Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

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 »

Japanese expressions “nimaime” (二枚目) and “sanmaime” (三枚目): the good, and the funny

While interactions with native Japanese speakers I have occasionally come across the expressions “nimaime” (二枚目) and “sanmaime” (三枚目). It turns out they have somewhat opposite meanings and are easy to confuse, so I thought I would go over their meanings and origins here. As you may know, “mai” (枚) is used as a counting suffix… Read More »

Anime review: Inuyashiki (Last Hero)

While I know many of us struggle with tsundoku (積ん読)––buying mounds of books you never read––perhaps tondoku (止ん読)––starting a book or series and never finishing it––is an even graver crime. (Note: please see the last paragraph of this post regarding the word ‘tondoku‘) Sometime back I had read the first few issues of manga Inuyashiki (いぬやしき) by… Read More »

Japanese slang word: gyakugire (逆ギレ) [Getting angry at the angry]

In this post I’d like to go over an interesting Japanese vocabulary word: gyakugire (逆ギレ). Gyakugire is a compound word made of two parts: gyaku (逆), which means opposite or reverse, and gire, which comes from kireru, a word with many meanings including “to get angry”. So literally, gyakugire means something like “reverse-anger”. (By the way, words composed of… 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 expression highlight: “ああ言えばこう言う” (aa ieba kou iu)

In this article I would like to talk about an interesting Japanese phrase: “aa ieba kou iu” (ああ言えばこう言う). This, like many of the phrases of expressions I write about on this blog, is a phrase that I have heard used in conversations with native speakers as well as used myself. This expression is interesting because… Read More »

Some thoughts on “aisatsu” (挨拶): greetings that make relationships smoother

If you pick up a Japanese textbook, for example the popular Genki series, you’ll find a chart of “aisatsu” (挨拶). This is a list of formalized expressions that are used in daily life and include things like: こんにちは   (konnichi wa) おはようございます (ohayou gozaimasu) こんばんは (konban wa) はじめまして (hajimemashite) いらっしゃいませ  (irasshaimase) よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) Fortunately… Read More »

Google suggest: a surprising supplement to foreign language learning

I think for a majority of students learning a foreign language in modern times, using Google as a search tool to find word meanings is a pretty common activity. Even for translating––although it often isn’t my “first line of defense” when trying to understand a word or phrase––often I’ll end up doing a search just to… Read More »