Friday, December 23, 2016

Learning Japanese Is Not That Hard

Say you like manga and anime, things made in Japan, in Japanese. One day you feel a calling: you got to learn Japanese, because you love this stuff, and this stuff is in Japanese. Not knowing Japanese hinders your ability to enjoy the content one hundred percent. Then you start... and everyone tells you learning Japanese is too hard and learning it just for manga is a really stupid idea. That may not be exactly true.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

On'yomi & Kun'yomi 音読み, 訓読み

When you start learning Japanese, more specifically, the kanji 漢字, the day always arrives when you hear something about the readings kun'yomi 訓読み and on'yomi 音読み but you still have no idea what they exactly mean. So, in this post, I'll explain what is kun'yomi, what is on'yomi, and what's their importance in the language.

Friday, November 11, 2016

furigana ふりがな

In Japanese, furigana 振り仮名 is a text written next to a certain character, word, or phrase, that shows how you're supposed to read it.

For example: 振り仮名(ふりがな) shows the word furigana 振り仮名, spelled with kanji, and, inside parentheses, how to read it: fu-ri-ga-na ふりがな, spelled with hiragana 平仮名.

A diagram of what is furigana, showing hiragana readings on kanji
Sunday, October 30, 2016

Your Name in Japanese - How to Translate and Write

A question anime fans often ask themselves is "how do I write my name in Japanese?" Sure there is a way? Maybe you can write your name with kanji, maybe not, maybe it changes, maybe not. Well, either way, I'm here to teach you how to translate names to Japanese properly. The right way.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Chigau 違う, Chigai 違い, Machigatteiru 間違っている

Sometimes in anime you just know something is chigau 違う... or is it machigatteiru 間違っている? Or is it just a kanchigai 勘違い? Clearly, these words have something in common, but at the same time they are all very different. What's going on, what is their real meaning in the Japanese language?
Friday, October 28, 2016

失礼, Shitsurei - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, shitsurei 失礼 is a word that means "impolite," in the sense someone has done something impolite, but it can also mean "excuse me," in the sense you've done or are about to do something that may be impolite. (e.g. enter a room, leave a room, etc.)

Example of shitsurei 失礼 used in manga.
Manga: "Assassination Classroom," Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 暗殺教室 (Chapter 1)
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ageru, Kureru, Morau あげる, くれる, もらう

Those learning Japanese sooner or later come across these three words: ageru 上げる, kureru くれる and morau 貰う, and then across this problem: what's the difference between ageru, kureru and morau? Are their meanings the same or what?
Monday, October 24, 2016

Nihon vs. Nippon - Meaning

Have you ever heard the word nippon 日本 in an anime? Maybe you thought you heard it, maybe you thought you misheard nihon 日本, which sounds almost the same. Well, the thing is, both nihon and nippon are actual, separate words in the Japanese language, though they are pretty much alike.

Ittekimasu, Itterasshai - Meaning in Japanese

Have you ever heard the Japanese words ittekimasu 行ってきます and itterasshai 行ってらっしゃい? In anime, ittekimasu is spoken by someone who's leaving home and itterasshai by whoever stays behind at home. But what are the meaning of these expressions in Japanese?


In the west, LN means "light novel," and LNs mean "light novels." In Japanese, "light novel," or raito-noberu ライトノベル, is abbreviated to ranobe ラノベ, not to LN.

As for what a light novel is: it's a kind of novel that generally features anime-esque themes and is targeted at teenager and young adult audiences.
Saturday, October 15, 2016

nyaa にゃー

In Japanese, nya にゃ, nyan にゃん, or nyaa にゃー (also spelled にゃあ and にゃぁ), or "nyah," are onomatopoeia that mean "meow," the sound that cats make. That is, in order to say "meow" in Japanese, one of those words are used.

