Japanese Juku


My Five Minute Speech

Here’s the text from my speech in Inazawa yesterday. Can you understand it? I’ll post some translation later. For now, give it a look see:






最近少し敬語を勉強したので、段々丁寧な話方も分かるように成ってきました。そして、よく行くレストランで今まで 何回聞いても分からなかった「ご注文は以上で宜しいですか?」や「ご注文がお決まりに成ったら仰って下さい。」等の意味が分かった時私は子供のように大喜びしました。




March 3, 2008 Posted by | Kanji, Usage | 2 Comments

Year-end or End of the Year

I have had several usage problems and thought it might be nice to clarify some of the more common ones. Here is a fun one.

The kanji ‘末’ refers to an end. The most common on-reading (音読み) is matsu (マツ) and the most common kun-reading (訓読み) is sue (すえ). How these two readings are typically used is different.

My common error was to speak about what would happen at the end of the month as if I were directly translating English. I would put the possessive particle between the month name and matsu. (i.e., 3月の末, sangatsu no matsu, for “end of March”)

Matsu should be thought of like the suffix ‘-end’, as in ‘yearend’. Sue can be thought of like the word ‘end’, as in ‘end of the year’. Hence, I should not have said, “Sangatsu no matsu”; but either, “Sangatsu-matsu”, or, “Sangatsu no sue”. (note: the correct reading of 3月の末 is actually ‘sangatsu no sue‘)

An easy way to remember this is by thinking about a common word learned very early in any textbook: shuumatsu (週末), meaning ‘weekend’, does not use the particle no (の) anywhere. Note that being able to read kanji makes this a lot easier; just one more reason to put the effort into studying kanji.

My feeling is that simple ways to say things are more frequently used, so I generally would recommend 月末、今月末、年末  over  月の末、今月の末、年の末.

July 4, 2007 Posted by | Usage | Leave a comment

Sample Drill 2

Spent some time running errands at the bank and Docomo (cell phone provider) office. Both use a ‘take a number’ system of queuing. In America the slips of paper usually just contain a number – cheap and utilitarian. In Japan politeness is critical; here’s what I read on the slips while waiting:

  • 受付票 (受付番号)
  • 071
  • (各種お申込・ご相談・修理)
  • ‘07.05.29
  • 番号順にお取り扱い致しておりますので、恐れ入りますがお呼びする迄お待ち下さい。
  • 百五銀行 一志支店 (ドコモショップ 久居店)

The parenthetical bits were on the cell phone office slip, otherwise the slips were almost identical. Can you translate it? If you’d like help Continue reading

May 29, 2007 Posted by | Drill, Vocabulary | 2 Comments

Sample Drill 1

Q: 漢字の数は?

A: 漢字は50,000字以上もある。しかし、現代の新聞や雑誌で使われるのは4,000以内、よく使われる漢字は2,000字ぐらいだ。

Here is a question and its answer from my new kanji test study dictionary. There are many puzzles, games, and bits of info stuck in margins and gaps between sections. Can you read it? If not, and you want help, Continue reading

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Drill | Leave a comment

Bikkuri Nippongo Created

Today I created a new blog called “Bikkuri’s Japanese Juku” (bikkurinippongo) at WordPress. I will start posting lessons here, but there is no grand plan from the beginning. Initially, I will be experimenting with formatting posts to get the right feel, so I will post lessons of various types.

Two main types of posts should appear frequently: Lectures, and Drills. Lecture posts will be mostly one way. I will post some piece of information that I have learned for you to read. Drills will contain something more active for the reader to try to accomplish. My current idea for this is to conceal the answers in the second half of the post. Once you have made an attempt you can check the full post.

All lectures and drills will fall into categories regarding what is being taught. Kanji, Radicals, Vocabulary, … will be used often.

From the beginning I expect the site to be moderately useful, and as the tools develop, I hope it can grow to be a way to unlock some mysteries of communicating with the Land of the Rising Sun.

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment