Tag Archives: words

Japanese vocabulary list: language, reading, writing, and translation

In this vocabulary list I’d like to give some words related to language, reading, writing, and translation. A majority of these are words I have seen and/or used myself. I purposefully left out technical grammatical terms (like 述語), but I may make another list for them someday. Note: as usual, many of the verbs in… 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 »

Vocabulary list: Being sick in Japanese

Nobody loves being sick, but there is nothing worse than being sick except being sick where you can’t express how you feel to those around you. This vocabulary list is about words related to not feeling well, and about getting better (the doctor, etc.) Many of them I have used myself in the real world.… Read More »

The bridge of translation and “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” (よろしくお願いします) in Japanese

Doing translations between Japanese and English is always an educational endeavor, teaching me so much about Japanese and language in general. One thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is how one can be reasonably skilled in two languages, and yet translating simple phrases can be so challenging. I’ve seen this happen even when I… Read More »

Language Learning Trip: think meaning, not words

When studying your first foreign language, there are many things you have to get accustomed to: new sounds, different characters, and grammar rules, to mention only a few. During this process, the longer you study, the more tricks you pick up to help speed your journey towards fluency. One such trick I’ve learned is to think in terms… Read More »

We don’t make language, it makes us (and an incorrect use of the Japanese particle ‘ga’)

When studying a foreign language, I’ve had all sorts of small revelations about how language works, and these are one of the things that keeps me motivated to learn even more. I remember in my first foreign language class, which happened to be for Spanish, the teacher said that “someone just didn’t sit on a hill… Read More »

Japanese weather forecasts – a surprisingly useful study tool (with weather vocabulary list)

Let’s face it – weather is one of the most boring, hackneyed conversation topics in existence. But when looked at the point of view of foreign language study, weather forecasts become a surprisingly useful resource. To start with, forecasts on professional radio stations (check NHK news podcast out as an example) will have announcers that enunciate cleanly and… Read More »

“Fushigi”, a decidedly mysterious Japanese word

The word “fushigi” in Japanese, written in Kanji as 不思議, has several related meanings including “strange”, “miraculous”, and “odd”. It can be used as both a noun or a na-adjective. I always like to look at words’ definitions in Japanese to try and get closer to the root meaning. Here is the word’s first definition in… Read More »

Japanese slang word: yabai (やばい)- when things get dangerous

In a previous post, I’ve discussed how Japanese has less curse words than languages like English. There are a few, however, which can pack quite a strong meaning, and in this post I’ll be talking about one such word – “yabai”. “yabai” originally means “dangerous” (equivalent to Japanese “abunai”) or a bad situation. 警察はやばい仕事です。 Police officer is a… Read More »

Japanese vocabulary list: Science terms

For this post I’ve decided to create a vocabulary list for scientific terms in Japanese. I’m personally interested in science and enjoy trying to read Japanese magazines and books written about science, and I hope this list inspires some of you to try out the same. I will try to stay to pretty general terms… Read More »