Monthly Archives: October 2015

A further note on the ~がる (~garu) suffix in Japanese

Last year I wrote about the ~garu suffix in Japanese, and have seen a few hits to that article since apparently it is a fairly common question for student of Japanese. Just the other day I had said to my wife the following phrase: 僕はそれ、ずっと懐かしがってた  (boku ha sore, zutto natsukashigatte ita) Upon which, she showed… Read More »

Language Learning Trip: think meaning, not words

When studying your first foreign language, there are many things you have to get accustomed to: new sounds, different characters, and grammar rules, to mention only a few. During this process, the longer you study, the more tricks you pick up to help speed your journey towards fluency. One such trick I’ve learned is to think in terms… Read More »

Japanese podcast review: “Game chomp chomp”(ゲームモゴモゴ)

For quite a while I had been listening to some of the NHK podcasts, which are all great resources to practice Japanese, with the caveat that these are heavily weighted towards polite and somewhat formal language. In many cases the people are talking are professional radio DJs or have refined their skills of speaking to a great extent.… Read More »

Japanese word puzzles (nazo nazo)

“nazo nazo” (Hiragana: なぞなぞ or Kanji: 謎謎) are word puzzles, enjoyed by Japanese children and adults alike. In this post let’s look at two of these nazo nazo. For each one I’ll first give the puzzle in the original Japanese, followed by my translation. Then I’ll give a hint, and finally the answer. Puzzle 1:  通るときには閉まって、通らないときには開いているものは何?… Read More »

Quick translation test: Twitter’s translate feature

One of my interests is following the progression of automated translation technologies, and I’ve blogged on this subject before. Recently I started getting into Twitter and realized they have an automated translation feature. I’m not sure what engine is used but I decided to do a quick test and translate one of my posts (Update: it… Read More »

Book Review: “Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics, and Culture” by Patricia J. Graham

Despite my obsession with studying Japanese language for a major chunk of my life, I’ll admit to a weakness of knowledge when it comes to Japanese culture. Though I feel I know many of the basics, especially concerning modern Japan, I know very little of Japan’s history and there are many areas of their culture which I… Read More »

The whys and hows of Japanese

In Japanese, there are several ways of saying “why” and “how”. In this post I’m going to go over a few of the more common ones and discuss a few exceptions. Starting with “why”, we have the following expressions, each with it’s own nuance. なんで (nande) – basic “why”, slightly informal nuance (Kanji: 何で) どうして (doushite) –… Read More »

Getting drunk in Japanese: vocab list

This time I’m going to give a vocabulary list which you aren’t likely to see in any textbook – words related to drinking alcohol. Whether you are into drinking personally or not, it’s hard to deny it’s a major part of modern Japanese culture, so it’s probably a good idea to know these. お酒 (osake) –… Read More »

Being girly in Japanese (“womens language”)

One thing I’ve tried to be cognizant in my Japanese studies is the different nuances of each word or phrase. It is by older men, younger men, or maybe only girls? Though the dividing line between “mens language” (男言葉) and “womens language”   (女言葉) is not black and white, I think there are some expressions which… Read More »