Friday, April 28, 2017

Writing Directions

You may have heard that Japanese is written top to bottom, right to left, but is that really true? Is Japanese writing vertical instead of horizontal? Or is it written the same way as English, left to right, top to bottom? Which one is it?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

ゐ, ゑ, ヰ, ヱ - wi, we

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?!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

ー - Prolonged Sound Mark - Vertical Line or Long Dash

One of the most artistically inspired symbols in the Japanese language is the prolonged sound mark. It looks like a longer horizontal dash, or a vertical line in vertical text. Like this:ー. And it performs a very simple function in writing: to make sounds longer.
Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sensei 先生 - Meaning

One of the most well-known and yet most strange words in the Japanese language is the word sensei 先生. As dictionaries will quickly tell you, sensei means "teacher" when translated to English, but it's a little more complicated than that.

Ages in Japanese - Years Old

Words related to ages, people's ages, in Japanese are tricky ones. This is because for every single word there seems to be a very similar word which is the wrong on. Even the phrase "years old" in English doesn't translate word-per-word to Japanese.