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A Memorable Day in Koenji, Tokyo (with Video)

Triplelights official blog B.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Triplelights official blog B.

Last updated : Mar 03, 20214 min read

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All countries have their own iconic sounds, wether it be the buzzing of scooter traffic in Vietnam's cities, or the lone call of a loon in the Canadian wilderness.  Japan, however, is a country that seems especially abundant with unique sounds.  Just have a look at this video and you can see what we mean.


So what's with the obsession with sounds?  Why does the convenience store make a tune as you enter?  Why do train stations play music as the door opens?  And why, oh why, do Japanese business men slurp so much at ramen noodle shops?  Well, a lot of it might have to do with the Japanese language itself.  In Japan, it seems there are endless amounts of ways to describe sounds using onomatopoeias.  In Japanese, this is called "giongo" (擬音語), and if you've ever studied Japanese you might find it a real pain trying to memorize the literally hundreds of different ways to describe certain sounds.  Despite the difficultly, however, you will find that giongo is extremely important in using the Japanese language.  You will find it on nearly every page in Japanese comics (manga), and also it is an extremely useful tool in describing things expressively in daily conversation.  In fact, a lot of Japanese won't even need to hear the word you are describing if you use giongo properly, as it is just such a common practice.  The Japanese have also gone one step further and use onomatopoeias to describe things that don't even have sounds, such as feelings or emotions.  This type of language is called "gitaigo" (擬態語), and largely comes from "imagining" how a feeling might sound in real life.  


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Here is a quick explanation of the giongo used in the video:


Flowing water: sara sara (さらさら)

Train horn: gaaaan (ガーーーン)

Train tracks: gatan goton (ガタンゴトン)

Train door bell: pirorororo(ピロロロ)

Cicada: min min miin (ミンミンミー)

Clap: Pa (ぱっ)

Bicycle bell: chirin chirin (チリンチリン)

Convenience store door chime: fa re ra re ra mi (ファレラレラミ)

Register beep: pii (ぴー)

Munching on food: mogu mogu (もぐもぐ)

Pachinko shop jingling: jyara jyara (ジャラジャラ)

Capsule toy dispenser: gacha gacha (ガチャガチャ)

Taiko drum: don don (ドンドン) 

Ramen slurping: tsuru tsuru (ツルツル) 

Bathhouse splash: kapoon (カポーン)

Japanese wooden sandal (geta): karan karan (カランカラン)

Heartbeat: doki doki(ドキドキ)


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sounds in Japan.  If you have a chance to visit Japan, surely you'll discover even more unique sounds than what we've presented here.  Please let us know your thoughts and tell us what you think are the most "Japanesey" sounds you have heard.


A little bit about Koenji (where we filmed the video):


Koenji is a popular place to live in Tokyo, so today we showed you the true "Koenji" experience. Why do people enjoy living here? Well, the location is convenient, being only 2 stations away from the well-connected Shinjuku station.  Also, you have lively shopping along the district's main shopping arcade.  Here, you can feel free to play, shop, eat, or whatever else your heart desires.  Lastly, the area is dotted with small parks and old temples, which allow for a nice relaxing atmosphere without sacrificing the conveniences and entertainment of the city.

So next time you are in Tokyo and want to experience some laid-back Japanese living, take a stroll through Koenji and enjoy everyday Japanese life.

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Yasuro C.

4.80 / 5
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Hello, my name is Yasuro (Mr). I was born and brought up in Kansai, graduated from a univ in Kobe city, after moved into Kanto, 30 years in Tokyo, 2.5 years in Nagoya city, 7.5 years abroad (KL & S'pore) as a rep of a construction company and I got the National Guide Certificate in 2011. My hobbies are making Haiku poems, singing various songs (voice-training for 18 years), playing the folk-guitar, trekking in mountains like Takao and Okutama in the West of Tokyo, visiting museums like in Ueno Park and travelling around Japan to make Haiku poems. Thank you for your attention.                                                                                                                                 

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I’m so excited to have a chance to show you around my favorite spots in Kanagawa prefecture. I was born in Kanagawa. I spent my whole school life, including university, here in Kanagawa. I worked as a high school English teacher here for 40 years. I love Kanagawa so much. We have many interesting tourist spots, like Hakone, Kamakura, Enoshima and Yokohama. I got my tour guide license in English in 2009. I am still an English teacher. To give an interesting and impressive lesson to young high school students, I’ve learnt and gathered many kinds of information. I also have a license to teach social studies, so I have a wide range of knowledge about Japanese culture and history. I’m sure to provide you an interesting tour.                                                                                                                                 

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My name is Grant I lived more than 10 years in Japan. I graduated University and translation school in Tokyo. I am fluent in Japanese. I have a degree in Asian studies and have expert-level knowledge of Japanese culture and history. I have memorized the JR rail system across all of Japan, I use the same train timetable calculators as the station staff, and I have experience using bullet train passes that are exclusive to foreign visitors. I can optimally navigate the Tokyo underground and maximize value from a Tokyo metro pass and also understand Tokyo above ground which will allow for seamless transitions between different metro stations and landmarks with minimal backtracking. *There will be a price revision at the end of June* My tour fee is Half-Day Tour: 20,000yen for 1-5hours Full-Day Tour: 40,000yen for 5-10hours The time transiting to and from your hotel for pick up or drop off within Tokyo 23wards does not count towards the time. I am also able to guide historical sites and cities such as Kyoto, Kanazawa, Nikko, and Kamakura on request if you pay my rail fare.                                                                                                                                  

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