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!   

Read more...
152

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.   

Read more...
314

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.  

Read more...
526

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.   

Read more...
1130

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).      

Read more...
3225

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, ...

Read more...
714

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. 

Read more...
2613

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.

Read more...
1771

打ち言葉

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. I was in Japan on business for most of September, and while there I caught up on dramas, variety shows and news programs... 

Read more...
1216

明けましておめでとうございます!

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 ...

Read more...
1045

今年の漢字

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. Well, it’s the end of the year already, and if you’re like me you’re wondering where 2015 went.  The last time I checked in here was four months ago, which was pre-Paris attack and pre-Presidential ...

Read more...
952

Why Watching Anime Can Help You Learn Japanese Faster

Anime has been successful in bringing the understanding of Japanese people to many people all over the world that would have not gotten to hear it anywhere else. It is estimated that the world has nearly 122 million people who can speak Japanese; sadly most of these people are found in Japan. However, the advent of Anime has provided a lot of people with an easier ...

Read more...
3453

JLPT Info for NYC

Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) The JLPT is a Japanese proficiency examination operated by the Japan Foundation LA that tests one’s listening skills, reading comprehension, and knowledge of vocabulary, kanji, and grammar. There are five tests available, ranging from N5 (the easiest) to N1 (the most difficult). 

Read more...
1410

今年の漢字2

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. In a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the top 10 buzzwords in Japan this year, the country’s “kanji of the year” was just announced. 税 (zei) or tax was selected, referring to the consumption tax increase ...

Read more...
949

2014年の現代用語

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. Every year Japan picks the top 10 buzzwords for the year, out of an initial pool of 50 nominated phrases.  You can find the list and explanation of selections in Japanese here, and below I will break them ...

Read more...
897

Honorific Speech - Sonkeigo (2nd Article of 3)

Welcome to the this page! This article is on the beastly sonkeigo 尊敬語, Japanese respectful language. Sonkeigo, or keigo, is used when you are speaking with or about someone who is well respected, has your respect, or has a respectful position, such as any member of a royal family, presidents, professors/teachers, or senpai (big brother or sister in a club or company). 

Read more...
1755

Honorific Speech - Teineigo (First Article of Three)

Japan has an amazing history and culture, and many of its customs, such as bowing to another person, are related to the concept of respect. In Japanese, there are 4 levels of speech that reflect this concept: casual/informal speech, polite language 丁寧語 (teineigo), respectful language 尊敬語 (sonkeigo), and humble language 謙譲語 (kenjougo). 

Read more...
1149

Counters in Japanese

One of the most difficult grammar points of Japanese is counters. As opposed to English, in Japanese there are only a few plural nouns, like 私たち, so you have to add number words, or counters, for the different things you want to pluralize; you can't just attach a number to a thing (well, you can but you'll be grammatically incorrect). 

Read more...
1084

Japanese Onomatopoeia

Ah, onomatopoeia, the spice of life! One of the pleasures of speaking Japanese is being able to use onomatopoeia. It's everywhere - in manga, anime, television adverts, books, music, newspapers, conversations - you name it and it's there! This article will open your eyes to this beautiful world of オノマトペ! オノマトペ and Rules Giseigo Giongo Gitaigo Extras!   

Read more...
1747

rss_feedRSS

Categories