Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ways to express probability and possibility in Japanese

In this post I’d like to discuss a few ways to express probability and possibility in Japanese. I think most of you already know about some of the more basic ways to express uncertainty in Japanese, for example: かもしれない  (sometimes abbreviated as かも) (じゃない) かな でしょう (discussed here) たぶん These all can be used to… Read More »

Research Results: Homophones in Japanese

One thing that has always struck me as surprising is the large number of homophones – words with the same pronunciation – in the Japanese language. Those new to Japanese typically discover this by looking at the number of dictionary entries for a given pronunciation, or number of kanji conversions when hitting spacebar while typing. In… Read More »

Book Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Book 1) [Warning: Mild Spoilers]

Before I dive into the review of Haruki Murakami’s first of three books of “1Q84”, I’d like to talk a little about my experience with this author to give you some background on where I’m coming from. I consider myself a avid reader, and have read many books over the course of my life, especially… Read More »

Podcastle, a great way to search and listen to Japanese podcasts

Once in awhile comes along a study resource thats so good, you revel in the treasure you’ve found and for a moment the thought of keeping it to  yourself flashes through your mind. Podcastle is one such site, and when I first discovered it I thought it was too good to be true. It’s a… Read More »

Japanese particles: で (de) vs に (ni)

I this post I’d like to compare the two Japanese particles で and に, both which are used very frequently in everyday Japanese. I’m not going to do a thorough treatment of either particle covering all possible uses (there are many for both), but I’ll summarize a few of the most common usages. で is… Read More »

Beginner Japanese: Are three alphabets better than one?

In Japanese, there are three alphabets used together, and each has it’s own set of uses. Let’s go over each of them briefly before we talk about how this trio impacts the language. Hiragana: This alphabet is the most basic and is the first alphabet that Japanese children learn. Any word can be written with… Read More »

A look at a Japanese proverb

I ran across this quote online, credited as a “Japanese proverb”. ”Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare” I did some searching around and couldn’t find any reference to the original Japanese or the originator of this phrase, so I decided to post on Oshiete Goo in Japanese. You can… Read More »

Different ways to say ‘only’ in Japanese

In this post I’d like to discuss a few ways in Japanese to express the various shades of meaning of the English word ‘only’. First, there is だけ which one of the simplest and most common ways of expressing ‘only’ or ‘just’. Let’s see a few examples. 言ってみたかっただけ。 I was just saying.    (this expression… Read More »

普通 (futsuu), a perfectly “normal” Japanese word

普通 (ふつう)、which is generally translated as “normal”, is an convenient word with several uses. I’ll go over a few of the more common ones in this post. One of the simplest ways to use this word is by treating it as an adjective, by adding a の on the back end of it. 普通の人は夜遅くまで日本語の勉強をしないでしょう! A… Read More »

〜て + ある (~tearu): saying something exists in a certain state

“~て+ある” is one of those expressions that doesn’t really have a directly translation in English, but once you grasp what it used for you may find what it can express quite useful. It is made using the て form (“食べて”、”歩いて”、”話して”、etc.) plus the word “ある” which means for something to physically exist, or be in a… Read More »