They can also be spelled with katakana, as ニャ, ニャン, ニャー, ニャア, and ニャァ. And there are other variants, too, like myaa みゃー.
Friday, October 14, 2016

fanservice ファンサービス

In anime, fanservice, or "fan service," is a scene featuring a girl in swimsuit, or with clothes ripped apart, or depicting a glimpse of her panties, or naked in the bath, in a shower, in hot springs, or wearing a bunny suit, or nurse costume, or tied up, in bondage, or restrained in a dungeon cell, or something involving tentacles, or... anyway. It's that sort of stuff. Specially when found in an anime that's not supposed to be about that sort of stuff.

Note that fanservice is way more complicated than just that. It doesn't need to be a "girl" in swimsuit, it can be a guy. The content can be something so specific only men of culture would get it's fanservice, most people wouldn't even realize. It doesn't be a scene, it can be a design. It doesn't need to be anime, there's also fanservice in real life.

Akane Shinjou 新条アカネ swimsuit fanservice stitch.
Character: Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ
Anime: SSSS Gridman (Episode 5, Stitch)
Thursday, October 13, 2016

ninjutsu, taijutsu, genjutsu 忍術, 体術, 幻術

In spirit of the Naruto ナルト anime finally, finally, FINALLY!!! ending, a little explanation about the words ninjutsu 忍術, taijutsu 体術 and genjutsu 幻術 and their meanings in Japanese. (or "ninjitsu," "taijitsu," "and "genjitsu" if you romanize them a bit weirdly)

sugoi すごい, 凄い

In Japanese, sugoi すごい, also spelled sugoi 凄い, means something is "incredible," so incredible it can be "unbelievable" or "awesome" or "amazing," and, sometimes, "horrific." It's an adjective, but it's often used as an expression, making it tricky to translate but easy to interpret.

Kanojo, Kare, Kareshi 彼女, 彼, 彼氏

The words kanojo 彼女, kareshi 彼氏 and kare 彼 often show in up in anime with similar but different meanings, making it difficult to understand what they really mean. So, in this article, I'm going to explain their meanings one by one so there's no doubt left about it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why Japanese Can't Speak English?

Watching anime in Japanese, I'm sure you've already seen some obscene Engrish word like reberu レベル, "level," thrown around and it made you think: why can't the Japanese speak English? Are they just really, really, really lazy? Do they like their Japanese language better than English? Or what? What's the reason for this travesty?

Kiriban キリ番

Have you ever heard the word kiriban キリ番 often used in DeviantArt and websites alike? Are you, perhaps, wondering what kiriban means? Do you think knowing what kiriban means will help you get that free drawing of your favorite character? Well, I'm here to clear you doubts about this important matter.

人, hito, nin, jin, ~bito, ~ri, ~to

In Japanese, hito, nin, jin, ~bito, ~ri, ~to are different readings of a same kanji, and the meaning of that kanji is "person," so hito, nin, jin, etc. all mean "person" in one way or another. In this article, I'll explain the differences between them and how they're used.
The kanji for person, people or human in Japanese, 人, and its readings hito, nin and jin

(don't mistake 人 with 入火六大犬水氷木本夫矢天来美奏欒爨, none of which have anything to do with it.)
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Counting in Japanese

Have you ever wondered how do anime characters count things in Japanese? How do these Japanese numbers work and everything else? It all starts with ichi 一, ni 二, san 三, right? Or was it hitotsu 一つ, futatsu 二つ and mittsu 三つ? What's the difference? Is there a difference?? What do these words really mean?! How do you even count in Japanese???

