Japanese Lesson from Games: Use them with your chin (?!)

The Nintendo Switch is region free, and many (not all) games, including Octopath Traveler, 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!

ago de tsukau kurai no
ago de tsukau kurai no ooakindo ni natteru ze!

The phrase I want to highlight in this post is あごで使う and it literally means, “to use (someone) by the chin.” Pretty hard to understand this phrase from the words alone!

The character on the right in this scene is Teresa, a merchant. Before this point in the game she met this merchant boy and they had gotten into a selling war… and more. No spoilers, but Teresa comes out on top.

Later, the merchant boy on the left is saying to Teresa that when they finally meet again, he will have improved his craft so much that he will be the one calling the shots and telling Teresa what to do.

Japanese: 顎で使う

Hiragana: あごでつかう

Romaji: ago de tsukau

ago de tsukawarerunoha docchi kashirane
ago de tsukawareru no ha docchi kashira ne

She’s confident and responds, hrm… I wonder which of us will be the one to be calling the shots… You’ll notice the passive form of the verb “to use” as tsukawareru. The “kashira” at the end is the sentence ending particle, usually feminine, to express a question, often to one’s self. More on kashira here on Tae Kim’s Guide.

Check my Twitter account @Japannewbie for more occasional Japanese language tidbits from games.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut Review

I purchased a Tom Bihn Aeronaut in ballistic nylon way back in October 2013 and it’s still my favorite carry-on bag to travel with. It’s going strong and looking great.

This is not a cheap bag. Tom Bihn doesn’t make cheap products in any sense of the word. I paid almost $400.00 USD for this set up including all the optional accessories. It has been totally worth it. I cannot believe this bag is more than six years old now. I have traveled with this bag along with one additional small carry-on (no check-in luggage) on countless domestic trips in Japan, and internationally to Malaysia, Singapore, Hawaii, Germany, Czech Republic, Georgia (Tbilisi), and India… the list goes on and on.

As for accessories, in addition to the Aeronaut itself, I got two Aeronaut side compartment-sized packing cubes, a Packing Cube Backpack, and a Snake Charmer.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut being carried by only one backpack strap by a porter in Varanasi, India.
My Tom Bihn Aeronaut being carried by a porter in Varanasi, India, by one backpack strap. (2014)

I’ve flown on some small planes, and I think I have only needed to check in my Aeronaut twice. Once because I boarded so late that all the space in the overhead compartments was already taken, and once because the overhead compartments were so narrow, and the bag was so full, that it wouldn’t fit. I once got asked to weigh the carry on at the check-in counter (it was over the carry-on weight limit), but some sweet talking and shuffling of items got me through that ordeal.

The desire to not check in bags and only travel with the Aeronaut and one small carry on has made me a better packer, and has saved me tons of time in airports.

I would even argue that it has saved me some money as I’m less likely to buy random trinkets on my travels as I know they’ll just become extra luggage that I’ll need to carry back. I have gotten into the habit of packing a super thin Samsonite collapsable foldable duffel bag that I’ll take out and use to check excess stuff on my return trip if it comes to that.

When I pack the Aeronaut for a work trip I’m usually set up like this:

  • Two to three work shirts and slacks in the packing cube backpack which goes in the main compartment,
  • Work shoes in a side compartment,
  • Underwear and socks in the other side compartment,
  • A few t-shirts where they can fit,
  • Toiletries and electronics chargers and adapters go in separate sides of the Snake Charmer and that goes in the main compartment,
  • Side pockets for passports, flight itineraries, and schedules.

If I need a blazer I’ll try to wear it on the plane with my casual outfit to prevent wrinkling. If I’ll need a suit, I try to wear the suit on the outbound trip and smash it back into the main compartment on the return trip.

When I pack for leisure travel it’s basically the same, but the nature of casual clothes means I can be more flexible in how I sort my stuff — it’s much easier. If I bring an extra pair of sandals for the beach I’ll put those in one of the side compartments.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut cozy in a Japanese inn.
Tom Bihn Aeronaut cozy in a Japanese inn. (2014)

Here are some of the reasons why I like this bag so much:

The soft shell of the bag allows it to easily slide into most airplane overhead compartments, especially if the main bag compartment isn’t stuffed too full.

The bag hardware is top notch — I’ve never had a broken zipper. The bag material has hardly shown any wear and tear. The straps are still solidly attached.

It looks presentable enough (even after 6+ years) that I do not hesitate to bring it into the office or other work situations when I am traveling. I do not feel like I need a more formal looking travel bag. And this one is green! It would be even more passable in black.

