Category Archives for Learn Japanese

Shinrin Yoku – Forest Bathing in Japan

Shinrin Yoku is Forest Bathing in JapaneseUnderstanding Shinrin-Yoku
“Foresting Bathing”

Shinrin-Yoku (森林浴) is a Japanese term that translates to “Forest Bathing” in English and involves spending free time wandering in nature. This therapeutic method was developed in the 1980s in Japan, and it was designed to enhance wellbeing, health, and joy. It’s used widely in the country for purposes of preventative healthcare in Japanese medicine.

Recently a friend of mine created a post about Forest Bathing and this is where I first discovered the term “Shinrin Yoku“. The amazing thing is that she has invented a technology that she calls the Harmonic Egg and it’s literally a giant egg you sit inside of. While inside you’re bathed with light and sound, it’s very similar to Forest Bathing. I suggest you look into her work as well after reading through this article.

Benefits of Shinrin-Yoku

Different researchers, mainly from South Korea and Japan, have carried out various studies to prove the health benefits of forest bathing. They found out that Shinrin-Yoku helps create a relaxing neuro-psychological effect resulting from the changes in the body’s nervous system. In turn, the body’s stress hormones such as Cortisol and Norepinephrine are minimized, and the immune system boosted.

Every research conducted so far has proved that the human body’s anxiety, anger, depression, stress, and lack of sleep levels were reduced considerably for all participants. A simple 15-minute practice of Shinrin-Yoku reduces pressure and stress levels as well as boosts mental acuity. Today, Japan has 44 accredited forest bathing sites with efforts underway to establish Shinrin-Yoku worldwide.

Additionally, nature has proven time and again to be a powerful catalyst in a patient’s recovery journey. In a study published by Dr. Roger Ulrich, a simple view of nature from your window can aid in minimizing convalescence by 24 hours in contrast to the perspective from an urban setup.

Another study by a psychology professor, David Strayer, from the University of Utah proved that Shinrin-Yoku boosts creativity. The study showed that there was a 50% boost in creative problem-solving skills from all participants after a 3-day forest bathing trial in absence of modern technology.

My Side Story About Shinrin Yoku in Japan

I have an interesting story that relates to Shinrin Yoku and another Japanese word I learned from our good friend Megumi-san while we were in Japan (my wife and I). We were on our way out to Saga prefecture from Fukuoka and we were going through the mountains, and if you’ve ever been in Japan and through the mountains and valleys you’ll know how absolutely GREEN it can be. I could immediately feel this presence of color therapy at work while we drove through the mountains, and so we were trying to figure out what the word would be that we were feeling in japanese.

Our friend Megumi-san eventually figured out what we were trying to say and she said this word we were looking for is “Chiryoukoka” (治療固化) which means “Cure” or “Therapy”. This very much rings true, what is interesting is that I’m not alone in this feeling (obviously) you can read here about how “Green is Good for You“, which is another Forest Bathing type website.

Another helpful word in Japanese that goes hand in hand with Shinrin Yoku is Komorebi. Komorebi (木漏れ日) is a word that describes when there are rays or light coming through a tree’s leaves creating a dazzling effect and for many creating a positive feeling of wonderment and awe. There is another word that can also sort of describe this and it’s mabushii (まぶしい), which means dazzled or bright although the difference I would say is that one is spiritual 3D description and another is a flat 2D description.

Click here to learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

5 Simple Steps in Practicing Shinrin-Yoku

While using the help of a guide can be the best way to start forest bathing, not everyone has access to a professional guide. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of Shinrin-Yoku on your own. To begin your forest bathing therapy, try these simple steps:

  1. Find the Right Location – find a quiet location away from busy streets with plenty of trees or even a park. While not everyone may not have the luxury of natural forests, try as much as possible to move away from the modern environment setups.
  2. Choose a Perfect Time and Duration – it may take hours when using a guide, but a simple nature walk per day can still work. Walk longer and soak yourself in the natural environment filled with trees when you get time. Even short sessions of 15-20 minutes can have significant health impacts.
  3. Go Slow and Take Note of Minor Details – the primary purpose of Shinrin-Yoku is to slow down and let your senses feel the tiniest details of nature. Use your hands to touch and connect with nature’s wonders. Feel the breeze and let the sun shine on you under the tree canopies as you rid your mind of any thoughts.
  4. Listen to Nature – find a comfortable spot and just sit listening to birds, insects, and other natural sounds. Take note of how different animals behave and sound in your presence.
  5. Use Your Nose – find locations with rich smells and aromas from the plants, flowers, and soil. Remember, some plants, such as Cedars, produce beneficial phytoncides that boost the production of white blood cells responsible for boosting the immune system.

walking in nature forest bathing shinrin yoku

As you can see, practicing Shinrin Yoku is simple, and you don’t even need a guide.
Remember to turn off your phone to avoid any interruptions as well as EMFs.

walk in nature health benefitsThings That Shinrin-Yoku Is Not

Hiking: Every nature walk has its characteristics, and some may involve a challenging trek for longer distances. However, Shinrin-Yoku is all about plunging yourself in nature in a healing manner.

Naturalist Outing: While forest bathing, we may come across nature’s wonders such as animals, trees, and flowers. However, we do not aim at knowing their characters, names, or medicinal importance.

Medical treatment: Shinrin-Yoku is not meant to replace any physical or mental healthcare diagnosed by professionals. It’s all about spending your time in natural environments regularly to enhance your well-being.

