Recent Posts About Japan
- Concluding our Photo Tour: Cherry Blossoms and Mt. Fuji at Fuji Five Lakes
- The Old Capital in Bloom: Experiencing Kyoto during Cherry Blossom Season 2023
- Capturing the Ethereal Beauty of Himeji Castle with Adobe Photoshop’s AI Generative Fill
- A Castle in the Blossoms: Capturing Himeji Castle in Cherry Blossom Season 2023
- Island Life and Urban Reflections: Cherry Blossoms in Miyajima and Hiroshima 2023
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Mar 06 | Evan | No Comments |
Japan is easing restrictions with border control.
At last, we are excited to share some positive news with Japan’s border control with the COVID measures. Yes, finally, a lot of positive movements towards opening up Japan are happening. Unfortunately, Japan is not yet open for tourists as of March 1st 2022, but the country is finally reopening its border to international students, interns, and business personnel. Furthermore, travel restrictions for Japanese residents and travelers entering the country have eased greatly so hopefully in a few months down the line, we will be able to inform everyone happy news of Japan opening its borders to the tourist so that we can plan a photo tour of Japan by the end of year or even sooner!
Updates that took place on Feb 10th, 2022
Let’s go step by step to illustrate the updates that have taken place in the last month. We will focus on the travel restrictions of travelers from the U.S. to Japan. Below updates took place on Feb 10th, 2022.
1) The travelers from below states are required to stay at the government specified location for 3 days after the entry (previously 6 days) before moving to their own place of quarantine.
Hawaii, Texas, and Massachusetts
2) The travelers from below states are required to stay at the government specified location for 6 days (the duration of stay didn’t change) before moving to their own place of quarantine.
California, Illinois, New York, and Florida
*The number of quarantines remains the same for 7 days in total and those travelers from any other states not listed above could quarantine of their choice for the entire 7 days.
Information released on Feb 12th, 2022
1) Business & international students’ travel may ease as early as some time in Feb 2022, if not March 2022
2) The government will make a decision some time in the week of Feb 12th about opening the borders to international travelers. This change will take place sometime in March.
Some of the things that are going to be discussed are:
– Shortening quarantine to 3 or 5 days with COVID vaccinations & booster
– Increase of daily number of people coming into the country from 3500 to 5000
Major changes that took place on March 1st, 2022
A significant change to Japan’s brother control took place on March 1st, 2022. Besides shortening quarantine time, the Japanese government allowed people to use public transportation after landing in Japan to move to a quarantining location as well as finally opening a previously tightly closed border to certain groups of international people. Let’s take a look at each point of change that took place on March 1st focusing on quarantine first. (Below are cases for people traveling from the U.S. Depending on where people travel from, even with full vaccination and a booster, conditions may differ so if you are not traveling from the U.S., you need to check what conditions apply to where you are traveling from.)
- As of March 1st, people traveling from the U.S. no longer need to quarantine at a government specified location once they travel to Japan.
- If you are vaccinated and boosted, you no longer need to quarantine at all. Furthermore, you have no restrictions on using public transportation once you land in Japan.
- If you are not vaccinated and boosted, you need to be quarantined for 7 days. However, if you get a PCR test on Day 3 and get a negative result, you can get out of quarantine. Furthermore, within 24 hours of landing, you can use public transportations.
- At the time of arrival, you need to show your vaccine passport, the PCR test result within 72 hours of pre-travel, PCR test at the airport, a letter of decoration, registering smartphone applications, and also answering Q & A.
*Japan accepts below vaccines:
- 2 times of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or 1 time of Janssen
- Booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna
*Antigen tests are not adequate for replacing PCR tests.
Finally opening its border to international people
Let’s next take a look at what changes are brought to international travelers. A long awaited change finally took place on March 1st 2022, which is to reopen its borders to certain groups of international people. It’s a small, yet large step for Japan as the country has closed its border completely to international people since the rise of Omicrone in Dec 2021. This has placed Japan in a difficult spot at the global stage as Japan has been criticized by many countries around the world for its actions that Japan has been discriminatory towards foreigners.
So who can travel to Japan and how can they travel to Japan? Let’s find out!
