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: English – ...

Why Learn Japanese?

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This is a certainly a question that is asked of both myself, and of Hills Learning. Japanese in the 80’s was what Chinese is today, a language that is learned for business, political, and most importantly future expectations. If a language is perceived to become more prominent, people will try to learn it. Chinese is seen as a language that might even take over English in prominence, so people are desperate to learn it. Potential students for Japanese these days, so people tell me, are manga ...

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 ...

Ryouri o tsukurimashou! Roast Chinjao

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(Note: Please check out the recipes for Yellowtail Teriyaki and Cashew Chicken for more useful Japanese cooking vocabulary!) More Nintendo cooking, and once again we have a rather Chinese dish, but it’s very well-known in Japan. Next time I will feature something more traditionally Japanese. Any requests? We’ve gotten through a lot of cooking words with the past two recipes, so if you see words here you don’t recognize, check back in the links posted above. With that said, let’s get ...

Learning Hiragana: Mastering the Alphabet and Learning the 4th and 5th rows

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This is the third installment in learning the Hiragana alphabet, if you have not read the first two articles on “Learning Hiragana” please refer to those articles first. Up till now, you’ve learned 15 characters, or have you? Part of learning Hiragana is not just sitting down and writing them 5 times, but actually learning to recognize the characters. In a world where internet is taking over handwritten letters, the focus when learning Hiragana should be more and more on being able to read ...

Learning Kanji – Simple Strategies and Your First Two Kanji

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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. First of all when learning Kanji, be ready to learn multiple meanings and usages per Kanji. Remember in the ...

Ryouri o tsukurimashou! Yellowtail Teriyaki

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In addition to hitting the books, a fun way to learn new Japanese vocabulary is by making a Japanese dish. While I lived in Japan, it was tempting to resort to Cup Noodle or instant curry every night, but I eventually bought a video game called しゃべる!DSお料理ナビ (Shaberu! DS o-ryouri nabi) for my Nintendo DS when it was released in 2006. This game—which will work on Japanese and American systems alike—is a portable, interactive cookbook with 200 common Japanese recipes. Sadly, an English ...

Learning Kanji – Beginner Concepts and Simple Strategies

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The most daunting yet fulfilling to learn alphabet in Japanese is Kanji. Kanji literally means “Chinese character,” because literally the alphabet derived from Chinese characters. In English, it’s similar in that the roman alphabet came from Latin, however Japanese Kanji words and Chinese words are actually quite similar. So much so that Japanese speakers can look at a Chinese newspaper or book and get at least a general understanding of what’s going on, I myself could do a job search in ...

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 ...

The Japanese Proficiency Exam Structure and the Main Hurdle to Passing

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The Japanese Proficiency Exam, like any other exam, tests your ability to take the test. Of course people that are fluent in Japanese also can take the exam and pass without prior knowledge of how it works, but for the rest of us who are non-native speakers learning the structure of the Japanese Proficiency Exam is key to passing. Learning the structure and taking practice tests beforehand also calms the nerves, so on test day you will be much less intimidated while undergoing your 5 hour ...