Japanese Terms Used On Facing The Rising Sun

Gaijin
Technically it means "foreigner", but it is almost always used to describe a Caucasian foreigner only. This term is almost never used for other Asians in Japan (or any other group). Oddly enough, the Japanese use this term for white people even when the Japanese themselves are the foreigners in another country.

Genkan
The area just past the entrance in a Japanese home where the shoes are removed and stored.

Izakaya
Literally "sake shop". A traditional Japanese bar serving sake, shochu, beer and whiskey. A typical drink order in an Izakaya will come with a small dish of food to nibble on while drinking.

Mizu
A concrete drainage groove on the side of a Japanese road. Usually uncovered and about the width of one of your car tires. This is also the word for "water", but it is spelled with different symbols.

Mizuwari
A style of drink where the alcoholic portion is diluted with water. Examples are shochu and water or whiskey and water. Shochu mizuwari is often accompanied by a pickled plum (umeboshi) in the glass, particularly if you order the water warmed.

Nihonshu
Rice wine, a.k.a sake. Literally means "Japan Alcoholic Drink" or "Japan Wine".

Shoji
A traditional wooden sliding door that is covered with a thick rice paper. All modern Japanese homes that contain shoji will have glass doors on the external side of the shoji to protect from the elements.

Tatami
A special type of mat made from threshed rice straw, with a tightly woven covering of rush leaves. These are common in traditional Japanese homes.

Tokkuri
A small, usually ceramic, flask used for serving nihonshu (a.k.a sake).

Umeboshi
A pickled Japanese plum, normally pink in color and extremely sour and salty.

Washitsu
A room in a Japanese home with a tatami flooring. Any windows or glass doors will be covered with shoji internally.