Friday, May 30, 2014

Kanji Lesson


Have fun like them!!

Recently some of my friends asked me how to learn Kanji characters in Japanese.
So I thought back on what I did to learn them when I was a kid. I am sorry but I have to say that I (and most of other Japanese people) just practiced Kanji characters again and again in school. I had a lot of homework to write Kanji characters and often took the exams.

The Japanese students must master 2,136 Kanji characters at the level of high school graduation. It means, we spend 12 years to master all of them.
These are articles about Kanji characters I posted before:
*Let's Learn Kanji Characters!
*A Misunderstanding

It would be more easier to learn them if you could find some characteristics of Kanji characters. Here's an example:
汁 soup
汗 sweat
河 river
泡 bubble
泳 to swim
海 the sea
浴 to bath

Can you find the something these characters have in common? Look closer at the left side of each characters. All of them have  on its left. And, you might have already noticed, those characters' meanings have relation to "water". Right, this part of Kanji () is kinda like a keyword of "water".

Now try to guess what's the meaning of this keyword () of these Kanji characters.
Hint: A body part!!
打 to hit
投 to throw
技 skill
指 fingers
拾 to pick up

Answer: This () is a keyword of "hands". Did you get it?:)

If you've just started to learn Kanji characters, these website would help you a lot!!
>How to Learn 2,000 Kanji in 3 Months
(Fluent in 3 Months)
>Basic Kanji - The First to Learning Kanji

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/are? douyatte kaku-n dakke?/
Eh? I forgot how to write it?

*あれ?/are/ ん?/n/ え?/e/ (・_・?)

*どうやって /douyatte/ how to

*書く /write/ to write

*~だっけ? /-n dakke/ is it...?
= ~だったっけ? /dattakke/
It implies that he's not sure about it, or forgot about it. Or he's asking himself.

ex) 犬(いぬ)にチョコレートあげても良(い)いんだったっけ?
I'm not sure if I can give some chocolates to dogs...?

ex) ごめん、名前(なまえ)なんだったっけ?
Sorry, what was your name?

I often forget how to write Kanji when I have to write by hand because I usually use a keyboard and the computer automatically choose Kanji for me. :(

Friday, May 23, 2014

Japanese is easier than you think!!

Have you tried Lang-8? It's a language learning platform where native speakers correct what you write. if you're learning Japanese and have already studied Japanese characters, I recommend you to try writing some in this website!

Even if you don't use Japanese software, don't worry. You can also input Japanese characters without a Japanese keyboard. Here is the website which explains how to type in Japanese on your laptop;

How to type Japanese
by. CosCom

And here's some useful tips to switch between ひらがな and カタカナ.
Alt + Caps Lock is Hiragana -> Katakana (Full width)
Ctrl + Caps Lock is Katakana (Full width) -> Hiragana
Left alt + backtick (`) is used to switch between hiragana mode and direct input
*Thank you for telling me these tips, Adgemon!  :)

And, today I'm gonna share a great blog post!!
Is Japanese Hard? Why Japanese is easier than you think!

I am a big fan of that blog!! X) The owner of the blog is Benny Lewis, who is a polyglot and has mastered several languages. You can find a lot of ideas for leaning languages in his blog. In this article, as the title says, it shows some reasons why Japanese isn't as hard as you might think.

*There are heaps of English loan words in Japanese
*There are no pesky noun genders in Japanese
*Japanese verbs don't have to "agree" with the subject
*You can leave out the subjects & objects if they are clear from the context
*Each Japanese syllable can be pronounced only one way
*Japanese harbors few new sounds for English speakers
*Japanese is not a "tonal" language
*Kanji can be learned extremely quickly if you use an adult-friendly method
*Knowing Kanji allows you to guess the meaning of new words

Please check out these great advice by clicking the link above!! ;)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/nanda. omotteta-yori kantan jan/
Oh it's no big deal, it's easier than I thought.

*なんだ /nanda/ You say it when you don't satisfied with the result, or it's not good enough as you expected. It is also pronounced like なーんだ/naanda/ with a disappointed tone.

*思ってたより /omotteta yori/ than you expected
If you want to say as negative form, you have to say 思ってたほど.

(She was) not as cute as I expected.

It wasn't as fun as I expected.

*簡単 /kantan/ easy ⇔ 難(むずか)しい /muzukashii/ hard, difficult

*じゃん /jan/ We put it at the end of the sentence to emphasize it. Or it's used to confirm the positive. Well, people in the west part of Japan (especially in Kansai area) usually say やん /yan/ instead of じゃん.

Learning a foreign language isn't easy, but it's interesting. Right?:)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What Should I Talk About?