Japanese Numbers - Ichi, Ni, San

Do you know the numbers which anime characters use in anime? Numbers like ichi 一, ni 二, san 三 and so on? No? Well, here's a post about all those Japanese numbers and only about the Japanese numbers, so you can know pretty much almost everything about them.

natsu, haru, fuyu, aki 夏, 春, 冬, 秋

The words natsu , haru , fuyu and aki are often heard in anime as they are usually the Japanese characters' names. I'm sure you know one character or other called haru, and perhaps called natsu, or aki, but do these words have any other meaning you should know about in Japanese? Yeah, well, they do.

saakuru サークル

In Japanese, a "circle," or saakuru サークル, is a group of people that share a same interest or hobby. There are two notable kinds: the circles that are school clubs, and the characters in anime join because they like a certain activity, and doujin 同人 circles, which publish anime-related stuff.

This is about the katakanization of "circle," which is used in a different way from English, i.e. it's wasei-eigo 和製英語. The word for a geometric "circle" in Japanese is maru 丸.

doujin 同人

Now, be honest, I'm pretty sure you've heard about doujnshi 同人誌 before, haven't you? Haven't you?! I know you have. You'd be here reading this post about the words doujin 同人 and doujinshi 同人誌 were you not concerned about what their actual meaning were in Japanese.
Sunday, October 9, 2016

kosoado kotoba こそあど言葉

In Japanese, "Kosoado Words," Kosoado Kotoba こそあど言葉, or even "Kosoado Pronouns," are the words start with ko, so, a, do こそあど, like kore, kono, koko, kou, konna, kocchi, and are used as demonstrative and interrogative pronouns.

A kosoado chart with all the kosoado kotoba ことあど言葉, including the pronouns: kore, sore, are, dore これ、それ、あれ、どれ; kono, sono, ano, dono この、その、あの、どの; koko, soko, asoko, doko ここ、そこ、あそこ、どこ; kou, sou, aa, dou こう、そう、ああ、どう; konna, sonna, anna, donna こんな、そんな、あんな、どんな; koitsu, soitsu, aitsu, doitsu こいつ、そいつ、あいつ、どいつ; konata, sonata, anata, donata こなた、そなた、あなた、どなた; kochira, sochira, achira, dochira, こちら、そちら、あちら、どちら; kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi こっち、そっち、あっち、どっち

koitsu, soitsu, aitsu, doitsu こいつ, そいつ, あいつ, どいつ

In Japanese, koitsu, soitsu, aitsu, doitsu こいつ, そいつ, あいつ, どいつ mean "this one," "that one (near you)," "that one (far from us)," "which one?" They're kosoado words that refer to individual items, and, sometimes, to people.

These words have nothing to do with itsu 何時, which means "when," or itsuka 何時か, "sometime."

コイツです え 何ですか?
Manga: Sakigake!! Cromartie Koukou 魁!!クロマティ高校 (Chapter 14)

kou, sou, aa, dou こう, そう, ああ, どう

In Japanese, kou, sou, aa, dou こう, そう, ああ, どう mean "this manner," "that manner (near you)," "that manner (far from us)," and "what manner?" They're kosoado words referring to manner.

こう こうやってあそぶの お おおーーっ!!
Manga: Yotsuba to! よつばと! (Chapter 1)

konna, sonna, anna, donna こんな, そんな, あんな, どんな

In Japanese, konna, sonna, anna, donna こんな, そんな, あんな, どんな mean "like this [thing]," "like that [thing] (near you)," "like that [thing] (far from us)," and "like what [thing]?" They're kosoado words referring to how things are, or the appearance of things.
Saturday, October 8, 2016

kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi こっち, そっち, あっち, どっち

In Japanese, kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi こっち, そっち, あっち, どっち mean "this way (toward me)," "that way (toward you)," "that way (away from us)," and "what way?" respectively. They're kosoado words related to direction, but they can also refer to sides, choices, and people.

The words kochira, sochira, achira, dochira こちら, そちら, あちら, どちら work the same way in some cases, but they're considered to be more polite.

Example of docchi どっち usage in Japanese.
Manga: Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san. よんでますよ、アザゼルさん。 (Chapter 23)

kono, sono, ano, dono この, その, あの, どの

In Japanese, kono, sono, ano, dono この, その, あの, どの mean "this," "that," and "what." They're kosoado words very much like kore, sore, are, dore これ, それ, あれ, どれ, except they're used as adjectives instead of as nouns.

