Thursday, June 9, 2016

A great website and Youtube channels to practice Japanese

Do you remember me? It's been a while since I have announced the birth of my first child. My life has changed a lot. Frankly, I've been exhausted and I didn't have time (and energy) to write something on this blog. :/

Now my little monster is asleep, it's time to update my blog!

First of all, I'd like to introduce you a nice website where you can practice Japanese particles. I got a comment from Ben Cann, who developped it. (Thank you Ben!)

There're many quizez for Japanese learners. It contains not only quizez of particles, but also contains quizez of other grammar rules, letters, vocabulary, words and phrases you need if you're living in Japan. Also, you can prepare for the JLPT exam.

And, I want to share you guys this video from Chika's Youtube channel "Japanagos".

Wow, she came to Kanazawa! I didn't know that. She is a popular Youtuber, many Japanese people who's learning English subscribe her another channel "Bilingirl Chika".

You know, Kanazawa is my hometown. Check it out if you're interested. ;)

Well well well, my little monster woke up! I must go now. Thank you for visit my blog! Hopefully I can write again soon...!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


I'm proud to announce my most precious gift, a bouncing boy! XD

Friday, January 15, 2016

What's the difference between らしい, そうだ, ぽい, ようだ and みたいだ??

First post of 2016! How did you spend your winter holiday?

In my previous post, I wrote about らしい and そうだ, which follows after information and indicates that the speaker is not sure about the truth. And らしい also means "just like as something" or "typical" when it follows a noun.

(1) [Information] + らしい (=そうだ)
- The speaker heard it from others and he is not certain about the truth

(2) [Person/Things] + らしい
- It is just like what it is, or usual for someone

We also say ~っぽい/...ppoi/ in casual conversations. It has the same meaning as らしい and そうだ, but it sounds very casual.

らしい and そうだ is usually used when the speaker got information from others, while っぽい is also used when the speaker just came to the conclusion.

/Yamada san, taichou ga warui rashii yo/
/Yamada san, taichou ga warui souda yo/
I've heard that Mr.Yamada is sick.

/Yamada san, taichou ga warui ppoi yo/
I've heard/It seems that Mr.Yamada is sick. (Perhaps the speaker heard about it, or just thought Mr.Yamada is sick because he saw Mr.Yamada coughing or something.)

しい and ぽい can also be translated as "-ish" or "-like".

/nandaka kaze ppoi na/
I think I'm coming down with a cold.
*風邪(かぜ)っぽい:feel sick

/netsu ppoi toki wa yasunda hou ga ii/
You'd better get some rest if you feel feverish.

女(おんな)らしい/女(おんな)っぽい both mean "feminine". 女らしい is usually used to describe a woman who has ideal feminine traits, so it won't be used for men. 男らしい(manly, masculine) is used for men, not for women.
On the other hand, 女っぽい/男っぽい can be used for both men and women who are feminine/masculine.

So ねこらしい describes the typical and common traits of ねこ(cats), and ねこっぽい describes something that is like cats. For example, my dog sometimes behaves like a cat. We say he has ねこっぽい性格(せいかく) "cat-like personality". We don't say ねこらしい性格 because he actually is a dog, not a cat. If I had a cat which has a typical cat's characteristics, then I would say she has ねこらしい性格.

It might be confusing but let me add two more words, ようだ and みたいだ. They also indicate the speaker got information from others. I've written about them before, but let me introduce them again.

(1) 今晩(こんばん)雪(ゆき)が降(ふ)るらしい
/konban yuki ga furu rashii/

(2) 今晩(こんばん)雪(ゆき)が降(ふ)るそうだ
/konban yuki ga furu souda/

(3) 今晩(こんばん)雪(ゆき)が降(ふ)るようだ
/konban yuki ga furu youda/

(4) 今晩(こんばん)雪(ゆき)が降(ふ)るみたいだ
/konban yuki ga furu mitaida/

※今晩(こんばん)/konban/ tonight
※雪(ゆき)/yuki/ snow
※降(ふ)る/furu/ to fall

So, what's the difference? I've already told you about (1)らしい and (2)そうだ. You've heard about it from someone else. To be specific, (2)そうだ sounds that the speaker is sure about the information, but (1)らしい sounds unsure.

