Category Archives: Japanese Study: Intermediate

Getting along with people: Japanese expressions involving “naka” (仲) [naka ga ii, nakayoku, nakanaori, etc.]

The word “naka”, often written in kanji as 仲 but sometimes in hiragana as なか, refers to a human relationship. There are a handful of expressions involving this word commonly used in everyday conversation that are useful to learn. One of the simplest and most common, ways to use this word is when describing a good or… Read More »

Japanese everyday word: “kasabaru” (かさばる)

Lately I’ve been making posts on words which I’ve heard in everyday conversation with Japanese native speakers, and in this post I’d like to highlight one more: “kasabaru”. It’s written in hiragana as かさばる but can also be written in kanji as 嵩張る. However, I hear this word more often than see it in writing.… Read More »

Japanese term “magari” (間借り): renting a room in someone’s house

In everyday conversation with a native Japanese speaker I came across another word that I hadn’t heard/read before. The word was “magari” which confused me at first because I thought it was a form of the verb “magaru” (曲がる), which means “to bend” (intransitively, as if something bends itself). However, that didn’t fit the context:… Read More »

Language learning pitfall: Learning similar words at the same time

There are surely as many techniques to learn languages as there are languages, if not many more. And a majority of the techniques you read about online or in a book will likely provide some benefit for at least a fraction of language learners. But there are a few things I’ve learned over the years… Read More »

“I’ve lived in Japan for X years and am still not fluent in Japanese!” –– 13 tips for language learning

I think we have all met someone who has lived in a foreign country for some time but hasn’t yet mastered the primary language of that country; maybe you are one of those people. In this post I’ll give some tips for language learning, targetting especially those immersing themselves in that language. While I will… Read More »

Japanese loanword spotlight: 「ナーバス」(naabasu) [It doesn’t always mean “nervous”]

Loanwords from other countries, called gairaigo (外来語), make up a significant part of the Japanese language, and learning their nuances is a key part of being truly fluent in Japanese. Many of these words, for example seetaa(セーター, meaning “sweater”), are used in a way that is very similar to their original language. However, some loan words have… Read More »

Gotta catch ’em all (in Japanese): Learning Pokemon cards in a foreign language

In my college days, I was really into the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, although in the last decade or two I don’t think I’ve played a single game. One of the fun things about having children is the possibility of exposing your hobbies and interests to them, and if you are lucky they… Read More »

Japan Trip 2018 (Tokyo/Hokkaido): Part 7 – Japanese Elementary School Experience

This article is part of the series on my July 2018 trip to Japan. Please see the table of contents page for other articles in this series as they are posted. I was very lucky to be able to have the opportunity to observe first grade elementary class for an entire day in a school… Read More »