Monthly Archives: November 2015

Japanese book review: “Candy Candy Final Story”

“Candy Candy” is a Japanese historical Shoujo (girls) manga written by Keiko Nagita (名木田 恵子) which was originally published in the magazine “Nakayoshi” serially from 1975 to 1979. It was quite popular, and spawned an anime, theatrical show, and several novels. To give an idea of the popularity, around 12 million copies were printed in total for the… Read More »

Japanese Vocabulary List: raising children

Today I’m going to provide a vocabulary list for a topic that I discuss on a daily basis on Japanese: child upbringing. I’ll be focusing on words that are useful for babies  through toddlers (roughly ages 0-4), but some of the terms can be used for any age. 子育て (kosodate): child upbringing 育てる (sodateru): to… Read More »

Japanese word nuances: 美味しい (oishii) vs. 美味い (umai) used to describe food

I’m always amazed at the differences in nuances between words that seem so similar at first glance. Oftentimes these subtleties are not described in a dictionary anywhere, and the only way to really get them is to ask a native, or spend many years of your life immersed in that culture hoping you can acquire the linguistic sensibility… Read More »

Foreign language trick: use misunderstandings as a hint to refine your speech

Once you get to the point in your foreign language studies where you are able to start having frequent conversations, you’ll probably start to notice times where the person you are speaking with has difficulty understanding what you are saying. Rather than say “I don’t understand you”, they may be more indirect and try and… Read More »

Book Review: “Manabeshima Island Japan” by Florent Chavouet

Tuttle Publishing offered me the opportunity to provide an early review of Florent Chavouet’s travel guide, titled “Manabeshima Island Japan”, and I jumped at the chance. After all, the book wasn’t coming out until Dec 1, 2015, and it’s funny subtitle of “One island, two months, one minicar, sixty crabs, eight bites, and fifty shots of shochu” had… Read More »

Praying (strong wishes) in Japanese

In Japanese, when you want to express that you wish for something, you can use the following pattern: Noun or Na-adjective + だといい Verb (in dictionary form or potential form) + といい For example, 優しい人だといいね。 [Yasashii hito da to ii ne] I hope he/she is nice person. みつかるといい [Mitsukaru to ii] I hope you find it.  (literally:… Read More »

Lost in translation: things don’t always match up at the word level

The other day I was reading some posts about Japanese on Twitter and came across a post that had a simple phrase written in English, and then translated into Japanese. Here is what it said: Hey, did you lose weight? あれ?やせた? [Are? Yaseta?] At first, this looks like a pretty innocuous phrase. Both the English… Read More »

The phrase “itsumo wa” in Japanese (what is the opposite of “always”?)

The Japanese particle “wa” in Japanese (written “は”) is a fundamental part of the language and is used very frequently, although it can difficult for students to learn since there is no direct parallel in English (see my blog post on “wa” and “ga”). To give a quick summary, this particle is used to establish the topic… Read More »

Using parallel texts to study a foreign language

In a recent post of mine about suggestions for increasing reading speed in a foreign language, a reader commented about how using parallel texts in two languages (your native language and the one you are studying) is another helpful technique. Surely, using parallel texts is a valuable tool, and it’s pretty easy to do this by… Read More »