Note that sono その and ano あの are also interjections, and that dono どの can also mean the honorific dono 殿.

Manga: Boku no Hero Academia, 僕のヒーローアカデミア (Chapter 48)

kore, sore, are, dore これ, それ, あれ, どれ

In Japanese, kore, sore, are, dore これ, それ, あれ, どれ mean "this thing (near me)," "that thing (near you)," "that thing (away from us)," and "what thing?" They're kosoado words that refer to things in general.

Note that are? あれ? is also an interjection of doubt, "huh?"

Manga: Yotsuba to! よつばと! (Chapter 1)
Friday, October 7, 2016

kochira, sochira, achira, dochira こちら, そちら, あちら, どちら

In Japanese, kochira, sochira, achira, dochira こちら, そちら, あちら, どちら mean "this way (toward me)," "that way (toward you)," "that way (away from us)," and "what way?" respectively. They're kosoado words related to direction, but they can also refer to sides, choices, and people.

The words kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi こっち, そっち, あっち, どっち are abbreviations of kochira, sochira, achira, dochira. They're used the same way in some cases, but they aren't considered as polite.

Example of こちら in Japanese.
Manga: MONSTER (Chapter 18)

konata, sonata, anata, donata こなた, そなた, あなた, どなた

In Japanese, konata, sonata, anata, donata こなた, そなた, あなた, どなた are kosoado words related to direction, and then to person. They're a bit odd, because donata means "who," anata is one of the various way to say "you" in Japanese, and the rest is archaic.

In various ways, they're similar to the words kochira, sochira, achira and dochira.

An example of そなた used in Japanese.
Manga: Houshin Engi 封神演義 (Chapter 3)

koko, soko, asoko, doko ここ, そこ, あそこ, どこ

In Japanese, koko, soko, asoko, doko ここ, そこ, あそこ, どこ mean "here," "there (near you)," "over there (not near you)," and "where?" They are kosoado words related to place.

ここはどこだ!? quote from manga: Yotsubato! よつばと! (Chapter 2)
Manga: Yotsubato! よつばと! (Chapter 2)
Thursday, October 6, 2016

keikaku doori 計画通り

Maybe you've heard it in anime, maybe you've heard it in the meme keikaku doori: (TL Note: keikaku means "plan")(Note: TL means "Translator Note"), and maybe you're asking yourself: is keikaku doori 計画通り really "all according to the plan?" What does the phrase keikaku doori mean in Japanese?

Well, I don't know what you expected but it, yeah, sure, you can translate keikaku doori 計画通り as "all according to the plan," and, yes, indeed, keikaku 計画 means "plan" in Japanese. The word doori 通り, however, is a little more complicated to explain.

Manga: Death Note (Chapter 53, 悲鳴)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cat Boy

In anime, a cat boy is a character that has cat-like features, such as feline body parts"cat ears," nekomimi 猫耳, "cat eyes," nekome 猫目, "cat mouth," nekoguchi 猫口, and a "cat tail," neko-shippo 猫しっぽ—and ending their sentences in nyaa にゃー, "meow."

Ferris フェリス, example of cat boy.
Character: Ferris フェリス
Anime: Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活 (Episode 12)

Cat Girl

A "cat girl," or neko-musume 猫娘 in Japanese, is a character in manga or anime that has cat-like features, such as feline body parts"cat ears," nekomimi 猫耳, "cat eyes," nekome 猫目, "cat mouth," nekoguchi 猫口, and a "cat tail," neko-shippo 猫しっぽ—and ending their sentences in nyaa にゃー, "meow."

