Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

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 »

Japanese children’s book review: 「とうさんのあしのうえで」 (tousan no ashi no ue de) [At daddy’s feet]

In several past posts I’ve mentioned how children’s books are a great way to help train your reading skills in Japanese, one of the main reasons being you usually don’t have to worry about knowing kanji (or even katakana for that matter) since furigana reading hints will be comprehensively used. While you can run into… Read More »

Mobile App Review: Manabi Reader: a nice assistant to help improve your Japanese reading skills

Recently I got a tweet from Alek Ehlke asking me to try out his new iOS app “Manabi Reader”. In case you didn’t know, “Manabi” (学び) comes from the verb “Manabu” (学ぶ) which means “to learn”. While it’s not a very creative name, it’s easy enough to remember. The purpose of this app is quite simple:… Read More »

shibaraku (しばらく): a good Japanese word to know

The Japanese word ‘shibaraku’ (written “しばらく” in hiragana or sometimes written ”暫く” in kanji), is a word that I learned very early on in my Japanese studies and I still come across quite often. It has a simple meaning and usage that easy to learn and add to your own repertoire. This word means a… Read More »

Japanese Slang Word: 「鬼〜」 (Oni~)

When studying Japanese, especially if you don’t live in Japan, there are always blind spots which can develop in your learning depending on what materials and methods you use to study. One area that I’ve found difficult is slang, because many of the materials I use (especially books and TV dramas) tend to not use… Read More »

Japanese phrase: “warukatta” (わるかった・悪かった)

Over a year ago I’d made a post about the expression “yokatta” (よかった), and I thought I would follow that up with a post on the Japanese expression “warukatta” (“わるかった”, sometimes written in Kanji as “悪かった”). If you are relatively new to Japanese you may hear this word as “warukata“, but if you listen closely there… Read More »