Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

まえ (mae) vs まで (made): what’s the difference?

Words that sound similar can cause trouble for those learning a foreign language, especially if the words have similar meanings. In this post I want to go over the difference between the Japanese words ”mae” (written either as まえ or 前) and “made” (usually written as まで, but in rare cases as 迄), which are… Read More »

Japanese term: What is “Ateji”? (当て字・あてじ)

Kanji (漢字), characters adopted from Chinese, are easily one of the most challenging aspects of the Japanese language. I think it’s fiar to say the love or hate relationship a learner has with kanji can determine whether they continue learning the language or give up. Personally, while I acknowledge kanji take a lot of time… Read More »

Commentary (解説): One of the Joys of Japanese Literature

Reading Japanese literature in its original language has a few perks. First, you have access to a huge number of works that have not been translated yet, many of which may never be translated. Also, reading untranslated text allows you to pick up nuances which would difficult––if not impossible––to translate, although skiled translators can use… 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 »

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 »