Japanese Lesson from Games: Water in My Ear

Fire Emblem Three Houses is FILLED with advanced Japanese phrases and vocabulary. The game is entirely voiced, and you can replay any dialog you want as long as you don’t leave the dialog sequence. The Nintendo Switch is region free, and many (not all) games, including Fire Emblem, have the full Japanese text and audio available in the U.S. release of the game. No need to import from Japan! This is an amazing resource for gamers who are learning Japanese. Here’s my latest grab!

Fire Emblem Vocab - Nemimi ni Mizu

Japanese: 寝耳に水 

Hiragana: ねみみにみず 

Romaji: nemimi ni mizu.

Literal meaning: Like water into a sleeping ear. Surprising. Like a bolt from the blue.

I tweeted this as well! Check my Twitter account @Japannewbie for more occasional Japanese language tidbits from games.

Sunamushi Onsen in Kagoshima Prefecture

In Kagoshima (and maybe other places as well) you’ll find Sunamushi Onsens. So what are sunamushi onsen? First, let’s review regular onsen. As you probably know, regular onsens are hot springs where you get naked and step into a naturally hot bath with a bunch of other naked folk, usually of the same gender. Or, if you’re lucky, you can get a private room and get in with only your girlfriend. 貸し切り!Sunamushi Onsen is similar, except there is no water, you don’t get naked, it’s not especially fun if you get in with your girlfriend, and it’s not exactly “hot” — more like, toasty. Read the warning signs!

Sunamushi in Kagoshima
About to be buried neck high in hot sand.

You change into a simple yukata and no underwear before getting into to the sand pit. Once you’re ready, the ladies working at the location will dig you a shallow grave. Then you climb in, and they proceed to shovel sand all over your body, except your face.

At first the feeling of being buried by a buncha people with shovels freaked me out. But, I think that only happens to me. Once you are buried, you realize first that sand is heavy. Then you’ll notice that this sand is hot! The most popular place to have this wonderful experience is in Ibusuki.

Kagoshima is also famous for Sakurajima, a volcano… Basically right in the middle of the city. This volcano is still active, and as recently as the 1980s the city was covered in ash most of the time because of it’s frequent spurts. The region is active so it has many natural onsen, and thus, this really hot sand.

I did this way back in 2005. It felt great!

Ibusuki Poster found in 2005