Apr
16
2012

How to use Japanese Counters

This blog topic will take on one of the more neglected topics of Japanese language. And by “neglected”, I don’t mean that it is not covered in text books, what I mean is that the coverage given in textbooks tends to lack structure and be inadequate for advanced learning.

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Feb
02
2012

Taking Kanji Apart: Radicals and Components

As any learner knows, kanji are an inescapable and daunting aspect of learning Japanese. There’s more than 2000 of the little devils and each one has multiple pronunciations, multiple meanings, and a predefined stroke order. That’s a lot to learn, so it’s understandable that most teachers and books avoid…

Taking Kanji Apart: Radicals and Components
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Jan
18
2012

Go: the perfect game

After a hiatus spanning almost a year and a half, I’m back in 2012 and my first article is about the board game of Go…. which coincidentally was also the primary reason for my absence. (^^;) I first learned of the game at a small cafe in the outskirts of Nagoya. Like many small cafes […]

Go: the perfect game
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Aug
01
2010

How to park your car in Japan

Have you ever wondered how Japan fits their roughly 78 million vehicles into a habitable area roughly the size of Maine? Well, it takes just the right mix of creativity and precision (it also helps that most of the cars are really tiny). In this post I introduce a few of the methods Japanese people have come up with for getting the most out of their limited parking space.

How to park your car in Japan
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Jul
04
2010

Japanese vocabulary: crime words

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, but not without its share of problems. Mostly, these problems amount to stolen bicycles and umbrellas (I had my own bicycle stolen last fall). Recently I played through 龍が如く3 (English title: Yakuza 3) on Playstation 3, so I had a chance to polish my crime vocabulary a little bit. Here’s a list of crime-related words which may or may not have been found in the game.

Japanese vocabulary: crime words
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May
23
2010

7 polite phrases foreigners aren’t supposed to know

One of the joys of learning Japanese is seeing that shocked and dumbfounded look on native speakers’ faces when you fire off a difficult word or phrase that even they probably wouldn’t have come up with. You get to smile snobbishly and think to yourself: Ha! you didn’t see THAT coming, did you!?

7 polite phrases foreigners aren’t supposed to know
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Apr
17
2010

Kangoku izakaya: a dinner in prison

Have you been a bad boy or bad girl lately? Well, maybe you should turn yourself in for your heinous crimes at a kangoku izakaya.

Kangoku (監獄) means prison, and izakaya (居酒屋) is a Japanese style drinking restaurant.  So a kangoku izakaya is a Japanese restaurant/bar that has been styled to look like a prison! And if the thought of vicious felons and dirty prison cells doesn’t whet your appetite, I don’t know what will.

Kangoku izakaya: a dinner in prison
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Apr
17
2010

Nihonshock’s new vocab section

Following on yesterday’s graphical tweak of the site, I’ve added a new feature: Vocabulary.

These are basically short posts (just a paragraph or so) about a specific Japanese word that I thought was either interesting or worth talking about. The words included will (for the most part) be…

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Apr
03
2010

iPhone tip: add Japanese words to the dictionary

While I love my iPhone with a passion, I have to admit that the Apple team could have put a little more thought into what features would be needed in Asia. One of the major shortcomings of the iPhone for users in Japan (and I would guess other Asian countries as well) is that your input dictionary doesn’t learn.

iPhone-chan (or as I call my iPhone: ai-chan) tries to detect words contextually (I think…), but any non-standard character usages you manage to get into the system are quickly forgotten.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround. And don’t worry, you don’t need to jailbreak your phone to get it to work.

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Apr
01
2010

12 Japanese IME Tips

If you’re serious about learning Japanese, I’m sure you will eventually either want to or need to be able to type in Japanese on your computer. Typing in Japanese is done with software called an IME (Input Method Editor), which allows you to type Japanese phonetically (romaji) and have the your typing automatically converted to […]

12 Japanese IME Tips
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