Category Archives: grammar

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 »

Japanese phrase “~kara de” (〜からで)

I feel that particles (such as の、で、に) are the heart of the Japanese language, or at least a grammatical aspect of the language that is significantly different to languages such as English. I think it’s fair to say that without a very strong grasp of particles, one can never fully understand the subtleties of more advanced sentences.… Read More »

Japanese book review: “Reserved Seat: Short short oukoku” by Jiro Akagawa

I had gotten a recommendation that Jiro Akagawa was a good author so I decided on trying his work “Reserved Seat: Short short oukoku” (指定席〜ショートショート王国)published by Kobunsha in 2012 (digital version in 2015), which is a compendium of 32 short stories. They are generally on the very short side, tending to be under 10 pages each.… Read More »

An important Japanese word that is good to master: “hoka” (ほか、外、他)

As anyone who has studied a foreign language can attest to, knowing what words to study is one of the more challenging things because there is so many words out there. In this post I’m going to go over the word “ほか”(also written in Kanji as “他” or ”外”) and some of it’s uses. This… Read More »