Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The reason I make hashtags on Twitter

As you may know I share tips for learning Japanese on my Twitter account.

Thanks to you, I enjoy Twitter a lot.
Thank you for your comments, RTs and Likes, too.
I'm sorry I haven't been able to reply all of you, but I really enjoy reading them.

Before I started Twitter, most of Japanese learners I knew were people who are living in Tokyo and having Japanese partner, friends or family etc.
Now whenever I have a new follower, I visit their profile page, see the profile and some tweets.
It's been more than 2years since I started Twitter and I'm getting to know that some people love some specific points about Japan and their knowledge/experiences about those points are amazing regardless of whether they have visited Japan or not.

I wish I could tweet more about more themes, but it seems my knowledge is so limited.
It's not only lack of my English skills, but also lack of my knowledge about those topics even in Japanese.

Then, I came up with using a hashtag on Twitter.

If you like, search those hashtags on Twitter.
Some people have tweeted interesting tweets using the hashtags.

My knowledge is limited, but if some of us share some information together, we can make great word/phrase lists, I think.

Those hashtags are not mine.
Anyone can create new one and use them.
If you have any new ideas and make a new hashtag, please let me know.
I want to join your hashtag, too!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Self introduction

When you meet someone for the first time, how do you introduce yourself?

With beginner students, I usually practice how to say

-your name
-the location you live
-your occupation

鈴木明子です。 (suzuki akiko desu)
東京に住んでいます。 (tokyo ni sundeimasu)
大学生です。 (daigakusei desu)
よろしくお願いします。 (yoroshiku onegaishimasu)

I'm Akiko Suzuki.
I live in Tokyo.
I'm a university student.
Nice to meet you.

*If you are a teacher, you would use 先生(sensei) or 教師(kyoushi) as your occupation.
先生 is usually used when you describe someone else and 教師 is for yourself or used for official documents like resume, business card etc.
I usually say 日本語教師 (nihongo kyoushi) Japanese teacher about myself.
But if the situation is casual, describing yourself as 先生 (sensei) would be fine, too I think.

Self introduction is one of the most important conversation, not just a speech. As the next step, we practice questions and answers following the above expressions.

What kind of questions do you want to ask after some simple self introduction?

東京のどこですか。(tokyo no doko desuka)
Where in Tokyo (do you live)?

専攻は何ですか。(senkou wa nandesuka)
What is your major?

趣味は何ですか。(shumi wa nandesuka)
What are your hobbies?

兄弟がいますか。(kyoudai ga imasuka)
Do you have brothers or sisters?

外国に行ったことがありますか。(gaikoku ni ittakotoga arimasuka)
Have you been abroad?

You might need some difficult vocabulary for this conversation (the answer about your major for example), but those must be important words for you at the same time.

For studying a language, the feeling "I want to talk with this person in this language" is the best textbook ever.
And self introduction is the beginning of your conversation.
Let's enjoy introducing yourself!

By the way, I found many people wrote their profile in Japanese for Twitter. Their interests, Japanese level, message etc. Very interesting!

I'll put some example expressions here.
Use them for your profile if you like.

日本語勉強中 (nihongo benkyouchuu)
I'm studying Japanese.

フランスで日本語を勉強しています (Furansu de nihongo o benkyou shiteimasu)
I study Japanese in France.

日本人の友達募集中 (nihonjin no tomodachi boshuuchuu)
I'm seeking Japanese friends.

いつか日本に住みたいです (itsuka nihon ni sumitai desu)
I want to live in Japan sometime.

ときどき日本語でつぶやきます (tokidoki nihongo de tsubuyakimasu)
I sometimes tweet in Japanese.

日本のアニメ/音楽/映画が大好きです (nihon no anime/ongaku/eiga ga daisuki desu)
I love Japanese anime/music/movies.

英語の先生 (eigo no sensei) or 英語教師 (eigo kyoushi)
English teacher
(英語教師 is more formal. If you say 英語の先生, you need to put の between 英語 and 先生.)

I'm looking forward to seeing your profile in Japanese!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Internet slang in Japanese

Many slang words are used on the internet.
Especially on Twitter, people often use them because of the limitation of number of characters.
(You can write much more in Japanese than English though!)

Here are some slang words I often see on the internet.

オタ (ota) / ヲタ (ota)

うp (upu)
to upload

ようつべ (youtsube)

オフ会 (ofukai)
off-line meeting

ググる (guguru)
to search something with Google

コピペ (kopipe)
copy and paste

ネタバレ (netabare)
*ネタがバレる (neta ga bareru) "the contents are exposed"

リア充 (riajuu)
A person who enjoys his/her "real life" (i.e. not only on the internet)
*リアルが充実 (riaru ga juujitsu) "the reality is fulfilling"

ヤフオク (yafuoku)
Yahoo auction

ディスる (disuru)
to disrespect

ポチる (pochiru)
to buy something on the internet
*ポチ is the sound of click

Have you seen any of them before?

