Category Archives: General

Japanese word comparison: yaru (やる) vs suru (する), two ways of ‘doing it’.

The Japanese verbs する (suru) and やる(yaru) are used quite frequently in the Japanese language, and while both of these mean “to do”, they have different usage. Let’s start with two general rules to help distinguish between these two verbs. First, する is more often used together with a noun to describe some action: 今晩、一緒に練習しましょう… Read More »

Japanese literature reading mobile app review: “Sukima Dokusho” (すきま読書)

Those interested in Japanese novels and short stories have a variety of free options available: sites like Aozora Bunko (青空文庫) which contain older titles and “Shousetsu wo yomou” (小説を読もう) which cater to newer ones. While it’s relatively simply to just pull up stories from such sites on your desktop machine, I think many readers out… Read More »

Promising Translators 2018 (Japanese Translation Contest): three weeks left

Last week I announced “Promising Translators 2018”, Self Taught Japanese’s first ever translation contest, which involves translating a few pages of Japanese fiction into English. The winner will receive a monetary prize, and there be other prizes given as well. This post is a quick reminder for those who are interested that there are three… Read More »

Japanese Translation Contest Announced: Promising Translators 2018

Update: the contest has been closed to submissions and the winners have been announced. I will likely have another similar contest, so please check back later. If you are interested in future contests, please like or comment this post, or send an email to “selftaughtjapanese.contests [at] gmail.com” about what type of contest you’d like to… Read More »

Self Taught Japanese’s first voice interview (with John Sensei of Manga Sensei)

The other day, John Sensei of Manga Sensei contacted me and invited me to do an interview for his podcast. At first I hesitated, feeling a little nervous since this was the first time I would be giving a voice interview, not to mention that part of it would be in Japanese. But in the… Read More »

The mysterious case of the double wo (を) particle

Japanese particles can be tricky because of their many usages and combinations. For example 「で」 can be seen with other particles in the two-particle pair 「では」or 「での」 or even in the 4-particle combination 「ならではの」. On the other hand, the 「を」 particle (written as ‘wo’ or just ‘o’), is one of the most straightforward to learn.… Read More »

The making of the English translation of “Eighteen O’Clock Music Bath”

Recently I published my second eBook (Volume 2 of the “Science: Hopes & Fears” series) which contains my translation of the classic dystopian tale “Eighteen O’Clock Music Bath” (original title: 「十八時の音楽浴」)by Juza Unno (海野十三), who is acknowledged as a founding figure of Japanese science fiction. Just like I did for the my previous book (Volume 1 of… Read More »

Japanese Novel Review: “Boy of Civilization” (文明の子) by Hikari Ota (太田 光)

I’ll be the first to admit that the novel “Boy of Civilization” was a hyoushigai (表紙買い) for me, which basically means I bought it after being attracted by the cover. Not only was it beautiful on its own, but it also reminded me of the cover of “Lagos on a Journey” (旅のラゴス) by Yasutaka Tsutsui.… Read More »

Japanse novel translation excerpt: “Little Bird”(ことり) by Yoko Ogawa (小川洋子)

Last year I reviewed Yoko Ogawa’s wonderful novel “Little Bird” and at the time I was even considering translating a small portion of the book for translation practice, and to give English-speaking readers a taste for the style of the book. But I got busy with other articles and translation projects, and never got around… Read More »

Japanese particle combination: ”no ni” (のに)

Japanese particles are small words packed full with meaning and often don’t have direct parallels to English. In a few past articles I’ve talked about a few particle combinations (での, への, では、and ならではの). In this post I’d like to go over the combination のに (“no ni” or “noni”) which is pretty commonly used. There are… Read More »