Anime & Manga Japanese Greetings

“Tadaima~ I’m Home~” You may have noticed how certain phrases crop up a lot in anime, but do you know what they’re saying and do you know exactly what they mean? This post looks at these common phrases used in anime and explains their etymology, hopefully shedding some light on where they came from and their cultural relevance. These are some some the core phrases used in everyday Japanese language and therefore in anime. Understanding the meaning of the words being used can help you remember the words and spread light on aspects of Japanese culture that you might not… Read More…

“I heard” “It seems” – The different uses of sou そう

This is a grammar point that had me in a lot of confusion recently. I’d created some lessons to help people on the Memrise group learn these but due to conflicting information on the internet the course got very jumbled and had to be corrected a number of times. I’ve finally pinned down these grammar points after checking with native Japanese people. Apologies to those who have been using Memrise and gotten confused on these points. I hope the following helps. The following are all the uses for sou そう for “It seems” and “I heard”. If you have any… Read More…

New Memrise Course – Anime Grammar for Beginners!

To go along with the Anime Japanese posts I’ve been doing recently I made a memrise course for people to learn informal grammar used in anime and manga. It accompanies the Beginners Anime Japanese course which focuses on basic vocabulary. Because this is a beginners course it only tests on hiragana, but has the romaji and kanji for reference. A lot of the grammar overlaps with Beginners Grammar 1&2, but mostly has new verbs for each of the grammar points if you’ve done these courses already. Anime Grammar for Beginners Read More…

Anime Japanese – Verbs

Besides adjectives verbs (and grammar) are probably the most common words used in anime A previous post covered adjectives in anime. This one will go over verbs, the types that are used, how it’s different to what you learn in a classroom, and the best way to study them along with grammar.   Japanese Verbs Used in Anime All Japanese verbs are used in anime. But unlike the Japanese you might learn in class these are normally in informal, or quite often said with a certain dialect. The best way to learn these is to learn the basic or dictionary… Read More…

Using NHK to Practice Japanese – Beginners to Advance

For those that don’t know NHK is the Japanese Broadcasting Network. A bit similar to the UK’s BBC, it runs regular new reports and articles on local and international affairs. They actually have websites in many different languages (including English) if you want to read about current affairs in Japan without needing to read the Japanese. Besides learning about Japanese affairs as they happen, NHK can be a great resource for studying the language for all levels. Beginners NHK Online Lessons: NHK offers free online lessons for beginners learning Japanese using MP3 and pdf worksheets. They release 10 minute radio… Read More…

Anime Japanese – Adjectives Are Everywhere

You can understand a lot from a situation in anime simply from learning adjectives. Adjectives are used all the time in anime. Their use ranges from a single statement describing the obvious (i.e “it’s hot”), to describing a person or situation in a complex sentence, but even then it’s incredibly useful to have a grasp of adjectives when you watch anime. Two types of adjectives It’s important to understand the two types of adjectives in Japanese. On their own there’s not much difference, but when changing the tense, or combining them with other words (i.e using grammar with adjectives) each… Read More…

Japanese – Where to Start II

Japanese - Where to Start

“What do I do once I’ve learnt hiragana and katakana?” In a post last year I advised that the first thing a person starting to learn Japanese should do is learn hiragana and katakana. This post listed various resources you can use to study hiragana and katakana as each person is different in their study approach. It’s important to learn hiragana and katakana as it opens up so many more opportunities for learning the language and helps with pronunciation and reading ability. Since then I’ve seen a lot of people asking “what next?” It’s difficult to pick a direction when… Read More…

Anime Japanese – I & You

Different characters speak differently in anime, and the most recognisable ones are the differences between men and women. We will discuss the full extent men and women are characterised to speak differently in Japanese in a later lesson, but one of the most noticeable differences in anime is the way people refer to themselves and others. Below is a chart of how some of these words are divided up. It’s important to remember though, that although some are more feminine/masculine than others, personal pronouns used in anime are interchangeable depending on the character type (i.e a masculine girl or feminine… Read More…

Anime Japanese – This, There, Where?

There are a lot of Japanese words that pop up regularly in anime and we are going to practice some of these using anime themselves starting with “this/there/where”. In Japanese how you say “this” or “that” depends on where you are in relation to the listener. KO- KO- is used to indicate that you are talking about something close to the speaker. The following 3 are very common uses of this found in anime and everyday life. KORE – means “this” when you are not mentioning the subject. Such as in the picture on the right indicated to the bag, but… Read More…

Studying Anime Japanese – Basic Techniques

I mentioned last week that I was doing an Anime Japanese workshop at the University of Kent, UK. It turned out well! I’ll be following this up with a number of posts on the materials I covered in the workshop and more! Basic techniques you can use when studying anime Japanese Watch lots of anime! This is a bit of a no-brainer. Watching lots of anime will expose you more and more to hearing the language used naturally. As well as to Japanese culture and customs. My listening has always been my strongest part of Japanese simply because I watch so… Read More…