Well, I'll try to make a sentence using some of those words.


(このまえ オフかい いったら ヲタっぽい おとこのこが かわいい Tシャツ きてたから、かえってから ググったら ヤフオクに でてて さっそく ポチっちゃった)

I went to an off-line meeting the other day and one otaku-looking guy were wearing a cute T-shirt there, so I Googled it at home, found it on Yahoo auction and I bought it immediately.

Slang is not used in a formal situation and some people don't really like using them. (I think the situation is same as slang in other languages.)
Actually I don't really use them by myself even with my friends either.
But I see so many slang words on the internet and I enjoy reading posts using slang.

For advanced Japanese learners, I highly recommend reading Japanese posts (Twitter,  FB, forums... whatever) written by ordinary people in addition to articles, novels etc.
The biggest point which is different from reading serious articles is that if you find a slang word you can't understand, you can just skip it.
That word/post shouldn't be so important.
You can choose some favorite/interesting posts, read them and ignore other posts.
On the internet, you can find short posts very easily and you don't need to "prepare" to read them unlike news articles or long novels.

If you are a Twitter user, Kazu https://twitter.com/arapanman deserves to follow.
His tweets are about politics, news, anime, TV, food, animals... anything and his writing style is not too formal but not too casual.
He doesn't use slang but I see many slang words in his RTs.
(His RTs are interesting, informative or just so funny, too.)
I know him only on Twitter but I enjoy his amusing tweets everyday!

Also for all levels learners, I recommend you post something on SNS in Japanese.
Even if it's a very short sentence, like おなかすいた。"I'm hungry", it must be different from just thinking by yourself.
Maybe you'll get response in Japanese and have a conversation in Japanese.
Maybe you made a small mistake there and will notice it.
Maybe you need to use a dictionary for posting it in Japanese.

For me, I don't really have a chance to use English... I mean I hardly ever have a conversation in English since basically I don't use English in my lesson and most of my non-Japanese friends speak Japanese.
So, having a conversation in English via FB/Twitter is important for me.
At first, I was nervous to post anything in English and shocked to know how low my English skills are.
There are some super bilingual people in my SNS world.
Also some people are very offensive and disrespect (ディスる!) my English/knowledge.
But it's often happened on the internet life anyway, right.
You shouldn't care too much about them if those were the reasons you hesitate to use Japanese there.

Having communication with different people... that must be one of the biggest goal of studying a language I think.
Make maximal use of internet life for communicating with people in Japanese!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Apps for studying Japanese

I've been interested in what kind of Apps are used among Japanese learners and asked a question on Twitter. 

"I'm making a list of Apps for learning Japanese. Does anyone have any recommended Apps for studying Japanese?" 

AND! I had so many response to my tweet. (Thank you very much, my Twitter friends!)
I checked all of those 27 Apps/websites on the internet. 
Some of them are only for iOS or Android. Some of them are not App but you can use them online. 

I was going to choose some popular ones, but I decided to put all of them here on my blog instead. 
Each person has each way of studying Japanese and I don't think there is any "best way" or "wrong way".
Every App/website looks very interesting and I imagined how people use/study each of them.

OK, here is a long list of "Apps for Japanese learners" and let me write how I think about studying using App. 

First, those three Apps look very famous, user-friendly and popular among my Twitter followers. 

(The descriptions are copied from each website, NOT my comments.) 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/imiwa-japanese-dictionary/id288499125?mt=8 (iOS)
This application is a multilingual Japanese dictionary for iPhone and iPod touch devices. It offers dictionary/kanji and example sentences full offline use. The dictionary contains 170000+ japanese entries and corresponding english translations, almost 15000 are translated in french, 94000+ in german and 7000+ in russian. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iknow!/id417713473?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cerego.iknow (Android)
Study at any time, on a PC or mobile device. Bite-sized learning chunks personalized for you. Official courses are offered for studying Japanese, Chinese, and SAT English. The Japanese Core 6000 covers the 6,000 most commonly used words in Japanese, and the Chinese Core 2000 covers the 2,000 most commonly used words in Chinese. All words have sample sentences and audio. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/midori-japanese-dictionary/id385231773?mt=8 (iOS) 
Midori is a Japanese-English, English-Japanese dictionary for iPhone and iPad. It's a comprehensive tool for studying Japanese, with 146,000 entries, 150,000 example sentences, and many advanced features for serious learners of Japanese. 
Review by Tofugu http://www.tofugu.com/japanese-resources-old/midori/ 

The following two Apps are online Japanese dictionaries.  I use the first one EOW a lot, too. 

