Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 18: Our Favorite Anime

Listen to the podcast

In this Fun Friday edition of the podcast, Ami and I talk about some of our favorite Anime, the latest and most popular releases and some old classics that are famous in Japan but not so well known abroad.

We are certainly not Anime experts and we couldn’t properly cover all the major Anime even if we wanted to! We simply talk about the Anime we happen to know and love. Enjoy!

For more Japanese language learning podcasts visit Learn Japanese Pod

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 39: Calling an ambulance in Japanese

In this podcast Ami Sensei and Alex teach you some useful Japanese phrases for calling an ambulance in a medical emergency.

Check out the show notes for dialogues and grammar explanations.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to just the Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Main Dialog 1 – Calling an ambulance (Japanese)

A: 119番の消防ですが 火事ですか、救急ですか?
B: 救急です。
A: 救急ですね。住所を教えてください。
B: 東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目12-13。郵便局の前です。 A: 怪我ですか病気ですか

B: 病気です。人が倒れています。
A: わかりました。あと5分ほどで救急車が到着します。

Main Dialog 1 – Calling an ambulance (Pronunciation)

A: Hyaku juu kyuu ban no shōbō desu ga, kaji desu ka, kyuukyuu desu ka?
B: Kyuukyuu desu.
A: Kyuukyuu desu ne. Juusho o oshiete kudasai.
B: Tōkyō to, Shibuya Ku, icchōme no juuni no juusan. Yuubinkyoku no mae desu. A: Kega desu ka, byōki desu ka.

B: Byōki desu. Hito ga taorete imasu.
A: Wakarimashita. Ato gofun hodo de kyuukyuusha ga tōchaku shimasu.

Main Dialog 1 – Calling an ambulance (English)

A: This is 119, Fire Department. Is it fire or a medical emergency? B: Medical emergency.
A: Medical emergency. Please tell me your address.
B: Tokyo city, Shibuya ward, district 1-12-13

A: Is this an injury or illness?
B: Illness. The person has collapsed.
A: Understood. The ambulance should arrive in about 5 minutes.

Extra phrases for medical emergencies

Here are some extra phrases you might find useful during a medical emergency.

If you want to ask someone to call an ambulance for you, you can use the following phrase:

すみません、救急車を呼んでください

Sumimasen, Kyuukyuusha o yonde kudasai.

Excuse me, please call an ambulance.

It’s common for the emergency services to ask you for your details including your name. For example:

お名前を教えてください

Onamae o oshiete kudasai

What’s your name?
And you can reply with your name followed by “…desu” like this:

ジョン・スミスです

Jon sumisu desu

I’m Jon Smith

You might then want to explain what’s happened by using the following phrases:

病人がいます

Byōnin ga imasu

There’s a sick person

怪我をした人がいます

Kega o shita hito ga imasu

There’s an injured person.

If there’s been a traffic accident you can say:

交通事故です

Kōtsuu jiko desu

There’s been a traffic accident

Here are some other phrases that describe someone’s medical condition. You can use these to talk about yourself or someone else:

呼吸が苦しいです

Kokyuu ga kurushii desu

(Someone is having) difficulty breathing

胸が苦しいです

Mune ga kurushii

(Someone has) a tight or painful chest

意識不明です

Ishiki fumei desu

(Someone is) unconscious

出血です

Shukketsu desu

(Someone is) bleeding.

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 38: Making a Suggestion in Japanese

In this podcast Ami Sensei and Alex teach you how to make suggestions in natural, fluent Japanese.

Check out the show notes for dialogues and grammar explanations.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to just the Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Main Dialog 1 – Making a suggestion (Japanese)
A: いや〜もうだめだ。
B: どうしたの?
A: 彼女と喧嘩したんだ。まだ怒ってるみたい。
B: じゃあ、花でもプレセントしたらどう?
A: そうだね。そうしよう。
B: 彼女きっと喜ぶよ。
A: わかった、じゃあ、そうしてみるよ。

Main Dialog 1 – Making a suggestion (Pronunciation)
A: Iyaa, mō dame da!
B: Dō shita no?
A: Kanojo to kenka shitan da. Mada okotteru mitai.
B: Jaa, hana demo purezento shitara dō?
A: Sō da ne. Sō shiyō.
B: Kanojo kitto yorokobu yo.
A: Wakatta, jaa, sō shite miru yo.

Main Dialog 1 – Making a suggestion (English)
A: Argh, this sucks.
B: What happened?
A: I had a fight with my girlfriend. It seems she’s still angry.
B: How about giving her flowers as a present?
A: Right. I’ll do that.
B: I’m sure she’ll be happy.
A: Got it. I’ll give that a try.

Extra sentence examples:
Example 1
A: 頭痛いな。

Atama itai na – I have a headache

B: 薬飲んだらどう?

Kusuri nondara dō? – How about taking some meds?

A: そうだね。そうするよ。

Sō da ne. Sō suru yo. – Right. I’ll do that.

Example 2
A: いいアイデアが思い浮かばないな

Ii aidea ga omoi ukabanai na – I can’t think of any good ideas.

B: 少しやすんだらどう?

Sukoshi yasundara dō? – How about taking a break?

A: そうだね。そうするよ。

Sō da ne. Sō suru yo. Right. I’ll do that.

Example 3
A: 肩凝ってるな。

Kata kotteru – I’ve got stiff shoulders

B: マッサージ受けたらどう?

Massaaji shitara dō? – How about getting a massage?

A: そうだね。そうするよ。

Sō da ne. Sō suru yo. – Right. I’ll do that.

Example 4
A: お腹が空いたな

Onaka ga suita na – I’m hungry

B: おやつ食べたらどう?

Oyatsu tabetara dō? – How about having a snack?

A: そうだね。そうするよ。

Sō da ne. Sō suru yo. – Right. I’ll do that.

Example 5
A: 退屈だな。

Taikutsu da na – I’m bored

B: 映画みたらどう?

Eiga mitara dō? – How about watching a movie?

A: そうだね。そうするよ。

Sō da ne. Sō suru yo. – Right. I’ll do that.

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 17: Ask us Anything

In this Fun Friday edition of the podcast Andy and Alex answer listener questions about life in Japan, its culture and tips on learning Japanese.

Listen to the podcast

Download the podcast

For more podcasts visit our main podcast page here!

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 37: How to use the verb Kureru in Japanese

In this podcast, Ami and Alex teach you how to use the verb Kureru naturally in Japanese conversation. Kureru is a verb you can use to ask people to do things for you. It’s used casually between friends and family and very common in everyday conversation. Check out the podcast and show notes to learn how to use it naturally in conversation.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to just the Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 16: Interview with Andy

In this Fun Friday edition of the podcast I talk to my good friend and long time resident of Japan, Andy. We discussed how Japan has been affected by the Coronavirus and subsequent curfews and travel restrictions. We also make our predictions about how this will permanently change Japan in the future.

Listen to the podcast

Download the podcast

For more podcasts visit our main podcast page here!

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 36: Describing people’s appearance in Japanese

In this podcast, Ami and Alex teach you some useful phrases to talk about people’s appearance in natural and fluent Japanese. You’ll learn some useful adjectives to describe body size and shape as well as clothes. Listen to the example dialogue to get an idea of how to talk about what someone looks like in native level Japanese.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to just the Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 15: Interview with Niko of NativShark

In this episode, I interview Niko from NativShark, a comprehensive Japanese language learning app.

In this episode we talked about Niko’s journey to becoming fluent in Japanese, why a lot of Japanese study materials suck and the art of making flash cards and other topics.

If you are interested in trying out the NativShark app for yourself check out this link for a free 2 week trial.

NativShark Free Trial

For more podcasts on Japan and learning Japanese go to: Learn Japanese Pod

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 35: Motivational Japanese Phrases

In this lesson Ami Sensei and Alex teach you motivational Japanese phrases.

Everyone struggles from time to time and a word of encouragement can always mean a lot to someone. And in Japan, where teamwork is seen as a virtue, motivating other members in your group to do their best is an important part of building relationships.

You’ll find motivational phrases in manga, anime, J-pop and also in casual conversation with your friends.

So listen to the podcast and audio drills and download the PDF grammar notes to learn about motivational phrases in Japanese.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog 1 – Motivational Japanese Phrases
A: どうしたの?元気なさそうだね。
B: 最近日本語が全然上達しないんだ。
A: 日本語上手じゃん!
B: いや、思うように話せないんだよね。もうだめだ。
A: 大丈夫、大丈夫。塵も積もれば山となる、だよ。
B: それどういう意味?
A: 少しずつ頑張って行けば願いは叶うという意味だよ。
B: わかった!頑張るよ!

Main Dialog 1 – Motivational Japanese Phrases (Pronunciation)
A: Dōshita no? Genki nasasō da ne.
B: Saikin, Nihongo ga zenzen jōtatsu shinain da.
A: Nihongo jōzu jan!
B: Iya, omou yō ni hanasenain da yo ne. Mō dame da.
A: Daijōbu, daijōbu. Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru da yo.
B: Sore dōiu imi?
A: Sukoshi zutsu gambatte ikeba negai wa kanau toiu imi da yo.
B: Wakatta! Gambaru yo!

Main Dialog 1 – Motivational Japanese Phrases (English)
A: What’s the matter. You don’t seem very well/happy.
B: Recently my Japanese hasn’t improved at all.
A: Your Japanese is great!
B: No, I can’t express myself the way I want to. It’s no good.
A: It’s OK, it’s OK. Even dust when piled up becomes a mountain.
B: What does that mean?
A: It means if you try little by little you can realize your dreams.
B: Got it. I’ll give it a shot!

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 34: Aizuchi

In this podcast lesson you’ll learn about 相槌 Aizuchi, which are words used to show interest during a conversation. In English you might say things like “Uh-huh” and “really?” during a conversation to show you are listening to the speaker. Japanese is no exception and has a lot of these Aizuchi which are used frequently in conversation. So if you can learn and use these when speaking to your friends, your conversations will go more smoothly and you’ll sound a lot more natural in Japanese.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog (Japanese)
A: ね、お茶の入れ方教えてくれる?
B: まず、急須に茶葉をいれる。
A: うん
B: で、沸騰したお湯を湯呑みにいれる。
A:  本当?湯呑みにいれるのか。
B: そう、温度を下げるのがポイントだよ。
A: そうなんだ。
B: 渋みがとれるから。
A: ヘェ〜。
B: 次に湯呑みのお湯を急須にいれる。
A: ふぅん。
B: 30秒後お茶を注ぐ。
A: なるほどね。お茶って奥が深いよね。
B: まあね。

Main Dialog (Pronunciation)
A: Ne, ocha no irekata oshiete kureru?
B: Mazu, Kyuusu ni chaba o ireru.
A: Un.
B: De futtō shita oyu o yunomi ni ireru.
A: Hontō? Yunomi ni ireru no ka.
B: Sō, ondo o sageru no ga point da yo.
A: Sō nan da.
B: Shibumi ga toreru kara.
A: Heeh.
B: Tsugi ni yunomi no oyu o kyuusu ni ireru.
A: Fuun.
B: Sanjuu byō go ocha o sosogu.
A: Naruhodo ne. Ocha te oku ga fukai yo ne.
B: Maa ne.

Main Dialog (English)
A: Hey, will you teach me how to make tea?
B: First put tea leaves in the teapot.
A: Uh huh.
B: Then put boiling water in the tea cups.
A: Really? You put it in the tea cups?
B: That’s right. The trick is to lower the temperature.
A: Oh really.
B: You can take away the bitterness.
A: Ahh.
B: Next, put the water from the cups into the teapot.
A: Uh huh.
B: Pour the tea after 30 seconds.
A: I see. Tea’s really deep.
B: Yeah, I guess so.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 14: Interview with Katheryn Gronauer

Listen to the Podcast

Download the podcast

In this podcast I interview Katheryn Gronauer of Thrive Tokyo. She is a cross cultural coach and trainer helping foreigners to improve their relationships and life in Japan. She is author of Confessions of a Yo-Yo Dieter and an expert in diet and wellness.

We had a fascinating discussion on topics including cross cultural miscommunication in the workplace, settling into life into Japan, being a vegan and the Japanese diet amongst other other topics.

Let us know what you thought of the podcast by leaving a comment below!

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 33: Talking about your trip to Japan

Do you want to visit Japan? Have you already visited? In this lesson we teach you a short, fun, conversation with a friend about a trip to Japan. You’ll learn how to tell your friend what you did and how it was.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog (Japanese)
A: 日本の旅行はどうだった?
B: 超楽しかったよ。
A: 何をしたの?
B: 東京と京都で観光してきた。
A: 食べ物はどうだった?
B: 寿司が美味しかったけど…
A: 高かった?
B: いや、そうじゃなくて、メニューが読めなかったんだよね。
A: 食べたい物に指差して、「これください」そう言えばいいじゃん。
B: そうだね。覚えとく。

Main Dialog (Pronunciation)
A: Nihon no ryokō wa dō datta?
B: Chō tanoshikatta yo.
A: Nano o shita no?
B: Tōkyō to kyōto de kankō shitekita.
A: Tabemono wa dō datta?
B: Sushi wa oishikatta kedo…
A: Takakatta?
B: Iya, sō janakute, menyuu ga yomenakattan da yo ne.
A: Tabetai mono ni yubi sashite, kore kudasai sō ieba ii jan.
B: Sō da ne. Oboetoku.

Main Dialog (English)
A: How was your trip to Japan?
B: It was so fun.
A: What did you do?
B: I did some sightseeing in Tokyo and Kyoto.
A: How was the food?
B: The sushi was delicious but…
A: It was too expensive?
B: No, not that. I couldn’t read the menu you know.
A: Just point at the food you want and say “this please”.
B: Right. I’ll remember that!
Learn

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 32:Making dinner plans with a friend

In this podcast, Ami and Alex teach you how to make dinner plans with your friends in natural fluent Japanese. You’ll learn how to invite someone at a specific time to a restaurant or bar that you often go to.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog (Japanese)
A: もしもし
B: もしもしアレックス、明日夜ご飯食べに行かない?
A: ごめん、明日はちょっと無理なんだ。土曜日なら行けるよ。
B: じゃあ土曜日の7時にいつものお寿司屋さんで!
A: あみは本当にお寿司飽きないねー!

Main Dialog (Pronunciation)
A: Moshi moshi
B: Moshi moshi, Arekkusu, ashita yoru gohan tabe ni ikanai?
A: Gomen, ashita wa chotto muri nan da. Doyōbu nara ikeru yo.
B: Jaa, doyōbi no shichi ji itsumo no osushi ya san de.
A: Ami wa hontō osushi ni akinai ne.

Main Dialog (English)
A: Hello?
B: Hi, Alex, do you wanna go out to eat dinner tomorrow?
A: Sorry, tomorrow’s not possible. If it’s Saturday I can go.
B: OK then, Saturday at 7 o’clock at the usual sushi place.
A: Ami, you never get sick of sushi do you!?

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 13: Coronavirus in Japan

This is the Fun Friday edition of Learn Japanese Pod. Fun Friday is where we temporarily put down our Japanese textbooks and talk to cool people doing cool things in Japan.

In this episode we talk to Japan veteran and my very good friend Andy. We talk about what life is like in Japan during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Listen to the Podcast

Download the podcast
Fun Friday: Coronavirus in Japan

Get the app with the Learn Japanese Pod App!
Learn Japanese Pod iPhone App
Learn Japanese Pod Android App

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 31: Convenience Store Japanese

In this podcast you will learn useful Japanese phrases for shopping at a convenience store. Understanding the polite language used by convenience store staff can be a little confusing at
first. However, if you learn common set phrases it’s not that hard to understand.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog (Japanese)
A: いらっしゃいませ、お次の方どうぞ.
B: ファミチキを一つとハッシュポテトを一つお願いします。
A: こちら温めますか。
B: はい、お願いします
A: お箸をお付けしますか。
B: はい、お願いします。
A: 袋お分けしますか。
B: 大丈夫です。
A: ポイントカードはお持ちですか。
B: はい。
A: 1500円になります。1万円からでよろしいですか。
B: はい
A: ありがとうございました。

Main Dialog ( Japanese pronunciation)
A: Irasshaimase, otsugi no kata dōzo.
B: Famichiki o hitotsu to Hasshu potato o hitotsu onegaishimasu.
A: Kochira atatamemasu ka.
B: Hai, onegai shimasu.
A: Ohashi o otsuke shimasu ka.
B: Hai, onegai shimasu.
A: Fukuro owake shimasu ka.
B: Daijōbu desu.
A: Pointo kaado wa omochi desu ka.
B: Hai.
A: Sen gohyaku ni narimasu. Ichi man en kara yoroshii desu ka.
B: Hai
A: Arigatō gozaimasu.

Main Dialog (English)
A: Welcome, next customer please.
B: One Famichiki (fried Family Mart chicken) and one hashed potato please.
A: Would you like it heated?
B: Yes, please.
A: Would you like chopsticks with that?
B: Yes, please/
A: Would you like to use seperate bags?
B: No, that’s fine.
A: Do you have a point card?
B: Yes.
A: That’ll be 1500 yen. Shall I give you change from this 10,000 yen bill?
B: Yes.
A: Thanks.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 30: Talking about your plans for the new year

In this podcast you will learn how to talk about your New Year’s resolutions, your plans, goals and hopes for the coming year. Check out the dialogues and audio to get an idea how to talk about your plans in natural, fluent Japanese.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog (Japanese)
A: ね、新年の抱負はなに?
B: そうだね。やっぱり、日本語を上達させたいからもっと本を読むよ。後、もっと健康的になりたいな。あみは?
A: 私も本をもっと読みたい!後、音楽活動をもっと頑張りたいな。
B: なるほどね。
A: やる気があれば、なんでもできるよ。
B: よし!

Main Dialog ( Japanese pronunciation)
A: Ne, shinnen no hōfu wa nani?
B: Sō da ne. Yappari, nihongo o motto jōtatsu sasetai kara motto hon o yomu yo. Ato, motto kenkōteki ni naritai na. Ami wa?
A: Watashi mo motto hon o yomitai! Ato, ongaku katsudō o motto gambaritai na.
B: Naruhodo ne.
A: Yaruki ga areba nandemo dekiru yo.
B: Yosh!

Main Dialog (English)
A: Hey, what’s your New Year’s resolution?
B: Well, let’s see. I guess I want to improve my Japanese and read more books. Also, I want to be more healthy. How about you Ami?
A: I also want to read more books. Also, I want to go for it with my music.
B: I see.
A: If you have motivation you can do anything.
B: Let’s do this!

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 12: Interview with Miku Sensei

In this Fun Friday episode of Learn Japanese Pod, I interview Miku Sensei of Miku Real Japanese. Miku Sensei is a prolific creator of fun, educational Japanese language learning videos on Youtube and Instagram.

She is an international traveler and linguist who speaks fluent English and Spanish. Through her travels she has discovered her own effective techniques for teaching and learning languages.

In the podcast we talk about her journey to become a Japanese teacher and her advice on how to become more fluent in Japanese.

You can find here videos at Miku Real Japanese and her Patreon page here.

Listen to the Podcast

Download the podcast here: Podcast download

For more Japanese language learning podcasts go to Learn Japanese Pod

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 29: Talking about your job in Japanese

One really common topic of conversation in Japanese is about work. When meeting people for the first time it is common to ask them about what they do for a living.

In this lesson you’ll learn how to ask and answer questions about work and some useful everyday phrases you can use in the office.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog 1 – Talking about your job (Japanese)
A: お仕事は何をしてるの?
B: ウェブデザインの仕事してるよ。
A: そうなんだ。楽しい?
B: そうだね。毎日大変だけど楽しいよ。
A: 楽しいのはよかったね。何年ぐらいやってるの?
B: 7年ぐらいかな。
A: ヘェ〜、すごいな。俺はすぐ転職しちゃうからさ。
B: まじで?!

Main Dialog 1 – Talking about your job (Pronunciation)
A: Oshigoto wa nani o shiteru no?
B: Uebu dezain no shigoto shiteru yo.
A: Sō nan da. Tanoshii?
B: Sō da ne. Mainichi taihen dakedo tanoshii yo.
A: Tanoshii no wa yokatta ne. Nan nen gurai yatteru no?
B: Nana nen gurai kana.
A: Hee, sugoi na. Ore wa sugu tenshoku shichau kara sa.
B: Maji de?!

Main Dialog 1 – Talking about your job (English)
A: What do you do for work?
B: I do web design work.
A: Really? Is it enjoyable?
B: Well, everyday is tough but it’s fun.
A: That’s good it’s enjoyable. How long have you been doing that?
B: About 7 years I guess.
A: Wow. I’m always changing jobs.
B: Seriously?!

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 28: How to talk about the weather in Japanese

If there is one thing Japanese love to talk about, it’s the weather. Apart from discussing the forecast, it’s quite common to mention the weather in small talk or when striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know so well. Also, as you’ll probably be checking the weather on a daily basis, it makes sense to study related vocabulary and grammar as it’s so useful. Simply listen to the podcast and read along with the dialogues below. To study in a little more detail you can download the full show notes in PDF format. Enjoy!

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialogue (Japanese)

A: 今日暑いよね。

B: そうだね。超ジメジメしてるね。

A: 今週の天気予報は?

B: 今週はずっと35度だよ。

A: うそ!マジで?!もう我慢できない。

B: だけど週末は雨が降りそう。

A: あ、良かった、こんな猛暑だと北極に引っ越ししたくなるな。


Main Dialogue (Pronunciation)

A: Kyō atsui yo ne.

B: Sō da ne. Chō jime jime shiteru ne.

A: Konshuu no tenki yohō wa?

B: Konshuu was zutto sanjuu go do da yo.

A: Uso! Majide? Mō gaman dekinai.

B: Dakedo, shuumatsu wa ame ga furi sō.

A: A, yokatta, konna mōsho da to hokkyoku ni hikkoshi shitakunaru na.


Main Dialogue (English)

A: It’s hot today isn’t it?

B: It sure is. It’s so hot and sticky.

A: What the weather forecast for this week?

B: It’s going to be 35 degrees all week.

A: No way! Seriously?! I can’t take this anymore.

B: But it looks like it might rain on the weekend.

A: Ah good. This kind of heat makes me want to move to the Arctic!

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter


Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 27: Talking about your preferences in Japanese

In this podcast we’ll be teaching you how to express your preference for something and compare it to other things. This is very useful as you use it all the time in Japanese conversation. You can use it to talk about your favorite things and why you like them.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialogue Japanese
A: ね、お寿司とたこ焼きどっちが好き?
B: そうだね。やっぱり、お寿司の方が好きかな。
A: なるほどね。でもなんで?
B: 味が好きだから。あみは?
A: もちろんたこ焼きの方が好き。
B: あみは典型的な大阪人だよね。
A: せやで!

Main Dialogue Pronunciation
A: Ne, osushi to takoyaki docchi ga suki?
B: Sō da ne. Yappari, osushi no hō ga suki kana.
A: Naruhodo ne. Demo nande?
B: Aji ga suki dakara. Ami wa?
A: Mochiron takoyaki ga suki
B: Ami wa tenkeiteki na Ōsaka jin da yo ne.
A: Seyade!

Main Dialogue English
A: Hey, which do you like better sushi or Takoyaki?
B: Well, let’s see. I guess I like sushi better.
A: I see but why?
B: Because I like the taste. How about you Ami?
A: Of course I like Takoyaki
B: Ami, you’re a typical Osakan aren’t you?
A: That’s right!

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter




Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 26: Japanese verbs for daily life

In this podcast you’re going to learn useful verbs to talk about your daily routine. These verbs are very commonly used in casual conversation throughout the day so they are well worth learning. You will also study a little grammar related to plain form verbs and -TE form verbs which are the most common type of verb used in casual speech. You will also learn how they are used together when describing actions in a sequence.

Also, the dialogue in this lesson will teach you particles which are sounds that usually go at the end of sentences to change the nuance of what you are saying. Learning these will help you sound a lot more natural when speaking Japanese.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Podcast Dialogue

A: Amiの平日の過ごし方を教えて!

B: 7時に起きて、顔を洗って、朝ごはんを食べるよ。

その後着替えて、メイクして、仕事に行くよ。

A: 休憩時間は?

B: 休憩時間はお弁当を食べて、携帯で時間を潰すよ。

A: 仕事が終わったら?

B: うちに帰って、晩御飯を食べて、お風呂に入るよ。

A: その後は何をするの?

