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 »

Konbucha: a popular tea with health benefits…or not?

Konbucha tea seems to be increasingly popular these days. For example, at one Whole Foods Market grocery store in Portland there is a konbucha bar with a lineup of teas on tap, and there are many types of konbucha drinks for sale in the refrigerated drink section. Coincidentally, when recently reading a magazine I came across an article which… 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 book review: “文藝年鑑” (Literature Yearbook) [an important guide for acquiring rights to publish Japanese works]

In the process of researching how to obtain official legal permission to translate and publish certain Japanese authors, I discovered the book “文藝年鑑” (bungei nenkan), which can be translated as “Literature Yearbook”. In this post I’d like to review this important reference guide, especially useful to translators and those deeply interested in Japanese literature. (By… Read More »