Welcome to “Nippon” or “Nihon” 16 JUNE 2018 tour report

Many thanks to the guests who joined the regular afternoon tour to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace on that day. We welcomed over 30 people from many countries including U.K. Italy, Croatia, Australia, USA, Spain, Columbia and Israel.  We divided into 3 groups.

It was a very cloudy day. Since clouds shaded sunlight, the temperature was below 20 centigrade, which was like a early-spring time. That was unusual in this time of a year and good for tourists since Japan’s summer, especially rainy summer time in June is terrible because of high temperature and high humidity by lots of rain. People get much moist in the air. Then in July and August, strong sunlight, heat wave and humidity hurt people.

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From this weekend, Soccer World Cup tournament has been held in Russia. Japan is one of contestants. Our tour is like World Cup since people from various countries including the contestants joined and could talk about the tournament. We enjoyed talking about the World Cup.

At some bars in Tokyo, soccer fans gather to watch games on TV drinking beer. Some bars charge customers just for entering to watch TV when a tournament is Japan vs. other because of big popularity.

Japan has a professional soccer league called “J-League” that consists of 3 layers, J1, J2, and J3. Soccer is as popular as baseball and Sumo.

At a stadium or bar, people chant “Nippon, Gambare” which means “Japan, Go Go!” Nippon is native name of this country. Japan is English name and was initially pronounced “ziben” by Chinese in medieval period and then transferred to Europe. It is just like we call U.K. “Igiris” derived from Portuguese naming of England, “Ingles” in the middle age.

But Nippon is pronounced “Nihon” as well especially when combining with other word such as Nihon-jin (Japanese person) or Nihon-go (Japanese language). Both Nippon and Nihon are correct.

So when you come to Japan, please keep in mind that Japan is called “Nippon” or “Nihon” by native Japanese. When you hear the word, that is when people talk about their country or themselves. We are Nihon-jin who speak Nihon-go as native language in Nippon.

Please come to Nippon and meet Nihon-jin including Tokyo Free Walking Tour guides!

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(Masa)

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