Japan Foundation’s Conversation Cafe a Fun, Humbling Experience

Hello from Tokyo! I arrived yesterday afternoon, and I’ll spend the next two weeks roaming throughout Japan, attending baseball games, sampling regional cuisine, and visiting landmarks.

I’m also going to brush up on my knowledge of Japanese culture, as I didn’t fare well on a simple quiz administered by the Japan Foundation. Last week the Japan Foundation held a Conversation Café at The Nippon Club, where Japanese language enthusiasts of all levels gathered to chat in Japanese and discuss our favorite Japanese topics.

The theme was aki, or autumn in Japan, and Sakurai Sensei told us about special activities the Japanese do during the fall, such as budougari (grape gathering), kurihiroi (chestnut picking), imohori (sweet potato digging), and momijigari (maple viewing). September is the month for moon viewing, and Sakurai Sensei says that activity is as important as cherry blossom viewing in the spring.

Japan Foundation, Nippon Club, NYC, Japanese, language, Japanese culture

Part of the discussion was the aforementioned quiz. It consisted of four simple questions, of which I had only one correct answer. I’ve pasted the quiz below so you can try your hand at it and see if you know more about Japanese culture than I do. :)


Mondai (Question) 1
Which one of the following has the longest history?
1. Tea ceremony 茶道
2. Kabuki かぶき
3. Haiku はいく

Double-click row for the answer: 1. Tea ceremony


Mondai 2
Which one of the following has NOT been translated into Japanese by Haruki Murakami?
1. The Great Gatsby グレートギャツビー
2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s ティファニーで朝食を
3. The Sun Also Rises 日はまたのぼる

Double-click row for the answer: 3. The Sun Also Rises


Mondai 3
Which sport was ranked No. 1 in the survey of “the sport that parents want their children to play”?
1. Tennis  テニス
2. Swimming 水泳
3. Karate 空手

Double-click row for the answer: 2. Swimming


Mondai 4
What is the average price of one matsutake mushroom (0.2 lb) produced in Japan?
1. 500 yen
2. 2,000 yen
3. 5,000 yen

Double-click row for the answer: 3. 50,000 yen (roughly $637)