Category Archives: Japanese Study: Beginner

TransLiterary Lab (#2): live analysis and translation of Japanese literary excerpts

I’ve decided to start a new series called “TransLiterary Lab” (文学翻訳ラボ) where I do analysis and translation of short excerpts of Japanese literature. You can see more information about this series in this post. In this second episode I will continue where I left off in episode one, and translate a little more of Akutagawa… Read More »

TransLiterary Lab (#1): live analysis and translation of Japanese literary excerpts

I enjoy writing articles on this blog as well as doing translation of various Japanese works, and was considering writing more articles where I analyze passages and talk about translation details. However, some time ago I hit upon an idea that would be much more fun and potentially more educational than a simple article. Now,… Read More »

Tips for asking other for help with a foreign language

When studying a foreign language, it’s natural for all sorts of questions to come up––how to pronounce words, how to use grammar correctly, and (perhaps the hardest) how to speak or write natural sounding language. For those taking a formal language class, generally there will be some time either after or during class to ask… Read More »

Interesting Japanese loanword “マウンティング” (mauntingu, a.k.a. “mounting”)

Anyone who studies Japanese for even a short time knows there is a huge number of loanwords, and there seems to be more being coined every day. While they come from a bunch of world languages, yappari many are from English. This is both a blessing and a curse. If the word sounds like its… Read More »

Japanese grammar: Introductory phrases with ~n da kedo (〜んだけど)

In the post I’d like to go over a common way of expressing an introductory idea in Japanese. We will begin with a basic form of this, んだけど (n da kedo) and then go over some variations. First, let’s look at a simple example: 僕、ずっと日本語を勉強してるんだけど、まだペラペラじゃない (boku, zutto nihongo wo benkyou shiteru n da kedo, mada… Read More »

Japanese grammar spotlight: だって (datte) vs だから (dakara)

In this post I want to focus on two common Japanese words that sound similar but have very different meanings––in fact opposite meanings. These words can have a few different usages, but I will be focusing on the following usage, where だって or だから begins a new sentence. 「sentence A」。だって「sentence B」 「sentence A」。だから「sentence B」 Besides… Read More »

まえ (mae) vs まで (made): what’s the difference?

Words that sound similar can cause trouble for those learning a foreign language, especially if the words have similar meanings. In this post I want to go over the difference between the Japanese words ”mae” (written either as まえ or 前) and “made” (usually written as まで, but in rare cases as 迄), which are… Read More »

Japanese term: What is “Ateji”? (当て字・あてじ)

Kanji (漢字), characters adopted from Chinese, are easily one of the most challenging aspects of the Japanese language. I think it’s fiar to say the love or hate relationship a learner has with kanji can determine whether they continue learning the language or give up. Personally, while I acknowledge kanji take a lot of time… Read More »