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Japanese Language & Culture Tips


The difference between “akarui” and “mabushii”

Akarui means ‘bright’ and can also mean ‘cheerful.’ Mabushii is a more or a ‘dazzling’ brightness. It can also refer to a blinding brightness. For example, I often use mabushii when referring to how bright the sun is when my eyes aren’t quite adjusted to the light.

Different ways of saying “you” and “I” in Japanese

‘Boku’ and ‘Ore’ are almost exclusively used by men. You often hear young boys refer to themselves as ‘boku’ as well as adult men. ‘Ore’ is much more masculine and strong. Typically, it’s more proper for men to use ‘Boku’ or ‘Watashi’ when referring to themselves at work or in polite situations. ‘Ore’ is heard… Read more »

When to use “kore ga ii desu” vs “kore demo ii”

‘Kore wa ii desu’ is your standard ‘This is good’ statement and emphasizes the word ‘good.’ ‘Kore ga ii desu’ means ‘This is the one that’s good’ as if you were replying to someone asking ‘Which one is good?’ In this case, the emphasis is on the thing that’s good. An example of when to… Read more »

‘r’ sound pronunciation tips

The ‘r’ sound in Japanese is a little tricky since it sounds like ‘l’ and ‘r’ combined together. I’ve also heard some people say it sounds like a ‘d.’ I usually tell people to visualize starting with an ‘r’ sound and end with an ‘l’ sound. As an example, let’s try pronouncing “ra” correctly in… Read more »

How to say “I’m glad to have known you” in Japanese

If you want to express a very thoughtful “I’m glad to have known you” or “I’m glad to have met you” it’s common to say 出会えてよかった (deaete yokatta) to a friend. If, on the other hand, you want to express a more casual “I’m glad to have known you,” you might want to simply say… Read more »

Japanese grammar basics

Although there are always exceptions, most languages have a word order that is most commonly used. For example, the English language prefers the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) word order like in the simple sentence: “I play soccer.” If you breakdown the sentence, you see that in fact the subject (“I”) is first, the verb (“play”) is second,… Read more »

Learning kanji

Although this is not the answer most people are looking for, learning kanji is mostly memorization. When school children in Japan learn the kanji 車, they are told it means car and they practice how to write it. This is essentially the same way you or I have to approach learning kanji. That being said,… Read more »