International students and interns are finally welcomed back to Japan as of March 1st 2022. This is a significant step forward clearly to international students and interns who have been waiting a long time for the last two plus years despite being given a visa to enter. It is also a long awaited significant change for the Japanese economy and education as well. Furthermore, international business personnel are now allowed to travel to Japan for up to 3 months as long as the receiving side, a company or a sponsor can vouch for the individuals. Unfortunately at this time, international tourists are not yet allowed to travel to Japan. Furthermore, international people who have family members in Japan are not yet allowed to travel and visit their family or significant others in Japan.
The changes brought by Japan may be still too small to some people, but this is definitely a right move towards reopening the country pre-COVID stage that has long been awaited. From where Japan was a few months ago, the fact the country is now allowing international people to travel to or move to the country being a student/doing an internship is significant. Also the changes in procedures of quarantine once a traveler lands in the country are significant that a lot of people who were formerly hesitant to travel to Japan will be more willing to travel now. So… when will it be a time for tourists? That is unclear at this point, but Japan has indicated to reopen the country step by step so let’s hope we can plan a photography tour of Japan very soon!Feb 16 | Evan | No Comments |
When the pandemic broke out two plus years ago, nobody expected it to last this long. While the US is slowly getting back to some level of normalcy, Japan has been extremely strict when it comes to opening its borders to the outside world. As of Jan 23rd 2022, Japan is completely closed to foreigners. The country only allows its citizens and residents to travel internationally with strict monitoring once they enter the country. What can we expect from Japan in the coming months and when will we be able to plan a photo tour of Japan? Let’s find out what’s happening in Japan today and what may happen in the upcoming months.
Japan’s current situation with the pandemic
Of course this could change anytime….
Japan is currently not open to any foreigners regardless of the purpose of the trip (okay, there are a very few exceptions). The only people who can travel to and from Japan are Japanese citizens or residents. It was though once opened up to foreigners when the Olympics was held in the summer of 2021 to those who were athletes or a part of the Olympics and further Japan decided to open its borders to business people and international students in November of 2021, but it was quickly shut down a month later with the rise of Omicron.
Although the 14 days quarantine recently changed to 10 days quarantine on Jan 15th 2022, overall measures Japan is proposing such as not allowing any foreigners to enter the country does not seem to change at least till the beginning of March 2022. However, there is a movement by foreign nationals such as American researchers petitioning to open Japan’s borders as the President Biden and the new Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s meeting is approaching (Kaori, Yoshida 2022, “Requesting Japan to relax its borders” a petition by American researchers ,Nihon Keizai Shimbun, accessed Jan 23rd 2022. Also, two hours before publishing this post, some positive news came out: Japan to cut 7-day quarantine period to 3, allow in more foreigners.
COVID Vaccines in Japan
Japanese people’s vaccination rate is extremely high in comparison to the world wide average of 52.4%. As of January 23rd 2022, 79.2% of Japanese people, which is equivalent to 99.6 million people, are fully vaccinated. However, the booster shot is taking a while for the Japanese to get started. In December 2021, finally those in the medical fields started to receive a booster shot while the everyday citizen has not had a chance to receive a booster shot. It is only recently, the elderlies are given priorities to get the booster shot in January 2022.
Besides the issues of delayed booster shots, Japanese children aged between 5 to 11 are finally approved to get COVID vaccines as of Jan 21st 2022, thus there are still large groups of vulnerable populations that are at risk of COVID, thus Japan seems to be extra cautious with opening its borders.
14 days quarantine to 10 days quarantine
The length of quarantine just recently changed from 14 days to 10 days when entering Japan. There was a movement for 7 days quarantine instead of 10 days, but at the end, 10 days quarantine was chosen as Japan is still very cautious with the rise of the Omicron variant and people’s movement from abroad.
This change took place on Jan 15th 2022. Though this quarantine is not so simple. Most travelers cannot choose the place of quarantine for the first 3, 6, or the whole 10 days. What this means is that depending on where the travelers come from, they are sent to the government specified quarantine hotels to monitor their health condition for the 3 days, 6 days, or 10 days after their arrival with day 1 starting from the next day of the arrival. Apparently, It is so strict that only one person can stay in a room with the exception of a young child. Otherwise, even families cannot stay in the same room in a hotel to quarantine.
