Tag Archives: expression

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 »

Useful Japanese expression: shikata nai (仕方ない) and a bunch of variants

The phrase “仕方ない” (shikata nai) is one that I learned very early in my Japanese studies and I’ve found it to be fairly commonly used, as well as pretty straightforward to understand. The word 仕方 (shikata) means “way to do something” or “method”. For example, since お礼 means “thanks”, then お礼の仕方 means “the way to thank”… Read More »

Japanese expression of respect: “足を向けて寝られない” (“ashi wo mukete nerarenai”)

Japanese is filled with quirky expressions which are commonly used for something deeper than their literal meaning. In this post I’d like to talk about an expression which I recently heard spoken by a Japanese person that caught me off guard. The expression is ”Xに足を向けて寝られない” which literally means “cannot sleep with feet/legs pointing towards X”, where “X”… Read More »

”テンション” (tenshon), a tricky Japanese loanword

About two years ago, I wrote a post on a few confusing loanwords in Japanese, and then around a year ago about how they are so common in the language. I’ve heard many new loanwords since writing those articles, and have been able to guess their general meaning often just from knowing the corresponding English word. But once in… Read More »

Japanese word “koso” (こそ) explained in detail

The word “koso” in Japanese, usually written in Hiragana as こそ, isn’t exactly a frequent word in Japanese, nor is it necessary in order to express most things in the language. However, there are a few common usages which are good to learn, regardless of your level, and you may even be able to employ a… Read More »

Japanese phrase: “yokatta” (よかった)

Oftentimes, words and phrases break out of the boxes that define their literal meanings and become something more. “Yokatta” (よかった) is the past test of the word “ii”, which means “good”, and therefore “yokatta” means “was good”. Since subjects are often omitted in Japanese this phrase can mean “it was good” or can refer to… Read More »

Japanese grammar: the word ‘無し’ [なし, nashi] and related terms

The Japanese word “なし” (romaji: “nashi”, Kanji: “無し”) is one that I have come across now and then, but really didn’t have a thorough understanding of. So I decided to do some research and in this post I’ll report my results. (Note: I am not talking about 梨 (nashi), which means ‘pear’). “なし” has a… Read More »

The mysterious “といって聞かない” (to itte kikanai) and it’s explanation

Studying a foreign language never gets old because you always have new things to learn. In Japanese, once you put in the time and effort to learn the grammar and a good chunk of the Kanji characters, you’ll get to a point where you can start reading native-level Japanese little by little. But there will always… Read More »

Expressing state in Japanese with “ni aru” and “ni natte iru”

In Japanese, the expressions “にある” (ni aru) and “になっている” (ni natte iru) are used to express the state of something. “にある” is often used with words like 状態 (joutai, “state”), 状況 (joukyou, “state”) or 傾向 (keikou, “trend). Take this example sentence: 体は睡眠状態にある。 The body is in a state of sleep. Here you can think of this… Read More »

断る(kotowaru): an important Japanese word with two nearly opposite meaningshe first mea

The verb ことわる in Japanese, written in Kanji as 断る, is notable in that it has two meanings that are nearly opposite to one another. As usual in cases where a word has more than one definition, you need to use context to tell which is being used. The first meaning, and perhaps the more… Read More »