Monthly Archives: January 2014

Quruli(くるり): Japanese dynamic band

Music shouldn’t be overlooked as an important learning resource for those studying Japanese or any other foreign language. Though song lyrics can be difficult to understand (I’m notoriously horrible at comprehending them, even in English), on the flip side you can get exposure to different vocabulary you normally wouldn’t be in touch with. Also, by… Read More »

Some important uses of wari (割)

If you look up the word “わり”(割)in a dictionary (see here), you’ll find several different meanings and expressions. In this post I’d like to focus on a few which I use frequently in the hopes you’ll make some use out of them yourself. Each of these are related to the basic meaning of わり, which… Read More »

Japanese dramas to watch

For a self-studier of Japanese, TV dramas (ドラマ) are one of the most important resources to improve vocabulary for spoken language. They are also a whole lot of fun. Compared to anime, the Japanese used in dramas is generally much closer to daily life, though some dramas about certain occupations (for example medical dramas) will… Read More »

Words are bursting at the seams with meaning

When studying a foreign language, we have no choice but to resort to dictionaries time and time again to help comprehend new words and search for ways to express ourselves more effectively. Having said that,after many years of using dictionaries as a reference, I’ve learned to not over rely on them, sometimes even going as… Read More »

Learning resources for experienced learners [advanced]

For those Japanese learners who understand a good amount of Kanji, grammar constructs, and vocabulary, your options for study materials are drastically increased. Thats because you can use sites and books that native speakers would use. I’ll introduce a few of my favorite resources in this post. 1)教えてgoo ( This site is extremely valuable for… Read More »

Japanese aizuchi (相づち), the glue that holds conversation together

In the flow of a conversation, there are many times when we will make a brief interjection such as “oh really?” or “is that so?” in response to something the other party said. These are typically not used to express any deep meaning, but rather simply to indicate that we are listening and understanding what… Read More »

Raising a bilingual child where one language isn’t your native tongue

I believe that having a child is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life, and for parents where two or more languages are spoken fluently there is always the option of raising the child on more than one language. There are many different approaches to this, but what’s clear is that… Read More »

Transitive and intransitive verb pairs in Japanese [Intermediate/Advanced]

Mastering Japanese verbs so that you can use and understand them fluently requires a good grasp of the concept of transitive vs. intransitive verbs. Transitive verbs are those which perform an action on an object (i.e. つける、たてる). You can think of these as “targeted”. The object is typically specified using the particle を。 On the… Read More »