cars in Japan is handled by the District Transport Bureaus, or 地方運輸局 (ちほううんゆきょく). These bureaus were previously known as 陸運局 (りくうんきょく) before a restructuring of the Ministry of Transport* and are still colloquially referred to as such. In conversation, or within the scope of this guide, the names are interchangeable.

Today we'll learn about what exactly the District Transport Bureaus handle, what they don't handle, and, down there at the bottom of the article, how to find your nearest branch.



Sunday

Towards the end of the first grade textbook (New Crown), language games are introduced. You know, like when you have

STAND
I

and the answer is...



Friday

This guy saw some programs on TV about underage girls who run away from home, a social issue that gets significant media attention in Japan, and now he's got some questions about them. It's for research purposes. Purely out of curiosity. Promise.



Wednesday

Shoudoshima 小豆島 is a small island South-East of Okayama, just East of Shikoku. Despite being largely empty and dotted with several burnt out or abandoned hotels and buildings, it has some great sights off the beaten track. It's a famous location for soy sauce production. In fact, the whole island literally stinks of it 24/7.



Sunday

Very early in first grade you'll be teaching "Is this/that your...". Around the same time, you'll teach His/Her/Paul's.

This is a sheet I made which covers that in a fun puzzle style.



Friday

In today's Q&A, we learn, yet again, that the Internet makes people lazy. And those lazy people are a driving source of fuel for other people to get spiteful and go out of their way to write long, angry rants. Apparently this fact of Internet-life applies no matter what language you use.

Let's get right down to our venting!



Wednesday

If you've ever looked closely at a car's rear license plate in Japan, you may have noticed something funny about one of the screws holding it in. At first glance, it just looks bigger than the others. And with a really close look, you might notice that it's inscribed with a kanji corresponding to the prefecture or licensing region of the car's plates.



Monday

I hope this doesn't excite my family too much, but recently I've been looking into the logistics of childbirth in Japan. Hence the forthcoming post on maternity leave (see next week).



Sunday

I'm on a roll with this kind of worksheet, so here's another in the vein of my "Did you...", "Do you know how to...", "Can you" and "Will you" sheets, and yet again is a perfect example of not being afraid to reuse ideas for different grammar points.



Friday

If you're an avid runner and like to compete in marathons, 10ks etc, then I have a useful tip for you.



Wednesday

For those of you versed in the intense world of kettlebell training, moving to Japan may prove slightly taxing if you want to continue your training at a high level. More details follow:



Monday

This cool family science museum on the artificial Daiba islands of Tokyo houses the ground-breaking ASIMO robot, who comes out twice a day to woo crowds.



Sunday

Another teacher-bingo style activity, this time to introduce yourself to first graders for the first time. I would precede it with a brief verbal intro as advised by your JTE (name, age, hobbies, ethnic background etc).