B: 寝る!

A: Amiは忙しいね!

B: まあね!

Podcast Dialogue (Pronunciation)

A: Ami no heijitsu no sugoshikata oshiete!

B: Shichi ji ni okite, kao o aratte, asagohan o taberu. Sono ato kigaete, meiku shite, shigoto ni iku yo.

A: Kyuukei jikan wa?

B: Kyukeijikan wa obentō o tabete keitaii de jikan o tsubusu yo.

A: Shigoto ga owattara?

B: Uchi ni kaette, bangohan o taberu, ofuro ni hairu yo.

A: Sono ato nani suru no?

B: Neru!

A: Ami wa isogashii ne.

B: Maa ne.

Podcast Dialogue (English)

A: Ami, how do you spend your weekdays?

B: I wake up at 7, I wash my face and eat breakfast. After that I get dressed, put on my makeup and go to work.

A: What about your break time?

B: During my break time I eat a bento and kill time with my mobile phone.

A: And when work finishes?

B: I go home, I eat dinner and have a bath.

A: What do you do after that?

B: Sleep!

A: Ami, you’re busy!

B: I guess so.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

 

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 25: Japanese Adverbs of Frequency

In this podcast you’re going to learn about how to use adverbs of frequency in daily speech. In other words, you’ll learn how to ask and answer questions about how often you do things in Japanese. You’ll learn how to ask questions such as “How often do you…”. You’ll also be able to reply that you do something never, occasionally, sometimes, often and always. This kind of grammar and vocabulary comes up often in daily conversation as well as the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam so it’s well worth learning. 

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Lesson Notes

Main Lesson Vocabulary

Japanese adverbs of frequency list
Here are the main adverbs of frequency commonly used in daily Japanese conversation.

Main Dialog 1 – Adverbs of frequency – (Japanese)

A: アレックスはどれくらい*運動するの?

B: 全然しないよ。 時間がないからさ。

A: そうなんだ。

A: 昔はよくしてただけどね。あみは?

B: 時々ジョギングするよ。たまに水泳もするよ。

A: じゃ、もうすぐオリンピックだから毎日 運動しよう。

Main Dialog 1 – Adverbs of frequency – (English)

A: Arekkusu wa dore kurai undō suru no.

Alex, how often do you exercise?

B: Zenzen shinai yo. Jikan ga nai kara sa.

Never. It’s cos I don’t have any time, you know.  

A: Sō nan da.

Really?

B: Mukashi wa yoku shiteta kedo ne. Ami wa?

I used to however. How about you Ami?

A: Tokidoki jogingu suru yo. Tama ni suiei mo suru yo.

I sometimes go jogging. I occasionally also go swimming.

B: Ja, mō sugu orinpikku dakara mainichi undō shiyō.

Well, it’s almost time for the Olympics so exercise everyday!

Particles used in this dialog:

Wa – Sentence subject marker (As for so and so…)

Ga – Similar to Wa and is often used in sentences about having or not having something

No – Turns sentence into a question (Casual)

Yo – Emphasizes the statement

Ne – Means isn’t it or right?

Sa – Means something like “You know?” or “You see what I mean”

Extra example sentences

Zenzen – Not at all

1: どれくらいお寿司食べるの? ぜんぜん食べないよ。

Dore kurai osushi taberu no? Zenzen tabenai yo.

How often do you eat sushi? I never eat it.

2: どれくらい映画を見るの? ぜんぜん見ないよ。

Dore kurai eiga o miru no? Zenzen minai yo.

How often do you watch movies? I never watch them.

Metta ni – Hardly ever (01:11)

1: どれくらいお寿司食べるの? 滅多に食べないよ。

Dore kurai osushi taberu no? Metta ni tabenai yo.

How often do you eat sushi? I hardly ever eat it.

2: どれくらい映画を見るの? 滅多に見ないよ。

Dore kurai eiga o miru no? Metta ni minai yo.

How often do you watch movies? I hardly ever watch them.

Tama ni – Occasionally (01:38)

1: どれくらいお寿司食べるの? たまに食べるよ。

Dore kurai osushi taberu no? Tama ni taberu yo.

How often do you eat sushi? I occasionally eat it.

2: どれくらい映画を見るの? たまにに見るよ。

Dore kurai eiga o miru no? Tama ni miru yo.

How often do you watch movies? I occasionally watch them.

Tokidoki – Sometimes (02:03)

1: どれくらい運動するの? ときどきするよ。

Dore kurai undō suru no? Tokidoki suru yo.

How often do you exercise? I sometimes exercise.

2: どれくらいカラオケに行くの? ときどき行くよ。

Dore kurai karaoke iku no? Tokidoki iku yo.

How often do you go to Karaoke? I sometimes go.

Yoku – Often (02:29)

1: どれくらい運動するの? よく運動するよ。

Dore kurai undō suru no? Yoku undō suru yo.

How often do you exercise? I often exercise.

2: どれくらいカラオケに行くの? よく行くよ。

Dore kurai karaoke iku no? Yoku iku yo.

How often do you go to Karaoke? I often go.

Itsumo – Always (02:53)

1: どれくらいゲームやるの? いつもやってるよ。

Dore kurai geemu yaru no? Itsumo yatteru yo.

How often do you play video games? I’m always playing them

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter


Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 23: How to Speak Osaka Ben

In this episode, Ami and Alex teach you how to speak Osaka dialect which is called Osaka Ben in Japanese. And for this lesson Ami sensei is our secret weapon as she is a native of Osaka city. 

Sometimes this is referred to as Kansai Ben however, Kansai is the larger region located in central Japanese that includes Osaka city, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama, Shiga, Mie and Hyogo. And in turn, each of those areas have their own dialects. However, Ami sensei is from Osaka, and Osaka Ben is the dominant dialect that influences all the surrounding areas. Therefore we decided to go with Osaka Ben. 

Of course this lesson is not a comprehensive guide to Osaka Ben as that would fill a few books. However, this lesson will teach you the most common phrases, speech patterns and intonation that you will hear on the streets of Osaka. 

The main dialog is recorded by natives from Osaka including Ami so you’ll learn the authentic accent. We also included a dialog in standard Japanese so you can compare. Enjoy! 

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialog – Osaka Ben (Japanese)

A: めっちゃ久しぶりやん。最近どないしてんの?

B: 相変わらずやで。そっちは?

A: ぼちぼちやな。ま、頑張ってるで。
B: そうなんや。うちなんか全然あかんわ。

A: なんでなん? 

B: 彼氏と別れてん。

A: え、そうなん?知らんかった。俺やって全然彼女できへんで。 

B: 付き合おか。 A: なんでやねん!

Main Dialog – Osaka Dialect (English and pronunciation)

A:  Meccha hisashiburi yan. Saikin donain shiten no? –It’s been ages. How have you been recently?

B:  Aikawarazu ya de. Socchi wa? –Same as usual. About about you?

A:  Bochi bochi ya na. Ma, gannbatteru de. – So so I guess. Well, doing my best.

B:  Sō nan ya. Uchi nanka zenzen akan wa. – Really? I’m not good at all.

A:  Nande nan? – Why?

B:  Kareshi to wakareten. –I split up with my boyfriend.

A:  E? Sō nan? Shirankatta. Boku yatte, zenzen kanojo dekihen de. – Eh? Really? I didn’t know. I can never get a girlfriend.

B:  Tsuki aoka? –Wanna date?

A: Nande yanen! – What the heck!

Main Dialog – Standard Dialect Version

Here is the same dialog written in standard Japanese. Can you spot the differences?

A:  めちゃめちゃ久しぶりじゃん。最近どうしてるの?

Meccha hisashiburi jan. Saikin dō shiteru no.
It’s been ages. How have you been recently?

B:  相変わらずだよ。そっちは?

Aikawarazu da yo. Socchi wa?Same as usual.

About about you?

A:  普通かな。ま、頑張ってるよ。

Futsuu ka na. Ma gambatteru yo.

Same as usual. About about you?

B:  そうなんだ。私なんか全然だめだよ。
Sō nan da. Watashi nanka zenzen dame da yo.

Really? I’m not good at all.

A:  どうして?

Dō shite?

Why?

B:  彼氏と別れたの。

Kareshi to wakareta no.

I split up with my boyfriend.

A:  え、そうなの?知らなかった。俺だって全然彼女できないよ。

E sō na no? Shiranakatta. Boku datte, zenzen kanojo dekinai yo.

Eh? Really? I didn’t know. I can never get a girlfriend.

B:  付き合おっか。

Tsuki aokka?

Wanna date?

A: なんでだよ!

Nande da yo!

What the heck!

Extra Osaka Ben Phrases

ちゃう – Chau – No / That’s not right

ええ – Ee – Good / OK (ええやん、ええで、ええよ)
アホ – Aho – Stupid

なおす – Naosu – Put something away (Standard Japanese = to fix something)

Random Phrase of the Week

This week’s random phrase of the week is:

ちゃうちゃう、チャウチャウちゃうんちゃう?

Chau chau, chau chau chaun chau.

No no, that’s not a Chow chow is it?! Let’s break it down like this…

ちゃうちゃう 、 チャウチャウ ちゃうん ちゃう?

No no, a chow chow dog , it is not , is it?

Or in more natural English “No no, it’s not a Chow chow is it?!”

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 11: Ask us anything

In this podcast, Ami and Alex answer all your Japanese study related questions. If you would like to get your question answered on the podcast go to Questions and fill in the form. It’s super quick and easy! Once you submit your question, we will try to answer it in the following “Ask us anything” podcast.

Download Podcast | All Learn Japanese Pod Episodes  iTunes Subscribe | Android

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 22:What does Yappari mean?

Have you been scratching your head trying to work out what “Yappari” means? Well, scratch your head no more! In this podcast Ami sensei and I (Alex) attempt to explain what Yappari means. We teach you the three main meanings of Yappari and how to use it naturally and fluently in conversation with your Japanese friends. For more information keep reading, listen to the podcast and download the show notes.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

What does Yappari mean?

1. Yappari – I knew it!

One common use of yappari expresses the fact that your assumptions or predictions were proved to be correct. It also means you were not surprised by a particular outcome. It might be translated into English as “I knew it”, “As I suspected…” or “…but of course…” Another way to think of it is as a phrase that emphasises IS or WAS, as in “It WAS you” or “He IS the culprit!”

Here’s an example of how it can be used in conversation.

Dialog 1

A: ねえ、最後のクッキー食べた? Ne, saigo no kukkii tabeta? Hey, did you eat the last cookie?
B: え… E… Um…
A: ほら!何これ?クッキーでしょう?! Hora! Nani kore? Kukki deshō?! Look! What’s this? It’s a cookie isn’t it?!
B: だって、お腹減ってたから。 Datte, onaka heteta kara. But, I was hungry.
A: やっぱり。 Yappari. I knew it!
B: ごめんね。 Gomen ne. Sorry.

Here are some other examples that express the yappari in the same way.

  1. 彼が犯人だとずっと思ってて、やっぱりそうだった。

Kare wa hannin da to zutto omottete, yappari sō datta.

I thought he was the criminal, and I knew it, he was.

  1. もう一度やってみたけどやっぱり無理だった

Mō ichido yatte mita kedo, yappari muri datta.

I tried one more time, but as I suspected, it was impossible.

  1. やっぱり彼女来なかった。

Yappari kanojo konakatta.

I knew it, she didn’t come.

2. Yappari – Indeed it is!

Another use of yappari emphasises the strength of your opinion. For example, I really do think that something is true. やっぱり温泉が好き Yappari onsen ga suki means I really do indeed love hot springs. English translations might include “indeed” or “of course”.

Dialog 2

A: 日本で何が一番好き? Nihon de nani ga ichiban suki? What do you most like about Japan?
B: やっぱり温泉が好き。あみは? Yappari onsen ga suki. Ami wa? I really do love hot springs. How about you Ami?
A: たこ焼きかな。 Takoyaki kana? Takoyaki I guess.
B: やっぱりね。 Yappari ne. I knew it.

Note: In this conversation we have two different examples of how yappari is used. Yappari onsen ga suki is the 2nd use of yappari which emphasises the point that the speaker does indeed like hot springs. After Ami says she likes Takoyaki, the reply is yappari which in this case is means “I knew it” as we learned with dialog 1.

Here are some more examples of how yappari is used to mean “indeed” or “of course”:

2.1 やっぱり毎日日本語を勉強しなきゃ。

Yappari mainichi nihongo o benkyō shinakya.

Of course, you have to study Japanese everyday.

2.2 やっぱり彼女が好き。

Yappari, kanojo ga suki.

I DO like her / I do indeed like her / Of course, I like her.

2.3 和食と言えばやっぱり刺身。

Washoku to ieba yappari sashimi.

If you are talking about Japanese food, of course it’s gotta be Sashimi.

3. Yappari – Ah, you know what? I changed my mind.

The final use of yappari is used when you change your mind. It means something like “Ah, you know what? I changed my mind” or “Actually, let’s not”. Here’s an example in dialog form:

Dialog 3

A: 明日なにする? Ashita nani suru? What are you doing tomorrow?
B: 公園に行くよ。やっぱりやめる。明日雨だ。 Kōen ni iku yo. Yappari, yameru. Ashita ame da. I’m going to the park. Actually, I won’t. It’s going to rain tomorrow.

Here are a couple of other examples:

3.1. やめようかな。やっぱりもうちょっと頑張る。

Yameyō kana. Yappari, mō chotto gambaru.

I give up. You know what? I’ll try a little more.

3.2. ケーキ食べたい。やっぱりやめる、ダイエットしなきゃ。

Keeki tabetai. Yappari yameru, dietto shinakya.

I want to eat a cake. Nope, I need to diet.

Random Phrase of the Week

In every podcast we tech a random phrase to amuse and delight your Japanese friends. Here is this week’s random phrase:

ウケる – Ukeru – That’s so funny.

Ex.1 あのテレビ番組超ウケる

Ano terebi bangumi chō ukeru.

That TV program is so funny.

Ex. 2 あの漫才ウケる

Ano manzai ukeru

That comedy duo is so funny.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 21: Japanese Conversation Starters

This podcast episode is about various phrases you can use to start up a conversation in Japanese. It is important to remember that each conversation is unique and how you start one depends on who you are talking to and the situation. However, in this episode you will hear some of the most common phrases you are likely to hear used by Japanese people. One final thing to remember is that this episode focuses on casual conversations between friends.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Podcast Vocabulary

Here is a full vocabulary list taken from the podcast

Japanese Pronunciation English
久しぶり Hisashiburi Long time no see
元気? Genki? How you doing?
相変わらず Aikawarazu …as usual
バタバタしてる Batabata shiteru Really busy / hectic
夏バテ Natsubate Exhaustion from the summer
つらい Tsurai Tough
最近どう? Saikin dō? How’ve you been?
すごく暑い Sugoku Atsui Very hot
すごく寒い Sugoku Samui Very cold
熱中症 Necchūshō Heat stroke
風邪をひいちゃった Kaze o hiichatta I caught a cold
インフルエンザ Infuruenza Influenza
気をつけてね Ki o tsukete ne Take care

Podcast Dialog 1

A: 久しぶり元気? Hisashiburi genki Long time no see, you good?
B: 元気だよ。あみは? Genki da yo. Ami wa? I’m good. And you Ami?
A: 相変わらずバタバタしているよ。最近どう? Aikawarazu batabata shiteru yo. Saikin dō? Busy as usual. How’ve you been?
B: そうだね。ちょっと夏バテがつらい。 Sō da ne. Chotto natsubate ga tsurai. Well, I’ve been suffering due to the summer heat.
A: 最近はすごく暑いよね。熱中症にならないように気をつけてね。 Saikin wa sugoku atsui yo ne. Necchūshō ni naranai yō ni ki o tsukete ne. It’s been really hot recently hasn’t it? Be careful not to get heat stroke.
B: はーい! Haai Sure.

Dialog 2

A: 久しぶり元気? Hisashiburi genki Long time no see, you good?
B: 元気だよ。あみは? Genki da yo. Ami wa? I’m good. And you Ami?
A: 相変わらずバタバタしているよ。最近どう? Aikawarazu batabata shiteru yo. Saikin dō? Busy as usual. How’ve you been?
B: そうだね。ちょっと風邪をひいちゃったよ。 Sō da ne. Chotto kaze o hiichatta yo. Well, I caught a cold.
A: 最近はすごく寒いよね。インフルエンザにならないように気をつけてね。 Saikin wa sugoku samui yo ne. Infuruenza ni naranai yō ni ki o tsukete ne. It’s been really cold recently hasn’t it? Be careful not to get influenza.
B: はーい! Haai Sure.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 20: How to talk about your hobbies in Japanese

A great way to practice your Japanese speaking skills and to get to know people in Japan is to talk about free time and hobbies. In a casual setting you may be asked what you do in your free time by Japanese people. So this lesson will teach you the basics of how to ask and answer questions about hobbies. But first of all, listen to the audio podcast which goes through all the points in this lesson. You can also listen to the audio drills which include just the Japanese dialogs without English to practice your listening and speaking skills.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Here are four example dialogs from the podcast that give you various examples on how to hold a conversation in natural Japanese about hobbies and free time.

Hobbies Dialog 1

A: 趣味は何? Shumi wa nani? What’s your hobby?
B: そうだね、ギターかな。 Sō da ne. Gitaa kana. Well…guitar I guess.
A: そっか。最初のきっかけは? Sokka. Saisho no kikkake wa? Really? How did you get in to it?
B: ロックを聴くことが好きだからやってみようかなと思って。 Rokku wo kiku koto ga suki dakara yatte miyō kana to omotte. I like listening to rock so I thought I would give it a go.
A: どのぐらいやってる? Dono gurai yatteru? How long have you been doing it?
B: 20年。 Ni jū nen. 20 years.
A: すごいね。しょっちゅうやってるの? Sugoi ne. Shocchū yatteru no? Wow, do you do it often?
B: 毎日。 Mai nichi. Every day.
A: へえ~。 Heh. Really?

Hobbies Dialog 2

A: 趣味は何? Shumi wa nani? What’s your hobby?
B: そうだね、ジョギングかな。 Sō da ne. Jogingu kana. Well…jogging I guess.
A: そっか。最初のきっかけは? Sokka. Saisho no kikkake wa? Really? How did you get in to it?
B: 運動することが好きだからやってみようかなと思って。 Undō suru koto ga suki da kara yatte miyō kana to omotte. I like exercising so I thought I would give it a go.
A: どのぐらいやってる? Dono gurai yatteru? How long have you been doing it?
B: 1年。 Ichi nen. 1 year.
A: すごいね。しょっちゅうやってるの? Sugoi ne. Shocchū yatteru no? Wow, do you do it often?
B: 週に2回。 Shū ni ni kai. Two times a week.
A: へえ~。 Heh. Really?

Hobbies Dialog 3

A: 趣味は何? Shumi wa nani? What’s your hobby?
B: そうだね、読書かな。 Sō da ne. Dokusho kana. Well…reading I guess.
A: そっか。最初のきっかけは? Sokka. Saisho no kikkake wa? Really? How did you get in to it?
B: 本を読むことが好きだからやってみようかなと思って。 Hon o yomu koto ga suki da kara yatte miyō kana to omotte. I like reading books so I thought I would give it a go.
A: どのぐらいやってる? Dono gurai yatteru? How long have you been doing it?
B: 6ヶ月。 Rokka getsu. 6 months.
A: すごいね。しょっちゅうやってるの? Sugoi ne. Shocchū yatteru no? Wow, do you do it often?
B: 時間がある時に。 Jikan ga aru toki ni.   When I have time.
A: へえ~。 Heh. Really?

Hobbies Dialog 4

A: 趣味は何? Shumi wa nani? What’s your hobby?
B: そうだね、カメラかな。 Sō da ne. Kamera kana. Well…photography I guess.
A: そっか。最初のきっかけは? Sokka. Saisho no kikkake wa? Really? How did you get in to it?
B: 写真を撮ることが好きだからやってみようかなと思って。 Shashin o toru koto ga suki da kara yatte miyō kana to omotte. I like taking photos so I thought I would give it a go.
A: どのぐらいやってる? Dono gurai yatteru? How long have you been doing it?
B: 一ヶ月。 Ikka getsu. 1 month.
A: すごいね。しょっちゅうやってるの? Sugoi ne. Shocchū yatteru no? Wow, do you do it often?
B: 毎週末。 Mai shūmatsu Every weekend.
A: へえ~。 Heh. Really?

Sentences patterns to talk about your hobby in Japanese

Let’s start off with some simple and casual examples of how to talk about hobbies in Japanese.

Japanese Pronunciation English
趣味はなに?

空手。

Shumi wa nani?

Karate

What’s your hobby?

Karate.

趣味はなに?

ジョギング。

Shumi wa nani?

Jogingu

What’s your hobby?

Jogging.

趣味はなに?

テニス。

Shumi wa nani?

Tenisu

What’s your hobby?

Tennis.

趣味はなに?

サッカー。

Shumi wa nani?

Sakkaa

What’s your hobby?

Football

If you want to say it more politely you would say:

Japanaese Pronunciation English
趣味はなんですか。

趣味は空手です。

Shumi wa nan desu ka?

Shumi wa Karate desu.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is Karate.

Another way to describe what you like doing in your free time is this:

Your hobby + SUKI DESU which means you like doing something. 

Japanese Pronunciation English
ジョギングが好きです Jogingu ga suki desu. I like jogging.
ハイキングが好きです Haikingi ga suki desu. I like hiking.
テニスが好きです Tenisu ga suki desu. I like tennis.
サッカーが好きです Sakkaa ga suki desu I like football.

More phrases to ask about people’s hobbies in Japanese

Here are some extra phrases you can use to ask someone what their hobby is.

Japanese Pronunciation English
趣味あるの? Shumi aru no? Do you have a hobby?
暇な時に何をするの? Hima na toki ni nani o suru? What do you do in your free time?
何をするのが好き? Nani o suru no ga suki? What do you like doing?
最近ハマってることある? Saikin hammatteru koto wa? Recently what are you into?

Another useful pattern you can use to talk about your hobbies is this:

趣味は + NOUN + + VERB + ことです。

SHUMI WA +NOUN + O +VERB + KOTO DESU.

My hobby is doing something

趣味は本を読むことですHon o yomu koto desu –  My hobby is reading books.

Hon is “book” and yomu is the verb “to read”. If you put KOTO after the verb it’s a little like an -ING verb in English. So 本を読む means “to read books” but 本を読むこと is a little like “reading books”.

Here are some more examples:

趣味は映画を見ることです。 My hobby is watching movies.

Shumi wa eiga o miru koto desu.

趣味は音楽を聴くことです。 My hobby is listening to music.

Shumi wa ongaku o kiku koto desu

趣味は料理をすることです。 My hobby is cooking.

Shumi wa ryōri o suru koto desu

趣味はスキューバダイビングをすることです。 My hobby is scuba diving.

Shumi wa sukuuba daibingu wo suru koto desu.

趣味は絵を描くことです My hobby is painting pictures.

Shumi wa e o kaku koto desu.

Instead of 趣味は映画を見ることですyou can say 映画を見ることが好きです I like watching movies.

So for example:

音楽を聴くことが好きです。 I like listening to music.

Ongaku o kiku koto ga suki desu.

料理をすることが好きです。 I like cooking.

Ryōri o suru koto ga suki desu.

スキューバダイビングをすることが好きです。 I like scuba diving.

Sukuuba daibingu o suru koto ga suki desu.

絵を描くことが好きです。 I like painting pictures.

E o kaku koto ga suki desu.

So this means when talking about hobbies you have two options, one being a noun phrase and the other using a verb linked to the hobby, for example:

Option 1 Option 2
趣味は映画鑑賞です。

Shumi wa eigakanshō desu

My hobby is moviegoing.

OR 趣味は映画を見ることです。

Shumi wa eigo o miru koto desu

I like watching movies.

趣味は水泳です。

Shumi wa suiei desu

My hobby is swimming. (noun)

OR 趣味は泳ぐことです。

Shumi wa oyogu koto desu.

My hobby is to go swimming. (verb)

趣味は読書です。

Shumi wa dokusho desu

My hobby is reading.

OR 趣味は本を読むことです。

Shumi wa hon o yomu koto desu.

My hobby is reading books.

