Tag Archives: japan

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 »

A mistaken case of mixing spoken and written language (ですし,”desu shi”)

Listening or reading to many types of Japanese––novels, newspapers, blogs, TV shows, movies, anime, magazines––is a great way to increase your vocabulary. It also helps you train that elusive skill for what just sounds “natural”. However, in Japanese (and perhaps many other languages) there is an important distinction between spoken language (話し言葉) and written language… Read More »

Japanese sentence-ending particle ぞ (zo) and being eaten by a green monster

Japanese particles––small words with big grammatical and affective meanings––are one of the things that make the language unique. They can cause problems for those who are not too strong with grammar, but once you spend some time studying them I think you’ll find out their usages and meanings are pretty logical (though the particles with… Read More »

Japanese polite expression: 頼まれてくれる? (tanomarete kureru?)

Recently I was watching anime when I came across the interesting phrase “頼まれてくれる?”(tanomarete kureru?), so I wanted to dedicate a post to it. To begin with, the verb 頼む (tanomu) means to request something or ask a favor or someone, and is similar to the verb お願いする (onegai suru). However, in the expression here the… Read More »

Japanese word highlight: 相談 (soudan)

In this post, I’d like to focus on the word 相談 (そうだん / soudan) for two reasons: it’s high frequency in business-level Japanese and the fact it doesn’t have a great single-world (one-size-fits-all) translation in English. I’d like to begin the explanation by giving the Japanese definition of the word from Dictionary Goo, followed by… Read More »

Japanese Read & Answer: #10 [Level 2] ––test your reading comprehension––

This is another post in my Read & Answer series of articles where I give a short passage in Japanese followed by one or more questions to test your understanding. Besides testing vocabulary, articles in this series aim to test reading comprehension (読解力, dokkairoyku). You can see more about this series here, and a list… Read More »

Confusing Japanese loanword: エール (Eeru)

As you’ve probably already discovered, Japanese has a huge number of loanwords, especially from English––and that number seems to be increasing fast. Fortunately, a majority of these can be guessed from context if you can manage to match them up to their original word by sound. But some of them are hard to guess because… Read More »

“The Allure” sample voice narration (from “Tales of the Disturbed” short story collection)

Recently I announced the release of my latest ebook, “Tales of the Disturbed”, a collection of short stories I have translated from the classic Japanese author Yoshio Toyoshima (豊島与志雄). As part of the editing process I was reading parts of the stories out loud, and after doing this for a while I realized that it… Read More »