Last year, I ran a daily feature on my Twitter account, looking at a new letter of the alphabet, with a twist! Introducing the #Japanalphabet ‘campaign’, in which I pass on a new word to do with Japan every day! Now that I have stretched all the way to ‘Z’, here is the complete alphabet below for your reading pleasure.
A: Ainu, indigenous people of Japan originating from the Jōmon period.
B: Bushido, the way of the warrior.
C: Chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony.
D: Diet, the lower house of the Japanese parliament.
E: Ebisu, the Japanese god of fishermen and working men.
F: Futon, a flat mattress and the traditional bedding of Japan
G: Geisha, traditional female entertainers, literally translating to ‘art doer’.
H: Harajuku, the greatest fashion district in Tokyo.
I: Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.
J: Jinja – the shinto shrine.
K: Kabuki, the classical Japanese dance-drama.
L: Love Hotels, hotels designed specifically for giving couples privacy for … sexual activities!
M: Matcha, delicious green tea powder.
N: Neko, the Japanese word for cat. See Maneki Neko.
O: Onsen, Japanese hot springs. The ultimate way to unwind.
P: Pachinko, the Japanese pinball gaming device!
Q: Qoo, Japan’s delicious carbonated drink.
R: Ryuteki, a Shinto classical instrument. Also known as ‘dragon flute’.
S: Sensu, a Japanese handheld fan.
T: Taiko, the great Japanese drum.
U: Umeshu, Japanese plum liqueur.
V: Visual kei, a genre of Japanese rock music characterised by elaborate hairstyles and makeup.
W: Wakamaru, the world’s first retail robot.
X: X-Japan (エックス ジャパン), heavy metal rock band and pioneers of the visual kei movement.
Y: Yakuza, Japanese gangsters, often identifiable by their tattoos.
Z: Zuijin, the protective warrior guardians placed in Shinto shrines.