Category Archives: grammar

Japanese expression “〜するも” (~suru mo) and vagueness of the が (ga) particle

Recently I read the very enjoyable short story “麦本三歩は今日が好き” by 住野よる in the literary magazine 小説幻冬 (Dec 2016 edition). I even translated a short excerpt of it into English here. There was one line of the story whose grammar I just couldn’t figure out, and I thought that it was either some strange pattern I had never… Read More »

Japanese historical short story review: 野望の狭間 (Opposing Ambitions) by 天野純稀 (Sumiki Amano)

Recently at a Kinonuniya bookstore I picked up the 2nd edition (2号)of the book 小説幻冬 (Shousetsu Gentou) which is a compendium of Japanese short stories. I chose this because I was looking for something to read on a holiday trip, and didn’t want to get involved a long story, so though short stories would be perfect. When I… Read More »

Japanese phrase “mou hitotsu” (もうひとつ)and a brief Murakami translation

Recently I was reading an interesting blog which contains reviews of Japanese books (in English), and I came across an article about the Haruki Murakami (村上春樹) book “After Dark”. While I am not going to go into that book in detail in this post, in the the article I found there was a short passage… Read More »

あらせられます (araseraremasu): A triple-polite Japanese word

One of the distinguishing things about the Japanese language is how there are many different ways to say the same thing while varying the level of politeness. For example, the below words all mean “to eat” in increasing levels of politeness. 食う (kuu) 食べる (taberu) 召し上げる (meshiageru) Besides the many different verbs, there is also… Read More »

Self Taught Japanese Podcast: 8 recordings in 8 days

A little over a week ago, I decided to start a companion Podcast for this blog, covering many of the same topics: studying Japanese on your own, anime reviews, etc. I managed to record eight episodes in eight days, though it was a bit challenge since recording plus editing took roughly between 45 minutes and… Read More »

Another use of the simple non-past tense in Japanese: admonishing children

One of the convenient things about Japanese is that there are less verb tenses than in English, where you have things like “will run” and “would have run” (though there is still a few in Japanese). However, the tradeoff is that there are a bunch of other ways to use the smaller set of tenses to… Read More »

The “〜くある” (~ku aru) form for Japanese adjectives

Recently I saw a post on Japanese Language Stack Exchange about the 〜くある  (~ku aru) form of adjectives (ex: 美しくある), and there was no good answer so I did some research. By the time I was ready to post, the question had been deleted, so will make a make a post here with my findings. To review, let’s… Read More »

問題 (mondai): a very problematic word in Japanese

In this post I’d like to talk about the Japanese word 問題 (mondai), a very useful word which has several meanings. The first meaning, possibly the most common, is “problem” in the sense of something that is not going according to plan. A: 大丈夫ですか?             [Is everything OK?] B: ええ、問題ないです。… Read More »

Linguistic debate on the existence of subjects in Japanese (from three points of view)

Recently I came across this interesting post by fellow blogger Moaz Elgabry. For only having studied Japanese a few years, his Japanese writing skill is quite impressive, and I’m curious to see his thoughts on different topics. His post discusses whether the Japanese language really needs to have a grammatical subject and how such a subject should be… Read More »

Useful Japanese expression: shikata nai (仕方ない) and a bunch of variants

The phrase “仕方ない” (shikata nai) is one that I learned very early in my Japanese studies and I’ve found it to be fairly commonly used, as well as pretty straightforward to understand. The word 仕方 (shikata) means “way to do something” or “method”. For example, since お礼 means “thanks”, then お礼の仕方 means “the way to thank”… Read More »