This is a list of some very traditional Japanese hobbies:

生け花 Ikebana Traditional Japanese flower arranging

書道 Shodō Japanese calligraphy

茶道 Sadō The tea ceremony

弓道 Kyūdō Japanese archery

Sports are usually written in Katakana:

ジョギング Jogingu Jogging

テニス Tenisu Tennis

サッカー Sakkaa Football (Soccer)

ハイキング Haikingu Haikingu

Other hobbies written in Katakana include the following:

ヨガ Yoga Yoga

ダンス Dansu Dancing

カラオケ Karaoke Karaoke

スマホゲーム Sumaho geemu Playing games on your smartphone.

ビデオゲーム Bideo geemu Video games

ドライブ Doraibu Going for a drive

Japanese martial arts are written with Kanji:

柔道 Jūdō Judo

合気道 Aikidō Aikido

空手 Karate Karate

Here are some other hobbies that are written using Kanji:

水泳 Suiei Swimming

山登り Yamanobori Mountain climbing

音楽 Ongaku Music

映画鑑賞 Eigakanshō Watching movies

買い物 Kaimono Shopping

魚釣り Sakana tsuri Fishing

園芸 Engei Gardening

一人旅 Hitori tabi Solo trip / Traveling by yourself

Here is a list of some of the most popular pastimes in Japan now:

1 写真 Shashin Photography

2 自転車 Jitensha Cycling

3 読書 Dokusho Reading books

4 ランニング Ranningu Running

5 英会話 Eikaiwa Studying English conversation

6 ヨガ Yoga Yoga

7 登山 Tōzan Mountain climbing

8 株・FX取引 Kabu / FX torihiki Day trading / Buying and selling stocks

9 瞑想 Meisō Meditation

10 筋トレ Kintore Weight lifting

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 10: Japan Travel Tips

In this podcast Matthew and I talked about our favorite Japan travel tips, hacks and experiences. We discussed various topics including interesting places to visit, taking ferries in Japan, how to save money and the recent issues with AirBnb.

Also, if you enjoyed this podcast, please consider making a donation to Matthew’s go Fun Me campaign to help with the costs of the current cancer treatment he is undergoing now. Any donation no matter how small is much appreciated.

Please feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas below.

Download Podcast | iTunes Subscribe | Android | All podcasts

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 19: How to eat Takoyaki

Food is one of our most popular subjects to talk about so in this podcast Ami sensei and I (Alex) introduce you to one of Kansai’s most loved street snacks, the honorable Takoyaki.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to order and prepare takoyaki yourself with the correct ingredients and utensils. We also talk about the history of takoyaki, why it became so famous plus our recommendations for the best Takoyaki restaurants in Japan.

So get ready for a takoyaki extravaganza!

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Takoyaki Vocabulary

Here is a full vocabulary list taken from the podcast

Japanese

Pronunciation

English

ご注文

Gochuumon

Your order

いかがでしょうか

Ikaga deshō

Is it OK? / Are you ready?

たこやき

Takoyaki

Takoyaki (Octopus fry)

お願いします

Onegaishimasu

Please

かしこまりました

Kashikomarimashita

Certainly

すみません

Sumimasen

Excuse me

作り方

Tsukurikata

How to make something

教えて

Oshiete

Teach me

いただけませんか

Itadakemasenka

Would you please?

まず

Mazu

First

その後

Sono ato

After that

その次に

Sono tsugi ni

Next

最後に

Saigo ni

Finally

生地

Kiji

Batter

鉄板

Teppan

Iron pan

入れます

Iremasu

Put in

Hoka

Other

好きな

Sukina

Something you like

具材

Guzai

Ingredients

焼きながら

Yakinagara

While cooking

千枚通し

Senmaidooshi

Long needle like implement for cooking takoyaki

ひっくり返します

Hikkuri kaeshimasu

Turn something over

熱い

Atsui

Hot

気をつけて

Ki o tsukete

Take care

食べてください

Tabete kudasai

Please eat

なるほど

Naruhodo

I see

ありがとうございます

Arigatō gozaimasu

Thank you very much

Takoyaki Conversation

A:

ご注文はいかがでしょうか。

Gochuumon wa ikaga deshou ka

Are you ready to order?

B:

たこやきをお願いします。

Takoyaki o onegaishimasu

I’d like takoyaki please.

A:

かしこまりました。

Kashikomarimashita

Certainly.

B:

あの、すみませんがたこやきの作り方を教えていただけませんか。

Ano, sumimasen ga, takoyaki no tsukurikata o oshiete kudasai.

Um, excuse me but would you mind telling me how to make takoyaki?

A:

まず、生地を鉄板に入れます。

Mazu, kiji o teppan ni iremasu.

First put the batter in the iron pan.

B:

生地を鉄板に入れます。

Kiji o teppan ni iremasu.

Put the batter in the pan.

A:

そのあと、たこを入れます。

Sono ato, tako o iremasu.

After that, put in the octopus.

B:

たこを入れます。

Tako o iremasu.

Put in the octopus.

A:

その次に、他の好きな具材を入れます。

Sono tsugi, hoka no suki na guzai o iremasu.

After that, put in the ingredients you like.

B:

具材を入れます。

Guzai o iremasu.

Put in the ingredients.

What is Takoyaki?

Takoyaki Ingredients
Takoyaki Ingredients

Takoyaki is a speciality dish from Osaka and is usually eaten as a casual fast food. Imagine golf sized balls of baked dough, crispy on the outside and piping hot in the middle.

What are the basic ingredients of Takoyaki?

The dough is made from water, flour and eggs and you add dashi, salt and soy sauce to taste. It also has slices of tako which is octopus. Yaki means cooked or baked which is why we say we say Takoyaki. It kind of tastes a little like Okonomiyaki so it’s savory with a range of interesting flavors and umami.

How do you cook Takoyaki?

Electric Takoyaki set
An electric Takoyaki set

We start with a takoyaki teppan which is a hot plate to cook the batter in. The hot plate has semi spherical indents which you pour the batter into. You basically drown the whole plate in runny takoyaki batter. Then add those slices of tako.

You then sprinkle on other ingredients including benishouga which is pickled red ginger, chopped green onions and tenkasu which are little scraps of tempura.

Then as it starts to cook you use what’s called a 千枚通し Senmaidooshi to constantly flip over the batter as it turns into little takoyaki balls.

And then finally you garnish it with mayonnaise, Takoyaki sauce which is like Worcestershire sauce, aonori which is green laver and Katsuo bushi which is dried flakes of bonito fish. But there are other flavours too, sometimes they’ll add cheese or mochi.

When do you usually eat Takoyaki?

You usually pick them up as a snack from a takoyaki stand on the street. But you can also order them in Izakayas with other food. Some restaurants let you make them yourself using the takoyaki teppan which is fun. But usually you’ll get them at a food stall at a matsuri and they usually come in sets of 6 or 8.

Where can you buy Takoyaki?

Dotonbori in Osaka
The Dotonbori area of Osaka

If you are in Japan, you could buy Takoyaki in almost any city. However, if you want to do it in style, in the home of the Takoyaki, I would recommend the Dotonbori area of Osaka. It’s a very popular tourist destination packed with amazing restaurants, Izakayas and bars. It’s famous for its huge colourful illuminated signs, entertainment and nightlife.

All the shops run along the Dotonbori canal where it gets its name. So it’s great for food and just strolling down the river.

There are hundreds of places where you can get Takoyaki but one place I really like is くれおー る They’re actually a chain of restaurants that serve famous Osaka dishes including Okonomiyaki. I would recommend going to the Dotonbori shop as it has seats overlooking the river. It’s a little touristy but if you can get a good seat, the view of the river is really nice especially at night. And the Takoyaki themselves are perhaps some of the best I’ve ever had in Japan. According to the website they supply various hotels with their speciality Takoyaki which isn’t surprising because they really are that good.

To get to the Dontonbori area from Osaka station, get on the Midosuji line and get off at Namba. It’s then a 5 or 10 minute walk north to the river. And you’ll know you’re there when you see a giant plastic animated Crab and also the neon Glico man sign on the river next to Ebisu bridge. Anyway check out the link in the show notes and on the website.

What is the history of Takoyaki?

A street vendor making takoyaki
A street vendor making takoyaki

As you probably know, rice, fish and vegetables have been the traditional staple diet of Japan. Takoyaki which is made from flour and water was a relatively new food type in Japan. It has it roots in the 1600s when battered food and other French cuisine started to be eaten in Japan.

Fast forward to the Tokyo earthquake in 1923 which left the kanto area with huge food shortages. The government started experimenting with flour and water to make cheap filling food. It wasn’t that popular but it kept people from starving.

Then in 1935 a street vendor in Osaka called Tomokichi Endo started experimenting with flour and water batter with seafood. There was a big cheap supply of octopus which he mixed with the batter to create the first Takoyaki. It took off and became a success. In the years after the 2nd world war, wheat flour was sent to Japan as relief aid. And that’s when Takoyaki started to get really famous throughout Japan.

It’s another one of those things in Japan that had a foreign influence but then changed into something uniquely Japanese.

Categories
Blog

What’s your favourite Japanese food?

What’s your favourite Japanese food poll.

Would you like to know what the most popular Japanese food is?

Then please take part in this fun poll.

Here’s what to do:

  1. In the poll below, select your number one favourite Japanese food.
  2. Click “vote” to submit.
  3. If your favourite food is not included, please leave a comment below with your best dish and that will be counted.

You can only choose one so choose well! Also, you can choose “View results” to see what other people voted for.

What's your favorite Japanese food?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 18: How to say MUST in Japanese

In this lesson you are going to learn how to say “must” in Japanese. Here’s the problem. There are a confusing number of ways to say it. Just look at this list of phrases which all mean the same thing:

しなければなりません Shinakereba narimasen

しなければいけません Shinakereba ikemasen
しなくてはいけません Shinakute wa ikemasen
しなくちゃいけません Shinakucha ikemasen
しなきゃいけません Shinakya ikemasen
しないといけません Shinai to ikemasen
しなくちゃ Shinakucha
しなきゃ Shinakya
しないと Shinai to

Not only that but each way of saying “must” in Japanese has a different level of politeness associated with it for different social situations. It’s also quite common for Japanese schools and textbooks to only teach the formal way of saying of “must”. However, in daily life in Japan, you will notice that most of the time, people tend to use the casual form.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

But fear not dear student of Japanese, Learn Japanese Pod will help you to navigate this linguistic confusion. We are all about teaching you the most useful and natural Japanese for daily life in Japan. Therefore, this lesson will exclusively focus on the casual form which in my experience is the most useful form to know.

But before we do, let’s briefly study the grammar and a little of the culture behind this.

Grammar: How to say “must” in Japanese

One of the most formal and common ways you will be taught “must” in Japanese is:

しなければなりません Shinakereba narimasen

This is made from two parts “Shinakereba” which means “If I do not” and “Narimasen” which means “It is not allowed”. So this literally means, “it is not allowed if I do not do it” or “It will be bad if I don’t do it”.

This two part form is used for most levels of politeness

If I don’t do it It will not be allowed

Shinakereba Narimasen

Shinakereba Ikemasen

Shinakya Ikemasen

There is no direct way of saying must in Japanese so this indirect double negative form is used. This roundabout way of saying “must” in Japanese perhaps reflects the way Japanese shy away from direct language and confrontational statements.

The most common way to say “must” in Japanese

As you will discover when you come to Japan, most people in daily conversation use the common form. Instead of using the tongue twisting “Shinakereba narimasen” you can drop the -nakereba narimasen and simply add -kya to give you shinakya – I must do something.

The formal way of saying I have to clean the house is:

掃除しなければなりません – Sōji shinakereba narimasen – I have to clean (the house)

However, the more common and easy way to say that is

掃除しなきゃ – Sōji shinakya –  I have to clean

How to construct the casual form of “must” in Japanese

To say you must do something using other verbs using the casual form, simply follow these steps:

Step 1) Take the negative casual form of a verb, for example:

しない Shinai Don’t do

行かない Ikanai Don’t go

食べない Tabenai Don’t eat

買わない Kawanai Don’t buy

Step 2) Replace the -i at the end of the verb with -kya

しなきゃ Shinakya I must do (something)

行かなきゃ Ikanakya I must go (somewhere)

食べなきゃ Tabenakya I must eat (something)

買わなきゃ Kawanakya I must buy (something)

Finally, there are three common casual forms:

1) しなきゃ Shinakya

2) しなくちゃ Shinakucha

3) しないと Shinai to

Sometimes people will add いけない to the end of these forms to make:

しなきゃいけない

しなくちゃいけない

しないといけない

You can use any of these forms in a casual setting to say you must do something. This lesson will focus on using just shinakya.

Main Dialog

A: ごめん、もう行かなきゃ。 Gomen mō ikanakya. Sorry, I have to go.
B: え?なんで? E? Nande? Eh? Why?
A: 明日早く起きなきゃ。 Ashita hayaku okinakya. Tomorrow I have to wake up early.
B: 何かあるの? Nani ka aru? Do you have something?
A: 明日色々しなきゃいけないんだよね。 Ashita iroiro shinakya ikenain da yo ne. Tomorrow I have to do various things.
B: 何を? Nani o? What?
A: まず部屋が汚いから掃除しなきゃ。後、彼女が来るから料理作らなきゃ。じゃあ… Mazu, heya ga kitanai kara sōji shinakya. Ato, kanojo ga kuru kara ryōri o tsukuranakya. Jaa… First, as my room is dirty I have to clean. Then because my girlfriend is coming I have to make some food. Right…
B: ちょっと待て、お会計は? Chotto matte, okaikei wa? Wait, what about the bill?
A: そうだった、お金払わなきゃね。 Sō datta, okane harawanakya. Oh right. I have to pay!

Other examples of saying I must in Japanese

Here are some more examples of how you can say you must do something:

1) 明日5時に起きなきゃ、めどくさい。

Ashita goji ni okinakya, mendokusai

Tomorrow I have to wake up at 5am, what a hassle.

2) まずいけど薬飲まなきゃ。

Mazui kedo kusuri nomanakya

It doesn’t taste good but I have take (drink) this medicine

3) あ、買い物忘れちゃった、買わなきゃ!

A, kaimono wasurechatta, kawanakya!

Ah, I forgot the shopping. I have to buy something!

4) もう時間だ。行かなきゃ!

Mo jikan da. Ikanakya!

It’s time. I have to go.

5) この部屋超汚い、掃除しなきゃ!

Kono heya chō kitanai, sōji shinakya.

This room is super dirty, I have to clean it.

6) 明日テストがあるから勉強しなきゃ。

Ashita tesuto ga aru kara benkō shinakya.

Tomorrow I have a test so I have to study.

7) 東京がゴジラに攻められてるから逃げなきゃ。

Tōkyō ga gojira ni semerareteru kara nigenakya.

Godzilla is attacking Tokyo so we have to run!

Random Phrase of the Week

飯テロ Meshi Tero

This is used to make fun of people post pictures what they are eating on social media. It also refers to the way your friends are “terrorised” by the these pictures especially when they are hungry.

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 09: Why do Japanese People Wear Masks?

In the latest Fun Friday podcast Tomo Akiyama is back by popular demand. We mostly talked about various aspects of Japanese culture including the question “Why do Japanese people wear masks?”. This discussion came up through the questions people most commonly ask about Japan on Google. Therefore we took a stab at answering this popular query.

We also talked about how Katakana is used in Japanese and the rules for writing foreign words in this script. We also answered listener questions including how to improver your Japanese listening skills.

The guest on this week’s show is Tomo Akiyama, a corporate communications specialist and linguist. He is a gourmet, advocate of Japan and expert in destroying cultural stereotypes and myths. He’s an absolutely fascinating individual full of mind-blowing facts about the Japanese language and the culture of Japan.

You can follow him on Twitter here @tomoakiyama

Listen to the podcast

Download the podcast |  iTunes Subscribe | Android | All podcasts

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 08: Japanese TV Shows

In this episode, Ami and I talk about our favorite Japanese TV shows. Watching Japanese TV shows regardless of you Japanese level is great way to improve your understanding of Japanese culture. It also gives you a common frame of reference to have more interesting conversations with Japanese people. Although Japanese TV is not so accessible outside of Japan, you can usually find extended clips on Youtube. You can also find some Japanese TV shows that have English subtitles.

Download Podcast | iTunes Subscribe | Android | All podcasts

Listen to the podcast

Here is a list of some of the shows we talked about in the podcast:

Japanese TV Shows

1. 水戸黄門 Mito Kōmon

This is a samurai drama set in the Edo period featuring the hero Tokugawa Mitsukuni who roams Japan fighting injustice.

2. 空耳アワーSora Mimi Awa

Sora mimi awa is part of the Tamori Club TV show where listeners submit foreign songs that have sections that sound Japanese.

3. Smap x Smap

Smap X Smap is the long running variety show featuring the boy band Smap. One of the most popular sections of the show was Smap Bistro where the members would compete to cook the most delicious dishes for famous visiting celebrities.

4. ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで Dauntaun no gaki no tsukai ya arahende

“Dauntaun no gaki no tsukai ya arahende” A.K.A “Gaki Tsuka” is hosted by one of Japan’s most famous comedy duo “Downtown” who are  Hitoshi Matsumoto and Masatoshi Hamada.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEwFBIUFB-o

5. 紅白歌合戦 Kōhaku Uta Gassen

This is the famous singing contest held by NHK as Japan celebrates the new year. This show is perhaps one of the most watched programs on Japanese TV and features famous singers from across Japan.

6. ナイトスクープ Naito Sukuupu (Knight Scoop)

Knight Scoop is a famous TV show from Kansai (Osaka) which features requests from viewers who need help with various random problems. The show is hosted by comedians and actors who visit viewers and try to help them out with their request. Invariably, hilarity ensues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIFYcfFWiS4

7. 関ジャニ-クロニクル Kanjani Kuronikuru

This variety show features the boy band Kanjani and their funny exploits. One section is the Dengon game know as Chinese whispers in English. Native English speakers whisper phrases to the band who usually mess us the message leading to some pretty funny results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZWHtmh3wqM

8. アメトーク Ame Tōku

Ame Talk is a weekly show that invites comedians to talk on various subjects.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgQ6FavEJP4&list=PLIFv1CaVjXyezoKydOmF8GGdOXhEeDWzM&index=3

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 17: How to express your opinion in Japanese

In this lesson Ami and I teach you how to ask and give your opinions on various topics using the verb 思う Omou – To think. This is usually used to say “I think that…”.

思う is a very useful phrase you use all the time in conversation in Japanese. The main grammatical structure we will be using is this:

Something or someone…どう思う?Dō omou which means what do you think about so and so… For example:

彼女どう思う? Kanojo wa dō omou What do you think of her?

彼どう思う? Kare wa dō omou What do you think of him?

Then to answer you could say your opinion plus と思う which means I think so and so. So, for example you can say 可愛いと思うよ Kawaii to omou yo which means I think she’s cute or カッコイイと思うよ Kakko ii to omou which means I think he’s cool.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Dialog 01

A: 君のなはってどう思う? Kimi no na wa dō omou? What do you think of “Kimi no na wa”?
B: 面白いと思うよ。 Omoshiroi to omou yo. I think it’s interesting.
A: なんでそう思うの? Nande sō omou no? Why do you think so?
B: ストーリーがロマンチックだからね Sutoorii ga romanchikku da kara ne. Because the story is romantic.

Dialog 02

A: ねぇ、iPhoneってどう思う? Nee, iPhone te dō omou? What do you think of the iPhone?
B: まあまあだと思うよ。 Maamaa da to omou yo. It’s so so.
A: なんでそう思うの? Nande sō omou no? Why do you think so?
B: 便利だけど高いからね Benri dakedo taki kara ne. Because it’s useful but expensive.

Dialog 03

A: ねぇ、この髪型ってどう思う? Nee, kono kamigata dō omou? What do you think of my hairstyle?
B: 似合うと思うよ。 Niau to omou yo. It suits you.  
A: なんでそう思うの? Nande sō omou no? Why do you think so?
B: 君は顔が小さいからね Kimi wa kao ga chiisai kara ne. Because you have a small face.  

Dialog 04

A: ねぇ、彼女ってどう思う? Nee, kanojo te dō omou? What do you think of her?
B: 可愛いと思うよ。 Kawaii to omou yo. She’s cute.  
A: なんでそう思うの? Nande sō omou no? Why do you think so?
B: おっちょこちょいだからね Occhokochou dakara ne. Because she’s so clumsy.  

Dialog 05

A: ねぇ、彼ってどう思う? Nee, kare te dō omou? What do you think of him?
B: いい人じゃないと思うよ。 Ii hito ja nai to omou yo. I don’t think he’s a good person.
A: なんでそう思うの? Nande sō omou no? Why do you think so?
B: 浮気ばかりしてるからね Uwaki bakari dakara ne. Because he’s always cheating (on girls).  

Dialog 06

A: ねぇ、このレストランってどう思う? Nee, kono restoran te dō omou? What do you think of this restaurant?
B: イマイチだと思うよ。 IImaichi da to omou yo. It’s a little disappointing.  
A: なんでそう思うの? Nande sō omou no? Why do you think so?
B: 食べ物は美味しいけどサービスが悪いからね Tabemono wa oishii kedo saabisu ga warui kara ne. Because although the food is good the service is bad.  

Extra Grammar Notes

Casual and polite ways to say “I think…”

Casual Polite
どう思う? Dō omou?

What do you think?

どう思いますか Dō omoimasu ka?

What do you think?

…と思う。…to omou

I think…

…と思います。…to omoimasu.

I think …

Random Phrase of the Week

A: 最近どう? Saikin dō? How have you been recently?

B: 相変わらずだよ Aikawarazu da yo Same old, same old…

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 07: Interview with Niko of Nihongo Shark #2

I hung out with Niko, the creator of Nihongo Shark for my latest Fun Friday podcast. We talked about how he started Nihongo Shark which is a website crammed full of resources for students of Japanese which is well worth a look if you have’t seen it.

We also talked about how to overcome feeling overwhelmed when learning Japanese, translation and the horrors of English education in Japan.

You can also check out Niko’s instagram here.

Enjoy!

P.S Don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Download Podcast | iTunes Subscribe | Android | All podcasts

Listen to the audio

Categories
Blog Podcasts

Podcast 16: What to do when you lose your wallet in Japan

In this podcast Ami and I talk about what to do if you lose your wallet or other personal items when in Japan. The good news is that Japanese people are generally very law abiding and honest. Therefore, if someone finds your lost item, there is a good chance they will hand it in to the police and you will get it back.

If you do lose something, the best idea is to ring the place you think you left it and ask if it has been found. If you lose something on the train it’s best to go to the station master’s office and ask there. If you drop something in the street then you should go to a Koban or police box.

This lesson focuses on how to call the last place you were at to ask the staff if they found you things. Study the vocabulary list and dialogs below to learn how to do it.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Vocabulary featured in the podcast

もしもし Moshi moshi Hello (On the phone)
一番寿司でございます Ichibanzushi de gozaimasu This is Ichiban Sushi
すみません Sumimasen Excuse me
昨日 Kinō Yesterday
そちら Sochira There (Polite)
財布 Saifu Wallet
カバン Kaban Bag
携帯電話 Keitai denwa Mobile phone
忘れた Wasureta Forgot
何色 Nani iro What colour
少々お待ちください Shōshō omachi kudasai One moment please
届いてますよ Todoitemasu yo It is here (Someone found it)
ありがとうございます Arigtō gozaimasu Thank you

Dialog 01

A: もしもし幕張メッセでございます。 Moshi moshi, Makuhari Messe de gozaimasu. Hello, this is Makuhari Messe.
B: すみません、昨日そちらで財布を忘れたのですが。 Sumimasen, Kinō sochira de saifu o wasureta no desu ga. Excuse me, I left a wallet there yesterday.
A: 何色のお財布ですか。 Nani iro no osaifu desu ka What colour is the wallet?
B: 黒い革の財布です。 Kuroi kawa no saifu desu It is a black leather wallet.
A: 少々お待ちください。届いていますよ。 Shōshō omachi kudasai. Todoite imasu yo. One moment please. We have it.
B: ありがとうございます。 Arigatō gozaimasu. Thank you very much.

Dialog 02

A: もしもし一番寿司でございます。 Moshi moshi, Ichibanzushi de gozaimasu. Hello, this is Ichiban Sushi.
B: すみません、昨日そちらでカバンを忘れたのですが。 Sumimasen, Kinō sochira de kaban o wasureta no desu ga. Excuse me, I left a bag there yesterday.
A: 何色のおカバンですか。 Nani iro no okaban desu ka What colour is the bag?
B: 赤い革のカバンです。 Akai kawa no kaban desu It is a red leather bag.
A: 少々お待ちください。届いていますよ。 Shōshō omachi kudasai. Todoite imasu yo. One moment please. We have it.
B: ありがとうございます。 Arigatō gozaimasu. Thank you very much.

