Learn Japanese Homonyms

Have you ever confused the bird crane with the lifting machine at construction sites? The word “crane” is a homonym; it is spelled the same way but can mean different things. In Japanese, homographs exist too, and they can be hard to distinguish at the beginning. Let’s master them by paying attention to the three clues: kanji, context, and intonation!   


Learn Japanese Through Song

Learning a song in another language is a wonderful thing. You can practice listening comprehension, in addition to learning about the culture from which the song came! In Japan, the best way to learn a song is through カラオケ and without a doubt, one of the most popular songs to sing is リンダリンダ.   


Learning Hiragana: The Foundation for any Japanese language learner

There’s good news and bad news with learning Japanese. The bad news is there’s three alphabets, two with about 50 characters, and a third, Kanji, with 2-3,000. The good news is the first alphabet you learn, Hiragana, has sounds that are repeated for the rest of the alphabets. So once you’ve mastered Hiragana.  


Top 10 Kotowaza - How to Use Proverbs in Japanese

Have you ever tried using kotowaza? Kotowaza are Japanese proverbs. There are three different types of kotowaza: 言い習わし (iinarawashi, a short saying) 慣用句 (kanyouku, an idiomatic phrase) 四字熟語 (yojijukugo, a four-character idiom) I will introduce 10 different (and useful!) kinds of kotowaza, their figurative and literal meaning, and how each of these proverbs can be used in a sentence.   


Learning Chinese Through Movies and Laugh - 非诚勿扰 Part 3

Hello everybody, 大家好! Welcome back to our series on Learning Chinese through Funny Movies. I am writing this article on Thanksgiving, 感恩节gǎn ēn jié. Wish your Thanksgiving is filled with blessings, joy and turkeys! Today we look at the last part of the small talk between Mr. Fan and Qin Fen. You will learn some very useful phrases and expressions in the Chinese language from this scene.


Greetings in Chinese - Using the Correct Terms at the Correct Time

大家好!又在这里见面了。历史上罕见的暴风雪正在席卷美国东北部。注意安全和保暖噢! (dà jiā hǎo !yòu zài zhè lǐ jiàn miàn le 。lì shǐ shàng hǎn jiàn de bào fēng xuě zhèng zài xí juàn měi guó dōng běi bù 。zhù yì ān quán hé bǎo nuǎn ō !) How are you, everybody. Today we talk about how to greet in Chinese on different occasions. The above is a good example when you meet a group of people.


Kansai Dialect Dictionary

When I was in Japan during the summer of 2010 and 2012, I got to travel to multiple cities all over the country. As much as I liked the famous city of Tokyo, what really captured my heart was the Kansai area. Not only is it home to ancient landmarks of Japan and delicious food, its dialect is what makes this western region stand out. Kansai dialect (known as "Kansai-ben" in Japanese).      


Learning Japanese Particles - "に"

Welcome back! This is the third article in my series on Japanese language particles. The goal of these articles is to look at Japanese particles from a birds-eye perspective; that is, to look at their general functions and uses and how theirs differ from other particles. In the first article, we looked at the topic-marking particle は wa (written with the hiragana character for “ha”). In the second article, we looked at the subject-marking particle が ga. If you jumping into the series midway, ...


Taking A Taxi In China - Vocab and Key Phrases

While riding from point A to point B in a taxi, you will spend roughly 20% of the time actually driving. For the rest of the time in a cab, you’ll spend, 15% beeping the horn, 40% changing lanes, 15% driving on the sidewalk, and 10% driving in the wrong lane. This is just one of the many jokes about Chinese taxi drivers.


Chinese Dialects...Explained!

Hello, everyone! Thank you for following our blog and your interest in Chinese language and culture. In an earlier article, I mentioned that in China there is a large variety of dialects方言(fāng yán). Today we dig deeper into the dialects of China, how many of them there actually are and also how different each one can be. The Chinese language has both spoken and written forms.


Mandarin or Cantonese? - Neither

Whenever you find out a person's ethnic to be Chinese, the instant question that arises is "Mandarin or Cantonese?" "Neither, I'm Fujianese." There are so many different languages in China that it can actually sum up to hundreds. Having different languages also means having different family cultures.


Honorific Speech in Japanese - Kenjougo (謙譲語)

Welcome to this other page! This article is devoted to Japanese humble language, kenjougo 謙譲語. In English, there isn't a way to humbly express an action unless you say 'I humbly...'. You use this speech when referring to yourself or inner circle, like family and close friends. When using kenjougo you are belittling yourself in order to automatically raise the person with whom you are speaking. 


Key Beginner Phrases for Speaking Thai

We have many students learning Thai with us in our classrooms. Here are the top 10 phrases we teach students so they can communicate in Thai with their classmates, teacher, and most importantly people in their lives:


8.14.2015 Special Holiday Declared in South Korea

As you may all know already, this year South Korea celebrates the 70th National Liberation Day (in Korean, 광복절) on Saturday, August 15th 2015.  But it falls on weekend that Korean government decided to declare friday, August 14th, 2015 as one time special holiday (in Korean, 임시공휴일) to observe a day.


Introduction to Learning Japanese Kanji

Learning Kanji can be a daunting task. There are about 1,000 – 2,000 Kanji that are necessary to learn in order to be able to read newspapers, street signs, and menus in Japanese. With all these Kanji characters, it’s important to know the most effective order for learning them. In this article we’ll explain how to start learning Kanji, and give you the very first beginning Kanji.


The Revered Chinese Calendar

大家好!(I feel great to be here again!) This is the second article on the Chinese New Year series. In the last article, we learned how to greet Chinese during the New Year and how to appreciate the Spring Couplets. Today we will look at the Chinese calendar, which is more in tune with the natural rhythm of the universe.


TOPIK Info - New York November 2017

Here are the guidelines for the TOPIK 2017 that will be held in New York in November. We received this information from the Korean Consulate of New York: Application Period: August 2 ~ September 13, 2017 (Weekdays 09:00∼17:00)...   


Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema

Last week the inaugural Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema began, and I’ve had the chance to catch a lot of great films at the two main venues of Kew Gardens Cinema and Queens Museum. Today they screened Persona Non Grata (杉原千畝 スギハラチウネ, 2015), a film about Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara (“Japanese Schindler”).


New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) 2017

This weekend concludes the 2017 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which offered another amazing lineup of films and special guests.  This is the 16th year of its running, and it just seems to get better over time.  I saw two of the Japanese films screened at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, the festival’s venue, and another two I had seen on the plane during a recent business trip to Japan.