Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

Japanese Book Review: “ふしぎがわかるよ!” (A visual encyclopedia for children)

For learners of Japanese I often suggest children’s picture books because they are typically shorter, easier to understand, and have less kanji (if any) when compared to teen- or adult-oriented books. I’ve reviewed a few of them on this blog (this, this, and this). While you can learn much about Japanese language and culture from… Read More »

Interview with Ben Hourigan: author, editor, Japan aficionado

I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the great things about running this blog is the many interesting people I come across. In some cases, I may only exchange a few words in a post comment, but in others I may go on to have extended email conversations, or even work on a project together.… Read More »

What’s the difference between a 翻訳者 (‘honyausha’) and 翻訳家 (‘honyakuka’)?

In recent years I’ve gradually transitioned from simply learning Japanese to becoming deeply interested in Japanese to English translation. Besides actually doing a lot of translations myself, I have been trying to understand how to talk about translation in Japanese, in particular understanding the nuances of various terms related to translation. As you may already… Read More »

Using the Japanese particles “to” (と) and “tte” (って) to quote [plus abbreviated uses and particle combinations]

The Japanese particle と (to) has a fairly large number of usages. In one of my dictionaries there are ten independent meanings listed. While I’d like to cover them all eventually, in this post I’m going to focus on one of the most common usages, that is when “to” is used to quote something. By “quote”,… Read More »

Japanese quiz 2: Basic verb conjugation

This is the second quiz in a new series that will test your Japanese skills in various areas. While these quizzes will not specifically be targeting the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), I think practicing these sorts of fundamentals will help those studying for the JLPT and similar tests of Japanese ability. This quiz is… Read More »

Talking about ways of doing things in Japanese with 〜かた (~kata)

When you first learn a foreign language, you might be frustrated (or at least challenged) by how it differs from your native language. But the more you study, the more you’ll find aspects unique to that language that allow you to express things in convenient ways. In Japanese, by using the suffix かた (sometimes written… Read More »

The upward spiral of language learning

The other day I had a revelation about the difference between studying a foreign language by choice (using classes, textbooks, etc.), and being forced to learn it in an immersive environment (like at home or on the job)––in the former you always have the option to quit, whereas in the latter you don’t, or it’s… Read More »

Japanese quiz 1: Basic particle usage

This is the first of a new series of quizzes that will test your Japanese skills in various areas including grammar and vocabulary. While they will not specifically be targeting the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), I think practicing these sorts of fundamentals will help those studying for the JLPT and similar tests of Japanese… Read More »