Introduction to Learning Japanese 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.

Ryouri o tsukurimashou! Sweet Potatoes

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(For more information on where these recipes came from and more Japanese cooking vocabulary, check out my previous posts for Yellowtail Teriyaki, Cashew Chicken, Roast Chinjao, and Tonkatsu!) Did you read about Fall foods in Japan yet? If you have, you’ll notice that the first food listed is sweet potatoes. Have you ever wondered how to make them into a dessert, Japanese style? Read on and learn how! スイートポテト – Sweet Potatoes Yield: 4 ...

Ryouri o tsukurimashou! Tonkatsu

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Here is another recipe from the Nintendo cooking game しゃべる!DSお料理ナビ. To catch up on Japanese cooking vocabulary, be sure to check out my previous recipes (Yellowtail Teriyaki, Cashew Chicken, and Roast Chinjao). This time, it’s a popular dish found at many Japanese restaurants all over the world. It’s tonkatsu, which is a thin, deep-fried cutlet of pork. Also, the vocabulary section is a little different than usual. After our hiragana lessons, you should be able to read hiragana, so no ...

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: Finishing Up the Final Rows

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Learning Hiragana is a crucial part of becoming a speaker of the Japanese language. Not only does the alphabet provide you with all the pronunciation sounds you’ll have to learn in Japanese, but also gives you an opportunity to be able to read the Japanese language. Keep in mind there’s also Katakana and Kanji left to learn, but your teacher can potentially translate everything into Hiragana for you! As this is the last article for learning Hiragana, let’s test the Hiragana you’ve learned ...

Learning Hiragana, Mastering the Technique of Memorization (6th and 7th rows)

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This article is the 4th installment for learning Hiragana. By now you should be quite familiar with the rows from あいうえお かきくけこ さしすせそ たちつてと なにぬねの. You should be able to at least recognize those and read them in succession. The key to memorizing is repeating the rows out loud in order, again and again. Also reading words in Hiragana helps, and after the Hiragana articles are complete we’ll also publish a practice reading article to master memorizing the characters. Without further ado let’s ...

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 ...

Ryouri o tsukurimashou! Cashew Chicken

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It’s time for another edition of Nintendo cooking! Be sure to check out this post for background about where this recipe came from, and more useful cooking vocabulary which will be built upon in this post. This is technically a Chinese dish, but this is a Japanese version of it complete with ingredients like red miso paste. Just as Chinese, Japanese, Italian, etc. food has been Americanized in many places here in the US, so foreign recipes are “Japanified” to appeal to local palates in ...

Learning Hiragana: The Second and Third Row of Characters

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Learning the Japanese language can seem intimidating, so many characters, so little time. The good news is learning the first alphabet, Hiragana, is actually quite simple. There are only 52 characters that cover the entire phonetic structure of the Japanese language. If you’re reading this article and have not yet read “Learning Hiragana: The Foundation for any Japanese Language Learner” then please read that article first. This article is an extension of the first five sounds, A – I – U – E ...

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 ...

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 ...

Learn Japanese Grammar! Nuances of the Particles に and で

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One of the most difficult parts of learning Japanese is not learning colloquial phrases or expanding vocabulary, but perfecting the usage of small words. Although small words to non-native speakers might seem to be trivial, just look at how important the articles “a, an, and the” are in English. “A girlfriend” vs. “The Girlfriend” means something entirely different in English, although in Japanese there is no direct equivalent to describe this situation. Japanese speakers who are learning ...

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 ...

Learning Language Effectively: Choose Your Own Goal - JLPT as an example

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The easiest way to measure how effective education is is test scores. When students score high on tests it not only makes teachers look good, but schools overall will be more likely to get government funding with higher test scores. Traditionally tests are the easiest way to measure the abilities of a student, but are they effective when learning a language? Take the case of Japanese, and for simplicity’s sake we’ll refer to the main test administered by the Japanese government, the JLPT ...