Monthly Archives: May 2014

Manga review: 駅弁ひとり旅 [Ekiben Hitori Tabi] by はやせ淳 (Hayase Jun)

One thing that always amazes me about Japanese manga and anime culture is how they can take a hobby and build a story around it, getting really deep into details about that specific field of interest. One such example is Hikaru no Go which focuses on the complex board game Go, and another is basketball-themed manga Slam… Read More »

Watching culture from the outside in and the uniqueness factor

Many of us are into cultures from a certain foreign country, and feel that many things produced from that country are funny, interesting, or thought-provoking. Or maybe you’re a general culture nut and feel all the world’s cultures have something unique to offer. In my case I’m still very enamored with Japan and Japanese culture, but there are… Read More »

Manga review: 聖おにいさん (Saint Young Men) Volume 1

When I first saw this Manga in Book Off in New York I was a little hesitant to check it out. Not only was the cover drawn in an unappealing color scheme, but the story seemed to revolve around Buddha and Jesus – and it was clear this wasn’t a particularly serious work. But I had… Read More »

ちょっと (chotto): a little word with a big set of meanings

If I had to make a list of the top ten most useful words in Japanese, I might very well pick ちょっと as one of them. Not only is it short and easy to say, but it’s meanings are easy to learn and use in everyday conversation. ちょっと’s basic, most fundamental meaning is “a little”, and it’s… Read More »

Connecting ideas in Japanese: a high-level guide

When learning a foreign language, one first studies basic sentence order and practices building simple sentences with subject/verb. Once there is some comfortability with that, the next step is learning how to connect ideas either within or between sentences. This allows expression of more complex ideas and one step closer to fluency. Those who speak… Read More »

Foreign language fluency – what is it to you?

The other day I read a fellow blogger’s review of the book “Fluent in 3 months” (which you can see here), and that got me thinking about what foreign language fluency really is. If I did an online search I’m sure I could find hundreds of explanations, but I decided to take a different angle and… Read More »

ちゃんと (chanto): doings things properly in Japanese

ちゃんと is a word I use fairly often and I thought it would be a good choice to write a focused blog post about it. Although I have a fairly strong image of this word in my head, I decided on checking both the Japanese and English dictionary entries to see what the official definitions… Read More »

Language is always evolving

One frustrating thing about learning foreign languages is that many aspects of language (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.) can appear to be random or arbitrary. I remember when learning Spanish my teacher used to respond to such comments by saying “One day, a long long time ago, there was a man who sat on a hill and decided… Read More »

Japanese Grammar – What’s it all about?

In a recent poll of mine there was many responders who said they wanted to learn more about Japanese grammar from this blog. While there are many sites and books out there that have a great deal of useful information about Japanese grammar, I thought I would write a post that looks at grammar from… Read More »