Dictionary of Japanese Culture
Ed Edgar

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
senior high school grammar review relative clause 25 mins worksheets

This is another variation on the "explain Japanese culture to foreigners" theme (see also Japanese Culture Show and Tell) particularly dear to old-fashioned Japanese teachers of English.

Explain that you are confused by all the Japanese words you keep hearing that aren't in the dictionary. I mean, who's Suzuki Sonoko for a start? (Look through an encyclopedia and prove that she's not in there.)

Demand that they make you a dictionary. Ask the kids to write definitions of Japanese culturally things. I let them write about anything, but the emphasis was on popular culture.

I split up the Japanese alphabet and gave one class A I U E O, another Ka Ki Ku Ke Ko and so on, but you could just let them do what they want, or not let them do things that have already been taken.

They came up with many enlightening definitions, such as

Kiroro are two girl singers who look like pigs, but they sing nice songs.
Gateball is a sport that is played by old people. I do not play it, but if I was old I would play it.
Genkotsu is a special act of violence. If you get angry, you can use it on children.

I made a web-page out with this and put it on the school website (if you don't know html you can use Word's "Save as html" feature), but you could just read through them and be enlightened, or get them printed and bound and published throughout the English-speaking world.

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