Learn Kansai-ben With Cats ①

Ever wanted to learn more about the infamous Kansai dialect of Japan? From a Japanese person? Through the medium of cats? Well now you can learn Kansai-ben with cats!!! 関西弁にゃんこ (Kansai-ben Nyanko) is a fantastic book by Maki, a Japanese illustrator and writer from Kyoto. 絵がすごくかわいいですよ!!! Her art is so cute!!! And following her on twitter is great Japanese practice! If you have LINE you can buy her Kansai-ben Kitten stickers here! This book is currently unavailable in English but I got special permission to translate parts of it for Japanese Talk Online readers! This isn’t a very long book … Read More…

How to Make Simple Japanese Sentences

Japanese grammar is actually surprisingly easy once you get it. Basic grammar is at least. It’s like a maths problem; + x – etc., all have their own uses and places, it’s the numbers around them that change the meaning of the formula. In Japanese these are called “particles”. They are set sounds that have set uses. Once you know the basic ones it’s very easy to create a wide variety of sentences by changing the words. Here’s a guide to creating simple sentences using particles. – How To Practice Making Sentences I wanted to write this first because I feel … Read More…

Nyaa and Other Japanese Animal Sounds

Bellow are Japanese animal and all the awesome sounds they make in Japanese! The animals in Japanese are written in romaji and kanji. Although kanji so exist, most of the time you’ll see animals written in hiragana or katakana. Sound effects are always written in kana. 楽しんでね!   Animals in English Animals in Japanese Animal Sound (romaji) Animal Sound (kana) cat neko 猫 nyā, nyān ニャー, ニャーン pigs buta 豚 bū bū ブーブー dog inu 犬 wan wan ワン ワン fox kitsune 狐 kon コン cicada semi 蝉 miin miin ミーン ミーン frog kaeru 蛙 gero gero, geko geko ゲロ ゲロ, ゲコ ゲコ duck ahiru 家鴨 gā gā … Read More…

I’m Afraid of Kanji

I’ve noticed that lots of people want to start learning Japanese but the prospect of kanji is intimidating. A lot of people tell me they’re afraid of kanji, and don’t want to learn it! It’s not like hiragana and katakana which seems simple and phonetic. There are lots of lines and shapes, and the idea of having to memorize over 2000 is even more frightening. But you don’t have to be afraid of kanji, and once you start studying you might even find it fun!   Take Baby Steps No one’s saying to need to learn all 2000 in one … Read More…

Japan’s Lucky Poop – Dajare Puns and Culture

This week I wanted to look at Japan’s fascination with dajare (ダジャレ) or “wordplay/puns” and how their love for them has permeated itself into Japanese customs and media. (I’ve talked about Japanese humour before in Japanese Jokes for English Speakers.)   Japan’s Lucky Poop Dajare One of Japan’s most weird and iconic custom is poo. There is a weird obsession with it to the point where you can buy cute faced poop keychains, and golden poop statues at shrines. So why the poop? In Japanese poop can either be “unko” (うんこ) or “unchi” (うんち), however, “un” (うん) also means luck or … 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…

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” form … Read More…