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About the Fairly Useless Japanese series

Fairly Useless Japanese is a series where I explore some esoteric topics related to the Japanese language. Most of the topics will be well, quite impractical for daily use - after all, there are a zillion and one sites out there for learning practical Japanese. I'll cover topics such as slang terms, the origins of words, the history of the language, writing systems and so on.

Pocky and the Japanese Snack Industry makiko Sat, 08/17/2019 - 00:29

The humble chocolate covered Pocky is actually a prime example of a manufacturing method that pioneered in Japan, and is more associated with car manufacturing.

Japanese Convenience Stores (Konbini) May Be At a Crossroads

For decades, convenience stores (konbini) in Japan have been a fixture in the urban landscape, a much loved and much praised part of Japanese society. But there are signs that the konbini business may be showing some cracks, that reflect the problems of the society as a whole. (Originally posted on August 8, 2019.)

A few thoughts on war, on the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima makiko Tue, 08/06/2019 - 17:29

A few thoughts about war and its lasting legacy, on this day, the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Japanese political party positions on separate last names and same-gender marriage makiko Wed, 07/24/2019 - 01:20

The recent elections in Japan are over, here are the party positions on two issues that are about individual rights.