Category Archives: Japanese Study: Advanced

Japanese Book Review: “The Power of Ki” (氣の威力)by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一)

It’s been around a year and a half since I’ve started training in a martial art informally called “Ki Aikido” that was created by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一). It is formally named “Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido”, and written in Japanese as 心身統一合氣道, which literally means “Aikido of Mind and Body Unification”. The casual term “Ki Aikido”… Read More »

A thoughtful discourse on literature with Japanese author Fuminori Nakamura (中村文則)

I’ve been an avid reader since I was young, but until high school I mostly read fantasy novels that would be considered popular fiction. In high school I was assigned to read a variety of books in various genres, but I think it’s safe to say a majority of them could be considered ‘literature’ in… Read More »

Japanese Book Review: “ふしぎがわかるよ!” (A visual encyclopedia for children)

For learners of Japanese I often suggest children’s picture books because they are typically shorter, easier to understand, and have less kanji (if any) when compared to teen- or adult-oriented books. I’ve reviewed a few of them on this blog (this, this, and this). While you can learn much about Japanese language and culture from… Read More »

Japanese slang word: あざす(azasu) [“Thanks”, without the politeness]

Japanese is well known for its complex layers of politeness that involve different verbs, verb endings, and nouns, among other things. Japanese classes often focus more on the polite side of Japanese since it’s generally safer to be more polite, especially with people you don’t know well. However, many Japanese learners are also interested in… Read More »

The upward spiral of language learning

The other day I had a revelation about the difference between studying a foreign language by choice (using classes, textbooks, etc.), and being forced to learn it in an immersive environment (like at home or on the job)––in the former you always have the option to quit, whereas in the latter you don’t, or it’s… Read More »

Hitori Saito (斎藤一人): entrepreneur, best-selling author, motivational speaker

In this post I’d like to discuss Hitori Saito(斎藤一人), a man who is somewhat famous in Japan these days. Hitori Saito is the entrepreneur behind Ginza Marukan (銀座まるかん), a successful cosmetics and health food business. He also has a large number of books (many available on Amazon Japan, what you could call 啓蒙書 or “enlightenment… Read More »

Pronunciation: one of the hardest parts about learning Japanese (and a review of a great resource to help with that –– OJAD)

The other day I came across a recently-started blog about learning Japanese that talked about how easy Japanese pronunciation was. This really frustrated me, but my search for a way to leave a friendly comment to the author ended in failure, so someday you may come across that post (and others like it). After over… Read More »

Japanese novel review: “火星に住むつもりかい?” by 伊坂幸太郎 (Koutaru Isaka)

On my last trip to Japan, I couldn’t help but pick up a copy of Koutaru Isaka’s novel ”火星に住むつもりかい?”, published by Kobunsha as hardcover in 2015, and then as a paperback in 2018. There were several factors that contributed to me choosing this novel. First, I really loved the cover image––an (apparently) CG-generated closeup of… Read More »

Japanese polite expression: 頼まれてくれる? (tanomarete kureru?)

Recently I was watching anime when I came across the interesting phrase “頼まれてくれる?”(tanomarete kureru?), so I wanted to dedicate a post to it. To begin with, the verb 頼む (tanomu) means to request something or ask a favor or someone, and is similar to the verb お願いする (onegai suru). However, in the expression here the… Read More »