Category Archives: Japanese Study: Advanced

A tale of particles: “ni” (に) vs “wo” (を), the verb “kizuku” (気づく), and a bus full of moles

Particles––small words that have big grammatical meaning––are one of the challenges to real mastery of Japanese. The particles “wo” (を) and “ni”(に) generally have fairly defined roles. “wo” is used when something is the direct object of an action (ex: りんごを食べる / eat an apple) whereas “ni” is used for the direction of an action… Read More »

Japanese word “sonna” (そんな) and related expressions [sonna koto nai (そんな事ない), etc.]

In this article I’d like to talk about the Japanese word “sonna” (そんな) and a few related expressions. The word “sonna” is a close equivalent to the expression “sono you na”, which in English translates literally to “like that”. However, we will have to look a little deeper into this word in order to understand how… Read More »

Japanese book review: “文藝年鑑” (Literature Yearbook) [an important guide for acquiring rights to publish Japanese works]

In the process of researching how to obtain official legal permission to translate and publish certain Japanese authors, I discovered the book “文藝年鑑” (bungei nenkan), which can be translated as “Literature Yearbook”. In this post I’d like to review this important reference guide, especially useful to translators and those deeply interested in Japanese literature. (By… Read More »

Japanese loanword spotlight: 「ナーバス」(naabasu) [It doesn’t always mean “nervous”]

Loanwords from other countries, called gairaigo (外来語), make up a significant part of the Japanese language, and learning their nuances is a key part of being truly fluent in Japanese. Many of these words, for example seetaa(セーター, meaning “sweater”), are used in a way that is very similar to their original language. However, some loan words have… Read More »

Japanese web novel translation: “Japan: A New Age” by Tasogarenin (黄昏人) [Chapter 8: Construction Begins]

This is my translation of the 8th chapter of a Science Fiction novel about a boy genius who helps develop groundbreaking technologies that change Japan’s society drastically, eventually resulting in the colonization of outer space. I had taken a break from translating this series, but due to popular demand I have decided to translate this chapter… Read More »

Gotta catch ’em all (in Japanese): Learning Pokemon cards in a foreign language

In my college days, I was really into the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, although in the last decade or two I don’t think I’ve played a single game. One of the fun things about having children is the possibility of exposing your hobbies and interests to them, and if you are lucky they… Read More »

Japan Trip 2018 (Tokyo/Hokkaido): Part 7 – Japanese Elementary School Experience

This article is part of the series on my July 2018 trip to Japan. Please see the table of contents page for other articles in this series as they are posted. I was very lucky to be able to have the opportunity to observe first grade elementary class for an entire day in a school… Read More »

Japanese literature review: “Utopia” (ユートピア) by Kanae Minato (湊かなえ)

On a recent trip to Japan (which I am in the process of reporting on here), I browsed through many bookstores. Because my reading speed in Japanese still hasn’t quite caught up to my English reading speed, rather than actually read a few pages of a book I generally focus on searching for covers and… Read More »

Japan Trip 2018 (Tokyo/Hokkaido): Part 6 – The Maid Cafe Experience

This article is part of the series on my July 2018 trip to Japan. Please see the table of contents page for other articles in this series as they are posted. I think many people have heard about Japan’s “maid cafes” (メイドカフェ or メイド喫茶)that allow viewing and interacting with cute girls in maid uniforms; but… Read More »