Momomiya Ichigo 桃宮いちご, a magical girl transformed into the cat girl Mew Mew Strawberry ミュウミュウストロベリー.
Character: Momomiya Ichigo 桃宮いちご
Anime: Tokyo Mew Mew, 東京ミュウミュウ (Episode 2)

nekomimi 猫耳

In Japanese, nekomimi 猫耳, meaning "cat ears," can refer to an actual cat's ears, to the cat ears of a cat girl or cat boy character, to cat ear headbands used to cosplay as a cat girl or cat boy character, or to other things that resemble cat ears, but technically are not.

It's also spelled without kanji, as nekomimi ネコミミ.

Tadaima, Okaeri - Meaning in Japanese - ただいま, お帰り

In anime there are two phrases often heard when a character comes back home: tadaima ただいま and okaeri おかえり. One said by the one who comes home and the other said by the one who welcomes him home. The question is: what does tadaima and okaeri really mean in Japanese?

To begin with, both of them are abbreviations.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

NEET ニート

In Japanese and anime, NEET, or niito ニート, is an acronym for "Not in Education, Employment, or Training." In other words, a NEET is someone who isn't studying, doesn't have a job, and isn't learning a craft. They aren't earning money, contributing to society, or acquiring skills.

They are doing nothing, basically. They're lazy bums living off their parents' expense or something.

A hikikomori otaku NEET character watching anime is a messy room from the anime Welcome to NHK!
Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ojisan, Ojiisan, Obasan, Obaasan - Meaning in Japanese

So you might have heard one of these words in anime: ojisan, ojiisan, obasan and obaasan. Yep. Four words. Both ojisan and ojiisan and obasan and obaasan are different words. They aren't the same word at all, they just sound very alike.
Friday, August 26, 2016

fujoshi 腐女子

In the anime fandom, a fujoshi 腐女子 is a fan-girl that fantasizes about male characters in homosexual relationships, or real people. In other words, she's into gay shipping, gay fanfics, lemons (pornographic fanfics), gay manga, anime, and so on.

A fujoshi.
Anime: Outbreak Company (Episode 4)
Monday, August 22, 2016

Watashi, Ore, Boku & Others - 私, 俺, 僕

Watashi 私, ore 俺, and boku 僕 are all words that mean "I" in Japanese. They are "first person pronouns," ichinin-shou 一人称.

But why are there so many ways to say "I" in Japanese? What's the difference between them? How does it work?
Friday, August 12, 2016

Love - Suki, Ai, Koi 好き, 愛, 恋

To say "I love you" in Japanese it's easy: just say aishiteru 愛してる... or was it aishiteiru 愛している? I mean, "love" in Japanese is ai 愛, right? Or was it koi 恋? Wait. What's the difference between ai and koi? What about the word suki 好き? You can say you like someone in Japanese with that word too, right? What's the meaning of all this?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

romaji ローマ字

If you've ever started learning Japanese or dealt with any Japanese words you might have heard about the mysterious romaji ローマ字. That thing which is... something. Some people can only read romaji, others don't like romaji, and you can't say you know Japanese if all you know is romaji. But what is romaji exactly?
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Atsui, Atatakai, Samui, Tsumetai - Meaning in Japanese

Temperature often changes in anime. One day it's freezing cold, another it's burning hot. And everyone knows "cold" is samui 寒い in Japanese, right? Or was it tsumetai 冷たい? Anyway, "warm" is atsui 暑い... I mean, atatakai 温かい... I mean atsui 熱い, or was it atatakai 暖かい? What's the difference between these words in Japanese?

Hayai, Hayai, and Osoi 速い, 早い, 遅い

Two words that show up a lot in battle anime and manga are hayai 早い, hayai 速い, and osoi 遅い... wait, what? There are three of them! Let me say it again, this time without the kanji: hayai and osoi. These words are usually related to the characters' speed, but their meanings are more than just that.

