Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

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 »

Japanese slang term: meccha “めっちゃ”

Words generally have an explicit meaning (what it says in the dictionary) in addition to an implicit meaning, also called the nuance or atmosphere of the word. When learning a foreign language it is good to understand both, and sometimes there is much more to the nuance than the explicit meaning. “Meccha” (generally written in… Read More »

Japanese phrase highlight: うまくやんなよ (umaku yan na yo)

When reading a Japanese novel recently I came across the following phrase: うまくやんなよ (umaku yan na yo) At first I was a little confused as to the meaning here, but eventually I figured it out. In this article I’ll go over this phrase in some detail. First is the word うまく (umaku), which is the… Read More »