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No. 2 Things Japanese (2005年02月10日)

カテゴリー: The Treasure Hunt Club
Marcel Van Amelsvoort
(Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign Studies)
Hello. Welcome back to the Treasure Hunt Club. How did you manage with
the treasure hunt last time? The level of our example was probably a
little higher than most of our students can handle but with an
interesting site that is appropriate for your learners, this activity
can be a fun way to send them off into cyber space. Today we are going to
look at content sites one more time.

This issue’s column focuses on sites that present Japan in English.
They can be used as resource material, or inspiration for class projects.
Students could be given weekly assignments of explaining aspects of
Japanese culture, or classes or groups could build a website or a
pamphlet to explain their school, their surroundings or their culture to
the world.

Web Japan (http://web-jpn.org/)is a very large site (more than 2 million
hits per year, they say) with considerable content. It looks and feels a
little like an encyclopedia. It has LOTS of wonderful information either
in linked websites and web pages (great for browsing!) or nicely
arranged in several categories: Nature & Geography, Politics &
Administration, Economy & Industry, Society, Culture, Travel &
Sightseeing, Sports & Leisure, and Science & Technology. Get your
bookmarks ready. If your learners are a little younger, you may want to
send them to the kids’ part of the site. It’s fun and interactive and
very visual.( http://web-jpn.org/kidsweb/index.html)

JapanZone is a more magazine-like site with more information, including
a lot of really specific practical information aimed at non-Japanese who
already know a lot about Japan, already live in Japan, or are about to
come here. It is also aimed at a younger audience with articles on
things like cell phones, anime, and budget travel around the country.

Japan-Guide.com is another site intended for people about to come to
Japan for work or travel. It is well organized and it is easier to find
more local (that is, outside of Kanto/Kyoto) information here.

The Japan National Tourism Organization has a pretty site for people
planning a trip to Japan. There are lots of great pictures and ideas for
things to do and see in Japan, including many that may surprise you.
This site would be a great resource for classes discussing how more
foreign tourists can be lured to Japan. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/

Food! Bento.com is a site with lots of information about food and
restaurants in Japan. Actually it is two sites, one in English and one
in Japanese, that are not always identical in content.

Japan Through Young Eyes is an on-going project where young Japanese
explain Japanese things, either traditions or everyday life, in English.
The list is not comprehensive, but the range of things from food items
such as miso or o-sechi style food to one person’s monthly expenses for
life in Tokyo is really interesting. Best of all, the information is
available in either English or Japanese. An interesting site for
information or to get ideas for producing an information site with your
own learners. http://shejapan.com/jtyeholder/jtye/jindex.html

Tourism Sites are easy to find but are often not very good, usually
because they are too general. One of the best I’ve seen, however, is
the pet project of Tadahiro Kondo, a retired businessman who has put
together a wonderful site detailing Kamakura, Kanagawa’s capital of
feudal Japan. Every major temple is given a detailed page, and the site
is rich in background information and cultural explanations. The
explanations of religion and historical detail will impress Japanese and
non-Japanese alike. http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~QM9T-KNDU/index.htm

This Week’s Treasure Hunt (See the last column if you want to know more
about how this activity works

Here’s the site: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/
Here are the questions:
In which city can you combine historical sightseeing with a cosmetics
company tour and the chance to try out new cosmetics?
How does the web site explain the concepts of wabi and sabi in English?
A Japanese woman’s dress size 9 is what size in the U.S.?

[Marcel Van Amelsvoort/ Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign