Tag Archives: linguistics

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 »

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 »

What it’s like reading Haruki Murakami novels in their original Japanese

If you follow this blog you probably know that one of the main motivators for me to get serious about learning Japanese was because I am a big fan of the author Haruki Murakami and had a strong desire to read his novels in their original, untranslated, Japanese. When I meet people for the first time, the topic of… 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 »

The trouble with insufficient samples: The Japanese word 偉い (erai) and it proper usage

When learning words in a foreign language, the only way to get a full understanding is to gather data from as many sources as possible: dictionaries, media (fiction/nonfiction) and of course as many real-world situations as possible. I see this is as chiseling away the various subtleties of this word little by little until you have the… Read More »

Japanese Vocabulary list: Trains (電車) and related terms

Who doesn’t love trains, especially children? Even if you don’t love them, living in Japan (or other big cities) pretty much forces them to use them, so this list of train-related words is sure to be of use. 電車 (densha): train   [this word is written with the Kanji for “electricity” and “car”, and thus… Read More »

Spoiling and being spoiled in Japanese: 甘やかす (amayakasu) and 甘える (amaeru)

甘やかす (amayakasu) and 甘える (amaeru) are two words I use somewhat frequently in daily life which are little tricky to express in English. As a hint to their meaning, it’s good to notice that both of these words contain the Kanji “甘” which is the same one as used in the word for “sweet” (甘い, “amai”). Let’s… Read More »

Japanese Novel Translation: 『そして、星の輝く夜がくる』(And thus, the starry night fell upon them) by 真山仁 (Mayama Jin) [First chapter]

Recently, I reviewed Jin Mayama’s book “そして、星の輝く夜がくる” which I thoroughly enjoyed and consider it one of the best Japanese novels I’ve read. As I’m always looking to improve my translation skills, especially for novels, I decided on translating just a few pages of it. In short, the novel is about a teacher who volunteers to help… Read More »

Japanese Writing Lab #3: How do you study Japanese?

This is the 3nd assignment for a program I have started in order to help myself and others improve their writing in Japanese. For details about the program, see this post. Also see this post for a list of all assignments. For the first few topics I am keeping to things which are pretty easy to write about, so… Read More »