I recently wrote about karaoke -- a Japanese word and favorite pastime. That's just one example of a word in the English lexicon that comes from Japan.
I bet these names sound familiar: Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota and Yamaha. These are just a few examples of Japanese automobile companies that are known throughout the world.
This Honda shop is just down the street from my apartment. When I tell my students that I drove a Honda Accord back home, they usually seem impressed. :)
Maybe you have a Casio calculator, a Canon camera, or a Toshiba TV. Yep, all Japanese.
Sumo (スも) wrestling, karate (空手) and judo (重度) are all Japanese words and very popular sports here. But sumo and karate have different pronounciations in English than they do in Japanese. In Japan, it's pronounced "smo" instead of "soo-mo." (So the "u" is silent.) Karate is actually pronounced "kah-dah-tay." I get funny looks here if I pronouce it the Americanized way of "ka-ra-dee."
Finally, the word futon (布団) is also Japanese. But in Japan, it refers to the traditional style of Japanese bedding -- a mattress you put on the (tatami mat) floor and sleep on at night, that can be folded and stored away during the day. The Western-style futon is a frame with a cushion, and can be used as a bed or a couch.
Interesting, huh? "Omoshiroi, ne?" Well, that's all for now. Sayonara!