Dialog 03

A: もしもし六本木ヒルズでございます。 Moshi moshi, Roppongi Hiruzu de gozaimasu. Hello, this is Roppongi Hills.
B: すみません、昨日そちらで携帯電話を忘れたのですが。 Sumimasen, Kinō sochira de keitaidenwa o wasureta no desu ga. Excuse me, I left a mobile phone there yesterday.
A: 携帯電話の機種はなんですか。 Keitaidenwa no kishu wa nan desu ka. What type of phone is it?
B: iPhone8です。 iPhone hachi desu. It’s an iPhone 8.
A: 少々お待ちください。届いていますよ。 Shōshō omachi kudasai. Todoite imasu yo. One moment please. We have it.
B: ありがとうございます。 Arigatō gozaimasu. Thank you very much.

Extra Phrases

Let’s study some other phrases related to lost items:

1) 申し訳ありませんが財布は届いてないようです。

Mōshi wake arimasen ga saifu wa todoite inai yō desu.

I’m very sorry but it seems your wallet hasn’t been handed in.

2) 連絡先を教えていただけたら見つかり次第ご連絡します。

Renrakusaki o oshiete itadaketara mitsukari shidai gorenraku shimasu.

If you give me your contact details we’ll contact you the moment it is found.

3) 忘れ物

Wasuremono

Lost items

4) 紛失届け

Fun shitsu todoke

A form to fill out at the police station for lost items

Cultural Points

  1. The Japanese are generally quite law abiding and honest. Most times, if found, your lost items  will be returned.
  2. If you lose something on the train go to the nearest 駅長室 Eki Chō shitsu – Station master’s office and tell them what you lost and on which train it was on. They’ll ring ahead to the next station or terminal station to see if they can locate your items.
  3. You can also go to any 交番 Koban police box to report lost or stolen items. For lost items you would write out a form called a 紛失届け Fun shitsu todoke

Random Phrase Of The Week

あたまが真っ白

Atama ga masshiro

When you mind goes completely blank or you are lost for words.

留守番電話を残す時いつもあたまが真っ白

Rusuban denwa o nokosu toki ni atama ga masshiro

When I leave a message on an answering machine my mind goes completely blank

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 06: Interview with Tomo Akiyama

In this Fun Friday edition of the Learn Japanese Pod podcast, I interviewed Tomo Akiyama who is a fascinating expert linguist and well known Twitter user from Japan. We discussed a wide range of topics including the difficulties of learning Japanese and common mistakes non-native speakers make. We also talked about common English phrases Japanese people use, the words they say and they real meaning behind them.

As Tomo said, the biggest take away from this discussion is Japanese and English do not exactly translate into one another as they as such different languages.

Listen to the podcast to hear our various discussions in more detail and please leave a comment below.

Download Podcast | iTunes Subscribe | Android | All Podcasts

Listen to the Podcast

Useful links:

Tomo Akiyama Twitter

What Japanese people say and what they really mean

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 15 – Talking about your favorite movies in Japanese

In this podcast, Ami and I (Alex) teach you how to talk about your favorite movies in Japanese. Listen to the podcasts and read the dialogs below to get an idea of what these phrases and dialogs mean. You can also download the PDFs too! Enjoy!

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

 

Dialog 01
  Japanese Pronunciation English
A: 「君の名は」見た? “Kimi no na wa” mita? Did you see “Kimi no na wa”?
B: 見たよ! Mita yo! I saw it!
A: どうだった?面白かった? Dō datta. Omoshirokatta? How was it? Was it interesting?
B: うん、すごく面白かったよ。 Un, omoshirokatta yo. Uh huh, it was interesting.
A: 私も見ようかな? Watashi mo miyō kana I guess I should go and see it.
B: うん、すごくおすすめだよ。 Un, sugoku osusume da yo. Yeah, I highly recommend it

 

Dialog 02
  Japanese Pronunciation English
A: 「ミニオンズ」見た? “Minions” mita? Did you see “Minions”?
B: 見たよ! Mita yo! I saw it!
A: どうだった?面白かった? Dō datta. Omoshirokatta? How was it? Was it interesting?
B: 面白かったけど、声優がイマイチだった。 Omoshirokatta kedo seiyuu ga imaichi datta. It was interesting but the voice actors weren’t so good.
A: 私も見ようかな? Watashi mo miyō kana I guess I should go and see it.
B: そうだね、もし週末時間があったら見に行ってみればいいよ。 Sō da ne, moshi shuumatsu jikan ga attara mi ni itte mireba ii yo. Well, if you have time at the weekend, you should go and see it.

 

Dialog 03
  Japanese Pronunciation English
A: 「スターウォーズ」見た? Sutaauozu mita? Did you see Star Wars?
B: 見たよ! Mita yo! I saw it!
A: どうだった?面白かった? Dō datta. Omoshirokatta? How was it? Was it interesting?
B: 全然面白くなかった。ストーリーがつまらなかった。 Zenzen omoshirokunakatta. Sutōrii ga tsumaranakatta. It wasn’t interesting at all. The story was boring.
A: 私も見ようかな? Watashi mo miyō kana I guess I should go and see it.
B: 止めた方がいいよ。 Yameta hō ga ii yo. You shouldn’t.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 14: Talking on the phone in Japanese

In this podcast, Ami and I, teach you some fun conversations you can have with your friends in Japanese.  The first thing you need to know when speaking on the phone in Japanese is the word Moshi moshi which is hello but used exclusively for the phone. You can use this for both casual and polite conversations.

Listen to the podcast and read the dialogs below to get a better idea of how to have a conversation on the phone in Japanese with your friends.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Phone Dialog 01

Dialog 01
Japanese Pronunciation English
A: もしもし Moshi moshi Hello
B: もしもし、あみ元気? Moshi moshi, Ami genki? Hello, how are you Ami?
A: 元気だよ Genki da yo I’m good.
B: 最近どう? Saikin dō? How have you been recently?
A: 最近は仕事漬けの毎日! Saikin wa shigotozuke no mainichi! Recently, I’ve been so busy at work.
B: そうなんだ……大変だね。 Sō nan da…Taihen da ne. Oh really…that’s tough.
A: 全然平気! Zenzen heiki! I’m totally fine!

Phone Dialog 02

Dialog 02
Japanese Pronunciation English
A: もしもし Moshi moshi Hello
B: もしもし、あみ元気? Moshi moshi, Ami genki? Hello, how are you Ami?
A: 元気だよ Genki da yo I’m good.
B: 最近どう? Saikin dō? How have you been recently?
A: 最近、彼女ができたよ Saikin kanojo ga dekita yo Recently I got a new girlfriend
B: そうなんだ!良かったね! Sō nan da! Yokatta ne! Oh really? That’s great!
A: 毎日楽しすぎる! Mainichi tanoshisugiru! It’s so much fun everyday!

Phone Dialog 03

Dialog 03
Japanese Pronunciation English
A: もしもし Moshi moshi Hello
B: もしもし、あみ元気? Moshi moshi, Ami genki? Hello, how are you Ami?
A: 元気だよ Genki da yo I’m good.
B: 最近どう? Saikin dō? How have you been recently?
A: 最近、ジムに通い出したよ Saikin jimu ni kayoidashita yo Recently I started going to the gym.
B: そうなんだ!良いね! Sō nan da! Ii ne! Oh really? That’s good!
A: 毎日筋肉痛がやばいよ! Mainichi kinnikutsuu ga yabai yo! The muscle soreness is really bad everyday!

Extra Phone Phrases

携帯電話 – Keitai denwa – Mobile phone

携帯番号 – Keitai bangō – Mobile number

メアド – Meado – Mail address

待受画面 – Machiukegamen – Standby screen (for phone)

写メ – Shame – Mobile phone picture

スマホ – Sumaho – Smart Phone

ガラケー – Garakeh – Flip phone

Polite Phone Phrases

田中さんはいらっしゃいますか – Tanaka san wa irasshaimasu ka

Is Tanaka san there?  / Can I speak to Mr. Tanaka?

田中は出かけております – Tanaka wa dekakete orimasu.

Tanaka is out right now.

伝言をお願いします – Dengon o onegaishimasu.

Can I leave a message please?

折り返しお電話いただけますか – Orikaeshi odenwa itadakemasu ka?

Could you ask them to call me back please?

Leave your comments below

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 05: The Best And Worst of Life in Tokyo

In this podcast, I talk to Andy, a great friend of mine whom I have known for over 10 years here in Japan. As we are both long term residents of Tokyo, we wanted to record a podcast outlining the best and the worst of life here in the capital city of Japan. We decided to look at the good, the bad and the ugly to give an honest and balanced discussion of what it is really like to live here. If you are thinking about moving to Tokyo to live or just want to come for a brief visit, we hope there is some useful information for you here. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Podcast Download | iTunes Subscribe | Android Subscribe

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 13: Everything you need to know to speak Japanese Fluently

One of the most common questions I get at Learn Japanese Pod is “How do I learn to speak Japanese fluently?”. The usual problem I hear is that although students study lots of vocabulary and grammar, they can’t seem to put it together to hold even a simple conversation. Fluency seems out of the question. Well, I hear you because I used to be in the same situation. I was really frustrated. However, after a lot of trial and error… and coffee, I eventually began to discover some effective study techniques, strategies and the mindset that actually worked.

Now, fluency didn’t happen overnight but my ability to hold natural flowing conversations with my Japanese friends got noticeably better and my progress definitely sped up. So if you are feeling confused, frustrated and your motivation is crumbling, it’s time to get your Japanese back on track. So this is why I decided to make this podcast and guide to show you absolutely everything you need to know to speak Japanese fluently.

You can listen to the podcast here where Ami sensei and I discuss this topic in detail. Then keep reading below for more in-depth information with links to useful resources.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Podcast Dialog – How to Speak Japanese Fluently

Japanese Pronunciation English
 A: 先生、質問しても良いですか?  Sensei, shitsumon shite mo ii desu ka.  Teacher, may I ask a question?
 B: はい、どうぞ。  Hai dōzo.  Sure, go ahead.
 A: どうすれば日本語を流暢に話せるようになりますか?  Dō sureba nihongo o ryuuchō ni hanaseru you ni narimasu ka?  How can I become fluent at speaking Japanese?
 B: そうですね。やっぱり教材はもちろんですが、日本のテレビを観たり、日本の音楽をたくさん聴いてみてください。  Sō desu ne. Yappari kyōzai wa mochiron desu ga, nihon no terebi o mitari, nihongo no ongaku o takusan kiite kudasai.  Let me see. Well of course you need study materials but you should watch Japanese TV, listen to a lot of music, stuff like that.
 A: なるほど。  Naruhodo.  I see.
 B: 私の友達は、日本に住んだことはないですが、そうやって日本語を結構覚えましたよ。  Watashi no tomodachi wa nihon ni sunda koto ga nai desu ga sō yatte nihongo o kekkō oboemashita yo.  I have a friend who never lived in Japan. However, he learned a lot of Japanese that way.
 A: 他に何かアドバイスはありますか?  Hoka ni adobaisu ga arimasu ka?  Do you have any other advice?
 B: 日本語が話せる友達を作って、積極的に日本語で会話をしましょう。  Nihongo ga hanaseru tomodachi o tsukutte, sekkyokuteki ni nihongo de kaiwa o shimashou.  Make Japanese speaking friends and proactively try to have conversations in Japanese.
 A: 分かりました。頑張ります!  Wakarimashita. Ganbarimasu.  I understand. I will do my best.

The Secret to Speaking Japanese Fluently

Here’s the brutal truth.

There is no secret to speaking fluent Japanese. And if anyone tells you there is a magical course that teaches you how to speak perfect Japanese in 3 days, buy a fire extinguisher because someone’s pants are on fire. It takes time, commitment and hard work…and coffee…I mentioned coffee right?

Anyway, I can’t give you a magic pill BUT…

And this is a big but…

I can tell you the dumb things I did so you don’t have to. And that’s going to save you a LOT of time and frustration. Plus there are more efficient and effective ways to study that will further save time.

But what do we actually mean by “fluency”?

What does “fluent Japanese” mean?

Fluent doesn’t necessarily mean native speaker level. To me, fluency simply means you can express what you want to say, clearly, easily and quickly without getting stuck or stumbling over your words. If you can order sushi or do a simple self introduction in Japanese, you have a basic level of fluency. No, you’re not native level but you could survive in Japan with a limited number of phrases. So don’t feel overwhelmed. Remember fluency isn’t how much you know, it’s how well you use it.

So, let’s move to the first step you need to take on your journey to Japanese fluency.

1. Set Specific Goals

Perhaps the biggest mistake students of Japanese make is not being clear about what they want to achieve. You need to set clear, specific goals, broken down into small achievable steps with deadlines. And here are my personal reasons:

  1. Set it and forget it – This avoids stress and decision fatigue worrying over what you should study next. It keeps it simple.
  2. Focus equals momentum – A focused goal gets you to where you want to go more quickly.
  3. Goals avoid waste – If you get super specific about what to achieve you avoid wasteful and irrelevant study
  4. Deadlines make it real – Set a date to increase the chances of success. A deadline further focuses you and makes your goals more concrete. Breaking things into small steps with many deadlines can help to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

What’s a good Japanese Study Goal?

So what’s a good goal? If you say “I want to speak kick ass, ninja level Japanese” that’s all well and good but it’s too vague and lacks a clear goal. Something better would be “I want to be able to say 100 travel related phrases fluently for my trip to Japan in three months”.

Now you know the following:

  1. Exactly what you will study
  2. Exactly how much you need to study
  3. When your deadline is

Breaking down your goal into small achievable steps will increase your chances of success. So learning 100 phrases in 3 months is a pace of just over 1 phrase a day, totally achievable.

Try to set a goal that inspires and motivates you. Also, try to pick a goal that allows you to be able to do something. You want to build skills rather than simply piling up words. Here are some examples:

I want to learn all the phrases to order food at a Japanese restaurant within 2 weeks.

I want to be able to ask and understand directions in Japanese in one month.

To really demonstrate how a short and laser focused goal can help you make progress more quickly, try out my completely free 5 Day Japanese Challenge. It emails you a new lesson every day and if you follow the course properly you will be able to give a natural self introduction in flawless Japanese in five days.

If you are still not sure what goal to set, choose something, anything, simply to get started. For example, you could attempt to pass the N5 Japanese Language Proficiency Test in 6 months. And even if you fail the test, you will have still improved your Japanese.

2. Get the Right Japanese Study Materials

Japanese study materials

Now you have a clear goal, you will need good materials and resources to study with. This depends on your goal and level of Japanese. For beginners, I recommend buying a  good standard Japanese textbook. Now, this won’t guarantee fluency, however, a good textbook will teach you the basic grammar and vocabulary you need to build your base before you can attempt conversations. Here are some of my top recommendations:

Recommendations for basic Japanese textbooks

GENKI I – This is good  standard textbook used in university Japanese courses. This is more grammar heavy so it will give you a good language base to build on. It includes an audio CD which you can use to listen and practice with. Japanese for Busy People is another widely known text good for teaching you the basics.

Nihongo Fun and Easy – A smaller but awesome little Japanese conversational textbook that focuses more on daily situational dialogs and includes a CD to practice with. This is not as comprehensive as Genki but might get you speaking basic Japanese more quickly.

NIHONGO Breakthrough – Another really good Japanese conversational textbook that focuses on real life situations and natural language to improve you basic level of fluency.

Again, these textbooks won’t make you fluent over night. However,  they will give you the essential base  Japanese grammar and vocabulary you need to work towards fluency.

And textbooks on their own are not enough. We need to look at some effective techniques to get you speaking more fluently in less time.

3. Drill, Drill and Drill Again

Drill Japanese for better fluency

If there was only one single technique I could teach you that would massively help your fluency, that would be drilling. It’s an incredibly powerful technique that will build you vocabulary, speed, pronunciation and fluency.

Drilling is simply repeating phrases out loud over and over again until you can say them easily and without thinking.

I first started studying Japanese on my own. I bought a random Japanese conversation textbook, read the dialogs, listened to the audio and repeated every phrase and conversation until I could say them automatically. The book wasn’t that great and some of the conversations were kind of boring and not even that useful. Here is a reconstruction of the silly things I drilled:

Japanese Pronunciation English
A: 田中さんの車はどこの車ですか Tanaka san no kuruma wa doko no kuruma desu ka Mr. Tanaka, what make of car is that?
B: トヨタの車です Toyota no kuruma desu It’s a Toyota
A: あ、そうですか A sou desu ka Oh really?

One would have thought a more interesting conversation would have been:

A: Hey Tanaka, what make of car is that?

B: See the sign that says Toyota on the front? Yeah that means it’s a Toyota…you idiot!

ANYWAY…

It wasn’t the best textbook in the world. However, drilling the dialogs out loud repeatedly really helped it all stick in my head. And as I discovered it improved my memory, pronunciation, speed and fluency. I didn’t become fluent immediately but my progress noticeably did speed up.

Gap Fill Drills

Another effective technique I discovered was gap fills. A gap fill is drilling a sentence and changing one word every time you repeat it. Take the following sentence and say this as many times as it takes to stick in your head:

日本語を上達させるためには勉強が大事だ

Nihongo o jōtatsu suru tame ni wa benkyō ga daiji da

To improve your Japanese fluency, study is important.

Now you have learned that, you can say it again but this time change the word in red to something else so you can make a new sentence.

日本語を上達させるめには読書が大事だ

Nihongo o jōtatsu suru tame ni wa dokusho ga daiji da

To improve your Japanese fluency, study is important.

You can also use a little humour to make things fun and memorable.

日本語を上達させるためにはコーヒーが大事だ

Nihongo o jōtatsu suru tame ni wa kōhii ga daiji da

To improve your Japanese fluency, coffee is important.

The reason I love this technique is it allows you to drill and learn useful patterns of speech. But it also allows you to create an almost infinite number of new unique sentences. This is how fluency begins.

Shadowing

One last technique is shadowing. Shadowing involves playing audio and repeating out loud exactly what you hear. So just listen and repeat. The textbooks I mentioned earlier have audio CDs you can use.

You could also shadow using youtube videos and even music CDs if you have them. Karaoke is also a great way to build your listening and speaking skills.

So the are various ways to drill and all very effective in building your spoken muscle memory so you can develop automatic recall which is what you will need to speak Japanese fluently.

4. Paraphrase to develop Japanese Fluency

Paraphrasing is the ability to express the meaning of something using different words. Being able to say the same thing using different words or phrases massively boosts your fluency because it forces you to expand your spoken vocabulary.  It’s not an easy skill and requires a fair amount of study. However it is worth it because it is a powerful technique for boosting your fluency.

There are various ways you can paraphrase. Here are my favourite three.

Explain a Japanese word in Japanese

Being able to define a Japanese word in Japanese is a great exercise. For example, let’s use the word 暑い – Atsui – which as you probably know means hot. But can you describe what it means in Japanese? You could say 温度の高いもの – Ondo no takai mono – something with a high temperature. To do this yourself, use a good online Japanese dictionary such as the Goo dictionary at dictionary.goo.ne.jp

Japanese Synonyms

The second way is to find a synonym, that is another word which has a similar meaning. So you could use the word 熱 – Netsu – which means heat or fever. Or perhaps you can use the word 暖かい – Atatakai – which means warm.

Japanese Antonyms

The third way is to find an antonym, a phrase that means the opposite. If you use the negative form, it’s another way to paraphrase a word. For example, instead of 暑い you could say 寒くない which means not cold.

You don’t have to use all these techniques but being able to define a Japanese word in Japanese is a really powerful skill you should study towards. Again, use a good Japanese dictionary to help you.
There’s a good chapter on paraphrasing in Japanese in the book 13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese by Giles Murray.

5. Practice with Native Japanese Speakers

Practice with native Japanese speakers

Now, I know some of you might be shy, attached to your textbook or live in an area where there are very few Japanese people. One of the most common complaints I hear is “I have no Japanese friends to practice with”.

However, if you really want to eventually be able to speak Japanese fluently you HAVE TO get out there and practice with native speakers. I know what you’re going to say; it’s impossible because [insert reason here…]. So here are some ideas that might possibly work for you.

  1. Get a Japanese teacher or enrol on a Japanese course.
  2. Use Meetup.com to locate and join a Japanese study group in your area. If not, make your own group. You never know, there may be other people interested in studying Japanese.
  3. Attend Japanese cultural events. Institutions such as The Japan Society based in New York hold regular events for promoting Japanese culture. There may be an event closer to you than you think!
  4. Use online language exchange sites. Although this is not an endorsement, you MIGHT find sites such as Lang-8 and iTalki useful for making online Japanese friends to practice with.

If those methods don’t work for you, then there is only one option left…

5. Go to Japan

I was incredibly lucky to be able to study Japanese intensively for one year in Tokyo when I was in university. I was able to take advantage of the language exchange program between my university in London and Tokyo.

When I got to Japan, I had studied Japanese for a year. However, after living in a dormitory of Japanese guys who spoke next to no English and studying intensively everyday, my Japanese fluency rapidly improved.

Not only that, it was one of the most enjoyable years I had at university. In fact if I hadn’t had that year, I don’t think my Japanese would be anywhere as good as it was today.

So I highly recommend coming to Japan to fully immerse yourself in the culture, language and life in Japan. If you keep studying and practising I guarantee you will make speedier progress than just studying on your own at home.

If a year of intensive study sounds daunting, time consuming and expensive, I wont lie, it is. However, even if you can only manage to go for only a few months or weeks and enrol in a Japanese program, I recommend it as one of the most effective ways to make progress to Japanese fluently. These days there are lots of small colleges that do short Japanese courses for quite a reasonable price. Some of them will also help you with visa applications and a place to stay.

So, if you haven’t, go to Japan my friend!

6. Extra Japanese Fluency Strategies and Mindset

Let me finish this guide with a few more observations, strategies and mindsets that might help you to achieve your goal of learning to speak Japanese fluently.

It’s about consistency, not intensity

If you go to the gym on Monday and exercise for 10 hours, you won’t get fit. It’s much better to exercise a little everyday over the long term. In the same way, you want to study and use Japanese on a regular basis.

Don’t just study Japanese, USE Japanese

Of course you have to lay the groundwork and study Japanese regularly. However you also need to get out there and use it in real life. Always ask yourself, what will I be able to do if I study a particular lesson rather than trying to randomly cram words. This is also why you need to make Japanese friends if you haven’t!

Japanese Grammar is essential, but limited

When you start out in Japanese you have to study grammar to give you a framework to use to construct your own basic sentences. However, the more advanced you become, the less you will be able to rely on your textbook to learn natural patterns of speech. So get as much real speaking and listening practice as you can to pick up the real Japanese not in your textbooks.

Learn the culture behind the words

One thing I wished I had learned earlier was to have a deeper understanding of the culture behind the grammar and vocabulary I was learning. Learning more about Japanese culture gives you a much deeper understanding of the language and will make you a much better speaker.

For example, understanding different levels of politeness in Japanese will give you a really good insight into the culture and make your Japanese sound more natural.

Don’t be the foreigner who can speak fluent Japanese but just doesn’t “get it” and offends everyone. That’s called KY or Kuuki Yomei – someone who literally can’t “read the air” and is culturally unaware. You have been warned!

Make you studies fun!

This is kind of obvious but it’s worth saying. You have to make your studies fun, engaging and relevant to your interests. Don’t get too serious, have fun and good luck!

And if that doesn’t work, watch this Japanese fisherman motivate you!

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Blog Podcasts

Fun Friday 04: Our Favorite Japanese Bands

In our latest Fun Friday Podcast, Ami and I talked about our favourite Japanese bands and other recent news that has been happening in our lives.

Podcast Download | iTunes Subscribe | Android Subscribe

Welcome to Learn Japanese Pod and the Fun Friday episode where we temporarily put down our Japanese textbooks and talk about Japanese culture and anything else to do with Japan that floats into our heads. In this episode, Ami sensei and I talked about our favorite Japanese bands. I kinda showed my age with some of my selection with some old classic Japanese bands most older people know. But Ami Sensei also likes some of those old classics too so we have a lot of music in common that we like.

