Our (sort of) class trip to Sakuramen

By Chi Onyeka

For starters, I wasn’t able to go to Tono Sushi because my school forced me to be there on the one Saturday that I would be able to go to a ramen shop for the first time, with the rest of the class. I know. Sucks right? On the brighter side of things, Sally, our program coordinator, offered a complimentary class trip to a ramen restaurant near our class. I was too excited to hear this news, but some of the students didn’t come, making it a sort of class trip.

So we didn’t go to the ramen shop right away. We stopped by Hana (はな) market and picked up things we would need for our Sakura matsuri, or cherry blossom festival booth. While in there, I got to explore and see more of what they have and asked the lovely Eshita-sensei, our Japanese teacher, to help me figure out what items were that were written in kanji. Then.. I came up with the idea that I should ask the cashier where the seaweed was in Japanese. So with the help of Eshita-sensei, I found out how to say seaweed in Japanese and proceeded to the cashier’s desk. I knew I wasn’t in the wrong for this because I’ve heard the employees there speaking Japanese among themselves, so it wasn’t like I was assuming their nationality by speaking Japanese instead of English. And it worked! She showed me where the seaweed was and I looked at the prices and were pretty satisfied since I’m currently planning to make my own onigiri once I get the money (and time) to do so. When we were leaving, Eshita-sensei gave us all newspapers in Japanese. After Hana market, we walked to the ramen shop called: Sakuramen.

Once we got to Sakuramen, we stood outside for a bit, waiting for seats suitable for all of us. We were told to go in and examine the place just to get a look of what we might have to experience, being in the ramen shop. I got to go in first and I noticed that there were mainly people in groups of three or four and the music was fairly loud. And if I’m remembering correctly, the bottom half was dimly lit but it suure did smell good in there! Because we were a large group of people, we ate on the upper half where it was quieter and less crowded. The music was faint and we all got a pretty decent time to order. I ordered gojiramen which was pork, bamboo, onion sprouts, and a thick noodle all drenched in chicken broth. It was very very good and I’d definitely revisit on my own or with a friend. On the way home, when I told my mom what was in the ramen bowl, she was so surprised that I ate bamboo and asked all these questions along with telling me to google nutritious facts about bamboo just to know how healthy bamboo is (yeah, my mom hovers over my diet like that). The thing is, there are so many species of bamboo and I didn’t know which one I ate so I couldn’t just google bamboo and find out “hey! It has a lot of calcium” or something like that, so to calm her down, I told her that bamboo is a multipurpose plant, that I’m pretty sure is good for you.

The trip to Sakuramen was definitely a memorable experience as it was my first time going to a ramen shop. Of course the whole class didn’t go, and I couldn’t order in Japanese, it wasn’t make it as memorable as Tono Sushi would have been, but it made up for my absence. And since the ramen was very oishii, it was totally worth the experience and I would definitely do it again.

Counting in Japanese

By Nuu Hightower

Counting isn’t hard, right? We’ve all learned that the second we walk in the school building back in Pre-K. However, the number system in Japanese isn’t all the same, and instead uses different systems depending on the context. These contexts include people, objects, and just in general. The first time I learned to not use the general numbers for counting how many people are in my family, I was confused, and didn’t get why there was a different way of counting just to count up the number of people. Then again, I shouldn’t have expected a different language to be like English.

Now here’s the general Japanese counting system:

1 = ichi

2 = ni

3 = san

4 = shi/yon

5 = go

6 = roku

7 = nana

8 = hachi

9 = kyuu

10 = jyuu

However, you don’t use these numbers when you count, let’s say…potatoes. Instead, you use these numbers instead:

1 = hitotsu

2 = futatsu

3 = mittsu

4 = yottsu

5 = itsutsu

6 = mutsu

7 = nanatsu

8 = yatsu

9 = kokonatsu

10 = to

Now you know how to count potatoes (at least, from one to ten). Notice how almost all of them end with “-tsu”. These are the numbers that you use for objects, as mentioned earlier. But how about counting people, you may ask. Well, you use these numbers:

1 = hitori

2 = futari

3 = san-nin

4 = yon-nin

5 = go-nin

6 = roku-nin

7 = shichi-nin

8 = hachi-nin

9 = kyuu-nin

10 = jyuu-nin

As you can tell, there’s another pattern that’s present in these numbers; almost all of them end with “-nin”. You may think that it can be confusing to constantly keep switching to different ways of saying “three” depending on the context, and you’re right in a way. However when you start to keep using these sorts of numbers over and over again while learning different subjects slowly, you can get used to it. In one class period, we’ve learned to count how many family members we have, and started to learn that number system before moving on to a different subject and thus a different number system to get used to. It’s nice that when I thought that learning counting in Japanese would be really difficult due to many ways of just saying numbers, but then realizing that I’m getting the hang of it is good to know. Remember: “-tsu” is for objects, “-nin” is for people.