Hey guys! I've heard an interesting method for Language Exchange (LE).
This method is for beginners who have just learned basic grammar and some vocabulary.
(Google it if you don't know what's LE!!)

1. Decide one topic to talk about
2. Make 5 sentences about the topic  in the target language
3. Check some vocabulary related to the topic before the session

(In the Session)
1. Your partner (or you) speeches 5 sentences
You might find many mistakes in your partners speech, but please listen till the end.
2. Let your partner know the mistakes or more natural way to say that
If you don't remember the sentences, you can ask your partner to read it again.
3. Speech corrected 5 sentences
4. Ask your partner 5 questions about her/his speech or about the topic
Please use simple and easy word so that your partner can understand
5. Switch the language
Now it's your (or your partner's) turn to speech 5 sentences.
1~4. again!

It would take 15 or 20 mins per person. It's very easy, isn't it? :)
I think it's much better to have a 20 mins session twice a week than to have a 2 hours session once a month. What's important is to keep it, right?

You wanna try it but haven't found any LE partners? :(
Then, please check my old posts which introduce some useful websites for LE!
Language Exchange SNS <Lang-8>
Find A Language Exchange Partner

And check this post if you want to start LE with Japanese friends.
Japanese Phrases For Language Exchange

I currently tried this method with an Iranian lady. It was good for us, who are very shy and often freeze up! lol Please try it and let me know how it works for you guys!! :)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/kinchou shichatte... nani hanaseba ii ka wakannai yo/
I feel so nerves... that I have no idea what to talk about.

/daijoubu, rirakkusu, rirakkusu/
No worries, just relax!

*緊張(きんちょう) /kinchou/ to feel nerves, embarrassed, to get tense
We often say 緊張する before a big workout. しちゃう is very casual way of saying する. It implies that it's not what one wants to do, or it's out of one's control.

ex) そんなこと言(い)ったら、彼女(かのじょ)泣(な)いちゃうよ
If you said like this, she will cry.
泣く [to cry] → 泣いちゃう [to cry, but it's not supposed to cry]

ex) ごめん、笑(わら)っちゃった。
Sorry, but I couldn't help laughing out.
笑う[to laugh] → 笑っちゃう ―(past sense)→ 笑っちゃった

*何(なに) /nani/ what
*話(はな)す /hanasu/ to talk, speak
*いい /ii/ good, fine, proper, okay → いいか(=いいかどうか) good or not
何を話せばいいか means "what to talk / what should I talk"

What to buy
What should I eat first
から shows the starting point. 何から literally means "from what".
Check this post to know more about から!

*わかんない/wakannai/=わからない I don't know, I'm not sure

*大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)/daijoubu/ don't worry, never mind, no problem, it's okay
We really often use this word!
Is it okay to go to cinema tomorrow?
Is your wound okay now?

*リラックス/rirakkusu/ to relax
There're tons of loan words from English in Japanese. xD We say リラックスする when it's used as a verb.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It Will Be Found Out Soon!!

I found an interesting Youtube video which introduces Japanese Supermarket!

What do you think about it? Does it look unique? :)

A few weeks ago, my friend Alley asked me what is the difference between "ようだ" and "そうだ". Both words explain the speaker's supposition or presumption. They are really often used in conversations. Let's look over how to use these words!

Here's some examples;
/tarou no uwaki ga bareta youda/
It seems that Tarou's fling was found out.

太郎(たろう) is a boy's name. Someone came to know that 太郎's bad habit 浮気(うわき) was found out. What does 浮気 mean? It means "one's fling (love affair)". You can guess what will happen when one's 浮気 was found out by his girlfriend or his wife...!! lol

バレる /bareru/ means "to be found out". It's used for something bad, or something you don't want others to know.

/tarou no uwaki ga bareta souda/
I've heard that Tarou's fling was found out.

In this case, (1)ようだ means "it seems that..." and (2)そうだ means "I've heard that..."

How about this example;
/ame ga huru youda/
It seems that it will rain.

/ame ga huru souda/
I've heard that it will rain.

/ame ga huri souda/
It looks it will rain soon. / It is about to rain.

The usage of (1)ようだ and (2)そうだ is same as Tarou's example. However, look at (3). It might be a little confusing though. It also そうだ but it's a little different from the meaning of (2)そうだ.

You'll see the difference if you see closer at its verb.
(2)雨が降るそうだ → I've heard that it will rain
(3)雨が降りそうだ → It looks it will rain soon. / It is about to rain.

食べ(=eat)そうだ、走り(=run)そうだ、泣き(=cry)そうだ、飛び(=fly)そうだ... These actions haven't happened yet, but it looks it will happen. Or, it shows that it is your conjecture by seeing.