Learn Japanese Grammar Using English Grammar

“Why do I need to know English grammar to learn Japanese grammar?”  English grammar is a topic I could not get my head around easily when I was younger. I even tried doing an A level in English language so I could learn it! Still didn’t work. But we speak English as native, we don’t need to know grammar! Yuk! Weeeellll I would totally agree with you, but after learning Japanese grammar I’ve realised how wrong I was. I really dislike Japanese grammar for the same reason I dislike English grammar. I read things like “possessive noun” and “auxiliary verb”… Read More…

JLPT N4 Memrise Course

I am pleased to announce that I have completed the JLPT N4 Vocabulary and Kanji courses on Memrise. JLPT N4 Vocabulary Course   JLPT N5 Kanji Course Unlike the JLPT N5 course the N4 courses are separated between vocabulary and kanji. This was because of the large number of kanji and kanji based vocabulary in comparison to the N5 one. It’s a lot easier to learn kanji through vocabulary which have been grouped together so you can see the different uses and readings, which is what I’ve tried to do. Not only that but the kanji course focuses more on… Read More…

Reading Practice for Beginners

When you start learning Japanese you learn the hiragana and katakana along with vocabulary and grammar, but if you’re teaching yourself you won’t often get much reading practice to combine all those skills together in a useful way. So how do you practice? It’s good to start reading soon! It not only allows you to practice your vocabulary and grammar but also your understanding of Japanese sentences. This is particularly important at the higher levels where 80% of what you’re exposed to will depend on your comprehension of the language. The following are suggestions for beginner JLPT N5/N4 level learners.… Read More…

Understanding ばいと敬語 Shop Japanese

Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan – A guide to understanding shop Japanese バイトけいご When you go to a shop or restaurant in Japan, even if you’ve learnt you basics of Japanese, it can be hard to understand what the shop assistance are saying. Not only are they saying sentences they’ve been saying all day everyday which makes them more like automated lines, but they also use a mutated form of Japanese they you would not have learnt in lessons. Even if you’re learning up to JLPT N1 level “shop speak” isn’t a topic that’s normally covered in conventional lessons. This… Read More…

Using YouTube to Learn Japanese

Learning Japanese from textbooks and articles on the internet are great but sometimes your brain isn’t taking in the words and you need a change of pace. Watching and anime or dramas is good to give your brain something different but it’s not exactly pushing you unless you’re watching it without subtitles and really concentrating on learning the words. You might be an auditory learner rather than a visual learner and would prefer videos and audio tracks to books. So why not use YouTube to learn Japanese? If that’s the case there are a number of lessons on Youtube that are… Read More…

Verb Groups – Beginners Japanese Grammar

Plain form is also called dictionary form and it is just like “masu” form but is used in casual, informal situations. Plain form is the present/future tense and is pretty important because you use this as a basis to create other verb forms (like past and negative). – You can practice all of these using the J-Talk Online Memrise course Beginners Japanese Grammar 1 (JLPT N5 Grammar). See last week’s post on Studying Japanese Grammar for tips on ways to learn grammar. But the first thing you need to know about plain form are the 3 groups. Group 1 or “u… Read More…

Studying Japanese Grammar

“I find it hard to learn Japanese Grammar” In the past I’ve tried to explain basic Japanese sentence structure and introduced “masu” form, but I’ve not gone into much detail on how to learn these. That’s difficult thing about Japanese grammar, you can’t just read about it and expect to know it. There are hundreds of websites that explain grammar to you and tell you what you need to know for the various JLPT levels, but not much on how you learn that. I guess to sum it up you just have to keep using it in different situations. But what’s the… Read More…

Japanese Textbooks for Teaching Yourself Japanese

“What text books should I use for teaching myself Japanese?”   Using text books to learn Japanese can be tricky business because they are often made for class studying rather than self study, but it doesn’t mean they’re not useful if you can’t afford the time or money for classes. First of all when studying Japanese it’s good to know the answers to these questions: Why are you studying Japanese? What’s your goal? It could be to read manga, watch anime without subtitles, to be able to read/speak it while on holiday or for a possible career. Your answer will… Read More…

Manga Japanese for Beginners

“I want to be able to read manga in Japanese”    Want to learn manga Japanese? Manga Japanese is great fun to read but can be pretty tricky for beginners who are studying Japanese. This is because a lot of the Japanese people at the beginning is polite. But the Japanese used in manga is colloquial. Manga Japanese is also written with accents, making it hard to understand and hard to look up certain words. Not only that but Japanese manga used a LOT of sound words which don’t always translate to English. This post is a guide for beginners… Read More…

An Introduction to Japanese Verbs – “masu” Form

A lot of Japanese grammar is based in it’s verbs which when conjugated (changed into a different form) can give a very different meaning to the sentence.   The Basics of Japanese Verbs – “masu”* Form *Pronounced “mass” rather than “ma-su”, but in Japanese characters is spelt ま”ma” す “su” A few examples: かきます – “kakimasu” = to write いきます – “ikimasu” = to go たべます – “tabemasu” = to eat ねます – “nemasu” = to sleep します – “shimasu” = to do きます – “kimasu” = to come Most people when they begin to learn Japanese learn the “masu”… Read More…