So here is a break down of some of the music we talked about.

1. Utada Hikaru – Fantome

If you don’t know who Utada Hikaru is, you must have been living in a cave. She is a diva megastar of Japanese pop and has a long career spanning all the way back to the late 90s. Her latest album is Fantome and features quite an eclectic range of styles on the album. It’s definitely worth a listen and for me Utada is one of those go-to classic J-Pop stars you should have in your Japanese music collection.

2. Kick The Can Crew – Super original

I hadn’t heard of Kick the Can Crew until Ami introduced them to me on the podcast. And on the first listen I really liked them. Japanese are masters of importing foreign culture and recreating it with their own unique interpretation. And rap is no exception. Japanese rap has come into its own and is considered to be a unique and innovative genre. If you like Kick the Can Crew and want to check out more great Japanese rap bands then you won’t go wrong with Rip Slyme and Dragon Ash.

3. Super Fly – Ai O Komete Hanataba O

Super Fly is often called the Janis Joplin of J-Pop. She sings a mix of J-pop and rock and has a wide range and present vocal stle which is a refreshing break from your typical female Japanese singer. She has some pretty solid albums and songs out there and one of my favorites is 愛をこめて花束を Ai o komete hanataba – a song that really showcases some great song writing and powerful singing. That’ll definitely get your toes tapping.

4. Wednesday Campanella – Diablo

Wednesday Campanella is a Japanese pop group headed by the super talented KOM_I, a singer and rapper with an hilarious sense of humour and a very original and creative style. In terms of genre it mixes rap, hop hop, electronic music and J-pop. Their videos are also pretty funny and worth a listen.

5. Okuda Tamio – Marshmallow


Okuda Tamio is a singer song writer, guitarist and producer. He was formerly in a band called Unicorn which was pretty famous in Japan. He later quit to follow his own career. If you ask most Japanese people they will have heard of him and is also known for producing the hit band Puffy. The reason I like him is simple. In a word: guitar. As a nerdy guitarist I love the way he produces rock and gets an incredibly fat guitar sounds. Worth a listen!

6. Dry and Heavy – New Creation

Back in the 90s, reggae hit Japan in a big way and the Japanese reggae scene was born. Today you have some really big reggae music events in Japan including the Reggae Sun Splash festival. One really solid Japanese reggae band I love is “Dry and heavy” which has an incredibly well produced and tight sound. One thing I have found is their albums age really well so they are always a good go to band of summer parties and something to listen to on the beach.

7. Urufuruzu – Osaka Strut

ウルフルズ Urufuruzu are a rock band from Osaka and “Osaka Strut” is one of their big hits. The band is headed by the charismatic Tortoise Matsumoto who has also tried his hand at acting. They enjoyed their biggest initial success with the song “Guts Da Ze”,  a song you should attempt only when you have achieved your black belt in Karaoke.

8. Southern All stars

Southern All Stars are perhaps one of the most, if not, the most famous band in Japan. They have a long career stretching back to the late 70s and are still active now performing live and having their music featured in adverts and on TV. They have over 15 number one hits and, in short, are a legendary band. Go check them out, there’s a lot of music to choose from!

9. Begin

Begin are one of my favorite bands for their great song writing and singing. Their music is influenced by the culture and history of Okinawa. You can hear the traditional San Shin in a lot of their music. It’s a 3 stringed guitar unique to Okinawa. Their most well known songs are “San shin no hana” and “Shimanchu nu takara”.

10. Mr Children

Mr. Children (ミスターチルドレン Misutā Chirudoren)is rock group from Japan who are another mega group with a career going back to the early 90s. Known more commonly as “Misu-Chiru” (ミスチル), they are a band just about everyone has heard of in Japan. They have a large discography and an impressive share of number one hits. All I can say is, do a google search and see where that takes you as they have a fair bit of music out there.

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 12: Describing people’s personalities in Japanese

In this podcast, Ami Sensei and I teach you how to describe people’s personalities in natural Japanese. Listen to the full podcast and the dialog only audio underneath.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

So we thought we would have look at how to discuss people’s personalities in this week’s podcast. However, instead of only teaching a list of phrases, we wanted to give some conversational examples of how you might talk about people’s characters.

Talking about people’s personalities in Japanese

In this podcast, Ami sensei and I talk about how to describe people’s personalities in Japanese and how to talk about your favorite “type” of person for dating and romance.

The first two dialogs show you how you can talk about people’s ideal boyfriend of girlfriend in terms of their personality.

Podcast Dialog 1.1

A: ねえ、どんな人がタイプなの? Ne, donna hito ga taipu na no? Hey, what kind of person are you into?
B: そうだね。やっぱり優しくて、気が利いて、陽気な人かな。 Sō da ne. Yappari yasashikute, ki ga kiite, yōki na hito kana. Let me see. Of course kind, thoughtful and outgoing.
A: 本当?それだけ? Hontō? Sore dake? Really? That’s it?
B: え?どういう意味それ? E? Dō iu imi sore? Eh? What do you mean by that?
A: 今までの彼氏みんなイケメンだったし、本当は面食いなんでしょう? Ima made no kareshi ikemen datta shi, hontō wa menkui nan deshō? All your boyfriends until now have been really good looking. You’re just into looks aren’t you?
B: うるさいなぁ、もう! Urusai na mō! Oh shut up!

Podcast Dialog 1.2

A: ねえ、どんな人がタイプなの? Ne, donna hito ga taipu na no? Hey, what kind of person are you into?
B: そうだね。やっぱり優しくて、気が利いて、陽気な人かな。 Sō da ne. Yappari yasashikute, ki ga kiite, yōki na hito kana. Let me see. Of course kind, thoughtful and outgoing.
A: 本当?それだけ? Hontō? Sore dake? Really? That’s it?
B: え?どういう意味それ? E? Dō iu imi sore? Eh? What do you mean by that?
A: 今までの彼女みんな美形だったじゃん、本当は見た目重視なんでしょう。 Ima made no kanojō minna bikkei datta shi, hontō wa menkui nan deshō? All your girlfriends until now have been really good looking. You’re just into looks aren’t you?
B: うるさいなぁ、もう! Urusai na mō! Oh shut up!

In the next set of dialogs we look at how to compare people’s personalities in Japanese. These dialogs also contain a nice technique for expanding your vocabulary which is learning a adjective and it’s exact opposite. So if you learn the word 優しい Yasashii which means kind, you could then learn a word such as 気が短い Ki ga mijikai which means short tempered or bad tempered. This is a really nice way to group relevant vocabulary together which will double the amount of words you know and improve your fluency if you drill them.

Here are some examples:

Podcast Dialog 2.1

A: 彼氏はどんな人なの? Kareshi wa donna hito na no? What’s your boyfriend like?
B: そうだね。優しい人だよ。 Sō da ne. Yasashi hito da yo. Let me see. He’s a kind person.
A: いいなあ。私の彼女は気が短いんだよね。 Ii naa. Watashi no kanajo ga ki ga mijikain da yo ne. I envy you. My girlfriend is short tempered.

Podcast Dialog 2.2

A: 彼女はどんな人なの? Kanojo wa donna hito na no? What’s your girlfriend like?
B: そうだね。優しい人だよ。 Sō da ne. Omoshiroi hito da yo. Let me see. She’s an interesting person.
A: いいなあ。私の彼氏はつまらないんだよね。 Ii naa. Watashi no kareshi wa tsumaranain da yo ne. I envy you. My boyfriend is short tempered.

Podcast Dialog 2.3

A: 彼氏はどんな人なの? Kareshi wa donna hito na no? What’s your boyfriend like?
B: そうだね。社交的な人だよ。 Sō da ne. Shakōteki na hito da yo. Let me see. He’s a social person.
A: いいなあ。私の彼女はおとなしいんだよね。 Ii naa. Watashi no kanajo wa otonashiin da yo ne. I envy you. My girlfriend is shy.

Podcast Dialog 2.4

A: 彼女はどんな人なの? Kanojo wa donna hito na no? What’s your girlfriend like?
B: そうだね。勤勉な人だよ。 Sō da ne. Kinben na hito da yo. Let me see. She’s a hard working person.
A: いいなあ。私の彼氏は怠け者なんだよね。 Ii naa. Watashi no kareshi wa namakemono nan da yo ne. I envy you. My boyfriend is lazy.

Podcast Dialog 2.5

A: 彼氏はどんな人なの? Kareshi wa donna hito na no? What’s your boyfriend like?
B: そうだね。頭がいい人だよ。 Sō da ne. Shakōteki na hito da yo. Let me see. He’s a social person.
A: いいなあ。私の彼女はちょっと天然入ってるんだよね Ii naa. Watashi no kanajo wa chotto tennen ga haitterun da yo ne. I envy you. My girlfriend is a bit of a space cadet.

In the next set of dialogs we talk about personality as it relates to blood type. In Japan, it is widely believed that a person’s blood type is linked to or influences your personality. Although this is utter nonsense that has absolutely no scientific basis at all what so ever, it’s worth knowing about this cultural phenomenon. And it’s a great way to get a conversation going in Japanese and increase your vocabulary.

There are a couple of ways you can ask about bloody type and personality including the following:

A型の人ってどんな人が多い? A gata no hito te donna hito ga ooi?

What is a common personality for people with A type blood?

Or

典型的なA型の人ってどうなの?Tenkeiteki na A gata no hito te dō na no?

What is the typical personality of someone with A type blood?

Here are some example dialogs as featured in the podcast:

Podcast Dialog 3.1

A: A型の人ってどんな人が多い? A gata no hito te donna hito ga ooi? What’s the most common personality trait of people with A blood type?
B: A型は真面目で几帳面な人。 A gata wa majime de kichōmen na hito. People with A blood type are serious and methodical.

Podcast Dialog 3.2

A: O型の人ってどんな人が多い? O gata no hito te donna hito ga ooi? What’s the most common personality trait of people with O blood type?
B: O型はおおらかで元気な人。 O gata wa ooraka de genki na hito. People with O blood type are relaxed and outgoing.

Podcast Dialog 3.3

A: B型の人ってどんな人が多い? B gata no hito te donna hito ga ooi? What’s the most common personality trait of people with B blood type?
B: B型はよくもわるくもマイペースな人。 B gata wa yokumo warukumo mai peesu na hito. For better or for worse, people with B blood type taking everything at their own pace.

Podcast Dialog 3.4

A: AB型の人ってどんな人が多い? AB gata no hito te donna hito ga ooi? What’s the most common personality trait of people with AB blood type?
B: AB型はどこかクールで知的な印象を感じさせる人。 AB gata wa dokoka kuuru de chiteki na inshō o kanjisaseru hito. People with AB blood type give the impression of being aloof and intelectual.

Random Japanese Phrase of the Week

In this episode’s random phrase of the week we looked at the word 茶番劇 Chabangeki which literally means a dramatic farce. It’s used to describe situations and things that are over the top or crazy.

Here are the examples:

あのカップルの喧嘩はいつも茶番劇だよね。

Ano kappuru no kenka wa itsumo chabangeki da yo ne

That couple are always having epic fights.

とんだ茶番劇をやらかしたもんだ!

Tonda chabangeki o yarakashita mon da!

That situation totally got out of hand / That was one crazy thing that happened.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 11: Japanese Verbs – Taberu

In this podcast, Ami Sensei and I teach you about using the verb 食べる in the casual form which is used between people who know each other well in an informal situation. This is how you conjugate the verb taberu in plain form or “dictionary form”.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Japanese Verbs – Taberu

Plain form verb – Taberu

Positive Negative
Present 食べる Taberu (To eat) 食べない Tabenai (Not eat)
Past 食べた Tabeta (Ate) 食べなかった Tabenakatta (Didn’t eat)

Japanese Verbs – Taberu Dialog

A: ね、食べる? Ne taberu? You wanna eat?
B: 食べない Tabenai. I don’t want to eat
A: 食べないの? Tabenai no? You don’t want to eat?
B: もう食べたから。食べなかったの? Mo tabeta kara. Tabenakatta no. Already ate. You didn’t eat?
A: うん、食べなかった。食べようよ Un Tabenakatta. Tabeyō yo. I didn’t eat. Let’s eat!
B: いらない、ひとりで食べて!  Iranai, hitori de tabete. I don’t want any. You eat by yourself.

Grammatical Breakdown of Dialog

Rule 1 – You can drop the subject before a Japanese verb

The dialog starts with ね – Ne which means “Hey” and used to get attention to start a conversation. Then the next word is 食べる? Taberu with a rising intonation. This literally means “Eat?”. One important thing to remember is that you don’t need to use the subject of the sentence as the meaning is understood from the context of the situation. If someone is looking at you and simply says “Taberu” with a rising inflection. You can be pretty sure that they mean “Do you want to eat”? which is what it means in this situation. In fact, this entire dialog is completely devoid of sentences  with the words you or I in them. And this because…

Rule 2 – You have to guess the meaning from the context

As we continue to the next line in the dialog we have  食べない tabenai which means “not eat”. Again, from the context, you can guess this means “I don’t want to eat”. And context is everything here. This aspect of Japanese can make it easier for you to say more with less because minimalism is the key. It can also make it devilishly hard to understand what is being said because if you don’t understand the situation you won’t understand the conversation.

Continuing we have 食べないの?Tabenai no which is literally “Not eat” + のno which signifies a question. This means “Not eat?” or “Don’t you want to eat?”

Next we haveもう食べた Mō tabeta kara – This literally means “Already ate because” or “No because I already ate”. Then 食べなかったの Tabenakatta no – which means “didn’t eat” with the の question marker so “Didn’t you eat?”.

Rule 3 – Yes means no and no means yes

The answer to the question “Didn’t you eat” is うん 食べなかった Un Tabenakatta – Yes, I didn’t eat. This might be confusing as in English you would usually say:

A: Didn’t you eat?

B: No, I didn’t

However in Japanese you have to say “Yes, I didn’t eat”. This is because in Japanese, when you say yes, you are agreeing directly with the statement that was just made so you could think of it as “Yes, it is true that I didn’t eat”.

Rule 4 – Verbs ending in ō mean “Let’s do something”

Next we hear 食べよう Tabeyō. This form of the verb is used to suggest or propose an idea. So it means “Let’s eat”. Theよ Yo at the end emphasizes the meaning more. Here are some more examples:

飲もうよ Nomō yo – Come on, let’s drink!

行こうよ Ikō yo – Come on, let’s go!

やろうよ Yarō yo – Come on, let’s do this!

Rule 5 – Verbs ending in “Te” can be an order to do something

The last line of this dialog is いらいない Iranai – Not needed or more naturally “I don’t want any”. Finally we have 一人で食べて Hitori de tabete. Hitori means one person or in this case by yourself. 食べて Tabete is what’s called the “Te” form of the verb and is an order or request to do something so Tabete means “Eat!”. In this case the speaker is saying, “I don’t want any, you go ahead and eat by yourself”.

What is Japanese plain verb form?

In Japanese, there are various forms of politeness from very direct to extremely polite. Plain form verbs are considered to be less formal and are often used in casual conversation between friends and people of similar social rank in society. When looking up verbs in the dictionary, you will always find the plain form of the verb which is why they are also know as “dictionary form” verbs.

The more formal and polite form is the -masu form which is conjugated for the verb Taberu like this:

-Masu form verb – Taberu

Positive Negative
Present 食べます Tabemasu (To eat) 食べません Tabemasen (Not eat)
Past 食べました Tabemashita (Ate) 食べませんでした Tabemasendeshita (Didn’t eat)

The -masu form of the verb is used in more formal situations when to talking to people of senior rank. You will often here service staff use the -masu form of verbs to customers.

Why study Japanese plain form verbs?

When studying Japanese for the first time it is quite common to study -masu form verbs first. This may be because of tradition and perhaps Japanese teachers would rather give you all the polite Japanese first before you go out and offend people with the wrong level of politeness.

This is not necessarily a bad idea and I would advise you to definitely learn polite -masu form verbs. However, in my experience, after studying almost exclusively polite Japanese in my first year of university, I found that around 90% of the conversations I was having was in plain form. That means, if you only learn the polite form, you will have difficulty understanding taking part in conversations and discussions with your Japanese friends, family and even coworkers.

Should you learn the safer polite form or the more plain form first? Great question and I will let that heated debate continue as it always has. Of course, you should learn learn both verb forms.  However learning plain form verbs is your key to understanding daily conversation and being able to speak Japanese more fluently.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 10: The Top 10 Questions you will be asked in Japan

After living in Japan for over 20 years, I have noticed a clear pattern of questions I am often asked. As well as being very hospitable, the Japanese are inquisitive people who are genuinely interested in why people visit or live in their country. Therefore students of Japanese who are planning a trip to Japan will find it extremely useful to study those questions and how to answer them in Japanese. In this podcast, Ami Sensei and I go through the top 10 most common questions Japanese people ask and the cultural reasons behind them. So if you are slightly surprised or shocked by what you are asked, it’s usually due to a cultural difference which we discuss in the podcast.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Typical Questions you will be asked by Japanese people

1: お名前はなんですか Oname wa nan desu ka – What is your name?

Although obvious, this is the first question you should learn. To reply, simply say your name + desu. アレックスですArekkusu desu – I am Alex. The other thing you should keep in mind is that Japanese say their surname first and first name last. So, if you want to say I am John Smith you would say スミスジョンです – Sumisu Jon Desu.

Finally, saying your name using a Japanese accent or Katakana sounds might will make it a little easier for Japanese to understand you name.

2: お国はどちらですか Okuni wa dochira desu ka – Where are you from?

Japanese people are always very interested in where you are from. To answer this question you could simply say アメリカです Amerika desu – America or イギリスです Igirisu desu – The UK. You can also say アメリカから来ました Amerika kara kimashita – I come from America.

3: お仕事は何をされていますか Oshigoto wa nani o sarete imasu ka – What do you do?

This is a very common question that might be asked anywhere in the world. However, there is an added cultural dimension to this. When meeting people for the first time, Japanese people tend to ask questions that give them an idea of the social status of the person they are speaking to so as to communicate with an appropriate level of politeness or respect. To answer this question simply say your job + desu. For example 学生です Gakusei desu – I am a student.
サラリマンです Sarariman desu –  I am an office work (only for men). Women might say OLです – Oh Eru desu – I am (a female) office worker.

4: なんで日本へ来たんですか Nande nihon e kitan desu ka – Why did you come to Japan?

This is the perhaps the most commonly asked question foreigners get when visiting or living in Japan. In fact there is a very popular show on TV entitled “Youは何しに日本へ” You wa nani shi ni nihon e – Why did you come to Japan?

Japanese people are fascinated in why people take the trouble to travel to Japan. Perhaps this is something to do with the fact that Japanese people are interested in how their country is perceived abroad and what might be interesting or attractive to foreigners. When replying say your reason + tame which means the reason why you did something. For example:

はじめて日本に来た時は日本語を勉強するためでした Hajimete nihon ni kita toki wa nihongo o benkyō suru tame deshita – I first came to Japan in order to study Japanese.

5: おいくつですか/ 何歳ですか Oikutsu desu ka – How old are you?

This is one of those questions that some visitors to Japan might find a little surprising or rude. However, when Japanese ask what your age is, what they are really saying is “I want to know your age so I don’t speak to you with an inappropriate level of politeness”. At the same time, you are under no obligation to give your age if you feel it is too personal. Deflecting with humour usually works and you can say something like 秘密です Himitsu desu – It’s a secret.

If you don’t mind giving your age, say your age + sai desu. For example 25歳です Nijuugo sai desu – I am 25.

6: 箸使えますか Hashi tsukaemasu ka – Can you use chopsticks?

For a cosmopolitan westerner who is used to eating Chinese or Vietnamese food at home, you might be surprised if Japanese people ask you if you can use chopsticks. Your answer might be a slightly irritated “Well of course I can dammit!”. However, Japanese are trying to be polite and are showing you their hospitality in making sure you don’t have any problems with their food.

You can simply say 箸使えますよ Hashi tsukaemasu yo – I can use chop sticks

If you can’t you could say ちょっと難しです Chotto muzukashii desu – It’s a little difficult (for me)

7: 納豆食べられますか Natto taberaremasu ka – Can you eat natto?

If you didn’t know, natto is a Japanese delicacy which is made from fermented beans. It has quite a strong smell which can put off people new to the food. But don’t worry if you don’t like it, don’t worry, it’s one of those foods that divides Japanese people into natto fans and natto haters.

If you like natto you can say 納豆食べられます Natto taberaremasu – I can eay natto. If you don’t like it you can say 納豆食べられません Natto taberaremasen – I can’t eat natto. Alternatively you can say ちょっと口に合わないです Chotto kuchi ni awanai desu – I don’t like eating it.

8: 結婚していますか Kekkon shite imasu ka – Are you married?

This is another one of those questions which is simply trying to ascertain your social standing. If you are married you can say 結婚しています Kekkon shite imasu – I am married. If you aren’t married you can say 結婚していません Kekkon shite imasu OR 独身です Dokushin desu – I am single.

9: 日本ははじめてですか Nihon wa hajimete desu ka –  Is this your first time to Japan?

This is another question you will be often asked. If it is your first time you can say はい、初めてです Hai, hajimete desu – Yes, this is my first time. If it is your 2nd time you could say いいえ、2回目です Ni kai me desu – No, this is my second time.

10: 苦てな食べ物はありますか Nigatena tabemono wa arimasu ka – Are there any foods you can’t eat?

Again, Japanese people are obsessed with food which is good news for you because you will eat in some amazing restaurants. The Japanese are also aware that some parts of their cuisine including natto or raw fish might be difficult for foreigners to eat. Japanese like to make sure their guests are comfortable and so it is common to be asked what foods you can and can’t eat.

If you have no problems with food you could answer 特にないです Toku ni nai desu – Nothing in particular. If there is a type of food you can’t eat then use the same pattern as we learned for not being able to eat natto: 納豆食べられません Natto taberaremasen or perhaps 肉食べられません Niku taberaremasen – I can’t eat meat.

And that’s it! If you have any interesting experiences being asked questions by Japanese people, leave a comment below!

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Fun Friday 03: Interview with Niko #1

In this Fun Friday episode of Learn Japanese Pod, I interview Niko of Nihongo Shark, which is a platform for learning Japanese. Niko is a Jedi Master of online self-study techniques which he developed when teaching himself Japanese. Check out the podcast for more details.

Podcast 03: Interview with Niko
Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 09: How to Order Sushi at a Japanese Restaurant

In this week’s podcast Yoshiko and Alex discuss useful Japanese vocabulary and cultural points and advice for ordering sushi at a Japanese restaurant like a native.

The good news is you don’t have to learn a huge amount of vocabulary to order your your favorite dishes if you learn just a few useful key phrases.

Listen to the podcast and then you can read the vocabulary list, dialog and cultural tips and advice below.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Vocabulary from the Podcast

Japanese Pronunciation English
大将 Taishō (Sushi) chef
サーモン  Saamon  Salmon
マグロ  Maguro Tuna
たまご Tamago Egg
雲丹 Uni Sea urchin
いくら Ikura Salmon roe
Kan Counter for sushi
一貫 Ikkan 1 piece of sushi
二貫 Nikan 2 pieces
三貫 Sankan 3 pieces
一貫ずつ Ikkan zutsu One piece of each
お願いします Onegaishimasu Please
さび抜き Sabinuki Without wasabi
あがり一丁 Agari ichō Tea
できますか Dekimasu ka Can you make it?
お冷や Ohiya Cold water
お椀 Owan Soup
茶碗蒸し Chawan Mushi Egg and custard dish
えんがわ Engawa Fin of flounder (flatfish)
ごちそうさまでした Gochisōsama deshita That was delicious
回転寿し Kaitenzushi Conveyor belt sushi
お腹いっぱい Onaka ippai I’m full
刺身 Sashimi Slices of fish
寿司 Sushi Slices of fish on rice
つまみ Tsumami Used when ordering just the meat of the fish rather than sushi
ガリ Gari  Slices of ginger in sweet vinegar

Dialog for ordering Sushi

Here is the main dialog in the podcast for ordering sushi at a Japanese restaurant.

