Category Archives: Japanese Study: Advanced

Japanese grammar: Introductory phrases with ~n da kedo (〜んだけど)

In the post I’d like to go over a common way of expressing an introductory idea in Japanese. We will begin with a basic form of this, んだけど (n da kedo) and then go over some variations. First, let’s look at a simple example: 僕、ずっと日本語を勉強してるんだけど、まだペラペラじゃない (boku, zutto nihongo wo benkyou shiteru n da kedo, mada… Read More »

Japanese Novel review: “Nimrod” (ニムロッド) by Takahiro Ueda (上田 岳弘)

My reasons for purchasing Takahiro Ueda’s novel “Nimrod” are pretty typical: I liked the cover, liked the title, plus I liked the vague but significant-sounding marketing description on the obi (paper band used for marketing). Also, the book was relatively short, and (last but not least) the book was a winner of the Akutagawa prize,… Read More »

Japanese grammar: An overview of the “te” form (and an important use nobody taught you)

The “te” form of verbs, sometimes (confusingly) referred to as the “gerund” form, is a cornerstone of Japanese grammar. Not only are there only a few verb forms in the language, but the “te” form has a variety of uses. In this post I’ll go over the main ones, including one you may not be… Read More »

Short translation excerpt: 天使の卵 (Angel’s Egg) by 村山由佳 (Yuka Murayama)

I recently posed a review of the Japanese novel 天使の卵 (Angel’s Egg) by 村山由佳 (Yuka Murayama). In it, I praised the writing style of the book, although I hadn’t given too much detail in terms of exactly what I liked about it besides saying it was very “literary”. So I’ve decided to give a short… Read More »

Japanese Novel Review: 天使の卵 (Angel’s Egg) by 村山由佳 (Yuka Murayama)

After getting a recommendation for the Japanese fiction novel 天使の卵 (“Angel’s Egg” or “Angel Egg”) by 村山由佳 (Yuka Murayama), I decided to give it a shot. The book turned out to be a very rewarding read, so in this post I’ll review it. This book is about the experiences of the 19-year old male narrator,… Read More »

Japanese Drama Review: “義母と娘のブルース” (Stepmother and Daughter Blues)

In my early years studying Japanese I watched a huge number of Japanese dramas, and while this really helped improved my listening and vocabulary skills, it also made me accustomed––or should I say overly sensitive––to the common tropes of this form of media. That, plus the fact I generally try to spend more time in… Read More »

Japanese book review: 一流の人が学ぶ 氣の力 (“Ki for Business Professionals”) by 藤平信一 (Shinichi Tohei)

Before I begin this book review I should give some background information about myself. I’ve been practicing Ki-Aikido (more formally known as 心身統一合氣道, “Aikido of Mind and Body Coordination”) for around 2 years now. Besides practicing in a local dojo several times a week, I have trained once in a Japanese dojo, and also have begun reading… Read More »

Reader question: “What’s the hardest part of learning Japanese?”

Statistics about the number of people reading this blog are a good confidence booster, but readers who interact directly with me are really the lifeblood of Self Taught Japanese. That’s why I do my best to answer all questions that I receive via comments or email, sometimes in the form of long articles. Earlier this… Read More »