International News/Politics Japan

Haven’t mastered ‘nihongo’ yet? Get news from Japan in English

To read a Japanese newspaper they say you need to know at least 2000 kanji charaters – and more like 4000 if you really want to ‘get it’. I lived in Japan for two years and learnt by heart two of the three alphabets: hiragana – used for basic Japanese words, and  katakana – to capture foreign words or ideas. I also committed to memory about 200 kanji – nowhere near enough to read a magazine but I could read roadsigns, bus timetables, and more importantly, menus and cocktail lists.

I also used to watch Japanese national TV (cable didn’t stretch to my seaside fishing village) and came to love those sadistic off-the-chart games shows. Local TV wasn’t good for the news however – funnily enough the newsreaders didn’t use gesture communication to transmit the headlines – a form of getting your message across much relied on by both foreigners and Japanese in daily contact with each other!!! So I got my fill of the latest domestic and global events by reading the Japan Times.

In print and online, the Japan Times is a great way to get an insight into what’s going on in Japan, what people care about, what’s upsetting others, the Japanese take on local and world affairs. Open yourself up to another way of seeing things …

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