Japanese Pronunciation English
A:大将!サーモン2貫ください Taishō! Saamon Ni Kan Kudasai Chef, 2 pieces of salmon please.
B:はいよ Hai yo Yes
A:雲丹といくら1貫ずつできますか Uni to ikura Ikkan zutsu dekimasu ka Can you do 1 sea urchin and 1 salmon roe?
B:はいよ Hai yo Yes
A:さび抜きでお願いします Sabi nuki de onegaishimasu Without wasabi please.
B:はいよ Hai yo Yes
A:お腹いっぱい。大将あがり一丁 Onaka ippai. Taishō agari ichō I’m full. Chef, 1 tea please.
B:はいよ Hai yo Yes

10 Cultural Tips for Ordering Sushi

Here are 10 useful cultural points that will really help you when ordering sushi in Japan.

1. Call the Sushi chef “Taishō”

When you order from a sushi chef it is custom to refer to them as 大将 – Taishō. This means various things including general, boss, cheif etc. but in this context is used specifically to adress a sushi chef.

2. Use “Kan” counter to order sushi.

When counting pieces of Sushi you usually use the counter “kan”. For example:

一貫 – Ikkan – One piece of sushi

二貫 – Nikan – Two pieces of sushi

三貫 – Sankan – Three pieces of sushi

四貫 – Yonkan – Four pieces of sushi

Japanese Pronunciation English
大将サーモンを一貫下さい Taishō saamon o ikkan kudasai One piece of salmon please chef
 大将マグロを二貫ください  Taishō maguro o nikan kudasai Two pieces of tuna please chef
 大将たまごを三貫ください  Taishō tamago o sankan kudasai Three piece of egg please chef
 大将雲丹を四貫ください  Taishō uni o yonkan kudasai Four pieces of sea urchin please chef

An important thing to remember is it is not so common to order more than 2 or 3 pieces of the same type of sushi at the same time. The most common is 2貫 Nikan – two pieces of sushi. It is possible to say something like this:

たまごを二貫、サーモンを二貫、マグロを二貫ください

Tamago o nikan, saamon o nikan, maguro o nikan kudasai

2 pieces of egg, 2 salmon and 2 tuna please.

3) Use the word “agari” to order green tea

When you want to order tea say あがり一丁 agari ichō. This is a special way to order green tea that is particular to sushi restaurants. When you order, they usually bring it to you in a cup. However, in many conveyor belt sushi restaurants it’s common to make your own tea by putting green tea powder in a cup and adding hot water from a tap at the counter.

4) It is OK to use your hands when eating sushi

Believe it or not it is acceptable to use your hands when eating sushi. There is no decidedly proper way to eat sushi. However, when in doubt just copy what every one else is doing in the restaurant.

5) How to dip sushi in soy sauce

The proper way to eat sushi is to very lightly dip the meat of the fish in the soy sauce and not the rice. If soy gets on the rice it can start to fall apart and is not considered the most tasty way to eat it.

Some people even turn the sushi upside down in their mouth when eating so that the tongue touches the meat first.

Also, go easy on the soy sauce and the ginger. Japanese people tend not to drown each piece of sushi in soy sauce. Ginger is supposed to be eaten just to cleanse the palate between dishes.

6) Not all sushi is raw

It is in fact possible to order broiled versions of your favorite sushi which is called 炙り aburi. One particular favorite is 炙りサーモン Aburi saamon or broiled salmon. The chef will take a torch to the Sushi which gives it a delicious seared and smokey taste.

7) Say Gochisōsama when you finish eating

ごちそうさま Gochisōsama means “that was delicious” and you usually say it at the end of a meal. It’s common to say it either eating at a restaurant or at someone’s house after eating a meal with them.

8) To get the bill say Okaikei kudasai

To get the bill say お会計ください okaikei kudasai. The staff will come to the counter or table where you are seated and count the empty dishes to calculate the bill.

If you enjoyed this podcast you can find all our other Japanese language learning podcasts here.

If you would like to study Japanese more seriously in depth, then check out our Japanese Dojo where you can try out our free online Japanese study courses here.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Blog

Premium Travel Japanese Course Progress Report

Travel To Japan

New Premium Travel Japanese Course

If you are interested in studying Japanese and traveling to Japan, then I have just the thing for you. It’s my new Audio Travel Japanese Course which will teach you all the vocabulary, phrases, listening skills and speaking fluency you need to navigate your trip to Japan. I wanted to make this because I keep getting emails from members asking about phrases related to travel, directions, shopping and generally navigating Japan.

Travel Course Contents

The course focuses on teaching you essential vocabulary, phrases and grammar for things such as asking directions, ordering sushi, shopping and even how to have a bath at an onsen (hot spring). It will also include:

    • Over 30 audio mp3 lessons on travel topics for Japan
    • Japanese vocabulary lists, dialogs in PDF format
    • Extra drill audio files to practice listening and speaking fluency
    • Anki files for each lesson to drill vocabulary
    • Lessons on culture and recommendations on places to visit
    • A comment section where you can ask me questions or talk to the other students

Also all the content is downloadable so you can study it anywhere and any time you like at your own pace.

Travel Japanese Course Sample

Here’s a screen shot showing you what it will look like when you log in:

travel Japanese Course

Travel Course Opening Schedule

Here’s the thing, it’s not quite ready yet. So in order to show you how fast I am progressing in getting this course finished for you I made this progress graph. The thick red line shows what I have done and the think red one shows the predicted ETA of the project. I also posted this to publicly embarrass myself into finishing it earlier.

Latest Travel Course News

Please visit regularly to see news updates as well as how far I have progressed on the graph. If you would like to sign up early to get in on this course then please go to Dojo.LearnJapanesePod.com and sign up for a free account. If you sign up there you can get access to the other free courses to test drive the other free online courses. I will send you an email when the premium course is ready. You have no obligation to buy and can unsubscribe at any time.

NEWS UPDATE

19th March 2017 – Hoorah! We have a three day weekend in Japan so I will be mixing more episodes for the new premium course.

Categories
Blog Podcasts

Fun Friday 02: Drinking Etiquette in Japan

In this podcast, Yoshiko and I (Alex) talk about etiquette for eating out and drinking with friends at an Izakaya, Hanami party or similar events. If you listen to this podcast you will learn some insider cultural knowledge which will help you to give you your black belt in partying with your Japanese friends.

Listen to the Podcast

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 08: Talking about your likes and dislikes in Japanese

In this podcast Yoshiko and I teach you how to talk about your likes and dislikes. Check out the PDF show notes and podcasts to see all the examples.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

寿司が大好きです Sushi ga dai suki (desu) – I love sushi
寿司が好きです Sushi ga suki (desu) – I like sushi.
寿司がまあまあすきです Sushi ga mama suki (desu) – Sushi is OK.
寿司があんまり好きじゃない Sushi ga amari suki ja nai – I don’t like sushi very much.
寿司が嫌いです Sushi ga kirai (desu) – I don’t like sushi.
寿司が大嫌い Sushi ga daikkirai (desu) – I hate sushi.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

 

Categories
Blog Videos

What are your Japanese study goals?

What are your Japanese Study Goals?

YOSH! It’s 2017. Let’s do this people!

What are you Japanese study goals for 2017? Do you want to learn the basics of Japanese? Would you like to learn phrases for traveling in Japan? Would you like to learn how to read manga or understand Anime? Perhaps you want to learn something specific like Japanese for getting an IT job or gaming.

Whatever it is I would love to hear what YOUR Japanese study goals are. Now here’s what I want you to do. Write a comment below with the following 3 points:

  1. What is your Japanese study goal?
  2. What steps will you take to achieve it?
  3. What is your deadline to achieve it?

That’s it! If you write that down below, we can start a discussion on how to achieve it in more detail.

Good luck and I look forward to getting your comments.

 

Categories
Blog Podcasts

Fun Friday 01: Review of 2016

Fun Friday is back, Hoorah! And if you don’t know what Fun Friday is, it is a podcast where we temporarily put down our textbooks and talk about life, the universe and everything related to life in Japan. In this episode, Yoshiko joined me to review 2016. We talked about our experiences and the major news events of the last year in Japan. I added links to the topics we covered in the podcast. Enjoy!

Categories
Blog

Why are you interested in studying Japanese?

Hi, this is Alex from learn Japanese and I would like your help in filling out this survey. I want to know why you want to study Japan which will help me to improve the site and podcasts I am making. Just take the survey below and when you are finished you can see what other people selected.

Then, please leave a comment below and I will mention it on the podcast. That’s it!

So, why are you interested in learning Japanese? Are you studying it in college? Do you like traveling? Manga? Anime? Do you want to be a ninja?

(You can click  as many boxes as you like)

 

Why do you want to study Japanese?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Please leave a comment below and I will mention it on my next podcast.

Categories
Blog Podcasts

Podcast 07 How to ask for help in Japanese

In this podcast, you will learn how to ask for help in natural, fluent Japanese. Check out the audio dialogues and audio lesson to learn how to get assistance in Japanese. Enjoy!

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Main Dialogue

A: ちょっといい? Chotto ii?

Can I bother you for a minute?

B: うん。どうした? Un. Dō shita

Sure, what’s up?

A: このパソコンを全部会議室 へ運びたいんだけど手を貸
してくれる? Kono pasokon o zenbu kaigishitsu e hakobitain dakedo te o kashite kureru?

I want to take all these PCs to the meeting room. Could you lend me a hand?

Alex: うん、いいよ。 Un, ii yo.

Sure.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
LJP Videos Videos Vlog

Free Kanji Course PDF Download

PDF DOWNLOAD: Kanji for daily life for foreigners 外国人のための生活漢字

Hoorah! It’s my 2nd vlog and I’ve got a fantastic free resource for you if you are starting to study kanji and not sure where to start.

It’s a free downloadable PDF entitled 外国人のための生活漢字 / Kanji for daily life for foreigners  It contains 82 pages of examples and quizzes that teach you the very basic kanji for everyday life in Japan. There are 13 chapters that cover basic kanji for topics such as going to the doctor, shopping, travel, disasters and emergencies and more.

It also contains pictures, sentence examples, exercises and review quizzes to teach and consolidate your kanji knowledge. Therefore, it’s a great free self contained Japanese course perfect for beginnings in kanji. In terms of level, it’s probably good for students who are studying the N4 or N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. However, there’s no reason why complete beginners couldn’t use it. You will have to be able to read Hiragana to understand the basic readings of the kanji as there is no romaji pronunciation in the PDF.

I would recommend downloading and then printing it on double sided A4 paper and then binding it into a booklet for easy storage and portability. You could also use it with your Japanese teacher at school as a beginner’s kanji course.

The other thing I like about this text is the high frequency and practical nature of the kanji. That means you are definitely going to encounter the kanji in real life on a recurring basis. That makes it more useful and easier to remember.

So, try download it and see what you think. If you do download it, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or sending an email.

email

Categories
Vlog

Learn Japanese Pod Vlog 01

So…here’s an experiment. This is the first of series of short vlogs I’m going to post to show you cools stuff around Japan, update you with the latest news from Learn Japanese Pod and also answer your questions and comments. In this vlog you can see me (stupidly) brave one of the recent typhoons battering Japan.

If you listen to the end of the vlog carefully you’ll hear the sound of thunder which was my cue to get the hell back in my apartment and stop asking to be blown into the Pacific ocean.

If you have any requests or questions you like to ask me just send an email to the below address. Yoroshiku!

email

Categories
Blog Podcasts

Podcast 06 Useful Classroom Japanese Phrases

In this podcast, Asuka and I teach you some useful classroom Japanese phrases so you can interact with your teacher and understand more. We teach you how to ask questions about vocabulary and sentences. In fact, I wish I had known all this when I started to study Japanese in Tokyo all those years ago. It would have helped me learn vocabulary a lot more quickly. We also teach you how to speak in a respectful way to your Sensei. And of course you can catch up with the rest of our random banter about what’s been going on with Asuka and I recently. Check out the podcast!

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Vocabulary

Japanese Pronunciation English
先生 Sensei Teacher
ちょっと Chotto A little
質問 Shitsumon Question
どうぞ Dōzo Please go ahead
…てどういう意味ですか …te dō iu imi desu ka What does … mean?
…という意味です。 …to iu imi desu It means…
…でどんな文章が作るんですか? …de donna bunshō ga tsukurun desu ka What kind of sentence can you make with…
食事 Shokuji Food
残す Nokosu To leave something
彼女 Kanojo Girlfriend
振る Furu To shake / to dump someone
使える Tsukaeru To be able to use something
Kimi You (casual)
指輪 Yubiwa Ring

Main Dialog 1 (Japanese)

Student: 先生、ちょっと質問があります。 Sensei, chotto shitsumon ga arimasu.
Teacher: はい、どうぞ。 Hai dōzo.
Student: 「もったいない」ってどういう意味ですか? Mottainai tte dō iu imi desu ka.
Teacher: それはtoo good to wasteという意味です。 Sore wa too good to waste to iu imi desu.
Student: 「もったいない」で、どんな文章が作れるんですか? Mottainai de donna bunshō ga tsukurun desu ka.
Teacher: 食事を残すなんてもったいない。 Shokuji o nokosu nante mottainai.
Student: そのように使うんですね。わかりました。ありがとうございます。 Sono yō ni tsukaun desu ne. Wakarimashita. Arigatō gozaimasu.

Main Dialog (English)

Student: (Teacher) Could I just ask a question?
Teacher: Yes, go ahead.
Student: What does “Mottainai” mean?
Teacher: “Mottainai” means too good to waste.
Student: How do you use “Mottainai” in a sentence?
Teacher: Leaving food is a waste (mottainai).
Student: That’s how you use it! I understand. Thank you.

Random Phrase – Mottainai – It’s a waste

Here are some extra examples of this week’s random phrase which is “Mottainai” which means it’s such a waste.

1) 彼女を振ったなんてもったいない!

Kanojo futta nante mottainai

It was such a shame (waste) that you dumped your girlfriend!

2) もう新しいパソコン買うの?もったいないな、まだ使えるのに。

mō atarashii pasokon kau no. mottainai na, mada tsukaeru noni.

You’re buying a new PC already? That’s a waste, you can still use the old one.

3) 君にその指輪はもったいないよ。

Kimi ni sono yubiwa mottainai yo

That ring is wasted on you.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Blog Videos

Pokemon Go released in Japan

So, after some delays, Pokemon Go has finally come to Japan. And…

It…was…nuts…

Being completely out of it and knowing next to nothing about Pokemon Go, my suspicions were first aroused when walking into Yoyogi park. There, congregating under a tree was a crowd of mostly young guys with backpacks, staring at their phones, the kind of guys you could tell hadn’t been outside or in a park in a long time.

Slightly confused as to what they were doing, I decided to think nothing of it and head to the main fountain area in the middle of the park. But there was no escape. There they were, a huge army of backpacking, nerdy t-shirt wearing Japanese Pokemon hunters. I counted at least 100 but I wouldn’t be surprised if over the course of the day more than 1000 people turned up.

In all my years living in Japan, I have never seen anything like it before. The only time I have seen crowds like this were at festivals or large outdoor gigs.

Is this a new digital-social phenomenon, or just a tamagochi flash in the pan? It will be interesting to see.

Check out my video to see the madness.

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Useful Japanese Phrases Videos

Japanese Internet Slang


In this video, Tomoe will teach you some useful slang related to the internet, email and texting. These phrases are actually used by Japanese people in real life so they are definitely worth learning. Check out the list below to see what they mean and don’t forget to watch the video.

 

Japanese Pronunciation English
メールしてね meeru shite ne Email me
リンク送ってね rinku okutte ne Send me the link
ググってみて gugutte mite Google it
自分でググってよ jibun de gugutte yo  Google it yourself
ネットで買った netto de katta I bought it online
ネットで落としてよ netto de otoshita yo I downloaded it off the net
ブログ炎上してるよ burogu enjō shiteru yo Your bog’s getting flamed
Categories
Blog LJP Videos Videos

Useful phrases for studying Japanese in a classroom

Are you planning to study Japanese in a classroom environment? Perhaps you are taking a class at college. Maybe you have enrolled in night school or your Japanese friends are going to teach you. If so, you’ll need some basic phrases to help you when studying with a Japanese teacher.

When I studied Japanese at university in Japan, the following phrase below and in the video were absolutely essential to me. This was partly because the other students in my school didn’t speak English well and my Japanese teacher enforced a Japanese only speaking environment.

So, I created this video to help you when you get stuck and you don’t understand what’s going on in your Japanese class. My advice would be to listen to and repeat the phrases in this video as many times as you can so you can say them without thinking. Learn these phrases well young Japanese student Jedi, they will serve you well and they definitely helped me when I was studying in university.

Useful Classroom Japanese Phrases

1: すみません ちょっと わかりません

sumimasen chotto wakarimasen

Excuse me I don’t understand

2: もう 一度 言って ください

mō ichido itte kudasai

Please say it again

3: もう 少し ゆっくり 話して いただけますか

mō sukoshi yukkuri hanashite itadakemasu ka

Could you speak a little more slowly please?

4: 茶道 は どういう意味 ですか

sadō wa dōiu imi desu ka

What does “sadō” mean?

5: それは tea ceremony という意味 です

sore wa tea ceremony toiu imi desu

That means tea ceremony

 

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Videos

Street Japanese #07 – Shuuden – The Last Train

In this video Yoshiko and Alex talk about what they did the night before which included Alex missing the last train and Yoshiko going on a date. Find out how to talk about all of this in natural Japanese in the transcript below with English translations.

Watch the other Street Japanese Videos 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

[button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-07.mp3″ color=”silver”]Download MP3[/button] [button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-07.pdf” size=”medium” color=”green”]Download PDF[/button]

Dialog
A: 昨日はおそかったの?
B: そうそう。終電なかったからタクシーで帰ったよ。
A: え、もったいない。
B: わかってる。よしこは?
A: 私は、この間のイケメンとデートしてたよ。

A: kinō wa osokatta no
B: sō sō. shuuden nakkata kara takushii de kaetta yo
A: e, mottainai
B: wakatteru. yoshiko wa
A: watashi wa kono aida no ikemen to deeto shiteta yo

A: Were you up late last night?
B:  Yeah, I missed the last train so I took a taxi back.
A: Eh? What a waste!
B: I know. How about you Yoshiko?
A: I went on a date with that hot guy (we talked about before)

Notes:
終電 shuuden – The last train
When in Tokyo and other cities in Japan, be careful not to miss the last train or 終電 shuuden
as it is called. Generally speaking the only transport that runs 24 hours a day is taxis.

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Videos

Street Japanese – 06 Nidone

In this video Alex oversleeps and is late for an appointment with Yoshiko. Yoshiko forgives him, almost and they decide to go to go get some coffee together. This is the 6th in the series of Street Japanese videos which teach you natural Japanese as it is really spoken in Japan. All the videos connect together in order to create a longer conversation so watch them all!

Watch the other Street Japanese Videos 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06

[button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-06.mp3″ color=”silver”]Download MP3[/button] [button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-06-.pdf” size=”medium” color=”green”]Download PDF[/button]

Dialog
A: アレックス遅い!
B: ごめん。二度寝しちゃった!
A: しょうがないなあ。
B: とりあえずスタバ行こう。

A: arekkusu osoi
B: gomen, nidone shichatta
A: shō ga nai naa
B: toriaezu sutaba ikō

A: Alex, you’re late!
B: Sorry. I overslept.
A: Oh well, it can’t be helped I guess
B: So for now, let’s go to Starbucks.

Notes:
二度寝 – nidone – to oversleep / fall asleep again
Ni do ne literally means 2 times sleep. It refers to when you wake up but then fall asleep again. In this case, Alex woke up, fell asleep which is why he was late for the appointment. To say you overslept in Japanese you can say 寝坊する nebō suru

ちゃった – chatta – verb ending to show regret
…chatta means you did something with a slight feeling of regret. For example, 日本語のテキストを忘れちゃった nihongo no tekisuto wo wasurechatta – I completely forgot my Japanese textbook. In the case of this dialog 二度寝しちゃった nidone shichatta – I completely overslept

とりあえず – toriaezu – for the mean time let’s…
The great thing about Japanese are these one word phrases that have so much meaning embedded within them and toriaezu is one on them. It’s a non-committal suggestion to try and do something. Use tend to use toriaezu when deciding to order food and drinks like this:

とりあえずコーヒーで – toriaezu koohii de
For now I’ll have a coffee

とりあえず生 – toriaezu nama
For now, I’ll have a (draft) beer

Minimal use of words to convey meaning based on context
Another fantastic thing about Japanese is the minimal amount of words you can use to convey meaning. However this is based on the context of the conversation. And this is demonstrated nicely when Yoshiko says to Alex:
アレックス遅い – arekkusu osoi

This literally means “Alex, late”. On the face of it, that doesn’t make so much sense. However, if we take into account the context, Alex just rushed up to Yoshiko looking apologetic and she shouts at Alex, you can be pretty sure she is saying “Alex YOU ARE late”.

Yoshiko could have also said:
アレックス遅い, 怒ってるよ! Arekkusu osoi. okotteru yo.
This literally means Alex late, really angry. So that’s quite minimal but you can be pretty sure it means “Alex YOU ARE late. I AM really angry.”

So there you have it, you can use less words to say more in Japanese. The only thing you have to be careful about is the confusing vagueness of the language. So make sure you understand the situation so you can understand the conversation.

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Videos

Street Japanese 05 – Yatta!

This is video number 5 in our series of street Japanese videos which teach you natural daily conversation, phrases and slang. In this video, Alex and Yoshiko talk about dating and hunting for boyfriends and girlfriends.

Watch the other Street Japanese Videos 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05

In this video, Alex and Yoshiko talk about dating in Japan


[button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-05.mp3″ color=”silver”]Download MP3[/button] [button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-05.pdf” size=”medium” color=”green”]Download PDF[/button]

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Videos

Street Japanese 04 – Sasuga

This is the 4th in the series of Street Japanese videos which are designed to teach you natural
everyday Japanese as it is spoken by real Japanese people. In today’s lesson Yoshiko and Alex
teach you the phrase “sasuga”. Check out the dialog below to see how it used in natural Japanese
conversation.

Watch the other Street Japanese Videos 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05


Audio


[button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-04.mp3″ color=”silver”]Download MP3[/button] [button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-04.pdf” size=”medium” color=”green”]Download PDF[/button]

Dialog
A: 最近、いいことあった?
B: デートの約束したんだ。
A: さすが!どこ行くの?
B: まだ考えちゅう
A: ふーん。また教えてね。
B: どうしようかな?

A: saikin ii koto atta
B: deeto no yakusoku shitan da
A: sasuga. doku ni iku no
B: mada kangaechuu
A: fuun. mata oshiete ne
B: dō shiyō kana

A: Anything good happen recently?
B: I’m going on a date
A: Way to go! Where are you going?
B: I’m still thinking.
A: Tell me later
B: I wonder if I will…

Notes:
さすが sasuga is an interesting word with many uses. However, in the case of this dialog, it is
used in response to what someone has. It’s an encouraging response that means something like
“That’s great”, “That’s wonderful” or perhaps “Way to go”. Use it when someone tells you about
something great they did.

no – is a particle that sometimes goes at the end of sentences to make a question during
casual conversation – どこに行くの doko ni iku no? Where are you going?

かな kana – goes at the end of sentences to make them more uncertain in tone. Example: 行くよ
iku yo – I’m (definitely) going. 行くかな iku kana – I might go / Not sure if I’ll go

Categories
Ninja Level

Ninja Lesson 01- Phone Conversation 01

Ninja Lesson 01 – Drills

Ninja Lesson 01 – Full Lesson


Downloads

mp3-icon mp3-icon pdf-icon Anki-icon zip-icon-1
Full lesson Drills PDF Anki All files
Categories
Blog LJP Videos Useful Japanese Phrases Videos

Street Japanese 03 – Ikemen

In this video, Yoshiko and Alex will teach you what the slang “Ikemen” means and how to use it naturally in daily Japanese conversation.

Watch the other Street Japanese Videos 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05

[button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-03.mp3″ color=”silver”]Download MP3[/button] [button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-03.pdf” size=”medium” color=”green”]Download PDF[/button]

This is the 3rd in the series of Street Japanese videos. In this one Yoshiko talks about a hot new guy she met using the slang term イケメン ikemen.

Check out the dialog below to see how it used in natural Japanese conversation.

Dialog
A: そういえば、言ったっけ?
B: ん?何?
A: この間、イケメンと友達になった!
B: やるね!それで??
A: LINE交換したよ。

A: sō  ieba ittakke?
B: n, nani
A: kono aida ikemen to tomodachi ni natta
B: yaru ne, sore de?
A: rain kō kan shita yo

A: By the way, did I tell you?
B: Huh? What?
A: I met (made friends with) a hot guy
B: Way to go! Then what happened?
A: We exchanged Line contact addresses.

