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July 2018

Sunday Song #4: Sakura No Hanabiritachi (AKB48)

I haven’t written one of these for a while, and this one’s a little late.  I have some good excuses which you don’t care about, but if you knew them, you’d agree that they’re good, so we’ll just leave it at that. This is an interesting song.  Its first few bars of introduction are really catchy and high energy – they actually remind me of an 80s or 90s song.  In fact, that’s how I found this song, because they kept playing that intro on AKBingo and I liked it… Read More »Sunday Song #4: Sakura No Hanabiritachi (AKB48)

Wait Just a Kanji-Pickin’ Minute

I realized something today that has been kind of simmering in my consciousness lately, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Many words in Japanese are actually compound words.  For example, 美味しい means “delicious”, but the words separately mean something like “beautiful taste”.  電車 means “train” (or that’s how it’s taught in Japanese Level Up), but the kanji separately mean “electric train”.  But 大丈夫 is not really a compound word, it means something entirely different than the three kanji separately would indicate. So is it reasonable to… Read More »Wait Just a Kanji-Pickin’ Minute

Why Does One Study Japanese?

I’m sure there are many different motivations. Some people study Japanese because they love anime and manga.  That is not why I study Japanese. Some people study Japanese because they want to go to Japan.  That is not why I study Japanese. Some people study Japanese because they love the culture.  That is not why I study Japanese. Some people study Japanese because they want to find a Japanese partner.  This is not why I study Japanese. Some people study Japanese because it’s difficult.  This is not why I study… Read More »Why Does One Study Japanese?


The fundamental difference between English-like languages and Japanese-like languages is the word order.  The other differences are important, but I think it’s this difference that requires the most change in mindset. English is a prepositional language.  This means that the particle-equivalents come before that which they are to modify.  For example,  “I am going to the store”.  “to”, in this case, is prepositioned – it is positioned before the part of speech that it is going to modify – namely, “the store”. Japanese is a postpositional language.  The particles come after the part of speech… Read More »Cadence

Culture and Humanity

As a gaijin, which literally means “outsider” or “outside person”, our exposure to Japanese culture is almost always initially through their media in some way.  Either anima, manga, J-pop, or some other type of media that Japan has spread throughout the world.  And make no mistake, Japanese media and culture is amazing. It seems, though, that people who stop there tend to have two generalized reactions.  One is to tend towards otaku or weeaboo – people who are obsessed with Japanese pop culture to the point of it being unhealthy.  The other are people… Read More »Culture and Humanity

The Japanese Mind

I went to Kinokuniya yesterday here in Austin, and found several interesting books.  One is called “Japanese Respect Language”, which I intend to read at some point soon.  One is “Read Real Japanese”, which is a reader of six stories of increasing complexity, with notes as to things that may be challenging.  The third was “The Japanese Mind”, which I find to be the most interesting book of the three so far. It is a series of about twenty essays, each of which discusses a different aspect of Japanese culture. … Read More »The Japanese Mind

Why Japanese is Hard

I was thinking this morning, on my day off for Independence Day here in the US (while waving a flag and shooting off fireworks while drinking beer and saying “hold mah beer and watch this”) about why Japanese is so hard.  I was rather lamenting in my head about something I’ve been harping about in previous posts – how there seems to be no one resource that actually tells you what you need to know about Japanese and you kind of have to piece it together from a bunch of… Read More »Why Japanese is Hard

Still plugging along…

I feel as if, if I even come close to mastering Japanese, I’ll be able to learn any other language I want.  Japanese is hard. Crazy hard. But I keep encountering ways to look at it that make it easier, and sometimes it feels like you just kind of have to luck your way into learning these things, as there seems to be nowhere that has everything you need in one place.  Every site or book seems to have parts of it, but you have to spend months just piecing… Read More »Still plugging along…