Tag Archives: language

How does Godzilla unpeel a banana in Japan?

Language and Culture are inextricably connected, and to master a language of any country surely requires a strong grasp of its traditions, manners, beliefs, and other aspects of culture. Getting a proper fill of culture is one of the most difficult things about studying a foreign language self-taught when not in a country where that… Read More »

Japanese children’s book review: 「にほんのマナー えほん” (Japanese Manners Illustrated Book)

Studying Japanese using Japanese books written for children is always something I suggest to leaners who are in the beginner or intermediate levels. As long as you pick a book that isn’t too difficult (you can start with baby books to be safe) you will some good reading practice, and also the satisfaction of actually reading a… Read More »

Japanese Children’s Book Review: 「言葉図鑑」(Visual Word Encyclopedia) by Taro Gomi (五味 太郎)

Sometime back, I mentioned that I recommend reading children’s books in a foreign language as a good way to experience native-level content that isn’t too difficult. For Japanese, this is especially useful since you will have very little, if any, kanji to worry about, which is one stumbling block when reading Japanese books. I’ve read a great… Read More »

あらせられます (araseraremasu): A triple-polite Japanese word

One of the distinguishing things about the Japanese language is how there are many different ways to say the same thing while varying the level of politeness. For example, the below words all mean “to eat” in increasing levels of politeness. 食う (kuu) 食べる (taberu) 召し上げる (meshiageru) Besides the many different verbs, there is also… Read More »

Japanese literature review: Kenji Miyazawa’s “Matasaburo of the Wind”

I’ll have to just come out and admit it: of all of the books I have read there is a small group I never made it to the end of, including both Japanese and English works. One of these is Kenji Miyazawa’s (宮沢賢治) “Night on the Galactic Railroad” (銀河鉄道の夜) which was a deeply moving story when… Read More »

The Art of Translation: My process for translating from Japanese to English

Starting late last year, I’ve translated as a paid side job at Gengo for a few months, as well as translated parts of fictional stories as a hobby, roughly 25-30 chapters worth. By no means would I call myself a “professional” translator, but I feel I have had enough experience to improve my translation skills significantly. For several weeks now, I’ve… Read More »

Japanese to English translation: “Candy Candy Final Story” – Chapter 1, Part 2

I had previously written a review of the Japanese novel  “Candy Candy Final Story” (キャンディ・キャンディ Final Story) written by Nagita Keiko, and later posted a translation I did of the prologue, and another of Chapter 1, Part 1. Generally, when I do translations of small fragments of novels, I don’t intend to follow up with translations of any future chapters. However,… Read More »

Ways to describe style in Japanese

When studying a foreign language, just because you can understand something doesn’t mean you have the requisite vocabulary and grammar knowledge in order to summarize it and talk about it’s content critically. In my Japanese studies, I’ve found that it can be frustrating to describe in any amount of detail something I’ve just read (novel,… Read More »