Learn Hiragana
Saturday, April 15, 2017

ゐ, ゑ, ヰ, ヱ - wi, we - Rare Hiragana & Katakana Characters in Japanese

The kana in the Japanese hiragana can be easy to confuse sometimes. There's mi み, ro ろ and ru る, and they all look like 3's, but luckily it stops there, right? Except when you encounter the rare wi ゐ and we ゑ which are hiragana too and look like some weird versions of first three! Just what are those kana? Since when do they exist? Weren't the kana in the w row just wa わ and wo を?!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Most Confusing Kanji for Beginners in Common Japanese Words

The Japanese language has many gotchas for beginners, some that will make anyone question everything they've learned so far about a single word, or, most likely, about a single kanji. In this post I'll warn you about some common words in Japanese that have kanji that will suddenly show up in completely different words of totally unrelated meaning which may leave you feeling lost and confused.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Masshiro, Makkuro, Makka, Massao - "True" Colors in Japanese

If you've been learning Japanese for a while you might have seen one or two of these words already: makka 真っ赤, massao 真っ青, masshiro 真っ白 and makkuro 真っ黒. These words all start with the kanji for "truth," 真 followed by the name of one color or another, so one might wonder what's so "true" about them and what do these "true" colors mean in Japanese.
Sunday, March 12, 2017

Date Format in Japanese - How To Write Dates in Japanese

Perhaps the biggest problem globalization has faced until now is this simple problem: how to write a date. In British English you'd write 12 of March of 2017, or 12/03/2017. Day, month and year. In American English that'd be March 12th, 2017, or 03/12/2017. Month, day and year. But what about Japanese? What's the date format used in Japan?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Years in Japanese and Eras

This post is being written in 2017, a year. Think of it, it's a pretty big number, isn't it? Over 2000. If you were to give 12 months 12 different names, that's easy, 7 weekdays, 7 different names, also easy, 4 seasons, 4 names, very easy. But 2017 different names is kind of ridiculous, isn't it? Sure the Japanese have a very simple, normal way to call their years?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

ヴ - What Is It? - Weird "u" ウ Kana With Diacritic

If you have been reading manga for a while you might have encountered this very strange kana: ヴ. The obvious problem with it is that it is an u う in katakana, u ウ, but it has a diacritic. Since you don't put diacritics on aiueo アイウエオ, only in certain syllables like kakikukeko カキクケコ to make them gagigugego ガギグゲゴ, for example, the ヴ kana makes no sense, and yet it exists.

Monday, March 6, 2017

々 - Repetition Kanji - What Is It - How It Works?

If you have been reading Japanese for a while you might have come across this kanji: 々. Yes, I know, it doesn't look like a kanji, it looks like a katakana, like ma マ, for example, but it is indeed a kanji, and a very special one at that. One that makes you wonder: "what is 々 and why does it have so many readings? What does it mean?"

North, West, South, East - Cardinal Directions in Japanese

In case you ever need to read a "map" in Japanese, or chizu 地図, I mean, who am I kidding? You'll never have trouble with that. In case you ever play a game in Japanese that has a map without labels and someone tells you there is a place you gotta go that's either north, west, south or east, but you have no idea which, here is how you say those words in Japanese.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bakuretsu! Bakuhatsu! EXPLOSION!!! - Meaning and Diference in Japanese

If you've been watching KonoSuba このすば (if not you should) you might have noticed the character Megumin announces her "explosion" magic with a certain peculiar word: bakuretsu 爆裂. However, there's the more common bakuhatsu 爆発 which also means "explosion." So what's the difference between bakuhatsu and bakuretsu in Japanese?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Nakama - Meaning in Japanese

One of the most common words in shounen anime to talk about friendship, friends, partners, colleagues, teammates, and stuff like that, is nakama 仲間. It is no wonder, then, that it can be kinda hard to figure out what nakama means exactly, after all, you see characters calling pretty much everyone around then nakama. In this post I'm going to try to explain what nakama actually means.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Jisho.org Kioku Extension - It Remembers Stuff

The Jisho Kioku is a Chrome extension that adds a number of features to the online Japanese-English dictionary Jisho.org. These features are: shows the last dozen kanji you've picked from radical search; lets you quickly filter radicals by their names; records the last hundred searches you've made; and lets you bookmark random vocabulary so you can review it later.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gyakuten Saiban - Game Vocabulary

One very popular game that almost everyone knows from a certain meme is Gyakuten Saiban 逆転裁判, also known as Ace Attorney, where the lawyer Naruhodo Ryuuichi 成歩堂龍一, a.k.a. Phoenix Wright goes around lawyering miraculously. Since this is really fun game with a lot of Japanese text to read and that requires actually understanding the phrases to win, I decided to compile in this post some of the vocabulary you need to play the game in Japanese.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Yahari and Yappari - Meaning in Japanese

In anime, one expression that shows up a lot is the single word yahari 矢張り, and the extremely similar yappari やっぱり. They are often translated in many different ways depending on context like as "as I thought," "it really was that," etc. And there's the doubt about the difference between yahari and yappari. So in this post I'll explain all these strange things about these words.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Warui, ii and yokatta - Meaning in Japanese

Two very common, very basic words in Japanese are: warui 悪い and ii いい, or yoi 良い, which can become yokatta 良かった in past tense. The antonym of warui being ii, and the antonym of ii being warui. These words mean "bad" and "good," respectively, but the way they are used in Japanese is a little more complicated than that.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kagiri, Kagiranai, and Kagiru - Meaning in Japanese

Perhaps the word I had the most problem understand its meaning in Japanese was kagiri 限り, and later the verb it came from: kagiru 限る, specially its negative form: kagiranai 限らない. They often show up in already confusing sentences and only make them even harder to decipher. So here I'm going to explain what they mean.