Monthly Archives: October 2015

A few tricks for increasing your reading speed in a foreign language

When studying a foreign language, one of the more difficult things to achieve is a reading speed close to that of your native language. Unless you were lucky enough to begin studying the foreign language at a very young age, processing and understanding each sentence will take much more effort and time, even assuming you… Read More »

A tale of two Japanese “because” words: “node” (ので)vs “kara” (から)

Recently one of my readers asked about the difference between the Japanese expressions “node” (ので)and “kara” (から), so in this post I’ll go over that. Both of these words are roughly equivalent to the English “because” when used in the following patterns: [dictionary form verb/i-adjective] + から             (ex: 食べるから、寒いから) [noun/na-adjective]… Read More »

Using online searching to uncover natural expressions in a foreign language

Learning the basics of a foreign language, while a time-consuming activity, is generally relatively straightforward: memorize the alphabet(s), pronunciations, grammar rules, and of course loads and loads of vocabulary words. With these fundamentals under your belt, you’ll surely be able to express a great many things in that language. The challenge comes when you want to… Read More »

Japanese children’s book review: “It might be an apple” 「りんごかもしれない」by Shinsuke Yoshitake

Me and my wife stumbled on this book in a Kinokuniya bookstore (either New York or San Jose, I forget which), and decided to purchase it to read to our son who we are raising bilingual Japanese/English. This book is based on a simple premise – imaging up various possibilities for a apple which the narrator,… Read More »

Expressing sameness and similarity in Japanese (onaji, niru, etc.)

In this post I’d like to go over a few ways of expressing in Japanese that two things are the same or similar. To begin with, the word 同じ (onaji) is one of most basic ways of saying “the same”. Sometimes in spoken language it can be pronounced as “おんなじ” (on’naji). This word is a bit odd grammatically because… Read More »

Book review: Etiquette Guide to Japan (by Boye Lafayette De Mente )

When studying a foreign language on your own, it’s easy to get fixated on linguistic things like vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, because those are your fast-track to being able to actually communicate in that language. But without the well-structured program of a formal class, you may be missing out on some areas like cultural practices… Read More »

Japanese word “koso” (こそ) explained in detail

The word “koso” in Japanese, usually written in Hiragana as こそ, isn’t exactly a frequent word in Japanese, nor is it necessary in order to express most things in the language. However, there are a few common usages which are good to learn, regardless of your level, and you may even be able to employ a… Read More »

** Japanese Read & Answer series ** (Introduction)

With a near limitless amount of material online for studying Japanese, one of the challenges with this blog is to find fresh ways to teach Japanese while providing insights that I’ve learned myself over the years. I’ve also recently begun posting on Twitter, so finding effective ways to use that service is another goal I’ve given… Read More »

Japanese phrase: “yokatta” (よかった)

Oftentimes, words and phrases break out of the boxes that define their literal meanings and become something more. “Yokatta” (よかった) is the past test of the word “ii”, which means “good”, and therefore “yokatta” means “was good”. Since subjects are often omitted in Japanese this phrase can mean “it was good” or can refer to… Read More »