I’m going to play a game. I do this when I can’t sleep (like now) – usually in my head, but because this blog doesn’t get a lot of action, I thought I’d share.

Rules are simple. Pick the first word that comes to your head corresponding with the letter of the alphabet. Usually I do things like country names, types of trees, fruit, brands of cars, etc. Today’s topic is broad, and therefore, easy: Japan.

Annnnnd go~

A – Asakusa


an area in Tokyo known for maintaining the ‘old’ feel of the entertainment district and its famous Senso-ji temple and shrine – more info

B – bento


aka “boxed lunch” – more info


lucky school kids have moms that do stuff like this with their bento

C – chanoyu


tea ceremony

D – daruma


good luck talisman modeled after Bodhidharma – more infoMy Daruma Story

E – enka


traditional and/or sentimental ballads – more info – usually conjures up the image of something like this lady…


…but then there is also this guy – Jero

F – fugu




It’s poisonous. A chef has to be specially certified in order to prepare it. They usually have to train for at least 10 years. – more info

G – genkan


entryway (technically, a foyer) – more info – The first tip you are always given about Japanese customs is “take off your shoes before you enter someone’s home”. IDK why people think that is unique to Japan. You better take off your shoes when you come into my house too!

H – Himeji-jo


a beautiful castle in Himeji, Hyōgo – more info

I – Ikebukuro (Hubby has been randomly saying this apropos of nothing the past few days.)


a commercial and entertainment district in Tokyo – more info

J – jizo


protector of unborn children – more info

K – kaiseki


traditional multi-course meal – more info

L – Licca-chan


essentially, the Japanese Barbie – more info – She seems more like horror movie fodder than child’s plaything to me…

M – maiko


apprentice geisha – more info

N – ninjin


Japanese word for ‘carrot’ (I just like the sound of it. And also carrots in Japan are HUGE, and the ones in Kyoto are red. Weird.)

O – onigiri


rice balls – more info

P – purikura


shortening of “print club” – or photo booth stickers

Q – There is no Q …. Ichi Maru Q? That counts, right? LOL.


109 shopping building in Shibuya, Tokyo – called Ichi (1) Maru (circle) Kyu (9)… and nine sounds like Q so it’s written to look sort of like one – more info

R – ramen


noodle soup – more info (because it’s NOT the instant crap you eat)

S – Shinkansen


“bullet train” – more info

T – tayu


top ranked oiran (prostitute/entertainer of yore – NOT a geisha – more info

U – ume


Japanese plum – usually eaten pickled and the blossoms are just as beautiful as sakura – more info

V – There is no V in Japanese… I’ll go with VICTORY! (not “peace”, like we think)


inevitably, cameras come out and fingers go up – more info

W – wagashi


traditional sweets – more info

X – X-japan


super famous visual kei band

Y – yokai


Japanese spooks – more info

 Z – Zatoichi


Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman – There are several versions but I’ve only seen this one. It’s a great movie written & directed by and starring Beat Takeshi. more info – It has an ending dance number that is equal parts totally awesome and ‘WTF did I just watch?!’

First, zenzen popped in my head, but that’s hard to demonstrate in a picture.

FYI~ zenzen (one of my favourite expressions) means something like “absolutely”.
ie. zenzen wakarimasen – I don’t understand at all.
zenzen OK! – It’s totally okay.

(originally posted to Japan – Here I Come!)

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