This post was originally posted by me on my AikiWeb blog…


Terms that might help explain what’s going on in my blog posts…

arbeito: Japanese for “part-time job”

bento box: a small prepackaged meal available for sale in grocery and convenience stores; usually contains some protein, veggies, and rice, such as grilled fish, tofu, bean sprouts, and rice

-dori: Japanese for “street”; e.g., Marutamachi-dori is “Marutamachi Street”

hiragana: Japanese syllabary for native words, as opposed to katakana and romaji; “mi” in katakana = み

hyaku-en: 100 yen; technically, it should be written hyaku-yen, but it’s pronounced hayku-en; 100 yen is worth about $1.05 according to Google, but I’m getting a rate of more like 90 yen to the US dollar; anyhow, it is easy to imagine that 100 yen = 1 dollar, and that is about how it’s used here in Kyoto (e.g., there are hyaku-yen shops that are about equivalent to a dollar-store in the US)

Imadegawa: the closest main street to my apartment; currently, I am blogging from an Internet cafe on the southwest corner of Karasumaimadegawa, looking out a picture window over the grounds of the Imperial Palace; my apartment is about one-and-a-half blocks west

ippan: regular dojo training classes, as opposed to the special kenshusei classes

-ji: a suffix meaning “temple”

-jinja: a suffix meaning “shrine”

Kamigamo: a shrine in northeast Kyoto where aikido classes are held on Sundays

Kansai: the region around Kyoto and Osaka; also known as Kinki region; this is where Ueshiba Morihei was from; it has its own dialect, which I may be picking up and advertising here as standard Japanese (sorry!)

katakana: Japanese syllabary for foreign words, as opposed to hiragana and romaji; it’s much more extensive in Japan than you’d think–many shops have katakana signs as well as menus and other forms of advertisements in katakana; “mi” in katakana = ミ

kenshusei: means something like “special researcher”; in the context of Mugenjuku Kenshusei Course, it refers to the fact that the course is designed for students interested in furthering/deepening their understanding of aikido through special training

Kenshuseikan: see Villa Bianca

Kinki: see Kansai

Kyoto: okay, if you’re looking up Kyoto on this blog, you need to stop now and start reading about the history and geography of Japan on Wikipedia!

Marutamachi: street where the main Mugenjuku Dojo is located, at the intersection with Kamanza-dori; also a name we use to refer to the dojo

Mugenjuku: (if I understand correctly) Japanese for “continuous training”; it is the name of Jacques Payet-sensei’s dojos in Kyoto; see

-ohashi: Japanese for “bridge”; e.g., Gojo-ohashi is “Gojo bridge”; I think this may be Kansai dialect

okonomiyaki: Kansai area “fast food”, usually cabbage and pork fried in a batter and topped with a store-bought ‘okonomiyaki sauce’, mayonnaise, and shaved bonito (shaved bonito improves the dish about 1000%)

romaji: Japanese name for writing Japanese with Latin letters, as opposed to hiragana and katakana; “mi” in romaji = mi

sha nai: Kansai dialect for sho ga nai

Shiramine: a shrine on Imadegawa-dori where aikido classes are held on Sunday mornings; someday I will make a blog post explaining the story of Shiramine-jinja and why there are aikido classes there

sho ga nai: “it can’t be helped”

smash it: to go somewhere very fast, as in a rush, hastily; eg, “I smashed it down to the dojo”; I live with an Englishman named Nick who uses this expression all the time; I guess it is a Britishism as we say in the US, but I am picking it up; see also “whack it”

streetname-streetname: in Kyoto, intersections are named by combining the names of the streets that intersect; e.g., the intersection of Kawaramachi-dori and Oike-dori is Kawaramachioike

Villa Bianca: this is the name of my apartment building in Kyoto, off Imadegawa-dori; aka, the Kenshuseikan, or “kenshusei-house”

whack it: to put something somewhere, especially with earnestness: eg, “whack it on the table”, “whack it in the microwave”, etc; see also “smash it”