Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Learn Travel Japanese Really Quickly

The best way to get loads of lovely Japanese snacks in to come to Japan. One reason that people don't come to Japan is that they believe the language will be a problem. So.... How do you learn enough Japanese to stay out of trouble, or to get into trouble if that's what you want...

Two weeks ago I met a Canadian called Don Maybin at an English teaching conference. Over the past couple of years he's been building a language study system called "Sulantra" which stands for "Survival Language Training." Sulantra uses Maybin's intensive training system that he's been developing and testing over the past 30 years.

Each course is only 10 dollars so I signed up for the Chinese one to see if I could actually talk to the staff in my local Chinese restaurant in Mandarin instead of a mixture of bad Japanese and slightly better English. I was amazed at how easy it was to learn using the system and, because all the vocabulary and phrases are reused as you progress, it was easy to remember most of what I had studied.

The thing I really like about Sulantra is that the courses drill "survival phrases" into your brain such as "Please say that again.", "Please speak more slowly.", "What does this mean?". Using these survival phrases almost becomes a reflex action so that when you are in a shop or whatever and you're trying to buy some awesome new Pocky you have these phrases to fall back on if you get into trouble.

Anyway, the basic course is 10 USD and takes about 30 hours (although you have unlimited access) so it's really worth giving the Japanese course a try; you'll be buying a green tea Kit Kat in no time.
Learn Travel Japanese Really Quickly
(There's also a bunch of other languages including Chinese, Turkish and Korean.)
Please post a comment to say how you got on with the course, and whether you feel it was worth 10 bucks!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Look: Strange Japanese French Chocolate

"Japonisme" is a French term meaning the influence of Japanese art on the art of West. The term "strange Japanese French chocolate" refers to this strange strawberry-flavoured, French-dessert-inspired chocolate I bought at my local supermarket.(sic)

The box contained three pieces each of four flavours of chocolate: strawberry mousse, strawberry cheese, strawberry champagne dessert and strawberry mille feuilles. There was very little difference in taste but it was nice to be given at least the illusion of choice. Buy more. Stop thinking. Be happy.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Japanese Snacks

What are the best Japanese snacks that money can buy? This is a question that Snack Fan Japan will be asking, and answering in 2011. Are there any crazy Japanese snacks that you've heard of and would like to know more about? If so, just provide some details as a comment to this post, and the Snack Fan Japan team will do the rest.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pepsi Shiso: Choice Of A Newer Generation?

Last summer Pepsi trialled a new drink: perilla-flavoured Pepsi. Perilla is also known as Japanese basil. In Japanese it's called Shiso.

The drink itself was pretty disgusting unlike Pepsi Hawaiian Blue which was the novelty Pepsi of 2008. Having said that, I hope Pepsi Shiso comes back in 2011 for the simple reason that it can be used to clean the contacts on smart cards.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dave Green from NTK, SnackSpot and Shift Run Stop

My local newspaper(The Yomiuri Shimbun) ran a special feature on the British tech journalist Dave Green, who used to be an editor of Amiga Power magazine, and who also happens to be an expert on snacks. I asked a friend to translate it from Japanese for me and, in an effort to avoid copyright issues, I've rewritten it as a Dave Green FAQ.

What is Dave Green's day job?
He is a foreman in a two-way mirror factory.

Where did Dave Green come from?
The same place as everybody else.

What is Dave Green's favourite colour?

What did Dave Green do in the war?
He co-wrote a weekly email newsletter with Danny O'Brien called "Now That's Knowledge!".

What is Dave Green's favourite band?
The Clash.

Which food is Dave Green allergic to?
Red Lead.(AKA triplumbic tetroxide)

What is Dave Green's full name?
David Green.

How many Dave Greens does it take to operate a universal Turing machine?
Two: one to read, write and erase the symbols on the squares, and one to take care of any snack-related tasks.

What is the opposite of Dave Green?
David Green

Where does Dave Green live?
Dave Green divides his time between North London and Greenland.(maybe this is a tax dodge?)

What is Dave Green's favourite film?

Who would win in a fight between Dave Green and Sarah Green?
Dave Green.

Who does Dave Green belong to?
The Internets.

What would Dave Green do in a fire?
Put it out and then walk away, shaking his head.

Which snack is Dave Green (wrongly) credited with creating?
Rainbow pretzel drops.

What does Dave Green collect?
Dave Green collects other people's collections.

Which celebrity does Dave Green most resemble?

What is remarkable about Dave Green's brother, Simon Green?
He is made entirely from chocolate.

How can one contact Dave Green?
Direct contact is impossible, but several Twitter hashtags can be used to contact him indirectly. Unfortunately, none of them is reproducible here.

What is Dave Green's favourite spice?
The spice of life.

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