How to Talk About Hobbies in Japanese

Talking about hobbies is a great way to get to know someone when you first meet them! It’s also a good way to use and learn a lot of new verbs and interests in Japanese. Talking about Hobbies in Japanese   “What’s your hobby?” / “What are your hobbies?” 趣味(しゅみ)は何(なに)?                 [Casual] 趣味(しゅみ)は何(なん)ですか?     [Polite] (しゅみは) [noun] だ。              [Casual] (しゅみは) [noun] です。          [Polite] Note: You see lots of articles online saying 「わたしのしゅみは___です」, but this is a very “textbook” answer and sounds very wooden… Read More…

The Best Way to Study Grammar for the JLPT

I have this bad habit of avoiding grammar every time I study for the JLPT. I’ll either avoid it altogether or leave it until the last minute. But now I’ve found a great way to study grammar for the exam! It takes a lot of work but is really effective. This is, I think, the best way to study grammar for the JLPT. 1. Buy Yourself a JLPT Grammar Drill Book Even if you don’t like spending money it’s well worth buying yourself a grammar drill book. Do this asap! I suggest starting this at least a month before the exam… Read More…

JLPT N3 – Study Methods and Resources

A long time ago I talked 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. As a result I wrote this post on taking the JLPT N5 and another for JLPT N4 with what the exam is, resources and study methods (which is why the  posts are very similar, and by very similar I mean practically identical but with the links updated and text changed slightly). This guide is exactly… Read More…

Try! JLPT Grammar Book

The 「Try! 日本語能力試験   文法から伸ばす日本語」or “Try! JLPT – Studying Japanese from Grammar” is the best Japanese grammar book I have ever used for learning JLPT grammar. I mentioned before that grammar is my weakness. I am so bad at grammar, partially because I don’t know English grammar (terms, I know how to use it naturally), and partially because I find it difficult and boring to practice. HOWEVER, this is the first time I’ve actually understood Japanese grammar and enjoyed learning them! Try! is a fairly new series of grammar books published in 2014, so unlike Nihongo Somatome and Shin Kanzen… 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…

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…

Beginners Japanese Grammar 2

Hello everyone! A little announcement as I’ve just made my Japanese Grammar 2 course on Memrise public! This is the second of a series of grammar courses for beginners, covering all the grammar points (except particles) for JLPT N4 level of Japanese. Even if you’re not taking any of the Japanese language proficiency tests you can still use this course to learn Japanese grammar. The lessons are grouped together based on how the grammar is formed and assumes that you already know how to read kana and how to make stem, plain, て form, た form, ない form etc. If… 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…

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…

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…

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…

The Basics of Grammar

“I just don’t get grammar” This is something I say a lot. I admit grammar is a tricky subject for me, and I have personally struggled with it since I started learning Japanese. But it doesn’t mean you have to! If you’ve just started studying Japanese you might notice that sentences are structured a bit differently compared to English. You might be learning vocabulary and the kanas and focusing on how to listen to Japanese, but not so much creating your own sentences which are based heavily in Japanese grammar. Memorising vocabulary is fantastic but when it comes to speaking… Read More…

Learning Japanese Particles

“I don’t understand particles! How do I know which ones to use when?”   Particles are a necessary evil when you start learning Japanese. They can be tricky but once you understand them Japanese (and especially grammar) becomes so much easier! For complete beginners, particles are markers in the sentence connecting words together. Similar to “a” “to” “and” “or” ect. For example, in a simple sentence “I am Niffer” you would say “watashi wa Niffer” ‘wa’ being the particle in this sentence. You can see a list of all these particles at Nihongo Ichiban which might seem like a lot but they… Read More…