• japanese odds and ends

    ... is directed at a somewhat troubled audience and tries to fill the gap between those levels of Japanese for which there are plenty of learning materials.

    You will find neither beginner materials nor anything that requires a refined comprehension of the Japanese language here.

    Instead you’ll find explanations of grammatical phenomenons and synonyms, reviews of learning materials, hints for self-studying and other kinds of odds and ends.

    This blog lives on your input. I write on the things I'm actually asked. So please feel free to comment or write me an email if you have questions, suggestions or criticism.

progressive or not progressive….

Present tense or not present tense? Progressive or not progressive – that’s the question. That’s the question many students ask themselves even after semesters and years of studying Japanese. And it is indeed a question, which is hard to understand for people whose mother-tongue is one of the Latin-influenced¹, Western languages. Many western languages have a … Continue reading

know your kanji: origin & readings of kanji

Everyone who learns Japanese comes to the point of complaining about the myriads of readings you have to memorize when learning Kanji. (Over at TextFugu there’s a nice introduction to the various kinds of readings for Japanese Kanji). There are Chinese readings (音読み onyomi), even several, and Japanese readings (訓読み kunyomi) and in many cases, there are also multiple … Continue reading

manga and anime as learning resources

Many, many, many learners of the Japanese language start learning because of their deep devotion to Anime and Manga. I know Japanese who frowned upon such reasons, however my personal experience is that such devoted learners are the most eager ones, who actually learn their vocabulary and who help you a lot during your classes. … Continue reading

寝る子は育つ: dogs

Well, it’s been some time since the last update, but 猫の手も借りたいほど忙しかったんだよ. You see, I’m in the middle of preparing an important exam, so I’m a little behind. I beg your pardon. Anyway, it’s been a while since my last post on idioms, so I decided to write a new issue of this column. Since the … Continue reading

don’t use “for someone” as an excuse

ため(為). tame. Noun. – for sb./for sth., – advantage, benefit, profit, interest – for the sake … of sth./sb., to sb.’s advantage – on behalf of …, on sb.’s account ① tame can be a very tricky word. You mostly learn it as “for sb.” – thus as a word with a very nice meaning. You … Continue reading

there must be a reason

訳. wake. Noun. – reason. cause, circumstances. meaning. – something obvious. the end of the course of things and its result. implication. – trouble. relationship.¹ There are many phrases and sentence patterns using 訳 wake. Most of them are required for the JLPT N2, but you hear them quite frequently so you might get to hear … Continue reading

bungo basics

There are some things that you may ignore for some time when you learn a language, but shouldn’t. At some time you’ll reach the point when you can’t ignore those things any longer… Such as Bungo. First of all: What is ‘Bungo’? Bungo is a rather vaguely defined term used for any pre-modern stage of … Continue reading

perfection of the past

If things have happened, we either forget about them at some point or we start to idealize them. The past is perfect – at least for the human mind. So much for philosophy, but such thoughts might be something you should keep in mind when you try to use the so-called past tense  in Japanese. … Continue reading

show some respect: the significance of keigo

You have heard about it. You have learned about it. But – unless you have been in Japan – you probably have not understood how it actually works. Keigo. You don’t use it much in your daily life, so why should you learn it anyway? You know how to use your です/ます-forms, isn’t that enough? Politeness … Continue reading

Isn't grammar actually boring?

“no ifs or buts”, they say… but but but…!

There are many, many ways to say “but” in Japanese. If you translate them, they’ll all turn out to be “but” in English, but there’s still a distinction. Translating “but” from English to Japanese you can hardly go for the same every time. How to tell which one to use? Let’s see what we have here: Within … Continue reading