The nuances of expressing politeness is one of the most difficult parts of mastering the Japanese language, especially if your native language doesn’t have a strong concept of politeness levels (in my opinion, English does not). One of the things I always talk about when asked about politeness is the verb trio “kureru”, “morau”, and… Read More »
A few weeks ago I began learning the art of Japanese calligraphy, which is called “shodou” (書道). I posted a lengthy article here on some of the things I discovered, and included some hints for those interested in learning shodou. Right around the time I finished that article, a book arrived that I had purchased,「書道」の教科書… Read More »
It’s not uncommon for one word in a language to have multiple meanings, but for non-native learners it can be challenge to figure out all the meanings from context. Japanese is no exception, although intonation (depending on region) and kanji selection can help to differentiate meanings in some cases. In this post I want to… Read More »
The characters used in the Japanese language––comprised of hiragana, katakana, and kanji––use a large variety of shapes and strokes, and in my opinion are very visually pleasing. Calligraphy, a traditional art that is still popular in Japan today, takes these same characters and elevates them to a true art form that can often be seen… Read More »
Noh, written using the character 能 (meaning “ability”), is a style of classical Japanese theater that combines elements of drama, dance, and music. What is considered Noh theater today was established around 600 years ago in the 14th century, although some of its fundamental elements are over 1000 years old.
The interaction between languages over time can be interesting to follow. Words get imported from one language into another, and meaning often changes, from subtle to drastic ways. New words can even be formed using a composite of words from two languages. For various historical reasons, in the last few decades the Japanese language has… Read More »