(3)ようだ and (4)みたいだ are the same. (4)みたいだ is often used in a conversation. They are used to show the speaker's conclusion drawn from his experience or his sence.

/ano futari wa kenka shita souda(rashii)/
I've heard that they had a falling out.

/ano futari wa kenka shita youda(mitaida)/
It seems that they had a falling out.

I just remembered another meaning of そうだ, but it would be too long, so I'll write about it next time! ;)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I've Heard That...

The New Year's holidays are just around the courner! Last year I was in Taiwan, but I'm going to stay with my family in Japan this year. How will you spend your winter holidays?

As though it's already end of December, it's not so cold yet. We had snow last week but just a little. Today it's a pretty sunny day. I've heard that it won't be a cold winter this year.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/kotoshi no fuyu wa anmari samuku naranai rashii ne/
I've heard that it won't be so cold this winter.

*今年(ことし)/kotoshi/ this year
*冬(ふゆ)/fuyu/ winter
*あんまり /anmari/ so (casual spoken way of あまり/amari/)
It's usually used with negative form of verbs.

/anmari kawaiku nai/
Not so cute.

/anmari omoshiroku nai/
Not so interesting.

/anmari suki ja nai/
Not so preferable. (I don't like it very much)

*寒(さむ)い /samui/ cold
*ならない /naranai/ not become (the negative form of なる/naru/)
*...らしい /rashii/ it is said that..., it seems that..., it looks like...
*ね /ne/ you know (one of the sentence ending particles)

I'd like to write more about the term らしい in this post. I translated it as "I've heard that" in this sentence because らしい indicates that it is not based on the speaker's opinion. Maybe he has heard it from his friend or read it on a book, on the internet, or something else. The speaker isn't certain if it's true or false.

そうだ also has the same meaning, and you can replace らしい with it. I think we use らしい more in the conversation.

明日(あした)は雪(ゆき)が降(ふ)る らしい(そうだ)。
/ashita wa yuki ga furu rashii(souda)/
I've heard that it will snow tomorrow.

日本人(にほんじん)は英語(えいご)が話(はな)せない らしい(そうだ)。
/nihonjin wa eigo ga hanasenai rashii(souda)/
It is said that Japanese people can't speak English.

I've written about そうだ before, so please visit this post to check more example sentences of it.

Now I tell you about another meaning of らしい. See the example sentence below.
/Anna wa otoko rashii hito ga suki rashii/
I've heard that Anna likes a masculine man.

As you see, I wrote らしい twice in this sentence. The one at the end of the sentence has the same meaning with what I explained above. It means that the speaker heard it from others.

What the former one means then? To put it simply, it means "just like something". 男(おとこ)らしい/otoko rashii/ means "just like as a man", "typical of a man" or
"manly". So 女(おんな)らしい/onnna rashii/ is "feminine" or "womanly" as well.

/konnani otonashii nante, Anna rashiku nai/
It's not like Anna to be so quiet.
*こんなに /konnani/ such, so
*おとなしい /otonashii/ to be quiet, not active,
らしくない is a negative form of らしい.

/fuyu rashii fun'iki/
The wintery mood

*Wrap Up*
[Information] + らしい
- The speaker heard it from others and he is not certain about the truth

[Person/Things] + らしい
- It is just like what it is, or usual for someone

That's all for today! Thank you for reading. I always welcome your comment or questions about Japanese language or culture! :) Hopefully, I can update my blog once again before this year-end.

Anyway, have a great holidays everybody!! :D

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Having A Successful Language Exchange

Thanks to the internet, we can access many resauces to learn a language, and it also enables us to connect with people from all over the world. Do you use Skype to talk with a native speaker of your target language?

Still, I do prefer meeting in person for language exchange. I found myself being easily distracted when I use the internet... :( I had been looking for a person whom I can practice with at a coffee shop or somewhere, and finally, I could find a nice conversation partner (Japanese<->English)! Yay! :D

I wish I can find someone who speaks Taiwanese, Persian or Dutch in my city, too!

