Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

Some thoughts on effective learning of foreign language vocabulary

(The other day a friend casually asked me about how I learn vocabulary words in Japanese, and at the time I could only give a fairly simple answer. So I thought about it some more and decided to write an article about effective learning of foreign language vocabulary.) Regardless of what foreign language you are… Read More »

Two types of “can’t” in Japanese: improper vs impossible

When learning a foreign language, often it is good to try and get away from your native language and think in the foreign language so you don’t end up saying things that sounds like they came out of a translation program. Having said that, when speaking that foreign language it will take time for your… Read More »

Talking about the future in Japanese (mirai, shourai, kore kara, ima kara, etc.)

In this post I’d like to discuss a few ways of talking about the future in Japanese. To begin with, one of the first words students students learn about the future is 未来 (mirai), which can be used to talk about something that has not occurred yet. Let’s use this word in a simple sentence:… Read More »

Some thoughts on language selection and code switching

Learning a foreign language is a challenge no matter which language you choose, and the difficulty achieving fluency depends on how distant it is from your native tongue(s), and whether you are in an environment where you are forced (or at least motivated) to use it daily. But once you become reasonably fluent in a… Read More »

A primer on Japanese emotive sentence-ending particles: ne, na, naa, yo (ね、な、なあ、よ)

One of the tricky things about running a language-learning blog is deciding what to write about. When I first started this blog back in December 2013, I mostly intended to act as support for those learning Japanese without necessarily getting too involved into detailed explanations about fundamental grammar structures that might already be covered elsewhere in… Read More »

Roudoku (朗読): The fun and benefits of reading books out loud in Japanese

As part of raising my son bilingual Japanese, over the last few years I’ve spent a great deal of time reading him Japanese children’s books. I always recommend children’s books to people learning Japanese because typically no kanji knowledge is required, there is a so much culture to absorb, and they are just plain fun.… Read More »

Japanese non-past (present/future) tense, “will”, and intention

One of the nice things about the Japanese language is that it has relatively few grammatical tenses, at least compared to languages like English which can get quite messy. Knowing a handful of tenses can get you pretty far, although you do have to memorize the conjugation for each category of verbs. In this post… Read More »

Oregon Monogatari: One year living in Portland, Oregon (with notes on Japanese culture there)

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve moved with my family to Portland, Oregon. It’s no exaggeration to say that one of the main reasons we chose this area because of the relatively large proportion of Japanese people, at least compared to South Florida where we came from. I’ve already written a few articles… Read More »