But you cannot say 雨が降りようだ, 食べようだ, 走りようだ... They don't make sense.

So, if I say 太郎の浮気がバレそうだ, it means totally different from 太郎の浮気がバレたそうだ. His fling hasn't been found out yet, but you saw something and suppose that it will be found out sooner or later.

Oh gosh, it's hard to explain... I hope you can find some rules through these sentences.
You can also see my previous posts which have some examples with the word "そうだ".
These そうだ show one's conjecture by seeing something.

By the way, my husband will get back from business trip at last!! XD I'm soooo happy now!!
*Japanese Word of the Day*
/kare wa ashita kaette-kuru souda/
I've heard that he'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Holiday In Japan

He is my little brother ギン太/Ginta/!! Sooo cute, isn't he? He's a 13 years old papillon dog. Last weekend I got on a plane from Taiwan and went back to my hometown. It had been 2 years since I visited my parents last time...! I was really happy to see my family and friends.

This big gate in front of the station in my city is called 鼓門/tuzumi-mon/. Do you know where it is? :) Our city will finally have 新幹線(しんかんせん = The bullet train) routes next year, so it will be more convenient to access from Tokyo.

The previous post I wrote about my hometown; About My Hometown
If you want to travel around, this site will help you a lot! <Here's its Facebook page>

Enjoy riding a Dolphin bike

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/jita tomo ni mitomeru inu-baka desu/
I am a generally admitted to be a dog freak.

*自他(じた) /jita/ The first Kanji "" means "oneself" and the other "" means "others".
*共(とも)に /tomo ni/ both of (It's usually used in written Japanese)
So 自他共に literally means "both oneself and others".

*認(みと)める /mitomeru/ to admit, to recognize

*犬(いぬ) /inu/ dogs

*バカ /baka/ stupid, idiot, silly, fool... (It usually has bad meanings)
犬バカ means dog freaks. The people who love dogs or who's doting upon his dog.
親(おや)バカ is doting parents or fond parents. You know, means parents.

I had a lot of fun in Japan... Now I am back here in Taiwan. I miss everybody already. :'(

Friday, May 2, 2014

Don't Be Embarrassed To Make Mistakes

I found an interesting Youtube video!

Micaela is a Canadian girl who's working in Japan.
You'll find many video which introduces Japanese "funny" culture on her channel. XD

In this video, she tells us some great advice how to improve Japanese language skills.

1. Make mistakes. 
    And don't be embarrassed to make mistakes.
2. The best way to learn pronunciation is
    to copy someone. (Real human!!)
3. When you don't know words, try to describe it
    using any other words in your vocab.
4. As long as you keep improving even if it's
    little by little, your skill would be better,
    than it was the day before, or the week before,
    or the year before!!

These tips would apply all language learners, right?

You know, I'm going to get on a plane to Japan this Sunday!! I feel a little bit nerves to go to the airport alone. I hope I can wake up on time... hope THIS* won't happen. lol

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/machigaeta-tte ii janai, ningen damono/
It's okay to make mistakes, isn't it? Because we are human.

*間違える/machigaeru/ to make a mistake
*いい/ii/ okay, fine, good, no problem
*~じゃない/janai/ For sure, right? Isn't it? (It sounds a little bit feminine)
= ~じゃん/jan/ (It is used by both girls and boys)
We put it to the end of the sentence to emphasis and affirm it.

/kondo deeto sitekureru-tte itteta janai! usotsuki!/
You said you would date with me next time, didn't you!! Liar!!

/kyou wa isogashii-tte itta jan. denwa shite konaide yo/
I said you that I'm busy today, you know. Don't call me.

*人間/ningen/ human
*~だもの/damono/ It is because...
Its usage is similar to から/だから which I introduced in the previous entry.
だもの is often spoken as だもん/damon/. It indicates emotional reason.

/datte, tarou-kun no koto suki nan damon/
Because I like you, Tarou (boy's name)...

You know, だもの sounds childish and cute than だから.

You know, 人間だもの is one of the very famous poetry in Japan.

This is written by a Japanese artist Aida Mitsuo. He's known by the unique brush calligraphy, and his simple and powerful poetry. The most famous work of all is this;

つまづいたって いいじゃないか にんげんだもの
/tsumazuita-tte ii janaika. ningen damono/
Don't worry about failing, we are human.

You may found today's *Japanese Word of the Day* is his parody. :P
Since his poetry became very popular, many people made his parody. It's funny.

A college student said; 留年(りゅうねん)したっていいじゃない 人間だもの
(It's okay to repeat the year in school, we are human)

Can you make your own 人間だもの poetry? Try to make one! XD