Did you know…
イケメン ikemen – is constructed from “ike” which comes from iketeru which means cool, good looking or stylish. “Men” comes from possibly the kanji 面 men – which means face or more likely from the English word “men”.

 

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Videos

Street Japanese 02 – Shoganai

Watch this video to find out what “Shoganai” means.

Watch the other Street Japanese Videos 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05

[button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-02.mp3″ color=”silver”]Download MP3[/button] [button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-02.pdf” size=”medium” color=”green”]Download PDF[/button]

In last week’s video we learned the phrase “dotakyan“. In this week’s Street Japanese video Yoshiko and I teach you what shoganai means and how it is used naturally in daily conversation.

Shoganai means something like, “that’s life” or “it can’t be helped” or even “Oh well then…”

Dialog

A: この間はごめんね!何かごちそうするから、ゆるして。
B: しょうがないなあ。
A: ありがとう!何がいい?
B: じゃあ、スタバのコーヒー
A: 了解!

A: kono aida wa gomen ne. nanika gochisō suru kara yurushite
B: shō ga nai naa
A: arigatō. nani ga ii
B: jaa sutaba no koohii
A: ryōkai

A: Sorry about the other day. I’ll treat you so please forgive me!
B: Oh well, it can’t be helped
A: Thanks. What do you want?
B: A Starbucks coffee
A: Got it!

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Useful Japanese Phrases Videos

Street Japanese 01- Dotakyan

Hey there you good-looking Learn Japanese Podders and welcome to my Street Japanese series of videos. I made these videos to teach natural Japanese as it is really spoken on the streets in Japan. Each video in the series links to the next one in order to create a long conversation so be sure to watch all the videos. You can also download PDF shownotes, an mp3 of the video and read about the grammar and culture featured in the videos.

Be sure to check back every Wednesday when we put up a new video. Enjoy!

Watch the other Street Japanese Videos 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05

Listen to just the audio

[button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/StreetJapanese01.mp3″ color=”green”]Download MP3[/button]  [button link=”http://learnjapanesepod.com/wp-content/uploads/Street-Japanese-01.pdf” color=”aqua”]Download PDF[/button]

In this video we look at the phrase ドタキャン dotakyan which means to suddenly cancel going to a meeting. Here’s the dialog as we did it in the video.
A) ヨシコ、ひどいよー
B) え?なんで?どうしたの?
A) この間、ドタキャンしたじゃない?
B) あ、ごめん。これからは絶対しないから
A) 本当に?!

A) yoshiko, hidoi yo
B) e? nande?
A) kono aida dotakyan shita ja nai?
A) a, gomen. kore kara zetai shinai kara
B) hontō ni?

A) You’re terrible Yoshiko
B) Eh? Why? What’s the matter?
A) The other day you cancelled on me at the last minute!
B) Ah, sorry. I’ll absolutely never do that again!
A) Really?

Now here’s a little history for you…

Dotakyan comes from 土壇場キャンセル dotanba kyanseru – Last moment cancel. Japanese love to shorten long phrases so “dotanba kyanseru” changes to dotakyan.

But, where does 土壇場 come from?

During the Edo period, executions were carried out by stretching out the guilty horizontally on a small mound of earth. Then they would be decapitated by sword. That mound of earth was a 土壇場 dotanba. 土 do is earth, 壇 tan means a mound and 場 ba means place. During the Edo period 土壇場 came to mean “the place of execution”.

In modern use, 土壇場 dotanba means at the last moment, or at 11th hour. This probably comes from the idea that an execution is the very last minute of life.

There, I bet you didn’t know that AND it’s used all the time. So, try that out on your Japanese friends to amaze and amuse them.

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Videos

Learning Japanese with Niko from Nihongo Shark

In this video, I caught up with my buddy Niko, the creator of Nihongo Shark, an awesome website for those interested in learning Japanese.We mostly talked about how he built systems to study Japanese by himself. He also talked about how he overcame various barriers to speaking fluent Japanese and living in Japan.

This video will give you some ideas on how to study Japanese and how to overcome any difficulties you will inevitable encounter on your own path to mastering Japanese.

Nihongo Shark’s free course – How to learn Japanese in a year

Hacking Japanese Super Course

Anki – Flash card learning system

Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post or email me at info-at-learnjapanesepod.com if you have any questions or comments.

Categories
Blog LJP Videos

Japanese Rice Ball Kanji List

Download PDF Kanji list

In this video, I go over the names and the readings of some of the most common rice balls you’ll find in your average convenience store in Japan. Although, English is being used more and more on things such as station names and menus, convenience store rice balls seem to still exclusively use hiragana and kanji on the packaging.

So this video helps you to read the kanji on rice ball packaging so you don’t have to play onigiri roulette when buying a snack in Japan.

 Japanese Pronunciation Meaning
 おにぎり  onigiri  Rice ball
 梅  ume  Salted Japanese plum
 紅鮭  beni shake  Salmon
 おかか  okaka  Dried bonito flakes and soy sauce
 たらこ  tarako  Cod roe
 明太子  mentaiko  Seasoned cod roe
 筋子  sujiko  Salted salmon roe
 ツナマヨネーズ  tsuna mayoneezu  Tuna mayonnaise
 焼豚  yaki buta  Grilled / BBQ’ed pork
 五目ご飯  gomokugohan  (5 ingredients) Rice
 焼きおにぎり  yaki onigiri  Grilled rice ball

 

Extra flavours
Here are a few other flavours not mentioned in the video that you might find in Japan

昆布 konbu Seaweed
いくら ikura Salmon caviar marinated in soy sauce

 

Categories
Blog Podcasts

Podcast 05: Top 10 tips for studying Japanese

One of the most common questions I get is “I want to study Japanese but where should I start?”. The next most common question is “I’ve hit a wall with my Japanese and don’t seem to be improving, what should I do?”.

So, if you are a beginner, or have already started studying Japanese but got stuck, this podcast is for YOU! Asuka and I put our heads together and came up with our top 10 tips for studying Japanese more quickly and effectively. I also wanted to make this podcast to point out that, there aren’t any magical shortcuts or secret techniques for learning to speak perfect Japanese in only a few months. A lot of websites out there would have you believe otherwise!

Rather, it is more about discovering your “why” or motivation for studying Japanese. Then, you want to focus on a specific goal. In that way, you won’t waste your time studying non-essential topics and save a lot of time.

So listen to the podcast to hear about this in more detail below:

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Podcast Dialog

Japanese Pronunciation English
Asuka: おはようございます ohayō gozaimasu Good morning
Alex: おはようございます ohayō gozaimasu Good morning
Asuka: 昨日のパーティー楽しかったですね kinō no paatii tanoshikatta desu ne Yesterday’s party was fun
Alex: 楽しかったですね tanoshikatta desu ne It was fun wasn’t it?
Asuka: またやりましょう mata yarimashō Let’s do it again
Alex: ぜひ! zehi Absolutely!

Top 10 Tips for Studying Japanese

Tip # 1 – Set a clear goal

Hanging out at a matsuri
Me hanging out with some Matsuri goers

This one is pretty obvious. Before you start anything, you should set a clear goal, preferably with a deadline. This will help to really focus your studies. If you’re not sure what your goal is, simply ask yourself “why do I want to study Japanese?”

Do you want to visit Japan on holiday? Do you want to be able to read your favorite manga? Or perhaps you want to become a ninja. Depending on that answer, you can focus more effectively on a study plan.

That might be obvious to you but it is worth saying. And there is one more reason to have a clear goal that people sometimes forget about.

And that is, setting a goal avoids wasting time studying stuff you don’t need to know. If your goal is to visit Japan for a week on holiday, then you should just be studying simple phrases for booking tickets, asking directions and perhaps shopping. You don’t need waste your time studying 2500 kanji from a dusty textbook for that.

So, why do you want to study Japanese? Think about it and leave a comment below.

On to the next tip.

Tip # 2 – Know your everyday expressions

Enoshima Japan
Enoshima, Japan

For those of you who want to visit Japan, work here and be able to hold a conversation in Japanese, learning high frequency everyday expressions is a great place to start. You should know greetings for different times of day, asking how people are and how to say please and thank you.

For example:

おはようございます – ohayō gozaimasu – Good morning

こんにちは – Konnichi wa – Hello (Used around midday)

こんばんは– Konban wa – Good evening

お元気ですか – ogenki desu ka – How are you?

元気です – I’m fine

お願いします – onegai shimasu – Please (Could you do something for me?)

ありがとうございます – arigatō gozaimasu – Thank you

どういたしまして – dō itashi mashite – You’re welcome

Tip # 3 – Learn expressions that don’t translate easily into English

Traditional Japanese tea
Traditional Japanese tea house

After learning some basic daily expressions you should learn phrases that don’t easily translate into English. In other words, learn phrases that give you a deeper insight into Japanese culture. This also helps you to stop translating words from your own language into Japanese which wastes time and makes you sound unnatural. Here are some examples:

お先に失礼します – osaki ni shitsurei shimasu

This means something like, “I’m sorry for leaving before you”. You say this when you are the first person leaving work or some engagement with a group of people.

お疲れ様です – otsukare sama

This literally means, “you must be tired”. It is used in various situations but means something like good job, or well done. You use it to express your appreciation for someone after they have exerted a lot of effort for something. It can also be used when someone finishes work and goes home for the day.

You often hear the last two phrases together like this.

A: お先に失礼します – Right, I’m off (Excuse me for leaving first)

B: お疲れ様です – Bye (Good job)

これからよろしくお願いします – kore kara yoroshiku onegaishimasu

The word “yoroshiku” means something like good or please treat me well. So this phrase is could be used to mean “I look forward to working with you” or ” I look forward to doing something with you in the future”. It’s used a lot at the end of a self introduction.

いただきます – itadakimasu

The closest phrase I could think of would be “bon apetite”. You say it before eating, usually at home when someone has cooked for you. Itadakimasu literally means “I receive”. It’s not only used for food but 9 times out of 10 you’ll hear it before people eat.

ごちそうさまです – gochisō sama desu

This basically means “That was delicious”. You use it after you’ve eaten to show your appreciation for having received the food and that it was delicious.

All of these phrase teach you the deeper cultural values of the Japanese and give you a glimpse into the way they interact with each other. This isn’t a complete list but it’s a good place to start.

Learn these phrases well young Jedi.

Tip # 4 – Drill common speech patterns

Cat temple in Tokyo Japan
Gotokuji “Cat” Temple in Tokyo

If you only learn one thing this from this lesson, learn this: Drill, drill and drill again common speech patterns. This is perhaps the single most effective method I used to develop my own fluency in Japanese. It’s not rocket science or anything new, but it does work. You just have to do it.

It’s super simple. Just choose a phrase, say it over and over again and just change one word every time. In that way, you practice the pattern until you can say it without thinking and you also expand your vocabulary at the same time.

For example, let’s learn how to say “where is…” so and so in Japanese which is… “…はどこですか” ( …wa doko desu ka)

Now, let’s drill and change one word every time.

銀行はどこですか? – ginkō wa doko desu ka – Where is the bank?

郵便局はどこですか?- yūbinkyoku wa doko desu ka – Where is the post office?

はどこですか?eki wa doko desu ka – Where is the station?

コンビニはどこですか?konbini wa doko desu ka – Where is the convenience store?

ガンダムはどこですか?gandamu wa doko desu ka – Where is Gundam?

That’s it. You just gotta do it! You can drill phrases from whatever textbooks you are studying from, manga or even Learn Japanese Pod lesson notes which you can find on our podcast pages.

Tip # 5 – Know your Japanese adjectives

Tradition Japanese Festival
Kakegawa Festival in Shizuoka, Japan

One really good way to start having conversations quickly in Japanese is learning adjectives. Why? Japanese usually omits the subject of a sentence. So although you could say 今日は暑いですね Today is hot. You could just say, 暑いですね it is hot. Or even just 暑い! So you can simply say “hot” and it will make sense in Japanese. So by learning adjectives you are going to be able to say more with less.

This is because Japanese is what’s called a high context language. If you compare it with English, a low context language, you rely on the words in the sentence to convey all the meaning.

However with Japanese, you have to take into account the situation in which the word is being spoken. So, if you are standing outside in the park, sweating and fanning yourself and you just say 暑い atsui – hot, the person listening will fill in the blanks and understand that you are saying that you are hot now.

That means, on the plus side, Japanese can be extremely minimal and efficient in conveying what you want to say. On the minus side, it can sometimes lead to infuriatingly vague and confusing conversations. So when in Japan, it’s not what you say, it’s where, when and by whom it is being said by.

Here are some examples:

暑い – atsui – hot

寒い – Samui – cold

冷たい – Tsumetai – cold, used for things like liquids or solids

高い – takai – high or expensive

安い – yasui – cheap

楽しい – tanoshii – fun

Also, adjectives conjugate. For example, if you wanted to say, it was fun, you say:

楽しかった – tanoshikatta – it was fun

Tip # 6 – Know your basic Japanese verb conjugation

Carrying an omikoshi shrine in Japan
Festival in Jiyugaoka, Tokyo

Just like adjectives, you can use verbs to express more with less. Also, basic verb conjugation in Japanese is pretty simple. Just like adjectives, you can use single verbs on their own without a subject and sometime without an object. Check out this basic pattern:

行きます – ikimasu – to go (present)

行きません – ikimasen – not go (negative present)

行きました – ikimashita – went (past)

行きませんでした – ikimasen deshita – didn’t go(negative past)

Depending on the situation you could simply say 行きませんでした which could mean “I didn’t go” or if you raised your voice “Didn’t you go?”. It’s all pretty useful stuff so make sure to learn some basic verbs.

Tip # 7 – Supercharge your Japanese with sentence enders

Izakaya - Traditional Japanese pubs

Although there are many sentence ending particles, you won’t go far wrong if you start by learning “yo” and “ne”.

“ne” means something like “isn’t it” so for example:

楽しかった – tanoshikatta ne – it was fun wasn’t it

いい – ii ne – That’s good isn’t it (This is also used on facebook for the “like” button)

“yo” emphasizes the point you want to make. So you could say:

楽しかった – tanoshikatta yo – It really was fun

いい – ii yo – That’s fine. (That’s totally OK)

Using sentence enders like these make you sound a lot more natural so learn them!

Tip # 8 – Listen to Japanese language learning podcasts

Japanese Maple leaves in Autumn

OK, shameless self promotion here but you can listen to my Japanese language learning podcasts here.

You want to get as much listening practice as you can and these days there is a lot on line you can download and listen to. It’s important to find something that you find interesting and can engage in to increase the chances you will keep listening to it. You don’t have to limit yourself to podcasts. Check out Youtube videos, listen to the weather forecast on NHK news or perhaps watch anime online.

When I started studying Japanese a million years ago, I just bought a simple Japanese conversation textbook with a CD and listened to that religiously. It wasn’t the best textbook out there but it really helped with my listening and prepared me well for studying Japanese conversation.

Whatever you listen to, the point is to just listen, even if you don’t understand everything. The goal is to get used to the sounds, pace and intonation of Japanese. Trust me, it will really help with listening and building the base to develop your conversational skills. You can also listen to a repeat audio out loud which is called “shadowing”. It’s another great way to drill common sentence patterns as I talked about in point #4.

Tip # 9 – Learn Hiragana and Katakana and don’t use Romaji

Japanese temple

Just a quick tip here but try to learn Hiragana and Katakana as quickly as you can. Try to get away from using “romaji” to learn Japanese. This is because it’s somewhat confusing to read Japanese in romaji script. Also, being able to read Hiragana and Katakana helps a little with pronunciation as it forces you to speak using the basic sounds of Japanese.

And don’t be shy to start learning Kanji right from the start. But that’s another article for later…

Tip # 10 – Get out there and practice your Japanese

Okonomiyaki festival stall food in Japan

I was having a conversation with a well traveled multi-lingual friend of mine who said something very interesting. He said “if you can engage with the culture, you won’t need any language classes”.

In other words, if you can take part in something you enjoy with other people who speak the language you want to learn, then you’ll learn a lot faster. Of course, taking lessons is essential. However, it can be all too easy to get stuck learning kanji lists and grammar points and not get out there and actually practice speaking with Japanese people.

If you can create the opportunity to interact with Japanese people in real life situations outside of the classroom, that’s when you start to really internalise the language and really start communicating.

My own Japanese speaking skills really improved when I studied in Japan and lived in a dormitory of Japanese students who didn’t speak English very well. I was forced to used Japanese on a daily basis which really helped me improve. I also studied Aikido for a while which also really boosted my speaking and listening skills.

Also, just hanging out with my Japanese buddies and drinking with them in Izakayas was a great experience and a really fun was to consolidate everything I had learned in the classroom.

Even if you don’t live in Japan, you can create opportunities to speak with Japanese people. For example, joining a club, taking Japanese lessons or even speaking to people online.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Blog Vocabulary

Top 10 Japanese phrases for dating

5-day-challenge
Japanesecouple

In our last lesson, we looked at 10 useful phrases for going to a Japanese Izakaya. In this lesson we’ll be looking at the top 10 most useful Japanese phrases for dating in Japan.

However, right off the bat, I should clarify this is not a “how-to-pick-up-hot-chicks” or dudes in Japan type article. I’m not really qualified for that. I could write books about being slapped in the face by Japanese women but that’s another story…

However, if you do happen to find yourself romantically entangled with someone from Japan, you might find my top 10 phrases for dating in Japanese useful. I created this list from watching too many cheesy Japanese TV dramas, listening to J-pop songs and of course real life conversations with people here in Japan. I also interviewed a few Japanese friends who were kind enough to tell me which phrases were more natural and commonly used. Interestingly, I also learned which phrases were a little old fashioned or not used at all anymore.

I highly doubt these phrases will guarantee you romantic success with the opposite sex directly. However, you’ll probably inspire a few chuckles from your Japanese friends who might say 変な外人 hen na gaijin (weird foreigner). But they say humour is sexy so who knows…

So for all you rose-in-mouth Romeos and Juliet sans, here are my top 10 Japanese phrases for dating in Japanese.

Dating in Japan is like this sometimes
“You forgot our anniversary?!”

1. Asking someone out for dinner in Japanese
A: 今度の土曜日一緒に食事でもどう?

B: いいね、是非行きましょう。

A: kondo no doyōbi ishho ni shokuji demo dō?

B: ii ne, zehi ikimashō

A: Would you like to go out for lunch/dinner with me?

B: Yes, I’d love to. (Yes, by all means)

Note: When agreeing to someone’s invitation you can say いいね ii ne which literally means “it’s good”. Incidentally, いいね is what’s written on the “Like” button on Facebook in Japan. 是非 zehi is commonly used to accept an invitation. It means someone like “by all means” or in this case simply “Yes”. One last point is 食事 shokuji means food and depending on the context, it could refer to lunch or dinner.

Eating out in Japan
How about some sushi and beer?

2. Asking someone to have tea with you in Japanese
A: 帰りにお茶でもどう?
B: うん、大丈夫だよ
 A: Un, daijōbu da yo
B: Yes, sure
A: kaeri ni ocha demo dō?
B: Would you like to get some tea (on the way back home?)

Note: You can use the phrase …でもどう demo dō to mean “How about doing …” as a way to ask someone out. Just say the activity you’d like to do at the beginning of this phrase. For example:

食事でもどう? shokuji demo dō? – How about getting some food?
夕食でもどう? yuushoku demo dō? – How about getting dinner?
映画でもどう? eiga demo dō? – How about watching a movie?
買い物でもどう? kaimono demo dō? – How about some shopping?

According to my Japanese friends, another classic phrase that is often taught to ask someone out is お茶しませんか ocha shimasen ka – Won’t you have tea with me? After a rather long debate with friends and one too many glasses of sake we came to this conclusion: It’s a phrase that usually implies you are asking someone out on a date. However, it depends on the context of the situation and it might not be used so much by young people in their teens or twenties any more.

Traditional Japanese tea
Would you like some Japanese tea…Are you asking me out on a date?!

3. Asking someone to hangout in Japanese
A: 今度の日曜日空いてる?どこか遊びにいかない?
B: そうだね、一緒にどこかへ行こうか。
A: kondo no doyōbi aiteru? dokoka asobi ni ikanai?
B: sou da ne, issho ni dokoka e ikou ka
A: Are you free this Saturday. Do want to hang out somewhere?
B: Yes, let’s go somewhere. / Sure, why not?

Note: 遊びにいかない asobi ni ikanai literally means “Won’t you come out and play?” and is a very natural way to ask someone to hang out in Japanese. It’s used a lot in daily conversation and not just in a romantic setting.

4. Saying you are busy in Japanese
ごめんね、ちょっと予定がはいってるんだ。
 gomen ne, chotto yotei ga haitterun da
 Sorry, I’ve got something scheduled then

Note: Again this is a useful phrase to say you are busy to turn down an invitation or appointment in various social situations. You can also use it when you think the person asking you out on a date is a ghastly horror of a human being but you don’t want to be rude.

Japanese Takoyaki
So, I was thinking, maybe if you were free we could go get some octopus tenticals…

5. Giving a someone compliment about their clothes in Japanese
 今日の服すごく似合ってる。すっごくいい!
 kyō no fuku sugoku niatteru. sugoku ii
 Your outfit really suits you today. It’s really good.

Note: I asked my female Japanese friends about a compliment that would genuinely make them happy. They came up with the phrase above. I tend to believe them as Japanese women and even men take great pride in their appearance. If you say this to a Japanese girl and you get slapped in the face it might mean you aren’t saying it in the right way…or I need new friends…or both. You have been warned.

6. Giving someone a compliment about their smile in Japanese
 笑った顔が本当にかわいいよね。
 waratta kao ga honto ni kawaii yo ne
 You smile is really cute

Note: This is pretty obvious. You can add “kawaii yo ne” after the thing you are complementing. For example: ドレス、かわいいよね – doresu kawaii yo ne – Your dress is cute. 髪型かわいいよね – kamigata kawaii yo ne – Your hairstyle is really cute. This is usually used to complement women rather than men.

7. Confessing your love to someone in Japanese
 好きです!!!良ければ僕と付き合ってください。
 suki desu ! yokereba boku to tsukiatte kudasai
 I like you. If it’s OK, let’s date.

Note: OK, I know this translation sounds a little clunky in English but when confessing your love to someone in Japanese it’s common to use the phrase 好き suki which means “like”. It’s possible to say 愛してる ai shiteru which literally means (I) love (you). However, in real life it’s not really used so much between lovers or family members. You’ll hear it sometimes in cheesy TV dramas and a lot in J-pop songs. However, even in romance, the Japanese tend to be less direct and a little vague with their feelings. So 好き can be used in many situations from saying you like a certain type of ice cream to saying you like or love someone enough to want to marry them.

Enoshima
Enoshima is a famous sightseeing area and dating spot for couples

8. Telling someone the feeling is mutual in Japanese
 本当?わたしも好き!
 hontō? watashi mo suki!
 Really? I like you too!

Note: This is the phrase to use if someone has confessed their love to you and the feeling is mutual. And now, a grammar point. The Japanese language often leaves out the subject, object or indirect object of the sentence. So although it’s grammatically correct to say 私もあなたのことが好き watashi mo anata no koto ga suki – “I like you too”, it is more common to simply say 私も好き – watashi mo suki which literally means “I also like”. Like who? Well, in this case, it’s understood from the context. If someone is looking at you with starry eyes and shoving roses in your direction and you hear the word “suki”, you can bet they’re talking about you. YOU are the context of the sentence, if that makes sense.

Yes, romance is difficult in Japanese too…

9. Telling someone you are seeing someone else in Japanese
 実は付き合ってる人がいるんだ。
 jitsu wa tsuki atteru hito ga irun da
 To be honest, I’m seeing someone now.

Note: Use this phrase to deal with an unwanted romantic advance. Or you could punch them in the face which happened to me once. But she was drunk and I didn’t actually ask her out and…it’s a long story.

10. Telling someone you want to break up in Japanese
 しばらく距離おこっか。
 shibaraku kyori okokka
 Let’s take a break from this relationship / I need some space

Note: Although it’s possible to use the verb 別れる wakareru to talk about breaking up, しばらく距離おこっか – shibaraku kyori okokka is one of the most natural ways Japanese use to talk about taking a break from a romantic relationship.

yukata
It’s common to see dating couples dressed in traditional summer Yukatas attending festivals

Extras:

Here is some extra essential vocabulary related to dating and romance in Japan.

