Category Archives: Japanese Study: Advanced

Japanese Drama Review: “義母と娘のブルース” (Stepmother and Daughter Blues)

In my early years studying Japanese I watched a huge number of Japanese dramas, and while this really helped improved my listening and vocabulary skills, it also made me accustomed––or should I say overly sensitive––to the common tropes of this form of media. That, plus the fact I generally try to spend more time in… Read More »

Japanese book review: 一流の人が学ぶ 氣の力 (“Ki for Business Professionals”) by 藤平信一 (Shinichi Tohei)

Before I begin this book review I should give some background information about myself. I’ve been practicing Ki-Aikido (more formally known as 心身統一合氣道, “Aikido of Mind and Body Coordination”) for around 2 years now. Besides practicing in a local dojo several times a week, I have trained once in a Japanese dojo, and also have begun reading… Read More »

Reader question: “What’s the hardest part of learning Japanese?”

Statistics about the number of people reading this blog are a good confidence booster, but readers who interact directly with me are really the lifeblood of Self Taught Japanese. That’s why I do my best to answer all questions that I receive via comments or email, sometimes in the form of long articles. Earlier this… Read More »

Japanese astronomical terms: “chidousetsu” (地動説) and “tendousetsu” (天動説)

In this post I want to cover two Japanese scientific terms I have come across: “chidousetsu” and “tendousetsu”. These are generally written in kanji as 地動説 and 天動説, respectively. Chidosetsu is used to describe the astronomical model whereby the Sun is at the center of the solar system, with planets (including the Earth) revolving around… Read More »

Japanese novel review: さざなみのよる (sazanami no yoru) by 木皿泉 (Izumi Kizara)

Despite the fact I can get Japanese books quite easily while living in the U.S.––ebooks, online order of paper books, or even buying them in person at Kinokuniya in Beaverton––whenever I go to Japan I feel a need to buy at least one or two novels. There is some logic to this: first, because Japanese… Read More »

Japanese Book Review: “The Power of Ki” (氣の威力)by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一)

It’s been around a year and a half since I’ve started training in a martial art informally called “Ki Aikido” that was created by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一). It is formally named “Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido”, and written in Japanese as 心身統一合氣道, which literally means “Aikido of Mind and Body Unification”. The casual term “Ki Aikido”… Read More »

A thoughtful discourse on literature with Japanese author Fuminori Nakamura (中村文則)

I’ve been an avid reader since I was young, but until high school I mostly read fantasy novels that would be considered popular fiction. In high school I was assigned to read a variety of books in various genres, but I think it’s safe to say a majority of them could be considered ‘literature’ in… Read More »

Japanese Book Review: “ふしぎがわかるよ!” (A visual encyclopedia for children)

For learners of Japanese I often suggest children’s picture books because they are typically shorter, easier to understand, and have less kanji (if any) when compared to teen- or adult-oriented books. I’ve reviewed a few of them on this blog (this, this, and this). While you can learn much about Japanese language and culture from… Read More »

Japanese slang word: あざす(azasu) [“Thanks”, without the politeness]

Japanese is well known for its complex layers of politeness that involve different verbs, verb endings, and nouns, among other things. Japanese classes often focus more on the polite side of Japanese since it’s generally safer to be more polite, especially with people you don’t know well. However, many Japanese learners are also interested in… Read More »