Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Years Resolution: Why not learn a foreign language?

2014 is upon us, and I’m sure many of you are considering what to do for your 2014 New Year’s resolutions. The typical resolutions resolve around less vices (less drinking, smoking, calories, fast food, etc) and more virtues (more vegetables, exercise, volunteering, etc.). These are all great, but I’m here to recommend one that can… Read More »

Japanese Anime Movie Review: The Garden of Words (2013, Blu-ray)

Japanese anime is great – it’s filled with enough action, fighting, emotion, and creative stories to make any fantasy lover do a double take. I tend to like long running anime series (like the popular “Naruto”), but with a child now my time is limited, so I prefer shorter series or movies. “The Garden of… Read More »

Say “yes” to a better understanding of the Japanese particle “no” (の)

Just like the particle は, it can take some time to get the hang of understanding and using the Japanese particle の。I’ll use what I’ve learned from textbooks, from experience, and from to illustrate the many uses of this important element of the language. 1)  Possessive or descriptive This is by far the easiest… Read More »

Expressions for giving and receiving in Japanese (objects and actions) [intermediate]

One of the convenient and frequently used set of expressions in Japanese is those for giving and receiving, which can be used for both objects and actions. These are discussed in many basic Japanese textbooks, but since their usage is a little tricky I thought I would review them here so it might help others.… Read More »

Manga review: 大奥 (Ooku – The Inner Chambers) by Fumi Yoshinaga, Book 1

I’ve been keeping an eye on this manga in Japanese book stores for a few years now, whose mysterious cover and title piqued my interest. During a recent business trip to New York, I finally decided on picking up the first issue at Book Off. (I have a review of this Japanese bookstore here.) From… Read More »

Self introspection and correction: critical skills for learning a foreign language [Intermediate/Advanced]

In my time studying Japanese I’ve been fortunate enough to have several pen pals and conversation partners who have corrected my grammar mistakes, and in some cases pointed out more natural phrasing. Unfortunately, experiences like that are few and far between, not only because it can be tedious and time consuming to correct someone’s language… Read More »

Common Japanese abbreviations [Intermediate / Advanced]

In this post I’ve decided to list a few of the commonly used colloquial abbreviations and transformations in Japanese. Keep in mind that many of these are slang/informal (くだけた言い方)and would typically only be used in conversation with someone you are close to, or very informal writing like a blog. This list isn’t complete and I’m… Read More »

We learn language best from our peers

During my study of the Japanese language, oftentimes I cannot help but think fundamentally about how humans learn a foreign language, or any language for that matter. Some years back when I was more actively studying linguistics, I read a very interesting book called “The Language Instinct” by Steven Pinker (see wikipedia page here). As… Read More »

Manga book review: 映画篇 1 (“Movie Version 1”)

Manga, along with Anime, is one of the biggest forms of Japanese imports to America for entertainment. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many people who started learning Japanese after they became interested in manga. (My situation is a little different, but I’ll discuss that in another post.) As I’m sure all of you… Read More »