Traveling from the US as of Jan 2022
So what’s happening to those who are traveling from the States? For those who can travel to Japan from the U.S., there is currently a 6 days or 3 days quarantine period at the government specified hotel before they can move to their own home to finish up the 10 days quarantine. People who travel from below states have to quarantine for 6 days at a government specified hotel to monitor their condition with day 3 and day 6 PCR tests as these states experience high omicron outbreaks.
People traveling from any other states only need to quarantine for 3 days at a government specified location before they move onto their homes to finish up the 10 days quarantine.
So what’s next?
Despite other countries’ pressures, Japan’s new prime minister and his team seems to be pretty clear on how they want to handle the pandemic and it doesn’t look so bright for any foreigners to be able to freely visit Japan any time soon. Even though there seems to be a change in the beginning of March 2022, it would be certain groups of people such as business people and international students who will be prioritized before any American travelers for pressure can visit Japan.
We never anticipated that the photo tours of Japan, and just traveling to Japan in general, wouldn’t be an option for this long but hopefully things will improve in March and we’ll hear some exciting news in the coming spring to summer to visit Japan during cherry blossom season!Feb 01 | Evan | No Comments |
Have you ever thought about asking a Japanese girl or guy out? Well, if you ever thought about it, this is going to be a very useful article as there will be some useful expressions you can use to ask a Japanese girl or guy out! Of course, you can try these in Japan when you are on a photo tour of Japan or if you have a love interest in your country who is Japanese, why don’t you impress her/him with these Japanese phrases!!
Give compliments in Japanese
Just like any language/culture, giving compliments is what you want to do to get your girl/guy’s attention in Japan. More compliments you know, it’ll be better as they can often be used as an opening to get to know the person more or simply to start a conversation.
Below are some of the useful phrases to give compliments in Japanese.
That’s a lovely name.
Suteki na namae desu ne.
すてき な なまえ です ね。
It’s really lovely.
Sugoku suteki desu.
すごく すてき です。
That suits you so well.
Totemo niattsute imasu.
とても にあって います。
Your nails are so cute.
Nail kawaii desu ne.
ネイル かわいい です ね。
Today’s clothes are lovely.
Kyou no fuku kawaii desu ne.
きょう の ふく かわいい です ね。
Of course, some of these may not be useful to ask a guy out, but if you know more Japanese, get inspired to tweek here or there so that you can use these compliments in Japanese to be more suitable to your love interests. For example, instead of the word “kawaii(cute)”, you can use “katsukoii(cool)” if you want to give compliments when something is cool.
Time to ask out a Japanese girl/guy!
Now you have given a compliment or two, it’s time to ask out the girl/guy you are interested in. Of course, if you know more Japanese, play with your words, have a conversation, but these are some common ways for Japanese to ask someone out.
Can we go out to eat together?
Issho ni gohan ni ikimasen ka?
いっしょ に ごはん に いきません か？
It was fun today. I’d love to play again.
Kyou wa tanoshikatta desu. Mata asobitai na.
きょう は たのしかった です。また あそびたい な。
I fell for you at first sight.
Do you have a BF/GF?
Koibito ha imasu ka? (*In Japanese it is written ha, but you pronounce “wa.”)
こいびと は います か？
To tell you the truth, a lot of times Japanese people do not like to give out their phone numbers to total strangers nowadays. Thus, making it more casual and more approachable, ask for his/her Line, Instagram or some forms of social media or communication tools instead of the phone number first. That will increase your likelihood of getting her/his communication.
Can we exchange Line?
Line wo koukan shimasen ka?
Line を こうかん しません か？
Do you have Instagram?
Insta yattsute imasu ka?