Things I Learnt Studying Japanese

Tips for Studying Japanese Here are a few lessons I’ve learnt over the years studying Japanese. I hope these come in handy with your own study. Just because you feel like you should know something doesn’t mean you do.  There have been many times when I’ve been studying and gone “I already know this I don’t have to do it again.” But just because you’ve studied it doesn’t mean you actually know it. This caused me to waste more time going back over something I felt I should know but when I came across it outside of studying. I knew… Read More…

Japanese Counters

“How do you know when to use what counter?” You may or may not have noticed that in Japanese there are no ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ words like some European languages have. You may or may not have noticed that it’s a very phonetic language which means it’s easy to pronounce words fluently once you know. But to add a spanner to the works, you may or may not have noticed how in Japanese numbers, and more specifically when you are counting different things, are a bit of a pain. For those who didn’t realise Japanese has the normal counting system… Read More…

Giving and Receiving in Japanese

-Guest Post from Wana10- Hello! Niffer asked if I’d write a post for J-talk and I decided why the heck not. But what to talk about? Let’s focus today on a very important bit of Japanese grammar that seems to give some people problems; Giving and Receiving. (As for importance an entire subsection of the listening portion of my JLPT N2 test was based on this so…learn it!) まずは First we need a brief refresher on the important concept in Japanese of ‘Us vs. Them’. Once you get beyond basic phrases like “I like sushi” and “that cat is cute” you… Read More…

NEW ~ JLPT N5 Memrise Course

J-Talk Online Memrise JLPT N5 It’s done! I am thrilled to announce the J-Talk Online JLPT N5 course for beginners is finished! (I spent the last 2 days putting together so very happy I have it in working order.) In the last few weeks I made some posts about JLPT N5 I mentioned how memrise has courses for JLPT N5 and N4, but the courses has a lot of advanced kanji and were pretty random. Which is GREAT if you’re a higher level wanting to take JLPT N3 or if you want to over learn not necessarily for the exams),… Read More…

JLPT N5 – Study Methods and Resources

I’ve talked previously about taking the JLPT but I felt like I was a bit vague when it came to beginners as there aren’t actually that many specific text books for the lower levels because there are plenty of others that cover the basics of Japanese. So this guide is made using those and other online advice for complete beginners wanting to take the JLPT exams whether it be for masochistic fun, to push your language ability, or for school.   What do I need to know to pass JLPT N5? First of all it’s good to know what exactly… Read More…

J-Talk Online Memrise Courses

So in the last few weeks I came across the flashcard program Memrise. I’d heard about it before but never really checked it out. It had been so long since I’d used AnkiDroid that I decided to try it out, and it is amazing! I entered in some vocabulary I was studying and managed to go over about 220 of them in a single weekend! When I hadn’t been doing much before hand this was a big confidence booster! So why is Memrise so great? Well for one thing putting vocabulary into a flashcard deck and getting other people’s is SO much… Read More…

Japanese Signs – Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan

In a previous post Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan I explained about phrases that would be essential for visiting Japan. Especially if you were staying with a Japanese family. So this post is about signs you’ll see around Japan, especially the common ones that are important to know. To make it easier to learn them I have images that show examples of the signs you’ll see in Japan along with explanations for the kanji. The kanji explanations show where the words come from and how they’re read on their own in comparison to a kanji compound (when 2 or more… Read More…

Family in Japanese 家族

  As I suggested in Grouping Topics for Easy Learning, one for the easiest things to learn is family. What’s great with vocabulary for family is that you can combine it with other topics to create sentences to make it easier to remember the words and grammar. You can now learn and practice family vocabulary using the J-Talk Online Family Memrise Course!   Family かぞく The interesting thing about the word “family” かぞく is that it uses the kanji for “house” 家 (いえ on it’s own and か when combined with other kanji) and “tribe” 族 (ぞく), so your family is your “house… Read More…

Learning Kanji – From Beginners to Advanced

Kanji is an interesting part of Japanese that is not to be taken lightly, but not to be intimidating either. There are 2136 official regularly used (常用 / じょうよう) kanji, each with one to three or more readings but there is a pattern and a way to work out which readings to use. 1006 of the kanji are taught in Japanese primary schools, and the other 1130 are secondary level. After learning all 2136 you should be able to understand Japanese on the same level as a native 16 year old. But it’s important to start with small steps. The… Read More…

Motivation Studying Japanese

“I am having trouble studying. I want to study but I just don’t feel motivated to any more.”  Blaaaarrrrrrggggg…I hate feeling unmotivated. There are times (like recently) where I just haven’t wanted to study, resulting in me barely touching Japanese for well over 3 months 4 months! That is bad (and hypocritical) especially when I keep saying how important it is to use and study Japanese every day. I think, “I’ll sit down and do an hour of Japanese today….juuuuuust after I watch this episode of The Following”…4 hours later and nothing has been done! I’m sure other people have had this… Read More…