Monday, August 8, 2016

dame 駄目, ダメ, だめ

In Japanese, dame ダメ, also spelled dame 駄目, dame だめ, means a bunch of bad things. It can mean something is "bad," that it's "no good," "inadequate," "poor," "unfit;" that it's become "ruined," "spoiled;" that doing it is bad, that you shouldn't, "no;" that someone is bad at something, that their skills "suck;" that someone is a "failure," they're "useless;" and so on.

An example of dame in Japanese.
Manga: Mahou Sensei Negima! 魔法先生ネギま! (chapter 2)
Saturday, August 6, 2016

sharingan, byakugan, rinnegan 写輪眼, 白眼, 輪廻眼

If you have ever watched Naruto ナルト in your life or Naruto: Shippuden ナルト疾風伝, or if you've ever spoken to another anime fan in your life, chances are you know about characters with special eyes sharingan 写輪眼, byakugan 白眼 and rinnegan 輪廻眼 eyes. But what do these words mean in Japanese, exactly?

Well, prepare to be disappointed. As all names in Japanese, they sound cool when they are in a language you don't understand and lame otherwise.

anime アニメ

We all love anime アニメ, right? Anime is the best. Truly the greatest of all modern arts. Both you and me know this. If you don't, then, well, I don't know what you're doing in this blog. Anime is good and all, but... what does the word anime mean in Japanese? Is it really the anime we know and love? Well, not really.

The Japanese Alphabet

In Japanese, there's no such thing as an "alphabet," but there's something—actually two things—very similar to it, plus another thing that's completely different. I'm talking about kana (that's hiragana and katakana), plus the kanji.

Diagram of the Japanese alphabets: hiragana, katakana, kanji, with romaji, furigana, and okurigana.
  • anime ga suki da
    Anime is liked. (literally.)
    [I] like anime.

In this article, I'm going to explain how this Japanese "alphabet" works, that is: how are words written in Japanese and how to read Japanese.
Thursday, August 4, 2016

senpai 先輩

In Japanese, senpai 先輩, means somebody's "senior." That is, someone who has been in an organization for longer than you have. This organization can be a school, a workplace, a school club, etc. Sometimes it can refer to someone who has been doing an activity, like a sport, for longer than you have.

The opposite of senpai would be kouhai 後輩, "junior." For every senpai, there's a kouhai, and vice-versa. Someone who is neither a junior nor a senior is a douhai 同輩. These words are also romanized sempai, kōhai, and dōhai.

otaku オタク

In Japanese, otaku オタク means a "hardcore anime fan." It also means "you," a second person pronoun, and "your home." As the term became mainstream it started referring to "hobbyists" of all sorts, people with manias for stuff, leading the hardcore anime fans to prefer the spelling wotaku ヲタク instead.

In some cases, otaku is also spelled otaku お宅, and otaku おたく. And it's abbreviated ota オタ.

Some people mistakenly think that fujoshi 腐女子 or otome 乙女 is the female word for otaku: that otaku is a male word, so they'll say stuff like "otome and otaku" as if they were gendered words for the same thing. In reality, the term otaku is gender-less and can refer to an otaku girl too.

Otaku オタク - two anime-otakus from an anime about gun-otakus - the characters Karaage Lemon からあげ☆レモン and Goutokuji Kayo 豪徳寺かよ from the manga and anime Sabagebu! さばげぶっ!
Saturday, July 30, 2016

moteru モテる

In Japanese, moteru モテる means "to be popular," in the sense of a guy being popular with girls, or of a girl being popular with guys. Being romantically popular. Like a bishoujo 美少女, with thousands of admirers, love letters, a boyfriend, and so on.

Mantama まんたま, a parody of Gintama 銀魂, features Kintoki 金時 as the last man in the world, so all the girls fall in love with him, because he's literally the only boy in the world.
Anime: Gintama 銀魂 (Episode 256)

Not to be confused with the homonym moteru 持てる, which means "to have" or "to hold" something. Or ninki 人気 that's "popular" in the general sense.