JAPANESE

How To Learn Japanese With Anime – 6 Tips You Should Start To Use Now

Learn Japanese with Anime 2

Learn Japanese With Anime – For many foreigners, learning Japanese is a wild and exciting but often daunting ride. Many people will delve into the world of anime for the first time and be utterly fascinated with the language. This, of course, always comes with the passion to learn and understand what some of their favourite characters are saying!

However, with huge pronunciation differences and phonetic disparities with the English language, Japanese is not exactly easy to pick up. If you’ve tried to study this language before, you know exactly what we’re talking about!

An innovative way that many people have attempted to learn more Japanese is via anime. Now, we know this may sound super fun and exciting at first, but it’s not quite like that.

Watching anime and picking out some well-known words such as ‘kawaii’ and ‘senpai’ is completely different to actually trying to learn the dialogue and ultimately the language.

If you’re keen to try and learn Japanese with anime though, here are some helpful tips!

1. (The Scariest Tip!) Remove English Subtitles

This is by far the most daunting thing you can do whilst watching anime, especially if you’ve never tried to properly study the Japanese language before. However, just as with many new hobbies and activities, throwing yourself into the deep end may just do the trick!

If you’ve just started watching anime, we recommend watching a few series’ before attempting this.

If you’re a seasoned anime-watcher, this is for you!

Whilst you definitely won’t be able to understand much of the conversations going on, you’ll be amazed by how many little phrases you’ll be able to pick up. Watch their expressions, interpret their body language, understand the situation, and you’ll find that you’ll likely understand what they’re trying to saying even without fully understanding the words just yet.

But don’t worry, …continue reading

    

Japan – A County of Low-Tech

When you hear “Japan,” what do you think first? Anime? Sushi? Some may think of “high tech” (ハイテクhaiteku) first. But sadly, the Fukushima incident and COVID-19 have revealed that Japan was a pretty low-tech (ローテクro-teku) country.

Photo taken and used with permission from Dalton Waldock.

Japan has been famous for (〜で有名な de yuumeina) robots for factory automation and entertainment (娯楽goraku). But none of their technologies worked when the Fukushima Nuclear incidents happened. Almost none of their robots were usable in the highly radioactive and highly technology-unfriendly environment, and the first robots that entered the facility were donated by iRobot of the US.

But we had the toilet that cleansed you with just the appropriate temperature and force of your choice. And we had a brilliant toy dog from Sony to keep you company. And who could live without Nintendo and PlayStation? I believe Japanese technologies focused on comfort and fun, instead of risk management.

When the tsunami attacked the Fukushima nuclear facilities in 2011, the emergency electric power system stored in the basement (地下chika) was submerged in water and became inoperable. The facilities are close to the ocean. Didn’t they think it was not really a great idea to have the emergency system in the basement?

This reminded me of the technology that a Japanese consumer electronics company marketed in the 1990s when I was a high-tech analyst. There was a new video deck that you could program to record your favorite TV programs up to 365 days ahead…. OK, was it practical (実用的 jitsuyoteki)?? Did we know our favorite TV programs would be still produced then?

I have to think that something has been missing in the Japanese high-tech industry from these two examples – lack of risk management and lack of reality. However, I …continue reading

    

How To Hack N2 in Japanese While Working in Japan | Inside Japan Podcast #143 with Dallas

This episode of the podcast is all about learning Japanese while in an English only working environment.

This is why SO MANY people don’t learn Japanese while they are here; it’s super hard to study when your work is 100% in English. You can only say “I don’t need a plastic bag” at the convenience store so many times before you’ve mastered it… Also take a look at this book, the 5 year diary, that Dallas mentioned in the discussion: https://amzn.to/2QSReYJ

We talk about:
– Starting with Chinese and switching to Japanese (and how much more in-demand Japanese really is outside Japan)
– Strategies for learning Japanese while working in English-only environments
– The best study habits that make getting to N1 easier and more fun!

Video Podcast:

Audio Podcast:

Listen on iTunes, Android, Spotify and Stitcher. Please SUBSCRIBE on your favourite listening platform.

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This show is proudly sponsored by JobsinJapan.com!

For your first job in Japan, your next job in Japan, your best job in Japan, go to JobsinJapan.com.


The post How To Hack N2 in Japanese While Working in Japan | Inside Japan Podcast #143 with Dallas appeared first on JobsInJapan.com.

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Five Japanese sign language phrases with interesting reasoning behind them

From the downright obvious to the surprising yet amusing, Japanese Sign Language has it all.

If you’re learning Japanese, you’re already familiar with the basics such as arigatou or konnichiwa. But in order to be a true Japanese master, and to truly be able to communicate with everyone you meet in Japan, it might be nice to learn those phrases in Japanese Sign Language (JSL) as well.

JSL uses signs based on Japanese culture, and some of them may be pretty surprising to a non-Japanese person. While I’ve been studying JSL recreationally for a while now, I decided to enlist the help of someone much more experienced to help demonstrate them: my friend Kei, who holds a JSL qualification.

