A Booklet Introducing Japan’s Bath Culture in Simple Japanese
- Self-publish a booklet that’s exclusively available via Japan Tomorrow!
- Introduce Japanese culture to Japanese language learners through the use of simple Japanese.
- Inform readers about sento—Japanese public baths that have existed since ancient times—with easy-to-understand Japanese.
Learn about Japanese Culture by Reading a Booklet in Simple Japanese!
There are presently more than 3.8 million people (*) in 142 countries studying the Japanese language.
Despite COVID-19 hampering international travel in 2020, the number of views on the Easy Japanese version of MATCHA’s website has been growing steadily. This confirms that people are increasingly interested in studying Japanese through entertaining cultural content.
Signage in multiple languages can be found throughout Japan’s public transportation system. This enables international visitors who don’t understand Japanese to easily travel around Japan.
However, many independently run businesses at both popular and niche destinations display only Japanese storefronts and shop information. Only a few owners can speak English or other foreign languages.
Even today, many places in Japan are only accessible to those who understand Japanese. While these locations are unable to offer services in foreign languages, they are home to rich opportunities for cultural exchange, and lifestyle that is unique to those particular regions. Our goal is to share these unique aspects of Japan with language learners in simple, easy-to-understand Japanese, to elevate their travel experiences here. With this in mind, our project to introduce articles in simplified Japanese was born.
What Is Simple Japanese?
Simple Japanese (or "Easy Japanese") refers to Japanese vocabulary and expressions easily understood by those in the early stages of their language-learning journey. This version of Japanese came about during the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. At the time, there was an urgent need to quickly and accurately pass information to the masses. Today, this version of the Japanese language is used in various settings by NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Corporation), local governments, and other authorities.
MATCHA’s Easy Japanese Website
On MATCHA’s official homepage, articles are translated into multiple languages, including simple Japanese on MATCHA's Easy Japanese website.
The grammar and vocabulary words used in the articles are equivalent to N4 (level 4) of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).
To support language learners, furigana (phonetic characters) are written above the kanji (Chinese characters). Difficult vocabulary and expressions also come with English annotations.
Parts of the articles include audio downloads, making them effective for listening practice as well.
A four-frame comic points out common Japanese language mistakes and introduces situations in daily life that may present challenges for international residents. Thus, students can have fun while learning more about language and life in Japan.
Please click here for more details in English.
Project Rewards: Our Self-Published Booklet “Yasanichi”
We are in the process of self-publishing a booklet that will be sent to those who support our project! The Yasanichi booklet helps readers learn about Japan using simple Japanese.
The theme of our publication is the Japanese public bath (sento).
The sento is an essential part of Japan’s unique bath culture. The Japanese have loved these public baths since ancient times.
Since they are slightly different from a typical sightseeing spot, very few public baths provide services in foreign languages. This makes it challenging for visitors to fully embrace this cultural experience, because they may not be able to understand the proper etiquette of bathing culture or communicate effectively in Japanese.
Our booklet is for those who would like to visit a public bath. It explains everything you need to know—from preparing a visit to what to do after your bath—all in simple, easy-to-understand Japanese.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Sento (Public Bath)?
- Let’s Go to a Sento! Some Tips Before You Visit
- What Do You Do Once You Arrive?
- The Proper Way of Entering the Bath
- What To Do After Stepping Out of the Bath
- Delicious Post-Bath Snacks!
- Some Useful Japanese Expressions to Remember
- Common Questions and Answers
- A Manga (Four-Frame Comic Strip)
- Our Recommended Public Baths
*Illustrations and pictures are part of the publication sample.
Once the project is fully underway, we’ll be able to make this booklet even better!
The cover illustration is still in the rough stages. Once our project is finalized, we’ll choose the better of the two samples and put the finishing touches on it.
Our title, “Yasanichi,” is a compound of “yasashii” (simple or easy) and “nihongo” (Japanese language).
A fun characteristic of the Japanese language is combining two separate words by using the initial sound of one word or both words. For example, a convenience store (konbiniensu sutoa) becomes “konbini,” and a smartphone (sumato hon) becomes “sumaho.”
Japanese often adopt these abbreviated word forms. We want to share a sense of Japanese culture also through our title.
◆Cover Illustrations and Design Courtesy of:
Cato Friend - Illustrator
Cato Friend’s Profile:
Born in Japan in 1984. Cato Friend expresses motifs and images using transparent colors while incorporating interesting patterns and lettering. The result is a unique, fantastical style.
From illustrations for media outlets to product development and window displays, they continue to increase their customer base by creating the perfect art for clients’ projects. In addition, Cato Friend is expanding their audience by holding exhibitions both within Japan and internationally.
Click here for the Cato Friend Official Homepage (Japanese)
Click here for Cato Friend Information (margarine Management and Promotion)
PLANT - Art Director
Shun Ueki (PLANT）
Art director / Designer
Ueki is in his tenth year of design work, launching new services for various brands and companies. His design work helps clients build projects from the ground up.
Click here for the Shun Ueiki Official Homepage
How Will Financial Contributions Be Used?
The pledge money will be put towards the production of Yasanichi and other rewards.
1) The Yasanichi Booklet in Simple Japanese (Our Self-Published Booklet)
Using simple Japanese, Yasanichi will feature information on sightseeing and culture in Japan. The subject of the booklet is sento, the beloved public bath that’s a part of daily Japanese life. Readers will be introduced to the ins and outs of bath culture in an easy-to-understand fashion. The booklet includes an inside look at a sento, what bathers need to bring when they visit, and so on.
*For the rewards, we have also prepared bundles of 10, 30, 50, and 100 booklets. These are ideal for Japanese language schools and classrooms.
2) Enjoy a One-Hour Chat with MATCHA's Staff Using Beginner Level Japanese + the Yasanichi Booklet in Simple Japanese
This reward is a great opportunity to practice what you’ve studied! Using simple Japanese, you can have a conversation with a Japanese staff member from MATCHA.
*The conversation will be held online.
*MATCHA also employs non-Japanese staff members who serve as editors for the English and Traditional Chinese version of MATCHA’s website. They use Japanese in the workplace, so we encourage you to ask them for tips on how to improve your Japanese language skills.
3) A coupon for an online Japanese lesson on Cafetalk (2,000 yen discount!) + the Yasanichi Booklet
Cafetalk is a service offering online language lessons. The supporters who choose this reward will receive a 2,000 yen discount on a Japanese lesson with Cafetalk, plus the Yasanichi Booklet on Japanese public baths.