Category Archives: Uncategorized

A thoughtful discourse on literature with Japanese author Fuminori Nakamura (中村文則)

I’ve been an avid reader since I was young, but until high school I mostly read fantasy novels that would be considered popular fiction. In high school I was assigned to read a variety of books in various genres, but I think it’s safe to say a majority of them could be considered ‘literature’ in… 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 »

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 »

The *other* uses of polite language in Japanese

I think it’s fair to say that polite language (敬語, keigo) is one of the most difficult things to master in the Japanese language. Polite language includes the basic desu/masu forms that students generally learn early on, but there are also more advanced forms of polite language with varying nuances (ex: 召し上がる、お目にかかる). For the purposes… 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 »

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 »