Here are a few examples of JSL with some pretty interesting reasoning behind them.

1. Arigatou — “Thank you”

In a society as notoriously polite as Japan, this phrase should be on the top of the list of things to learn. The Japanese Sign Language gesture for “thank you” originates from the gestures that sumo wrestlers do when they accept their winnings post-match.

▼ You can see it in action here at around the 0:55 mark.

2. Konnichiwa — “Good afternoon/hello”

While there are multiple ways to greet someone, this one is the easiest to understand, as bowing is so ingrained into Japanese everyday life that even the wildlife here is doing it. The sign for greeting someone imitates two people bowing to each other.

3. Conbini — “Convenience store”

Convenience stores in Japan really embody the spirit of the word “convenient.” Not only do they stock a plethora of delicious foods, they are also open twenty-four hours a day — useful if you get hungry in the middle of the night or just really …continue reading

    

Be careful not to be ディスられる by trying to be hip

In the last blog (Flattening Accents), I wrote about the trend of flattening accents. I am going to list more language trends (トレンドtorendo) among Japanese young people in this blog.

Combine English words+ suffix ru 

  • バズる (buzz + ru) = to go viral
  • ディスるor disる (disrespect + ru) = to disrespect
  • ググる (google + ru) = to google
  • チキる(chicken + ru) = to chicken out
  • リバる(reverse + ru) = to throw up (because one drank too much)

あの音楽が海外でバズってるってほんと? (Is it true that music is buzzing overseas?)

いつも誰かをディスってばっかりじゃだめだよ。(Don’t be disrespectful to others all the time.)

ググってたら、あの噂(うわさuwasa)ほんとだった。(I googled and found that the rumor was true.)

チキって何にもできない大人にはなりたくない。(I don’t want to be an adult who is too chicken to do anything.)

飲みすぎて、リバりそう。(I drank too much, and I feel like throwing up.)

I was so surprised to see newscasters on commercial broadcasting channels use バズるディスるor disる on the news. バズる is not a new word. It has become recognized since 2013 on the internet, but the use was limited to (限られるkagirareru) “net slang.” So over years, the word has gained status enough to be used on the TV news. The Youtube video above is posted by a Japanese commercial TV broadcasting company. The program is a news show titled 「トレバズ」(torebazu), which I assume is the combination of “trend” and “buzz.” You can hear プチバズ(puchibazu)をする on the 0:58 point, a combination of “petit” and “buzz”, meaning “go viral a little bit.” You can also hear これはバズる!on 1:45 mark.

インターネットの“炎上”を体験する授業。カードであえてディスることで炎上を疑似体験。その目的は?https://t.co/vYnpeeJdAM#theSOCIAL #ネット炎上 #カード #ディスる pic.twitter.com/DApSIa79bn

— 日テレNEWS (@news24ntv) July 5, 2018

(Dare to be disrespectful – a class at school teaching kids to be careful on the social network)

Make an adjective by adding “y” to English nouns

  • ボリューミー (volume + y)= voluminous, in a large amount
  • ポエミー (poem + y) = mainly poetic illustrations, or …continue reading
        

How do you pronounce “Among Us” in Japanese? Simple question has linguistically deep answer

Is “A-MOng Us” or “A-MAng Us” the victor?

When I first learned Japanese, I was shocked that my name “Scott” didn’t turn into “Su-KA-tto” but instead “Su-KO-tto” due to Japanese pronunciation. I felt like the first one was much closer to how it sounds in English, so I was confused about the vowel change.

Of course, that was only the beginning. Then I learned that “ball” is “bōru” instead of “bāru,” “cup” is “koppu” instead of “kappu,” “button” is “botan” instead of “batan,” and my brain broke.

And now the strangely translated English-to-Japanese vowel sounds have found a new challenger: the game Among Us.

▼ You can see here how the game title is kept in English not only in the YouTube title,
but also on the game’s main screen as well, despite everything else being in Japanese.

One of the reasons the title is kept in English is because there’s a disagreement on how “among” should be pronounced in Japanese: a-MOn-gu or a-MAn-gu.

For those who think it’s a small difference that doesn’t really matter… I have bad news. We’re going for a deep, deep dive into this small difference that doesn’t really matter!

▼ For everyone else though, strap on your goggles because we’re jumping
into the nitty gritty of Japanese and English phonology.

The first thing we need to do is break down the actual English pronunciation of the word “among.” English spelling is notoriously silly, and nowhere is it more ridiculous than its vowels.

English has between 14 and 20 vowel sounds depending on the dialect. Just for an example, the letter “a” pronounced wildly different in words like “apple,” “comma,” “father,” and “face.”

Because of this, linguists use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to spell out …continue reading

    

Japanese students despair over the many, MANY ways you can describe a dead flower

Would a rose by any other name be as dead?

