Tokyo Tango

Before you lace up your dancing shoes, I'm talking about tan-go as in 単語 (たんご), vocabulary words. I studied Japanese for a few semesters during university...but 4+ years later 忘れました (I forgot). So I'm back to the basics. Really basic. Like pumpkin-spice-latte-wrapped-in-cable-knit-sleeve basic.

I remember greetings for each time of day, casual courteous sayings—although I'm still too embarrassed to say anything to a stranger. So far, I've been getting by mumbling appreciatively and nodding enthusiastically when a storekeeper hands over my deftly wrapped goods. 

I will dedicate some time to study Japanese at a language school starting in January. In the mean time, I've cracked open my old Genki textbooks to refresh my memory. But it's so monotonous spending hour after hour staring at long lists of vocabulary terms. It's a blur. It feels so arbitary and out of context. And boring. I checked out a few local book stores for other ways to study vocabulary, but didn't find any that made it any less daunting. 



introducing Tokyo Tango vocabulary posters

I put together vocabulary terms I've come across in my daily life with photos I took around Tokyo as a reminder of their meaning. Just experimenting with style, color, overlay.  Overall just having fun with typography in a language that I'm learning all over again.

Enjoy. Or not. I'm studying over here~!


I found this cute font for hiragana, mini-わくわく


Fun fact

Cat directly translates to "neko" but cats are often referred to as "neko-chan," which is pretty adorable. You see, you typically add "chan" ending as an honorific term for young ones (like the little sister named Mei-chan in Totoro). I think this treatment reflects how people treat pets as members of the family, as a cherished individual life.

While we were going through Kabocha's paperwork at the airport, the Animal Quarantine Service employee kept referring to her as "neko-chan." It felt respectful. And adorable. On the US side, they kept referring to her as "it". ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


Lessa Chung