Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

A great Japanese word: 脱サラ (dassara) –– getting away from The Grind

I’m sure many people are working full time for a company that they don’t own any part of, getting paid on a periodic rate based on a set contract. And I’m also willing to bet that a good portion of those people wish they could go independent and become their own boss, choosing what and… Read More »

Confusing Japanese loanword: エール (Eeru)

As you’ve probably already discovered, Japanese has a huge number of loanwords, especially from English––and that number seems to be increasing fast. Fortunately, a majority of these can be guessed from context if you can manage to match them up to their original word by sound. But some of them are hard to guess because… Read More »

Tricky Japanese verb pair: 預ける / 預かる (azukeru / azukaru)

In Japanese, there are many transitive/intransitive verb pairs, whereas in English we use often word order to describe whether an action is transitive or intransitive. Masting these pairs is an important step in becoming fluent in Japanese. As a simple example, let’s take つける (tsukeru), a transitive verb with a bunch of meanings, but for… Read More »

Japanese Writing Lab #6: Where you live

This is the 6th assignment of a program I am running to help myself and others practice writing in Japanese. For details, see this post. Also see this post for a list of all assignments. [Update: I have fixed the link here, apologizes for the trouble.] This time the topic will be “僕の住む場所” (boku no sumu basho), which means “Where I… Read More »

The hit-and-miss of learning foreign language words (and a few hints for better retention)

When learning words in a foreign language (Japanese or any other), it can be frustrating because some words seem to stick immediately whether others take many iterations. While I think some of this just the unpredictability of our memories, it can be instructive to think about what drives this process and to develop ways to… Read More »

Japanese slang term: “mazogee” (マゾゲー)

Japanese has the interesting characteristic of not just having a lot of loanwords from other languages, but also liberally using these words to create either new English-like words (和製英語), or words that are combination of one or more English words and Japanese words. The word I’d like to highlight this time, mazogee (written マゾゲー in… Read More »

Japanese vocabulary list: words about sleep

When I couldn’t sleep the other day, I got an idea for a new Japanese vocab list about, well, sleep. Without enough sleep it’s hard to function in daily life, let alone study Japanese effectively. As with my other vocabulary lists, a majority of the words are those I have heard used by native speakers… Read More »

Japanese colloquial expression: “sorya sou desho” (そりゃそうでしょ) and related phrases

In this post I’d like to talk about the colloquial Japanese expression “sorya sou desho” (そりゃそうでしょ). This expression is made up a handful of fundamental words in Japanese which have multiple purposes and shades of meaning. So the end result can be a little hard to guess if you just try to put together things mechanically.… Read More »