Category Archives: grammar

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 »

Book Review: “Teaching methods based on student native language: English Edition” by Kazuko Nakagawa

On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, we stopped by a Powell’s books to see what they had to offer. Besides having an amazing selection of many types of books, they actually had a section of Japanese books, most if not all which were used books. It was no Kinokuniya, but as you may know… Read More »

Lack of polite Japanese in certain parts of the novel “Downtown Rocket” (下町ロケット)

The other day I wrote a review of the Japanese novel 下町ロケット (“Downtown Rocket”), where I alluded to something about the usage of polite Japanese in that book. In this post I’d like to talk about that matter in some detail. When reading this novel, I was surprised by several scenes where one person from a company spoke to… Read More »

Japanese particle combination での (de no)

Mastering Japanese particles can be difficult, especially when you have to worry about various combinations of particles as well as individual ones. Some time ago I wrote about the combination ならではの which is one of the tricker ones. This time I’d like to talk about the combination of で (de) and の (no), namely “での” (deno). While… Read More »

Japanese expression of respect: “足を向けて寝られない” (“ashi wo mukete nerarenai”)

Japanese is filled with quirky expressions which are commonly used for something deeper than their literal meaning. In this post I’d like to talk about an expression which I recently heard spoken by a Japanese person that caught me off guard. The expression is ”Xに足を向けて寝られない” which literally means “cannot sleep with feet/legs pointing towards X”, where “X”… Read More »

Researching terms during translation

As I gradually hone my translation skills through Gengo.com, I’m learning not just new words in Japanese, but more effective ways of researching word meanings and their proper translations in English. When translating in an environment where conveying the meaning of the original text accurately is critical, there are often cases where only one word or phrase would… Read More »