So, I'm going to write about Language Exchange as today's post. I've written about this topic several times and you can read them here.

How to find a conversation partner

Let's take advantage of the internet technology! There're many websites which help you find a native speaker of your target language who's learning your language.

I've introduced this website before in my blog, but their interface has changed.
Top page > Forum > @Friends > Japan Penfriend

If you want to find a in-person conversation partner, select the location where you live. And I recommend you to choose "Language Exchange" category.

It's a very simple website to find a language exchange partner. I think there're many Japanese users, too.

This website is used for finding a local community. You may find a language exchange events in your city, too! I've joined the one before, and it was very interesting :)

This is an app for language exchange. You can search people who live near you.

It is mainly used for finding a free place to stay when you travel abroad, but you can also use it to find a native speaker who is interested in learning your language!

I often hear people say that they could find a person but it never last for long. Does it depend on your luck whether if you can find an ideal language exchange partner? Well, it could be a luck ーwe call this kind of luck 縁(えん)/en/ by the wayー but I think at least there's something you can do to find a good partner and have a successful language exchange!

Make it clear what you want and need

First of all, put an ad or fill in the profile page of those language exchange websites. Not only browsing other people's ads. It would be better to write what/how you want to do in the language exchange.

  • You and your partner's level

What is your level? Can you read or write in ひらがな/カタカナ? How about Kanji?
 Do you know basic grammar? If you're totally beginner, it would be easier for you to talk with people who are higher than elementary level in your language.

  • About schedule

If you want to have a regular practice, let them know that you're a motivated learner! How often do you want to have a session? Are you looking for a person who can meet and have a face-to-face conversation? Do you want to voice chat or text chat? What time would be convenient for you?

  • What do you want to do?

Do you want to split time 50/50 like first 30 mins you guys can only speak in language A and the latter 30 mins switch to language B? Do you want to practice making sentences using your text book or talk about your daily life, or pick up several topics to talk about? Do you want him to correct your words as much as possible or is it okay if it makes sence and you can keep conversation?

During the conversation

These are the things that I felt it very helpful through language exchange, and I also keep them in my mind when I talk with my partners. To have a good language exchange, you also should be a good partner for them!

  • Talk speed and words
At first, I speak a little bit faster than they speak in Japanese (my native language = their target language). A little bit, though. This is because our speaking level is usually lower than comprehensive level. If it seems too fast to understand, I speak slower. If it takes a little while but she can understand what I say, I keep that speed in shorter and simpler sentences, unless she asks me to speak slower.

It's so stressful if I couldn't catch any of words she spoke. I try to use very basic and frequent words and grammar if my partner is not at intermediate level yet.

  • Explain the word

I don't like to check a dictionary or translater instantly. Instead, I try to explain the word in other words as much as possible. Both in the case when I don't know the exact word I want to express, and when my partner doesn't know what the certain word means. So our conversation doesn't move on quickly but I think it is a good practice. And the words which I struggled with remain in my mind easily.

  • Be patient
You know, it takes time to make a sentence in a foreign language especially when it comes to speaking. I feel very disappointed if I'm always interrupted while I'm thinking and trying to construct a sentence. Sometimes I need a help but I want to try by myself.
So I try not to interrupt her, too. Even if I found a mistakes in her speech or it wasn't natural sentence, I listen to her at first. I can tell her correct words or better expression after she finish saying that sentence. I don't have to rush her.
Though it is hard to tell whether she is trying to say something or just thinking about what to talk, especially when I can't see her face. This is one of the reasons why I prefer face-to-face conversation.

Well, I hope you'll find a nice language exchange partner and have a good practice with him! :) That's all for today, thank you for reading. Feel free to leave your comments!

See you soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Seven, five, and three... What do these numbers mean? ーJapanese traditional ceremonyー

Children's growth is all parents' wish. And each cultures has its own ways to celebrate or pray for it. In Japan, we also have several traditional ceremonies to wish children's healthy growth and their longlife.