なんぱ nanpa – to hit on someone

付き合う tsuki au – to date
あの二人付き合ってるみたい
ano futari, tsukiatteru mitai
It looks like those two are dating

初デートhatsu deeto – the first date
初デートは会話が命
hatsu deeto wa kaiwa ga inochi
On the first date, conversation is everything

デートに誘う deeto ni sasou – to ask someone out on a date
なんでいつも変なやつからデートに誘われるんだろう!
nande itumo hen na yatsu kara deeto ni sasowarerun da rō
Why am I always being asked out by weirdos?

彼氏 kareshi – boyfriend
彼氏できたんだ
kareshi ga dekitan da
I’ve got a new boyfriend

彼女 kanojō – girlfriend
いつ彼女ができるんだろう
itsu kanojō ga dekirun da rō
I wonder if I will ever get a girlfriend

恋人 koibito – lover
あの二人恋人同士みたい
ano futari koibito dōshi mitai
Those two look like their lovers

愛人 aijin – Secret lover / mistress
かれは愛人がいるらしい
kare wa aijin ga iru rashii
It seems he has a mistress

遠距離恋愛 enkyori renai – Long distance relationship
どうやったら遠距離恋愛が長続きできるかな?
dō yattara enkyori renai ga nagatsuzuki dekiru ka na
I wonder how you can continue a long distance relationship

浮気 uwaki – to cheat on someone
浮気されたら絶対別れる
uwaki saretara zettai wakareru
If I got cheated on, I’d absolutely break up

一目惚れ – Hitomebore – Love at first sight
彼と初めて会って一目惚れした
kare to hajimete atte, hitomebore shita
When I met him for the first time, it was love at first sight

Sake
Cheers! And good luck with your dating adventures from Learn Japanese Pod!

Categories
Blog Vocabulary

Top 10 Izakaya Japanese phrases

Japanese Izakaya

Top 10 Japanese Izakaya Phrases

(How to get your black belt in Izakaya-ology)

Japanese sake

So, you want to visit Japan and try your Japanese out on the locals right? The perfect place to do that is an Izakaya which is a Japanese style pub. If you’ve never been to one, imagine a lively restaurant with groups of people sat around tables, sometimes tatami mats, celebrating the end of the working day.  These popular watering holes are usually located in drinking areas near train stations in the main business areas. They are busiest on Friday nights when overworked salarymen and women come to drink a couple of beers or bottles of sake to unwind and forget work.

Izakayas have an incredibly large and varied assortment of food and drink which make them one of the best ways to sample the incredible selection of delicious Japanese cuisine on offer. It’s also a good way to meet other people and learn about food culture. You’ll learn things such as where to sit, who pours the beer and where to place your chopsticks. But don’t worry about getting overwhelmed. You’ll find that once the sake starts flowing, Japanese people tend to lower their guard a little and fro then on the main goal of the evening is to have fun.

So, to aid you on your cultural and culinary quest, here are some really useful common phrases which will help you to navigate an Izakaya, order food, have fun and make you sound more natural in Japanese.

1. “Who’s having beer?” in Japanese

ビール飲む人? biiru nomu hito

IzakayaAfter you are shown to your table, it’s common to order drinks first  before tackling the menu.

The most common drink to order is ビール biiru (beer) or 生 nama (draft beer).  Simply turn to your friends and ask  ビールを飲む人 biiru o nomu hito or “who is drinking beer?” and count the number of raised hands.

You can alter the phrase easily to ask what other drinks people would like to have.

For example:

ワインを飲む人? wain o nomu hito – Who’s drinking wine?

お水を飲む人?omizu o numu hito – Who’s drinking water?

日本酒を飲む人? nihonshu o nomu hito – Who’s drinking Nihonshu (Japanese rice wine / sake)

If you have bottles of sake or beer, it’s custom to pour drinks for other people usually starting with the most senior person in the group.

Another secret black belt level Izakaya phrase you must know is お冷 ohiya which is another polite way to order water.

2. “For now, we’ll have beer” in Japanese

とりあえず生 toriaezu nama

Japanese foodIf you want to know how to sound like a native use this must-know phrase for ordering beer. This is another phrase rarely taught in Japanese textbooks. とりあえず toriaezu means something like  “Well, for now…” and 生 nama means draft beer.

Shout this at the staff at an almost uncomfortable volume and you will be on your way to getting your black belt in Izakaya-ology.

You will also impress your Japanese friends with your natural and fluent Japanese skills.

3. “Cheers!” in Japanese

乾杯! kampai

When your drinks arrive, hold them aloft like brave samurai warriors after a fierce battle and shout “Kampai!” at the top of you lungs.

4. “Can I have the menu please?” in Japanese

メニューお願いします menyu onegaishimasu

Asking for the menu, or anything for that matter, is easy with one of the most useful words in Japanese お願いします onegaishimasu. If you only every learned one phrase in Japanese, onegaishimasu would be the one. It basically means “please” or “Would you do something for me?”. Simply say what you want and then put onegaishimasu at the end.

5. “What do you recommend?” in Japanese

おすすめは? osusume wa

Japanese menuMost menus have pictures so it’s easy to choose what you want. However, if it’s a huge menu or it’s written in difficult kanji and you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best technique is to ask for their recommendation.

This lets you quickly order food with less fuss and you can discover dishes not on the menu or signature dishes the Izakaya is famous for.

This is also a good phrase when ordering sake which can be complicated due to the large variety on offer.

6. “I’ll have this please” in Japanese

これください kore kudasai

As the old joke goes, every Japanese restaurant and Izakaya in Japan serves”kore”. “kore” simply means “this” and kudasai means “please”. In most Izakayas you’ll be able to get your hands on a menu with photos of the food. Then all you have to do is simply point to what you want and say “kore kudasai”. If you point at a dish someone else is eating on another table you could say “sore kudasai” which means “that please”.

On a side note, this phrase is also useful when shopping when you decide what you want to buy. In that case “Kore kudasai” would mean something like “I’ll take this one please”

7. “I’ll have the yakitori platter for now” in Japanese

とりあえず焼き鳥盛り合わせで toriaezu yakitori moriawase de

sushi platterA great way to sample a broad selection of Japanese cuisine is to order an assortment or sampler plate which is called 盛り合わせ moriawase. The most common is 焼き鳥盛り合わせ yakitori moriawase which is an assortment of BBQ chicken on skewers.  You can get various samplers including sushi and sashimi. You can also get samplers with western food including sausage and cheese. My favorite is sashimi as it’s easy to share and it will give you an authentic sample of the best Japanese cuisine. To order sashimi you would say:

I’ll have the sashimi platter for now

とりあえず刺身盛り合わせで toriaezu sashimi moriawase de

8. “Excuse me, where’s the bathroom?” in Japanese

すみません、お手洗いは? sumimasen otearai wa

Of course you’ll need this phrase at some point during the evening. The challenge is to try to understand the directions over the noise of a busy Friday night Izakaya. Just try to walk in the direction the staff points and ask again if you get lost. Well, that’s my technique, and I’m sticking to it!

9. “I’ll have one more glass of this please” in Japanese

 もう一杯同じ物ください mou ippai onaji mono kudasai

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 18.10.03This is a really useful phrase to quickly order another drink. Ippai refers to one glass or cup of something. If you want to order in bigger quantities you’ll need to know the counter for drinks. It goes like this: ippai – one (glass), nihai – two, sambai – three, yonhai – four and gohai – five.

Alternatively, for ordering food and other general dishes you can use the general counter for things:  一つ hitotsu – one,  二つ futatsu – two, 三つ  mitsu – three,  四つ yotsu – four,  五つ itsutsu – five.

Another easy way to say this is simply…

もう一杯同じ物 mou ippai onaji mono

I’ll have one more (glass)

10. “Can I have the bill please?” in Japanese

チェックお願いします chekku onegaishimasu 

Japanese beerAt the end of the night you’ll need to pay the bill. There are various ways you can do this by saying  チェックお願いします chekku onegaishimasu or お会計ください okaikei kudasai.

When paying, the staff might ask you ご一緒ですか goissho desu ka – would you like to pay it together? However it’s common for people to pay their bill separately. In that case you would say 別々 betsu betsu which means we will pay separately. In some Izakayas, they have electronic menus which will break down the cost of the entire bill for each person in your group making it easier to pay. Be careful because although most Izakayas acccept credit cards, some smaller ones in rural areas only take cash. Don’t forget that Japan is still a cash based society!

So, if you can learn those 10 phrases, you should be able to handle a night out at an Izakaya without too much trouble. Please feel free to leave a comment or question below. Feel free to let us know about your Izakaya experiences.

Check out our other vocabulary articles here:

Top 10 Japanese new year’s phrases

How to apologise in Japanese

Categories
Blog

Top 10 Japanese new year phrases


New Year in Japan - Useful phrases

10 useful Japanese phrases

The New Year is one of the most important events in the Japanese calendar. It’s a chance for people to take a break from the busy year and spend time relaxing with their families.

Here is the top 10 must-know vocabulary list for words, phrases, customs and kanji related to the New Year celebrations in Japan.

If you are in Japan during the new period you will almost definitely hear or need to use the following phrases. Listen to the audio and repeat.

Learn these and you’ll be an expert on the New Year in Japan.

1. お正月 oshōgatsu

This phrase refers to the New Year’s period. For example, a common conversation you hear on the lead up to the new year is:

a: お正月はどうする? – oshōgatsu wa dō suru

b: 実家に帰るよ – jikka ni kaeru yo

a: What are you doing for the New Year?

b: I’m going back to my folk’s place

2. よいお年をお迎えください yoi otoshi o mukai kudasai

“yoi otoshi o omukae kudasai” is a formal way to wish some a happy new year until 31st December. This is more commonly shortened to “yoi otoshi o”. Another related word yo should know is 大晦日 “oomisoka” which refers to December 31st.

3. 明けましておめでとうございます。akemashite omedetō gozaimasu

“akemashite omedetō gozaimasu” mean’s “Happy new year” and is used from 1st January. “kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu” means something along the lines of “I count on your good will for this year”. It’s usually shortened to “akemashite omedetō gozaimasu”. A recent trend among the youth is to say “akeome kotoyoro”.

4. 謹賀新年 kinga shinnen

You’ll see these kanji a lot during the new year period. They are written on new year cards and on decorations placed on the fronts of shops and houses.

5. 門松 kadomatsu

This is a traditional decoration made from pine branches placed in pairs in front of one’s house over the new year period as in the picture above. They are traditionally placed in front of the house to welcome ancestral spirits or the gods of the harvest.

6. お節料理 osechi ryōri

osechi ryoriA traditional New Year in Japan wouldn’t be complete without osechi ryōri, beautifully presented food served in 重箱 juubako similar to bentō boxes.

A lot of the food in osechi ryōri preserves well so you can eat it over a few days with your family when many supermarkets and stores are closed. At least that was the case before 24 hour convenience stores and supermarkets.

The various dishes in each box convey various meanings to celebrate the new year including health, long life and fertility.

 

7. 初詣 hatsumōde

This is the first visit of the year to a Shinto shrine. All across Japan on January 1st, Shrines are full of people, praying for a good coming year.

8. 除夜の鐘 joya no kane

Temple bells are traditionally struck 108 times to announce the end of the year and the beginning of the new one. In Buddhism, 108 refers to the number of earthly desires human beings have and that the ringing of the bell can dispel.

9. 年越しそば toshikoshi soba

These are long noodles that are eaten during the beginning of the new year. They represent the idea of extending the fortunes of one’s family.

10. 年賀状 nengajō

A new year’s greeting card sent to family, friends and colleagues. They are posted before the new year and are usually delivered on 1st January.

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 04: How to talk about your home town in Japanese

I can guarantee you, if you are visiting or living in Japan as a foreigner, you will undoubtedly be asked 出身はどこですかshusshin wa doko desu ka – where you are from?

So Asuka and I (Alex) thought we would make this podcast to teach you how to talk about your home town with someone you have just met in Japan. This is a great way to get a conversation going and with the simple vocabulary and phrases in the podcast, you’ll learn how to do this without too much trouble.

You’ll learn how to say where you are from, describe what it’s like and recommend cool places to visit. Japanese are very interested and inquisitive when it comes to finding out why a foreigner would take the time to travel all the way to Japan.

You can stream or download the full podcast with banter or just download the dialog only audio to help you listen and drill the most important keywords and phrases easily.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

Tell a friend: Twitter

Main podcast dialog

A: ご出身はどこですか? shusshin wa doko desu ka

Where are you from?

B: ロンドンで rondon desu

(It is) London

A: そうですか。どんなところですか sou desu ka. donna tokoro desu ka

Really? What is it like?

B: 賑やかですね nigiyaka desu ne

It’s lively

A: おすすめな観光スポットはありますか? osusume na kankou suppoto wa arimasu ka

What’s your recommendation for sightseeing?

B: バキングハム宮殿がいいですね。ぜひ遊びに来てください。案内しますよ。bakinguhamu kyuuden ga ii desu ne. zehi asobi ni kite kudasai. annai shimasu yo.

Buckingham Palace is good. You should visit. I’ll show you around.

If you liked this podcast, check out our other ones below.

How to apologize in Japanese

How to do a self introduction in Japanese

Asking friends to hang out with you in Japanese

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 03: How to Apologize in Japanese

As discussed in Top 10 Etiquette Mistakes in Japan, there are two golden rules for apologising in Japanese:

1) If it’s your fault apologize.

2) If it’s not your fault, apologize.

I’m half joking but Japanese people tend to apologize more frequently than westerners. As they say in Japan:

とりあえず謝る – toriaezu ayamaru

(Whatever happens) just apologize

In this podcast, Asuka and Alex go through the basics of apologising in Japanese in different situations and contexts. This is perhaps one of the most important skills you will learn when studying Japanese.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Being humble, sincere and ready to admit you are wrong are traits held in high regard in Japan. Making excuses is avoided as that can be interpreted as being selfish or childish.

Japanese are also sometimes quick to apologize for the actions of others especially if they are in the same group. Some westerners might sometimes find this hard to understand however Japanese people are highly sensitive to the group dynamic and how their actions might affect others.

So, let’s have a look at the most useful vocabulary and phrases for apologizing in Japanese.

すみません SUMIMASEN

This is most common way to say sorry for something. It is common for people in conversation to pronounce it “seimasen”. However, it is also useful in a variety of other situations, for example:

1) “Excuse me” if you bump into someone on the street or just a simple apology

すみません – sumimasen

Sorry, that was bad of me

2) Getting someone’s attention such as a waiter or when you want to ask someone directions.

すみません、メニューお願いします – sumimasen, menyuu onegaishimasu

Excuse me, can I have the menu please?

すみません、駅はどこですか – sumimasen, eki wa doko desu ka

Excuse me, where is the station?

3) Receiving something from someone

A: メニューをどうぞ – menyuu o dozo

B: すみません – sumimasen

A: Here’s the menu

B: Thanks

ごめんなさい GOMEN NASAI

“Gomen nasai” is a little less formal than “sumimasen” and can sometimes sound a little childish so it’s better to only use this with friends and not your boss or other superiors.

It can also be shortened to ごめんね – gomen ne which is much more casual. When in doubt, use “sumimasen”.

申し訳ありません MōSHIWAKE ARIMASEN

This is a very formal phrase and is stronger than “sumimasen” and “gomen nasai”. This should be used when apologizing to superiors. As a tourist or customer, you’ll often hear this when staff apologize to you.

Here are some typical uses of this phrase:

大変申し訳ありません -taihen mōushiwake arimasen

I’m very sorry

遅れて申し訳ありません – okurete mōshiwake arimasen

I’m sorry for being late

申し訳ありません満席です – mōshiwake arimasen manseki desu

I’m sorry, the flight is full. (no seats left)

申し訳ありません満室です – mōshiwake arimasen manshitsu desu

I’m sorry we don’t have any available rooms left.

失礼します SHITSUREI SHIMASU

Shitsurei literally means “rude” so when you say Shitsurei shimasu is a semi-causal way to say you are sorry. It has various uses including the following;

失礼な!– shitsurei na

How rude! – Used when complaining about a rude person.

失礼します – shitsurei shimasu

I’m sorry / Excuse me

失礼しました – shitsurei shimashita

I’m sorry (This is usually used for something bad you did or a mistake you made)

失礼 – Shitsurei

Sorry (Very casual and usually used more by men)

お先に失礼します – osaki ni shitsurei shimasu

May I be excused? – This is used when you are the first person to leave a social gathering or the office at the end of the day.

ご迷惑 GOMEIWAKU

This means trouble or troublesome and although is not an apology in itself, it is used a lot with “sumimasen” and “mōushiwake arimasen” and is quite formal. For example:

ご迷惑をおかけてしてすみません – gomeiwaku o okakeshite sumimasen

I’m sorry for any trouble I caused. (Polite)

ご迷惑をおかけております – gomeiwaku o okakeshite orimasu

(The most formal way of apologizing often seen on signs outside construction works)

d0121026_23233874

お詫び 申し上げます

OWABI MōSHI AGEMASU

This is extremely polite and formal. It is rarely used in speech and usually appears in formal letters of apology.

Here’s a video we did about apologising in Japanese. Check it out!

Video transcript (Japanese)

こんにちは。今回は謝り方を勉強したいと思います。まず「すみません」、「ごめんなさい」。もっとフォーマルな言い方は「申し訳ありません」。日本人は結構謝るので気をつけてください。もし謝られてた時は「大丈夫」、「いいよ」こんな感じです。日本人は謝る時にお辞儀したりとか後「ごめんなさい」という風にします。結構日本人は謝るのであんまり気にしない方がいいかも。おわりです

Romaji:
konnichi wa. Konkai wa ayamarikata wo benkyō shitai to omoimasu. mazu “sumimasen”, “gomen nasai”. motto foomaru na iikata wa “mōshi wake arimasen”. nihonjin wa kekō ayamaru no de ki o tsukete kudasai. moshi ayamarareteta toki wa “daijōbu”, “ii yo”, konna kanji desu. nihonjin wa ayamaru toki ni ojigi shitari toka, ato “gomen nasai” toiu fuu ni shimasu. kekō nihonjin wa ayamaru no de anmari ki ni shinai hō ga ii kamo. owari desu.

English Translation:
Hello, today let’s study how to apologize in Japanese. First off we have “sumimasen” and “gomen nasai”. A more formal way to apologise is “Mōshi wake arisen”. Japanese tend to apologise a lot so please be careful! If someone apologises to you you can respond by saying “daijōbu” – it’s fine or “ii yo” – that’s OK, something like that. When Japanese apologise, they usual bow or say gomen nasai (and put their hands together like this). Japanese do tend to apologize a lot so don’t worry too much when it happens. That’s it!


Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 02: How to do a self introduction in Japanese

In this podcast, Asuka and Alex are back to teach you how to do a self introduction in Japanese to a group of people. For example, this might be useful for you on your first day of Japanese class at university, college or school.

We cover how to say your name, where you are from and what your hobbies and interests are. If you learn the set phrases in this podcast you should be able to do your own self introduction easily.

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

How to do a basic self introduction in Japanese

Today’s podcast will teach you how to do a self introduction in Japanese. This is extremely useful for students who are about to start a new Japanese course at university, college or even high school. Don’t worry, although there are many ways you could do this, we’ve made you an easy template with 5 simple steps for you to use to make your own. Just change the words in blue to fit your own information.

Step 1: Say your name

はじめまして、ジェニファーと申します。

hajimemashite, Jennifer to moushimasu

Nice to meet you. I’m Jennifer.

Step 2: Say where you’re from

アメリカカリフォルニア州から来ました。

amerika no kariforunia shuu kara kimashita

I come from California in the US

Step 3: Say what your hobbies and interests are

趣味はタンゴダンスです。そして、食いしん坊です。

shumi wa tangodansu desu. soshite kuishinbou desu

My hobby is dancing tango. Also I love food.

Step 4: Say you’ll do your best to study Japanese

これから日本語を一所懸命勉強したいと思います。

korekara nihongo wo isshokenmei benkyou shitai to omoimasu

I want to do my best to study Japanese.

Step 5: Use a natural Japanese phrase express good will and end the introduction

宜しくお願い致します。*

yoroshiku onegai itashimasu

I look forward to (studying) with you

*This literally means “I count on your good favour in the future” but it can mean anything from “nice to meet you” to “I look forward to working/studying with you”

If you listen to the podcast you can here more examples of self introductions.

Download, Get the App, Subscribe, Tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Do you have 30 seconds?!

Learn Japanese Pod SurveyWe want to hear what you think of Learn Japanese Pod. Please fill out this 30 second survey so we can improve it for YOU!

Click here to fill out the survey

Check out last week’s podcast here

Categories
Podcasts

Podcast 01: How to ask your friends to hang out in Japanese

In this podcast, Asuka and Alex teach you how to ask your friends to hang out using natural and fluent Japanese. We’ve included various dialogues to help you learn a few different situations in which you would ask your friends to spend time with you.

Simply listen to the main podcast to hear the main conversations in Japanese as well as full grammar explanations in English. You can also listen to the “Just the dialogues” audio file to practice your Japanese listening and speaking skills. Finally, you can download the PDF show notes to read about the grammar in more detail. Check out the audio podcast below!

Main Podcast

Japanese Dialogues

Podcast Lesson Notes

In this lesson we cover some essential useful phrases for asking people to hang out with you in Japanese. Today’s key phrase is:

一緒にお寿司食べに行かない?

issho ni osushi tabe ni ikanai

Why don’t we get some sushi?

Check out the PDF show notes and listen to the podcast to get a full grammar and vocabulary breakdown.

Get the App, Download, tell a friend

✓Download: Main Podcast | Japanese Dialogues | PDF Lesson Notes

✓ Get the app: iTunes App | Android App

✓ Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Spotify | Stitcher | Youtube

✓ Tell a friend: Twitter

Please show your support

If you enjoy this podcast and learned something new, please consider donating to the podcast to help with the production costs!

Categories
LJP Videos

10. Useful Japanese phrases for eating

In this video, Tomoe will teach you some super useful phrases for eating with people at their homes.

Categories
Blog

What are your short and long term Japanese study goal?

Study Japanese

We really want to hear what your Japanese study goals are. Please fill out this form to tell us what YOU would like to study and we will make Japanese podcasts and other lessons for you based on this. This should only take about 1 minute to fill out.

Categories
Blog LJP Videos Useful Japanese Phrases

How to order anything at a shop or restaurant in Japanese

If you would like to know the single most useful phrase when shopping and eating out in Japan, you are in the right place.
The phrase you need to know is…drum roll…

これをください

Kore o kudasai

This means “This please” or “I’ll take this one”. This is a super useful phrase and can be used to order food and buy almost anything in shops. In fact the joke goes, every restaurant in Japan serves the dish “kore” (This).

The other thing you need to know is how to order multiple things as in “I’ll take two of these”, “I’ll take three of these” etc. Check the vocabulary list below. maaa

 

Japanese Pronunciation English
 これをください  kore o kudasai  I’d like this please
 これをひとつください  kore o hitotsu kudasai  I’d like 1 please
これをふたつください  kore o futatsu kudasai  I’d like 2 please
 これをみつください  kore o mitsu kudasai  I’d like 3 please
 これをよつください  kore o yotsu kudasai  I’d like 4 please
 これをいつつください  kore o itsutsu kudasai  I’d like 5 please

One last thing to remember is that in many Japanese restaurants, you can make use of the menu which usually has pictures for the food. In this way, you can simply point and say これをください and you’ll be fine.

 

ENJOY!

Categories
Blog Videos

How to order things at a restaurant in Japan

Transcription:

こんにちは、今日 は 何かを 注文 したりお店 に 行って 何か を 買う 時 を 勉強します。 一番 簡単 な やり方 です。まずメニューを見て、これをください、これを一つください、これを二つください、これをみつください、これを五つください。これだけで頼めます。メ ニューが読めなくてもとりあえず何か注文すれば大丈夫じゃないでしょうか。

 

konnichi wa, kyou wa nanika wo chumon shitari omise ni itte nanika o kau toki wo benkyou shimasu. ichiban kantan na yarikata desu. mazu menyu o mite, kore o kudasai, kore o hitotsu kudasai, kore o futatsu kudasai, kore o mitsu kudasai, kore o yotsu kudasai, kore o itsutsu kudasai. kore dake de tanomemasu. menyu ga yomenakutemo toriaezu nanika wo chumon sureba daijoubu ja nai d