Language Matters September 2007: Japanese Culture

Dear Language Friend,

Do you realize that there are more Japanese restaurants in Vancouver than Starbucks? In this issue of our newsletter, we would like to introduce you to Japanese culture and discuss WHAT kind of Japanese food is popular, HOW Japanese national holidays are different from other countries, WHEN you might need translation of car manuals, electrical products and computer games, and WHERE to learn Japanese quickly. Our Japanese speaking project manager Yukiko has contributed to this Newsletter.

Lenka de Graafova, Managing Director. Thanks for reading.

Japanese Food

After coming to Vancouver from Japan, I’ve noticed that it’s very easy to find authentic Japanese restaurants and that many people are interested in Japanese food.

So I was wondering why has Japanese food boom taken place in so many countries?

The answer is: The more people are becoming health-conscious, the more it is igniting the Japanese food boom. Surprisingly, I got the impression that Vancouverites eat ‘sushi’ more often than the Japanese. The Japanese eat “sushi” at special occasions only, the same way Western people roast a turkey a couple of times a year only. The sushi culture has been an interesting experience for me and it almost feels like Western people eat “Thanksgiving dinner” many times a year. However, I have to admit that some of the sushi restaurants in Vancouver are better than the ones I know from Japan.

Apart from sushi, have you already tried Japanese tavern? If you want to discover something new about Japanese food, try eating in any Japanese restaurant and you’ll be presented with a menu of hot and cold dishes. Traditional drink like “sake” is a must if you haven’t yet tried the rice wine. I also recommend a bowl of ‘ramen’ noodle and ‘yakitori’ (skewered grilled chicken). Just try out the food and speak out “Itadakimasu!” before you start eating, which means “Let’s eat, Thank you, or I’m eating”.

Talking About National Holidays In Japan

There are 15 national holidays a year in Japan. Compared to 10 national holidays in Canada, the Japanese seem to enjoy their time off. Each holiday in Japan has a specific meaning and you may find them interesting:.

Public Holidays of Japan 2007

元日(Ganjitsu) New Year’s Day [January 1]
成人の日(Seijin-no-hi)Coming-of-Age Day [January 8]
建国記念の日(Kenkoku Kinen-no-hi)National Founding Day [February 11]
春分の日(Shunbun-no-hi)Vernal Equinox Day [March 21]
昭和の日(Showa-no-hi)Day of Showa? [April 29]
憲法記念日(Kenpo Kinenbi)Constitution Memorial Day [May 3]
みどりの日(Midori-no-hi)Greenery Day [May 4]
こどもの日(Kodomo-no-hi)Children’s Day [May 5]
海の日(Umi-no-hi)Marine Day [July 16]
敬老の日(Keiro-no-hi)Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day [September 17]
秋分の日(Shubun-no-hi)Autumnal Equinox Day [September 23]
体育の日(Taiiku-no-hi)Health-Sports Day [October 8]
文化の日(Bunka-no-hi)Culture Day [November 3]
勤労感謝の日(Kinro Kansha-no-hi)Labor Thanksgiving Day  [November 23]
天皇誕生日(Tenno Tanjobi)Emperor’s Birthday [December 23]

What do you think about Children’s Day and Respect-for-Senior Citizens Day? Children’s Day is a day set aside to respect childrens’ personalities and to celebrate their happiness. As for the Respect-for-senior-Citizens Day, they say that the village mayor in Hyogo set up the holiday for elderly people. The holiday was gradually going nationwide and became one of the national holidays in Japan. The purpose of this holiday is to thank the elderly people who have contributed to society and to wish them a long life. In Japan, respect for older people is considered to be very important. As in any country, the Japanese national holidays are strongly related to its country’s cultural background. If you have a chance to visit Japan, it’ll be useful to know these holidays!

Picture: Koinobori on Children’s Day (The large carp at the top represents the father, the second carp represents the mother, and the third carp represents their children.)

The Japanese Community in Vancouver

According to the statistics, about 22,530 Japanese are living in Vancouver. They are immigrants, businessmen, workers, international students, or on working holiday visa. Although it is said that Japanese people are very quiet and shy, once they relax with new people, they’ll start talking to you. No worries! If you are interested in Japanese culture, language, and Japanese people, there is a society and association that you can join. For more information, please check out these websites.

Vancouver Mokuyokai Society:

Tonari Gumi-Japanese Community Volunteers Association:

LingoStar Translation Services Of Manuals And Product Sheets

In our translation practice, we’ve seen a lot of texts on Japanese cars, electrical appliances, and computer games. Fuel-efficiency, good performance and cutting-edge technology are not the only keywords for Japanese. However, those terms seem to reappear in translation texts, manuals, product sheets and descriptions and technical specifications that we usually work on.

For further details on our translation services also see:


We have revamped the original website and gave it a new look to match the brand of LingoStar. Please check out where we offer Japanese / English translation services.

Our Japanese Course

If you wish to experience the authentic Japanese culture and life, why don’t you learn Japanese! If you are planning to live in Japan, or visit Japan, we strongly recommend that you learn the language. Meeting and conversing in English might not be the easiest thing to do in Japan and then you might find yourself stuck in just another sushi bar, trying to figure out the Japanese menu. Check out our Japanese language course at

A brief description of our Japanese language course:

All levels are welcome. Classes of 3-7 students are taught by professional teachers. These 2-hour language sessions take place once or twice a week in Vancouver, Burnaby or, alternatively at your office. Other language courses and individual tutoring can be arranged upon request.

– Course fees (excluding GST): $ 350 (20 lessons; 2 hours/week)

To know more about our languages courses, visit our website