Last weekend my family took my nephew to a shrine to celebrate his 七五三(しちごさん)/shichigosan/. It's one of traditional events to celebrate children's growth and pray for their future health and well-being.

If you've learned some basic Kanji already, you would have found that this celebration is named with 3 numbers --7, 5 and 3. It indicates children's age. This ceremony is for 3 and 5 year old boys, and 3 and 7 year old girls. My adorable nephew turned 3 this year :) He dressed up in Japanese traditional clothes and had a Shinto ritual.

After 七五三 ceremony, we went to our uncle's studio (he's a photographer!) and took commemorative pictures.

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/hai, chiizu/
Say, cheese!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall is the best season for...?

It's not hot and not so cold, it's been beautiful weather these days. We call a sunny day in fall 秋(あき)晴(ば)れ /akibare/, which literaly means "fall sunny". The sky is high, leaves turned red or yellow, we can enjoy a beautiful scenary in this season.

I like fall not only because of its beauty, but also because there're bunch of yummy foods in this season! Have you ever heard of the word 食欲(しょくよく)の秋(あき) /shokuyoku no aki/? In fall, we have an increased 食欲(しょくよく) /shokuyoku/ appetite since it is the season of the harvest. So we say "Fall is the best season for eating". We also say 読書(どくしょ)の秋(あき) /dokusho no aki/, スポーツ(すぽーつ)の秋 /supootsu no aki/, or 芸術(げいじゅつ)の秋(あき) /geijutsu no aki/.

*読書(どくしょ) /dokusho/ reading
*スポーツ(すぽーつ) /supootsu/ sports
*芸術(げいじゅつ) /geijutsu/ arts

Fall is the best season for...? What do you think? :)

This song is one of Japanese traditional songs for children ―ちいさい秋(あき)みつけた /chiisai aki mitsuketa/ (Found a Small Autumn). Here's its lyric and my translation of it.

だれかさんが だれかさんが だれかさんが 見(み)つけた
/darekasan ga darekasan ga darekasan ga mitsuketa/
Somebody's, somebody's, somebody has found

小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 見(み)つけた
/chiisai aki chiisai aki chiisai aki mitsuketa/
A small autumn, a small autumn, found an small autumn

目(め)かくし 鬼(おに)さん 手(て)のなる方(ほう)へ
/mekakushi onisan te no naru hou e/
Blindfold it, come to the sound of hands clapping

すました お耳(みみ)に かすかにしみた
/sumashita omimi ni kasukani shimita/
The strained ears caught it slightly

呼(よ)んでる 口笛(くちぶえ) もずの声(こえ)
/yonderu kuchibue mozu no koe/
The sound of whistle and the call of a butcherbird

小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 小(ちい)さい秋(あき) 見(み)つけた
/chiisai aki chiisai aki chiisai aki mitsuketa/
A small autumn, a small autumn, found an small autumn

目(め)かくし鬼(おに) /mekakushi oni/ is a game in which one child ―the chosen child is called 鬼(おに) /oni/― chases the others. It's a bit different from the game tag, as 鬼(おに) /oni/ has to blindfold. The other kids clap their hands, call or whistle to give it a hint where they are.

This song reminds me of my grandma. She sang it for me when I was very small. :)

*Japanese Word of the Day*
small, short, tiny = 小(ちい)さい /chiisai/
ちっちゃい sounds more casual and kinda cute. Sometimes it's used to emphasize how small it is.

I'd like to add one more word;
a little, a bit, a kind of = 少(すこ)し /sukoshi/
As I wrote in my previous post, it's often used when we want to tell something negative.

You know what? I just found an interesting thing. ちっちゃい is "کوچک
" /kʰuːtʃʰækʲ/ in Persian, and ちょっと can be translated as "beetje" /beːtjə/ in Dutch. These pronunciations are not the exactly same, but for me, it seems to have a similar sound "ch". I wonder if it's just a coincidence.

Speaking of which, it reminds me of an interesting study in linguistic. It said that we seemed to have a similar sense to attach sounds to shape, no matter what language we speak.

Well, that's all for today! Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave your comment :)