Kansai Dialect Dictionary

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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) is a Japanese dialect mostly used in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Mie, Wakayama, and Shiga. This dialect ...


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WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations. Happy New Year to all readers!  Hope the year of the monkey has been treating you well so far.  I am enjoying some time at home before my interpreting travel schedule begins at the end of this month.  My ...


Hills Learning 1 950 Article rating: 5.0

What can be the hardest part about learning a language is maintaining fluency. When you're outside of the classroom or the country of your target language or don't have native speakers with whom you can practice, you start getting rusty. However, a way to integrate bits of Japanese into your every day life is through what I like to call 'Nihonglish'. Please read further for more details! What is Nihonglish? The Basics Advanced Grammar   What is Nihonglish? It's a portmanteau ...

Having a Chat with Japanese Taxi Drivers

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What do you do when you're lost in the middle of Tokyo with nothing but an address to guide you towards your location? If you're rushing to your next meeting at the hotel you're staying at, the most obvious choice would be to take a taxi. However, this may be daunting task for some people. Holding an impromptu one-on-one conversation with a driver in a foreign language and trying to communicate where you want to go may not be something you want to do every day. However, this article has ...

New Ways of Speaking Japanese

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Feel like you’re in a rut? Tired of always using those same old bland declarative statements of “watashi wa ~ desu” or questions like “o-genki desu ka?” Adding in some conversational filler words is a great way to improve your Japanese and make it sound more natural. Including these words will let you add to the conversation, change topics, or cut to the chase just like the natives. Let’s get started: Changing Topics: ところで                  tokoro de – by the way… 話は違うが ...

Travel Japanese - Taking a Taxi in Japan

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You might know how to travel across Japan in the bullet-train (shinkansen しんかんせん 新幹線)… but what about when you need to get somewhere FAST? Sometimes public transportation just isn’t what you need. This article is designed to show you the basics on how to hail a Japanese taxi (takushi タクシー) and get where you need to go when you need to be there. Step 1 – Hailing the Taxi: Hailing a taxi is the same as in the USA. You raise an arm out to signal the driver. There will be some Japanese ...

How to say “Do you understand English?” in Japanese and Basic Travel Language

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To enhance your trip to Japan its important to learn some key phrases before you go. At Hills Learning we refer to these phrases as “Travel” phrases, and this set of Japanese as “Travel Japanese.” The first article in regards to travel Japanese taught our readers the golden word, “Sumimasen,” or excuse me. This article will focus on how to ask people “Do you understand”, a key phrase to learn when traveling to Japan. The vocabulary used for this portion of travel Japanese is...

Japanese Conversation: Perfecting Hotel Japanese 2

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When learning Japanese conversation, it’s important not to just learn what you need to say, but also what could possibly be said to you. One of the most difficult parts of traveling to Japan was not trying to use the grammar patterns that I’d learn previously, but trying to understand what was being said to me. Memorizing some key phrases that are said in the hotel will not only prepare the Japanese language learner to be able to have a conversation in Japanese, but also help with a basic ...

Japanese Conversation: Perfecting Hotel Japanese

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When learning Japanese conversation, or developing conversational skills in general, it’s important to develop “situational fluency.” Language learners should anticipate common situations they’ll run into, and prepare their language skills to meet the demands of those situations. Of course each Japanese language learner has different demands, some might be traveling to Japan later on, others might have more immediate needs in their current workplace. This article will cover very useful ...

Learning Japanese Conversation, as Familiar as Sony

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Japan is both a thrilling and exotic, yet familiar culture. When people hear “Japan” they think of a faraway country in the East, with Kimono’s, Anime, and Samurai. Although Japan has these culturally different aspects that make it seem exotic, they also have household names such as Sushi, Nintendo, Toyota, Panasonic, etc. Learning the Japanese language also at first might seem exotic. The grammar structure is actually quite different than English, and learning the characters and vocabulary ...