Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

Mobile app review: “Kitty Collector” (neko atsume / ねこあつめ)

Setting your computer, smartphone, and tablet to Japanese is a great way to expand your vocabulary in a natural way, using words in context instead of a dry vocabulary list. This means both the OS itself, as well as the applications or games you are using (sometimes the setting of these things is linked, sometimes… Read More »

Japanese phrase “mou hitotsu” (もうひとつ)and a brief Murakami translation

Recently I was reading an interesting blog which contains reviews of Japanese books (in English), and I came across an article about the Haruki Murakami (村上春樹) book “After Dark”. While I am not going to go into that book in detail in this post, in the the article I found there was a short passage… Read More »

Self Taught Japanese Podcast: 8 recordings in 8 days

A little over a week ago, I decided to start a companion Podcast for this blog, covering many of the same topics: studying Japanese on your own, anime reviews, etc. I managed to record eight episodes in eight days, though it was a bit challenge since recording plus editing took roughly between 45 minutes and… Read More »

Japanese short novel translation: ”Sluggish Symbol, Inane Illusion” (緩慢な表象と虚ろな幻想): Translator’s notes

“One life, one book” If you’re read my recently-completed English translation of Yuki Fujimura’s short novel ”Sluggish Symbol, Inane Illusion”, then the above line may bring back good memories of certain key points of the story. (If you haven’t read it yet, you can see the entire table of contents of translated chapters here) When I first contacted Yuki Fujimura… Read More »

Another use of the simple non-past tense in Japanese: admonishing children

One of the convenient things about Japanese is that there are less verb tenses than in English, where you have things like “will run” and “would have run” (though there is still a few in Japanese). However, the tradeoff is that there are a bunch of other ways to use the smaller set of tenses to… Read More »

Recommend reading list for Japanese learners

Recently a few people asked me if I could provide a list of suggested novels for Japanese learners who don’t have enough experience yet to tackle popular adult novels, like those from authors like Haruki Murakami. In this post I’ll try to address that question and provide some related thoughts. Knowing what type of reading material is appropriate… Read More »

Japanese Writing Lab #5: Favorite movie

This is the 5th assignment of a program I am running to help myself and others improve Japanese writing skill. For details, see this post. Also see this post for a list of all assignments. This time the topic will be “好きな映画” (suki na eiga). Write about your favorite movie, or just any movie you enjoyed. If you aren’t into movies… Read More »

The trouble with insufficient samples: The Japanese word 偉い (erai) and it proper usage

When learning words in a foreign language, the only way to get a full understanding is to gather data from as many sources as possible: dictionaries, media (fiction/nonfiction) and of course as many real-world situations as possible. I see this is as chiseling away the various subtleties of this word little by little until you have the… Read More »

Japanese Vocabulary list: Trains (電車) and related terms

Who doesn’t love trains, especially children? Even if you don’t love them, living in Japan (or other big cities) pretty much forces them to use them, so this list of train-related words is sure to be of use. 電車 (densha): train   [this word is written with the Kanji for “electricity” and “car”, and thus… Read More »

Japanese Writing Lab #4: Hobbies

This is the 4nd assignment of a program I am running to help myself and others improve Japanese writing skill. For details, see this post. Also see this post for a list of all assignments. This time the topic will be “趣味”, which is “hobby” or “hobbies”. Feel free to write about a single hobby you enjoy, or more than… Read More »