The Packing Cube backpack has been great. I put my clothes inside of it when I’m traveling, and after I arrive at my destination it becomes a very simple day bag, shopping bag, or beach bag. The Dyneema material is ultralight, and like all of my Tom Bihn products, I’ve never had any problems with the hardware, even after seven years of use.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut fits into a Japanese coin locker.
Tom Bihn Aeronaut fits right into a small Japanese coin locker. (2014)

Things to know:

When the Aeronaut bag is full, it can be very heavy. Probably too heavy to carry using just the shoulder strap for long periods of time. Luckily it converts into a backpack. Also, let’s learn to pack lighter.

I strongly recommend buying the packing cubes for the side compartments. I can’t imagine using this bag without them.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut (purchased 2013)
Aeronaut, Packing Cube Backpack, Snake Charmer

The design of the bag has changed slightly since 2013, check the website link below for details on how the new model is laid out.

Here’s what my nearly empty bag looks like today.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut (purchased 2013)
Tom Bihn Aeronaut (Purchased 2013)

That’s all for now. Maybe I’ll do a future post detailing my packing strategies and travel tips with this bag. What else would you like to know? Until then, check it out, it might be fun!


Mid-day Visit to Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto on a Weekday

On Thursday, March 12, I went to Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto just before lunch to see if I could enjoy a day there without crowds. Fushimi Inari has become one of the most crowded tourist destinations in Kyoto so the thought of a visit off peak season was appealing. I expected crowds to be low because it was a weekday, and also, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fushimi Inari Station
Fushimi Inari Station at around 11 am on Thursday morning March 12, 2020.

Fushimi Inari was certainly less crowded than usual, but there were definitely lots of tourists there. I wouldn’t recommend planning a trip anywhere with large crowds while the danger of Corona Virus is an issue, but if you’re already on your way to Japan and committed to going anyway this is what to expect.

Fushimi Inari Shopping Street
The shopping area near the station. Still tourists, but not crazy crowded.

I did see a couple of tour groups, including one with a tour guide with a lead flag and everything. The ten plus seemingly western tourists were all wearing the same style mask, which makes me think that the tour company provided them. Otherwise I noticed the usual groups of tourists, with the notable absence of Mandarin-speaking groups.

We arrived at Fushimi Inari station at about 11am, had lunch at a nice western cafe called Vermillion, and then started our way up Mt. Inari. I was with an elementary school kid and we made it to the top at at about 1:15 pm. After a bit of wandering and shopping we were ready to leave and at the train station at about 2:30 pm. So, If you’ve got 3-4 hours you can easily make it to the top of the mountain and back.

Fushimi Inari Torii Gates
Not exactly a empty… Though it did thin out the higher we got up the mountain.
Fushimi Inari Torii Gates
Midway up it was pretty easy to keep some distance between the next group of tourists.
Fushimi Inari Torii Gates
I was able to get some shots with no people around, but not near the bottom of the mountain.

If you’re thinking about traveling to Japan sometime soon and are wondering how the Corona Virus (COVID-19) or other local circumstances might affect your trip, I recommend checking out the following websites for information:

Fushimi Inari Fox Statue
One of the many fox statues at Fushimi Inari

Imakumano Kannonji Temple in Kyoto

I decided to visit Imakumano Kannonji after looking for a place in Kyoto that wouldn’t be crowded with tourists. Imakumano delivered. There was hardly anyone around when we visited in February 2020, perhaps the Corona Virus had something to do with it, but it is so out of the way I expect that it never sees large crowds. The site is large and it’s a good walk to see everything if you don’t use a taxi. A great site to visit on a good-weather day when you want to avoid the crowds but still see something special.

The complex is large and there are several sites to visit. One of them is Kaikoji Temple.

The largest standing wooden Buddha statue is located in Kaiko-ji Temple, which is on the way to Imakumano, and is worth the visit. At 5.4 meters tall, it was quite impressive. Photos of the inside are not allowed so you’ll have to take my word for it. They also have an audio presentation that will explain the site in English.

Kaikoji Temple Explanation

This is probably not the most efficient trip plan, but we visited Imakumanoji Kannonji after a visit to Sanjusangendo. It was about a 20 minute walk from one site to the the other and we stopped for lunch in between. I was with an elementary school kid who can only enjoy about two cultural sites a day, so this was our original plan.

Walk from Sanjusangendo to Imakumano Kannonji Temple, click for Google Maps Link
Imakumano Kannon near Kaikoji Temple
Near Kaikoji Temple
Imakumano Kannonji Entrance
After a long walk you can find the entrance to Imakumano Kannonji
Imakumano Kannon
The most photographed vantage point of the main building.
Imakumano Kannonji

I’m sure this area is even more beautiful in the fall when the leaves have changed.

If you’re looking for a Kyoto site to visit that is somewhat off the beaten path, consider a visit!


Imakumano Kannonji Temple – This YouTube video will give you an idea of the site

Corona Virus Japanese-English Vocabulary List

Here are some terms you may find used in the Japanese press regarding the Corona Virus COVID-19 and their English translations. These are unofficial translations.

I got a lot of these translations from the classic WWWJDIC.

