People LOVE to say that Japanese is difficult. Like all languages it has its challenges - but it also has some key things that make it easy peasy…Read More
A blog about learning and teaching Japanese, walking Japan, and sometimes about kit-kats.
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By the entrance to the conference room, there was a flip chart with a message: “Please sign in here, and then go through the door and say good morning to the room”.
“OHAYO GOZAIMAAASU!” I yelled. (GOOD MORNING!)
We had practiced this yesterday. “In Japanese workplaces,” they told us, “you must greet the room enthusiastically when entering.”
As I took my seat, I noticed that some trainees had been given a piece of card by staff as they entered.Read More
Earlier this year, I was telling a friend about the various monthly challenges I set myself to practise Japanese.
“What are you going to do in July?”
“I might try writing every day, like a diary or something? Or I might watch Japanese TV every day…”
“Fran, watching TV every day doesn't really sound like a challenge.”
“…or I might play video games every day.”
“That definitely doesn't sound like a ‘challenge’ to me.”
“…all the more reason to do it, right?”
Who says challenges have to be challenging? I played Japanese video games for about 20 minutes a day for a month. Here’s what I learned: six reasons to play video games in a foreign language.Read More
“I can read it and understand it, but I can’t speak like that!”
…Does this sound familiar?
Almost all language learners feel that their production (speaking and writing) is not as strong as their comprehension (listening and reading). This is normal, but it’s still frustrating.
One method that is supposed to improve your listening and speaking is shadowing.
I’d heard of shadowing before, and I’d seen Japanese language learning resources devoted to it – but I’ve never tried it. I decided to try this every day for a month, and see what impact it had.Read More
It’s both. And it’s neither.
Beginner students often ask whether “shinbun” or “shimbun” (the word for “newspaper” in Japanese) is correct.
You’ll see both spellings...and books about the Japanese language don’t seem to be able to agree either.
If you look at the two most popular Japanese beginner textbooks, Genki has “shinbun”, whereas Japanese for Busy People has “shimbun” and also “kombanwa”.
But why?Read More
Did you know that Japan has its own numbering system for the years? As well as the Gregorian calendar (the same calendar used in the west, the one that says it's 2019 now), Japan uses another system which names years after the reign of the emperor.
(The western calendar is commonly used too - and the two systems can be used interchangeably.)
So, what's the date?Read More
Many people believe you need to live abroad to get speaking practice in a foreign language, but this isn’t true.
Similarly, people often assume that if you in Japan, like I did, you’ll pick up the language easily. But that’s not necessarily true either.
If you speak English, it’s possible - indeed easy - to live in another country for years and not become fluent in the language.
I didn't make any year-long New Years’ Resolutions this year. Instead, I decided to set myself some monthly language-related challenges. I’ll decide them as the year goes on, and I’ll probably do one every other month.
In January, I decided to speak Japanese every day for a month.Read More