Tag Archives: japan

Shinichi Tohei (藤平信一), current head of Ai Aikido (心身統一合氣道), appears on a Japanese educational program

Last year I posted about my training in the Japanese martial art of Aikido (合気道, or sometimes written as 合氣道). There are many styles of Aikido which have many things in common and yet diverge in areas that can be both critical and subtle; for this same reason it can be counterproductive to try and learn… Read More »

Japanese slang term: “mazogee” (マゾゲー)

Japanese has the interesting characteristic of not just having a lot of loanwords from other languages, but also liberally using these words to create either new English-like words (和製英語), or words that are combination of one or more English words and Japanese words. The word I’d like to highlight this time, mazogee (written マゾゲー in… Read More »

Japanese vocabulary list: words about sleep

When I couldn’t sleep the other day, I got an idea for a new Japanese vocab list about, well, sleep. Without enough sleep it’s hard to function in daily life, let alone study Japanese effectively. As with my other vocabulary lists, a majority of the words are those I have heard used by native speakers… Read More »

Japanese expression ありそうでなかった (ari sou de nakatta), and some tasty soy sauce

Whenever I am at around Japanese food products, I always try to read the labels to learn new words, especially since there are many food-specific words and expressions that you won’t normally hear in daily conversation. The other day I was reading the label for a “Butter Soy Sauce” product (バターしょうゆ) and came across some… Read More »

A tale of particles: “ni” (に) vs “wo” (を), the verb “kizuku” (気づく), and a bus full of moles

Particles––small words that have big grammatical meaning––are one of the challenges to real mastery of Japanese. The particles “wo” (を) and “ni”(に) generally have fairly defined roles. “wo” is used when something is the direct object of an action (ex: りんごを食べる / eat an apple) whereas “ni” is used for the direction of an action… Read More »

Japanese colloquial expression: “sorya sou desho” (そりゃそうでしょ) and related phrases

In this post I’d like to talk about the colloquial Japanese expression “sorya sou desho” (そりゃそうでしょ). This expression is made up a handful of fundamental words in Japanese which have multiple purposes and shades of meaning. So the end result can be a little hard to guess if you just try to put together things mechanically.… Read More »

Japanese expressions “nimaime” (二枚目) and “sanmaime” (三枚目): the good, and the funny

While interactions with native Japanese speakers I have occasionally come across the expressions “nimaime” (二枚目) and “sanmaime” (三枚目). It turns out they have somewhat opposite meanings and are easy to confuse, so I thought I would go over their meanings and origins here. As you may know, “mai” (枚) is used as a counting suffix… Read More »

Anime review: Inuyashiki (Last Hero)

While I know many of us struggle with tsundoku (積ん読)––buying mounds of books you never read––perhaps tondoku (止ん読)––starting a book or series and never finishing it––is an even graver crime. (Note: please see the last paragraph of this post regarding the word ‘tondoku‘) Sometime back I had read the first few issues of manga Inuyashiki (いぬやしき) by… Read More »

Japanese piano shopping in Portland (Yamaha baby grand G2 vs. upright U1)

In recent years I have been spending a good portion of my hobby time on Japanese-related stuff (studying, reading, translating), but before I got into Japanese I spent a lot of time playing a few musical instruments, particularly piano. While this post will be a little off-topic compared to my usual focus, I thought my… Read More »