For more information on the COVID-19 situation in Japan, see this Reddit r/JapanTravel thread.

Wash your hands.

新型コロナウイルス / shingata corona uirusu / Corona Virus

感染者 / kansensha / an infected person

感染者数 / kansenshasuu / number of infected people

感染する/ kansensuru / to infect (to spread a disease)

2時感染者 / nijikansensha / secondary infection (if infected are put into a hospital and infect someone who was not infected)

接触感染 / sesshoku kansen / infection through contact

飛沫感染 / himatsu kansen / infection from droplets

感染爆発 / kansenbakuhatsu / explosive increase in infections

ソーシャルディスタンス / sousharu disutansu /social distance

一定距離 / ittei kyori / fixed distance (from something, used in context of social distancing

軽傷者 / keishousha / an infected person with light symptoms

疫病 / ekibyou / pandemic

世界的大流行 / sekaiteki dairyuukou / pandemic

防疫 / boueki / communicable disease control (e.g. by quarantine, disinfection, etc.); 

休校 / kyuukou / school cancelation

延期 / enki / postponed

無期延期 / mukienki / postponed without set date to be rescheduled

中止 / chuushi / cancelled

休業 / kyuugyou / business temporarily closed

休業要請 / kyuugyou yousei / request (by the government) to temporarily closes business

休園 / kyuuen / park temporarily closed

休演 / kyuuen / performance or show canceled

時短 / jitan / reduced hours

拡大防止 / kakudai boushi / prevent from spreading further

自宅待機 / jitaku taiki / stay (quarantined) in your home

コロナ感染防止対策 / korona kansen boushi taisaku / measures to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus

臨時休館 / rinjikyuukan / a temporary (irregular) closing

時間短縮 / jikan tanshuku / reduced hours (of operation)

感染情報 / kansen jyouhou / information about the status of the infection

感染症 / kansenshou / infectious disease; infection;

感染力 / kansenryoku / degree of infectiousness (how infectious something is)

家庭感染 / katei kansen / infection at home among one’s family

蔓延 / manen /  infestation; proliferation; being widespread 

致死率 / chishiritsu / fatality rate

死亡率 / shibouritsu / death rate

陰性 / insei / negative

陽性 / yousei / positive

再陽性 / saiyousei / reinfection (recovered but tested positive again)

緊急事態宣言/ kinkyuu jitai senngenn / declare a state of emergency

緊急対策 / kinkyutaisaku / emergency measures

デマ情報 / dema jyouhou / fake news

消毒 / shoudoku / disinfectant

 除菌 / jyokin / disinfection; sterilize;

アルコール消毒 / arukouru shoudoku / alcohol disinfectant

在庫 / zaiko / inventory

品切れ / hingire / out of stock, stock shortage

転売 / tenbai / reselling (e.g., 転売禁止 in regards to masks)

感染確認 / kansen kakunin / confirmed infections

厚生労働省 / kouseiroudoushou / Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare

高熱 / kounetsu / high fever

発熱 / hatsunetsu / to have (get) a fever

頭痛 / zutsuu / headache

検温 / kenon / temperature measurement

肺炎 / haien / pneumonia

検査 / kensa / inspection; examination;

入国規制 / nyuukoku kisei / immigration restriction

入国拒否 / nyuukokukyohi / denying entry to a country (immigration denial)

渡航制限 / tokou seigen / restrictions and limitations on flights

無観客 / mukankyaku / an event with no audience (many live events are being changed to live events with no live audience, i.e., televised only)

外出制限 / gaishutsu seigen / restrictions on going outside of your home (lockdown)

外出禁止 / gaishutsu kinshi / prohibited to go outdoors

自宅待機要請 / jitaku taiki yousei / a request to stay-at-home

不要不急 / fuyoufukyuu / unnecessary and not urgent (不要不急な渡航 travel that is neither necessary nor urgent)

指数関数的に増加する / shisuukannsuuteki ni zoukasuru / grow exponentially

密閉 密集 密接 / mippei misshuu missetsu / places with bad circulation, crowded places, close contact with others

行動変容 / koudou henyou / behavior change (change daily patterns to prevent spread)

最多を更新 / saita wo koushin / more than the previous maximum (used when reporting daily infection numbers)

医療崩壊 / iryou houkai / collapse of the healthcare system

封鎖解除 / fuusa kaijyo / “release of lockdown” city lockdown removed

警戒感 / keikaikan / feeling of urgency

個人防御服 / kojinbougyofuku / personal protective equipment

病床数 / byoushousuu / number of hospital beds

第二波 / dainiha / second wave

ガス抜き / gasu nuki / “out of gas” referring to people who are tired of doing self-restraint and start going out again.

出口戦略 / deguchi senryaku / exit strategy

新たな生活様式 / aratana seikatsu youshiki / new lifestyle

コロナ太り / korona butori / weight gained because you stayed indoors so long doing nothing during the corona pandemic