“I’m going to learn the Japanese language!” You announce to yourself, bright-eyed and determined, a fire in your heart and a world of knowledge ahead of you. You studiously pore over hiragana tables, then drill each and every katakana into your head. You learn that Japanese is structured differently from English, that the verb tends to come after the subject and object rather than between them. You tackle a mountain of kanji. Maybe you even find some friends to talk in Japanese with and learn the ebbs and flows of conversation.

Feeling good about yourself, you gesture to a vase filled with ailing morning glories.Asagao ga kareta.” The morning glories have withered. Right?

Right?

Wrong! When you address morning glories, or asagao, the correct term to use is shibomu. It also means “to wither”, but has a shriveling, deflating nuance to it.

▼ Here’s a fully blooming morning glory to make you feel better.

As with many aspects of the Japanese language, many native speakers will be far too polite to correct you on the finer points of funereal flower terminology, especially as kareru (the catch-all verb for “wither” or “die” when applied to plants) makes perfect sense in context. But for perfectionists who wish to speak flawless, top-tier Japanese it’s yet another thorn in their side.

YouTuber Artur, who is Latvian but produces content primarily in Japanese, lamented the extent of his withering woes in the following tweet:

他の言語だと『花が枯れる』という表現はそんなに多くないと思うんだけど、日本語の『花が枯れるの表現多すぎ問題』に直面してラトビア人泣いてる。

桜⇒散る
梅⇒こぼれる
椿⇒落ちる
朝顔⇒しぼむ
菊⇒舞う
牡丹⇒崩れる

ま…待ってくれ…
日本人のみんな…
そなた達の語彙力は底なし沼か?

— アルトゥル?日本推しYouTuber? (@ArturGalata) March 12, 2021

“I feel that other languages don’t have anywhere near as many ways to say the …continue reading

    

The extremely violent backstory of how to write the word “take” in Japanese

Commonly used kanji’s components don’t make a lot of sense nowadays, but once upon a time…

The Japanese language has three types of writing, and kanji are by far the most difficult. There are more than 2,000 kanji characters to remember, and that huge number is a daunting goal not just for foreigners learning Japanese as a second language, but for kids growing up in Japan as well.

But while learning kanji is always going to be a challenge, there’re a few ways to make it more manageable, and one of the best is to look for ways to break a single kanji down into its component parts. For example, the kanji character for “rest,” seen here…

…becomes easier to remember if you already know that 木 is the kanji for “tree,” and the left portion of 休 represents a person. In other words, the kanji for “rest” is a picture of a person leaning against a tree, taking a break and relaxing in the shade.

So yeah, kanji can be tough, but the more you learn, the easier they get…at least that’s usually how it goes. However, you might find yourself scratching your head when you come to the kanji for “take…”

since the left half is pretty much the same as the kanji for ear.

But maybe things instantly make sense when you add in the right half of 取? Not really, since the right portion means “hand,” making 取 a visual representation of “holding an ear.”

And it’s not like the metaphor is “grab someone …continue reading

    

Flattening Accents

I have been always interested in teenage vernacular (特有の言葉 tokuyu no kotoba). My senior thesis was on the teenage vernacular in Southern California. Teenagers are experts (専門家senmonka) in creating new words as they are not bound by rules. They are creative in any language.

Some new words are born and die, while others gain status to be used on TV even on the news, lose the hipness, and are abandoned by the young creators. One of the significant changes I noticed in the 1990s was a change in accent in some vocabularies. Note that the conventional accents described here are ones used in Tokyo. Young people have started to flatten accents. This trend is called “flattening accents” (アクセントの平板化 akusento no heibanka.) Some words added a new meaning by altering the traditional accents (Table 1).

Table 1

Vocabulary Original Accents Original Meaning(s) New Accents New Meaning
クラブ(club) ク\ラブ – an organization that is created by people with a common interest

– an expensive drinking venue catered to corporate executives
クラブ¯ a hip dance club popular among hip young people
ネット(net) ネ\ット a device to catch fish etc ネット¯ internet
ライン(line) ラ\イン a straight one- dimensional figure ライン¯ The largest SNS in Japan

While Table 2 shows vocabularies that young people simply changed the traditional accents without altering or adding meanings.

(Table 2)

Vocabulary Original Accents New Accents Meaning
ショップ(shoppu) ショ\ップ ショップ¯ shop
モデル(moderu) モ\デル モデル¯ model
グーグル(guuguru) グ\ーグル グーグル¯ google
彼氏(kareshi) か\れし かれし¯ boyfriend
図書館(toshokan) としょ\かん としょかん¯ library

NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute, a research arm established by NHK (Japanese public broadcaster,) added acceptable accents of 3300 words in 2016 based on “appropriateness” in broadcasting instead of correct/incorrect.

Not surprisingly, the flattening accents are more prevailed and accepted among young people. As a former sociolinguistics student, I have no problem accepting changes in language especially the changes that involve more than accents as in Table 1. However, some changes in accents are hard even to say! レ\タス(lettus retasu) isレタス¯ and <span …continue reading