Monthly Archives: May 2015

Japanese verb 切る and related expressions

The Japanese verb 切る, pronounced “kiru”, is one of the verbs typically introduced in basic level Japanese textbooks. This is because it is an example of verb that end sin ‘iru’ but is conjugated as a constant verb, and also because it’s easy to understand conceptually. In this post I’ll show some related uses of… Read More »

お湯: when “hot water” isn’t water

I’ve written before about how it’s hard to grasp a word’s true meaning and usages just by looking it’s dictionary entry. There are often subtle nuances or assumptions missing. This time I’d like to talk about one such case. 湯 (“yu”, sometimes written as お湯, “oyu”) is a word which means “hot water”. I had… Read More »

The difference between 何の and どんな

When learning a foreign language, once you learn the basics you should always strive to be humble and never assume you have a perfect understanding. This reminds me of the expression “油断大敵” (yudan taiteki) which translates to something like “careless is your worst enemy”. In other words, letting your guard down for just a moment… Read More »

Japanese particle combination: への (e no)

Often Japanese particles can be combined, with this example of 4 particles sandwiched together (ならではの) one of the most extreme cases. Usually the meaning of combining two or more particles can be partially guessed by thinking of it as a sum of the meanings of each particle, but there is often some extra nuance that creeps in.… Read More »

Japanese Podcast review: Gen’s modern Japanese corner (源ちゃんのゲンダイ国語)

As part of my daily commute I’ve been listening to various Japanese podcasts from NHK’s podcast series Suppin. I usually get into one of them, and listen to it exclusively for a few weeks until I’ve heard every episode. With Gen’s modern Japanese corner, things started out badly because after listening to an episode or two I felt totally… Read More »

Some uses of the Japanese verb 限る (kagiru)

This time I’d like to talk about a few uses of the Japanese verb 限る (kagiru), which means “to limit”. The first use is to mean “not necessarily”. Here is an example sentence. 美味しいとは限らない It’s not necessarily tasty Literally 限らない is close to “do not limit to”, but in this case the meaning matches up… Read More »

Japanese movie review: 陽だまりの彼女 (The girl in the sun)

This time I’d like to review a movie I just finished watching, “陽だまりの彼女”, which I would categorize as an offbeat romance. To start off with a linguistic note, the word 陽だまり is a little tricky to translate to English because there really isn’t a good match, at least using a single word. Here 陽 (hi) means… Read More »

Translation request from a reader

I recently received a comment about translating a certain phrase, and I thought I would make an article to discuss it. “After that time, I decided that I don’t want to see him again by any means.” I think a fairly natural Japanese translation for this would be the following: “その後、彼とは二度と会いたくないって決めた。” As with most translations,… Read More »