- Remembering the Kanji: One Year Later
July 20th, 2011
Learning to read Japanese can sometimes be a great big hairy goal with no clear path to success. In this article I’ll discuss how I got started learning kanji using the Remembering the Kanji system by James Heisig, and my results after a year of study.
- Japanese TV: Expect The Unexpected
June 18th, 2011
One of the things ex-pats complain about when first moving out to Japan is the quality of TV. Being British, my only prior exposure to Japanese TV, apart from Pokémon, was Takeshi’s Castle. So upon arriving in Japan I expected TV to be chock-full of cheerful Japanese willing to be injured for my enjoyment. What I actually saw was a collection of “Gourmet travel” shows, ropey dramas, game shows and variety shows.
- Japan Signs: A Day At Ueno Zoo
February 24th, 2010
This sign is in the grounds of Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. We visited there when we last stayed in Ueno and apart from being the coldest and wettest day of our trip, it was definitely worth the visit. There’s a fair bit going on in this sign but don’t worry as we’ll go though the kanji and katakana one at a time.
- Similar Kanji: Eye vs Oneself
February 14th, 2010
目 (eye) and 自 (oneself) are separated by just one small stroke and as such prove to be tricky for beginners to remember. Both kanji are part of the JLPT3 and are taught in grade one and two at Japanese schools respectively.
- Japan Signs: Going Overseas?
February 9th, 2010
I took this shot of an ad hanging on a train somewhere on the Yamanote line in Tokyo. I think it’s a great real-life example of the use of Katakana for foreign city or country names.
To start you off I’ll go through the first line and then you can take it from there. We put all the first line together and get “Rondon” or London as it is known in English.
- Mnemonics: Learn Japanese Faster
February 1st, 2010
When I first started Japanese, I struggled to memorise certain things – some I got straight away, others took time and slowed my progress.
Over a long period of trial and error, I came to the conclusion that mnemonics work very well for me. I seem to learn faster and retain information for longer as long as it is attached to some sort of story that makes sense to me.
- Use Twitter To Improve Your Japanese
January 25th, 2010
The ubiquity of Twitter means you can connect to the Twitterverse in so many different ways.
Having the ability to always connect to Twitter on the run means you essentially have a free Japanese resource available to you at any time and wherever you happen be.
- Similar Kanji: Person vs Enter
January 23rd, 2010
人 (Person) and 入 (Enter) are both JLPT4/N5 and learnt in Grade 1 in Japanese schools, however for a beginner, they can be very easily mixed up.
The only visual difference between the two is the small stroke at the top of 入 (enter), which is what I use to create a story in my mind to remember the two.
- Learn Katakana: The Starter Kit
January 13th, 2010
Rows upon rows of laundry detergent all written in katakana – imagine the horror when your partner asks you to grab brand X and you come home with brand Y because you can’t read katakana – oh the shame!
- Hiragana: The T Line
January 8th, 2010
The T line consists of ta (た), chi (ち), tsu (つ), te (て), to (と) and the changes to the aiueo rule happen in two places. The first difference comes with chi (ち), which replaces the expected “ti” and is a mirror image of さ (sa) so don’t get confused there.
The other change is tsu (つ), which comes in place of what you may have assumed would be “tu”.