インスタ やって います か？
Of course, there are many different ways to give compliments and also ask someone out in Japanese. These are just starters. If your love interests know English, you may not need to try so hard in Japanese, but every effort counts, right? If you know more Japanese, play with these phrases with the words you know. You can switch nouns and adjectives so that they fit your case. Also, just like the rest of the world, more Japanese are becoming online dependent when meeting new people so you can use these when communicating online, but if you are more old school and want to ask her/him out, you can also use these in person. Choose your battle and hope you can be successful at asking your love interests out. Good luck!Jul 01 | Evan | No Comments |
Learn three kinds of verbs in Japanese
In the previous Japanese learning blog, we learned what to say when you want something and when you want to do something. Furthermore, we also talked about Japanese verbs, ru-verbs in particular. In Japanese, there are two main verb types called “ru-verbs” and ‘u-verbs.” In this article, we are going to learn about how these two verb types behave in casual and polite forms in positive and negative sentences. Additionally, there are also two irregular verbs, which behave differently so we will spend a little time looking at them too. Let’s learn different kinds of Japanese verbs to be ready for your next adventure on a photo tour of Japan!
In short, “ru-verbs” are the verbs, which end in “ru.” For example, taberu/たべる(to eat), miru/みる(to see/to look/to watch), neru/ねる(to sleep), and akeru/あける(to open) are all ru-verbs. Let’s pick two of these ru-verbs to see how they conjugate.
たべる = to eat
|Casual Form||Polite Form|
|Positive||たべる = taberu||たべます = tabemasu|
|Negative||たべない = tabenai||たべません = tabemasen|
みる = to see/look/watch
|Casual Form||Polite Form|
|Positive||みる = miru||みます = mimasu|
|Negative||みない = minai||みません = minasen|
As you see above, from the casual form to the polite form, “ru” changes to “masu” in a positive tense. For a negative tense, “ru” is replaced by “nai” and “nai” changes to “masen” in a polite form.
Let’s form a simple sentence using these ru-verbs.
Base: I eat an onigiri.
おにぎり を たべる。
おにぎり を たべない。
おにぎり を たべます。
おにぎり を たべません。
Base: I watch a movie.
えいが を みる。
えいが を みない。
えいが を みます。
えいが を みません。
As you expect, “u-verbs” are the verbs, which end in “u.” These u-verbs include hanasu/はなす(to speak), kaku/かく（to write), nomu/のむ（to drink), and matsu/まつ（to wait.) Let’s pick two of these verbs to see how they conjugate.
はなす = to speak
|Casual Form||Polite Form|
|Positive||はなす = hanasu||はなします = hanashimasu|
|Negative||はなさない = hanasanai||はなしません = hanashimasen|
かく = to write
|Casual Form||Polite Form|
|Positive||かく = kaku||かきます = kakimasu|
|Negative||かかない =kakanai||かきません = kakimasen|
Let’s form a simple sentence using these u-verbs.
Base: I speak Japanese.
にほんご を はなす。
にほんご を はなさない。
にほんご を はなします。
にほんご を はなしません。
Base: I write Japanese.
にほんご を かく。
にほんご を かかない。
にほんご を かきます。
にほんご を かきません。
2 Irregular verbs
There are two exceptions, which do not fit in either ru-verbs or u-verbs. These are kuru/くる(to come) and suru/する(to do). Take a look at how these irregular verbs behave in casual and polite forms.
くる = to come
|Casual Form||Polite Form|
する= to do
|Casual Form||Polite Form|
|Positive||する = suru||します = shimasu|
|Negative||しない = shinai||しません =shimasen|
Let’s form a simple sentence using these irregular verbs.
Base: I come to play tomorrow.
あした あそび に くる。
あした あそび に こない。
あした あそび に きます。
あした あそび に きません。
Base: I study Japanese.
にほんご を べんきょう する。
にほんご を べんきょう しない。
にほんご を べんきょう します。
にほんご を べんきょう しません。
Yes, learning verbs and how to conjugate them is not easy. Though the good thing is that there are only two main verb groups in Japanese so once you get a feel for these “ru-verbs” and ‘u-verbs,” it’s not too bad. In addition, there are only two irregular verbs so as long as you remember how “kuru” and “suru” behave, you are a Japanese master!
This is just an intro to learn Japanese verbs so we will certainly work more on verb conjugations in the coming Japanese articles. Don’t worry, we still have time till you join the photo tour of Japan!