The Bottom Line

According to a Sacramento Forest Therapy Guide, Rose Lawrence, Shinrin Yoku’s central concept revolves around enhancing a positive connection with nature that helps feel your natural surroundings better, which is one reason perhaps the Shintoism religion has such a heavy influence in Japan, one does not have to have extrasensory skills to notice an affect of nature on the body, mind and spirit. You can also enjoy the overall benefits of forest bathing by following the five simple steps discussed above or you can try out the Harmonic Egg by Gail Lynn.

Japanese Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Japanese Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

transitive verbsYou may or may not have heard these words before, and you may or may not know what they mean. Transitive means that something is being done by someone (or something). AKA, transitive verbs are the ones that you (or someone/something else) has direct influence on. When beginning to learn a language, transitive forms are used since most people talk about things they do/ are doing or things other people are doing. Examples of transitive verbs are: I opened the door, I returned the boy home, I made the cat disappear.

Intransitive means that something happens/ed on it’s own. For example, the door opened, the boy returns home, the cat disappears.

In Japanese, transitive verbs use the particle を with the action (verb) following the particle, and what is being affected by the verb before the particle. For example, when you say that you eat a banana, the banana is what is being affected by the verb, so therefore it proceeds the particle and the verb to eat follows the particle. Some people have a hard time with the verb 紹介します (しょうかいします) where the person you are introducing (to someone) follows the を particle and the person you are introducing someone TO follows the particle に because they are having something done TO them (similar to something being given TO someone with the verbs あげます).

Intransitive verbs use the particle が because there is only a subject and an outcome (verb), so basically something happened. Hajimeru 始める vs hajimaru 始まる (to begin [something] vs. [something] began), I have remembered that hajimaru is the intransitive verb which uses GA because I connected the MA to being similar to GA. Also, “I woke up” would be intransitive because it automatically happened, versus “I woke someone up” which would be transitive because you are doing an action.

I may come back to this article in the future and add some more insights once I formally learn about transitive and intransitive verbs, but for now this will do I think ^_^

I suggest you check out my Japanese Verb Conjugation post lesson here, for more on the Japanese language.

Better Ways to Learn Japanese Fluently

–Nihon Scope

How to Understand “Japanese Sentence Structure”

Japanese sentence structure:

Japanese sentence structure can be confusing because in Japanese you can arrange bits of information in various orders within a sentence as long as certain words remain connected to particles. In Japanese, the subject is always either at the beginning of the sentence or is already known and is left out of the sentence. When the subject is declared at the beginning of the sentence, it is followed by either は or が or も depending on whether you are talking about something (は) or answering a question of who/what, or specifying who/what did/had/has/went/came/saw/etc (が) or if the subject also did/had/went/saw/came/etc (も).

If you don’t know Hiragana or Katakana or Kanji learn it here for FREE.

Take the sentence: I came to Japan which in Japanese Is わたしは日本にきました。Which can also be said as 日本にきました with わたしは (the subject) omitted because if you are saying it, the fact that you are the subject is inferred. But if you want to specify who came to Japan, you would say whoever came with the particle が to emphases that it was them who came. The point of the sentence is always at the end, whether it be the verb (what is being done) or an adjective (describing the subject) or a noun (stating what something is).

Now if you wanted to add some additional information to this sentence (any of the 5W’s in English), like who you came with or how you came, or when you came, or why you came, you can include those bits of information anywhere in the sentence as long as every piece remains connected to the correct particle. For example, bits of information such as {「ひとりで」 or 「ともだちと」 or「 かぞくと」} or「(a specific date) に」「(method of transportation) で」「(explanation of why) から」can all be arranged in any order as long as the subject stays at the beginning and the point at the end.

わたし is followed by either は(if you are talking about yourself), or が(if you are the person who did/had/has/was/went/etc.), or も(if you also did/had/went/saw/came/etc.), or と(if you are talking about someone else but you were also included), or に(if you are the recipient of the verb {something was given TO you or said TO you} depending on the sentence. The noun being affected by the verb is always connected to the particle that goes with the verb. I have written a post about verbs with a section about particles used with specific verbs other than the usual verb particle を. So in this sentence 日本 and に have to remain connected, and the sentence will always end with the verb (in this case, adjectives in others).

If you don’t know Hiragana or Katakana or Kanji learn it here for FREE.

Better Ways to Learn Japanese Fluently

English sentance structure and Japanese sentance structure

Making comparisons in Japanese

The main words used for making comparisons in Japanese are: より and のほが. To best understand, think of the definition of より to mean “compared to”and のほが to mean “more (or in English “er” than)”. Whatever is connected to より is the subject of comparison, and whatever is connected to のほが is what is more (whatever adjective) than.

The sentence アメリカのほがおおきいです。Means that America is bigger. Bigger than what, we don’t necessarily know, but if you were to include 日本より either before or after アメリカのほが, we would know that we are comparing America to Japan because 日本より means “compared to Japan”. So, 日本よりアメリカのほがおおきいです。Or アメリカのほが日本よりおおきいです。Are two different ways to say that compared to Japan, America is bigger (or America is bigger than Japan).

Another example of a comparison sentence using より but not のほが is when you are taking a statement and adding the fact that compared to something else, that statement remains. For example, アメリカはおおきいです。America is big. This general statement is true, and if we add the comparison of Japan for instance, the fact would remain true, so we can add 日本より before or after アメリカは. But if you put 日本より first, it then becomes the subject and therefore アメリカは would change to アメリカが because it is now being emphasized that being compared to Japan, America is what is big, or in other words it is answering the question of what is big compared to Japan. So, 日本よりアメリカがおおきいです。Or アメリカは日本よりおおきいです。

Nihon Scope

1 2 3 8
>