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JOI Support staff and manager.

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Kakine Japanese fences

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Houses in Japan

The Japanese are very house-proud people. There are often two distinct patterns of residences in Japan: the single-family detached house and the multiple-unit building.

Old Japanese houses can be very quaint and it is enjoyable to drive out of the cities into rural Japan to see some beautiful examples of well-designed architecture and meticulously kept gardens.

The constant threat of natural damage and disasters including earthquakes is one reason why the houses are often built to be replaced after a few decades or designed to be rebuilt.

Read this interesting blog about an often overlooked aspect of Japanese houses by JOI 's online teacher Yukiko Takane. Learn new vocabulary, and watch the video and for free Japanese listening practice.

Kakine Japanese fences


By TAKANE Yukiko


 垣根は自分の家の周りの囲いや、仕切りです。 垣根には色々あり、ブロックやフェンスのような人工的なもの。竹で出来た竹垣、木で作った生垣。キンモクセイやサザンカなどの花の咲く生垣もあります。

 私の町では海が近いため、丈夫で潮風に強い、槙塀がよく使われています。 生垣は手入れが大変なため、ブロック塀にする家も多いです。

 このブロック塀はリスクもあります。 地震の際、狭い路地ではブロック塀がたおれ、避難ルートふさいでしまいます。 救助妨げにもなります。下敷きになり、命を落とす人もいます。 近年ではブロック塀の撤去や生垣の設置補助金をだす町もあります。

 「垣根越し」という言葉があります。 垣根越しに話す、垣根越しに物を渡す。最近ではあまり使われない言葉だと思います。 ご近所と会話がある、緑豊かな町、みんなの命を守る塀づくりを考えなければいけません。


To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 


 垣根(かきね)は自分(じぶん)の家(いえ)の周(まわ)りの囲(かこ)いや、仕切(しき)りです。 垣根(かきね)には色々(いろいろ)あり、ブロック塀(べい)やフェンスのような人工的(じんこうてき)なもの。竹(たけ)で出来(でき)た竹垣(たけがき)、木(き)で作(つく)った生垣(いけがき)。キンモクセイやサザンカなどの花(はな)の咲(さ)く生垣(いけがき)もあります。

 私(わたし)の町(まち)では海(うみ)が近(ちか)いため、丈夫(じょうぶ)で潮風(しおかぜ)に強(つよ)い、槙塀(まきべい)がよく使(つか)われています。 生垣(いけがき)は手入(てい)れが大変(たいへん)なため、ブロック塀(べい)にする家(いえ)も多(おお)いです。

 このブロック塀(べい)はリスクもあります。 地震(じしん)の際(さい)、狭(せま)い路地(ろじ)ではブロック塀(べい)がたおれ、避難(ひなん)ルートふさいでしまいます。 救助(きゅうじょ)の妨(さまた)げにもなります。下敷(したじ)きになり、命(いのち)を落(お)とす人(ひと)もいます。 近年(きんねん)ではブロック塀(べい)の撤去(てっきょ)や生垣(いけがき)の設置(せっち)補助金(ほじょきん)をだす町(まち)もあります。

 「垣根越(かきねご)し」という言葉(ことば)があります。 垣根越(かきねご)しに話(はな)す、垣根越(かきねご)しに物(もの)を渡(わた)す。最近(さいきん)ではあまり使(つか)われない言葉(ことば)だと思(おも)います。 ご近所(きんじょ)と会話(かいわ)がある、緑(みどり)豊(ゆた)かな町(まち)、みんなの命(いのち)を守(まも)る塀(へい)づくりを考(かんが)えなければいけません。

Kakine Japanese fences

A 'Kakine' or hedge or fence is an enclosure or partition that encircles a house. There are many types of 'kakine'; there are artificial ones like concrete block type ones and fence type ones. There are 'takegaki' which are made from bamboo and 'ikegaki' or hedges, which are made from trees. There are also some 'ikegaki' like those made from fragrant olive or Camellia plants which bloom with flowers.

In my town, because it is near the sea, the 'kakine' here are often made from Chinese black pine which is durable from the sea breeze. And since 'ikegaki' hedges are difficult to upkeep, there are many houses that use concrete block fences.

But there are risks involved in these concrete block fences. In the event of an earthquake, some concrete blocks may fall onto a narrow path and can block evacuation routes. They can also be a hindrance to rescue missions. Some people lose their lives when they are crushed under these falling blocks as well. In recent years, there are some towns that give out subsidies to people to remove the concrete type fences and replace them with 'ikegaki' type ones.

There is a phrase known as 'kakinegoshi' which means 'over the fence'. 'Kakinegoshi ni hanasu' means to talk over the fence or passing things over the fence to neighbours is known as 'Kakinegoshi ni mono wo watasu'. I don't think that they are often used phrases nowadays. We have to think about hedges or fences that encourage conversations between neighbours, make the town lush green and also save lives.

垣根(かきね) fence

囲(かこ)い enclosure

仕切(しき)り partition

塀(へい) fence

人工的(じんこうてき) Artificial

生垣(いけがき) hedge

潮風(しおかぜ) sea breeze

槙塀(まきべい)Chinese black pine

手入(てい)れ maintenance

路地(ろじ) alley

避難(ひなん)ルート Evacuation route

救助(きゅうじょ) rescue

妨(さまた)げ  hindrance

下敷(したじ)きになる become crushed under

命(いのち)を落(お)とす lose one's life

近年(きんねん) recent years

撤去(てっきょ) removal

設置(せっち) set up

補助金(ほじょきん) subsidies

垣根越(かきねご)しOver the fence

緑(みどり)豊(ゆた)かな lushly green

命(いのち)を守(まも)る save life


Hajimemashite, I am Yukiko Takane.
I live in Chiba Prefecture. My hometown is near the ocean and is surrounded by rice fields - its a laid-back place. The sashimi and rice is really good here. My family home makes rice as well, so I usually help out during the harvest season. I may look weak, but actually I can lift a 30kg bag of rice.

In the past, I taught Japanese in Saipan and Cebu islands. The people I got to know there are precious to me. I am really looking forward to meeting you all in the online classrooms. I have been called 'Takani' Sensei or 'Okane' sensei by my students. Well, I am not a 'crab' nor am I 'money' - the name is Takane. Doozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Try to use your newly learned vocabulary and phrases all the time in the lessons. Looking forward to meeting you all in class !

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Guest Monday, 20 September 2021