Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

A discussion about the origin of Japan’s name (日本, nihon / nippon)

It’s amazing how you can study a foreign language for so long, yet somehow overlook what seem like basic things. The other day I was reading a book about Japan written for elementary school children which talked about Japan’s history and culture. On one of the first few pages, it said that the Japanese call their country… Read More »

Japanese Study Resource List

Shosetu.ninja: A great site that reviews Japanese literature and has a few short translations as well. https://shosetsu.ninja Dictionary Goo: My favorite Japanese dictionary. http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/ Japanese Stack Exchange: A great place to have difficult Japanese questions answered, especially grammar related. http://japanese.stackexchange.com Reddit Learn Japanese: A good place to ask questions about Japanese and learn about resources. https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/… Read More »

How does Godzilla unpeel a banana in Japan?

Language and Culture are inextricably connected, and to master a language of any country surely requires a strong grasp of its traditions, manners, beliefs, and other aspects of culture. Getting a proper fill of culture is one of the most difficult things about studying a foreign language self-taught when not in a country where that… Read More »

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 »