EOW (英辞郎 on the web) 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/ying-ci-lang-on-web-for-iphone/id365874160?mt=8 (iOS) 
E-J J-E online dictionary 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/da-ci-lin/id299029654?mt=8 (iOS) 
Japanese dictionary. 「大辞林」は、App Store での販売が27万本を超えるiPhone用国語辞典のベストセラーです。 

This one is an App (quiz game) for advanced kanji learners. 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/han-zi-li5000/id286722527?mt=8 (iOS) 
読みにくい漢字や、間違いやすい漢字の読み方を入力し、楽しみながら”漢字力”を身に付けることができる漢字クイズゲーム。 問題数は5000問、問題の種類は一般、植物、魚介類、動物、四字熟語、外国や日本の地名、超難問があります。 

And even more specific usage... App for searching Japanese years (!) 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/yuan-hao/id288968943?mt=8 (iOS) 

and App for writing Japanese letter beautifully. 

Japan Penmanship 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japan-penmanship/id474439562?mt=8 (iOS) 
Japan Penmanship improve your Japanese writing. Japanese is interesting language that has meaning on a letter. Don't you want to write Japanese letter beautifully? 

Here are more Apps for studying Japanese.

JA Sensei
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.japanactivator.android.jasensei&hl=ja (Android) 
Complete suite to Learn Japanese designed for phones AND tablets ! JA Sensei provides clear Japanese lessons and numerous interactive exercises to learn Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Japanese vocabulary, Japanese phrases for your trips, numbers, verbs, etc. Take audio, multichoice, self-validated or drawing quizzes (draw kanji to answer questions!) to memorize what you learn. Simply curious about Japanese, studying Japanese, or willing to take the JLPT, JA Sensei will become a priceless assistant. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japanese/id290664053?mt=8 (iOS) 
More than a dictionary Look up words. Discover the language. Create vocabulary lists. Study using flashcards. 
Review by Tofugu http://www.tofugu.com/japanese-resources-old/japanese-ios-app/ 

Learning Japanese (Tae Kim’s app) 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/learning-japanese/id377785100?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alexisblaze.japanese_grammar&hl=ja (Android) 
Here you will find a wealth of information that will help you learn Japanese, all for free. This site has two guides to aid you on your way to full Japanese fluency with no compromises.

iKanji touch - Japanese Kanji Study Tool 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/ikanji-touch-japanese-kanji/id311920885?mt=8 (iOS) 
iKanji touch is a powerful kanji study and training tool covering over 2,000 JLPT and school grade jouyou kanji. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.rodriguez.kanjisenpai.android&hl=ja (Android) 
Kanji Senpai will help you learn Japanese vocabulary and kanji. By using a spaced repetition system (SRS) you can memorize the different aspects of each vocabulary: meaning, pronunciation, reading, listening, writing, etc. Included it's the N5 level of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) vocabulary list and you can download (for free!) all the levels (though N1). Ah! This app assumes you've already mastered hiragana and katakana. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Obenkyo&hl=ja (Android) 
Learn japanese hiragana, katakana and kanji, and test yourself by drawing, or multiple choice.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ankimobile-flashcards/id373493387?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ichi2.anki (Android) 
Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it's a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn. 

https://itunes.apple.com/app/id635966718?mt=8&&referrer=click%3Da500c5a9-6ec9-4ad1-a461-e43d556fd6f8 (iOS) 
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.memrise.android.memrisecompanion (Android)
There are thousands of courses on Memrise - all free and all created by other members of the community. Courses are available in many languages, for many languages and other subjects. If we don't have what you want, join in and make your own! 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.umibouzu.jed&hl=ja (Android) 
JED is an offline Japanese Dictionary. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ichi2.anki (Android) 
Memorize anything with AnkiDroid! AnkiDroid lets you learn flashcards very efficiently by showing them just before you will forget. 

kanji box 
http://kanjibox https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/kanjibox/id322311303?mt=8.net/ios/ (iOS) 
KanjiBox is your one-stop iOS app to mastering Japanese. It provides a complete set of simple, yet powerful, drill-based exercises to help you improve and evaluate your skills in nearly all aspects of Japanese studies: kanji, vocabulary, reading, kana, grammar etc. 

Simple Kanji Flashcards 
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/simple-kanji-flashcards/id702449884?mt=8 (iOS) 
Learning kanji starting with 来, 週, 行 and 今? If so, this is the app for you. There are dozens of kanji apps, but most teach you in the order favoured by the Japanese education system - which is quite different to the one often used when teaching English speakers. Simple Kanji Flashcards groups the kanji in the order you'll recognise, starting with 来 and 週. 

Japanese Verbs Free 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japanese-verbs-free/id463430024?mt=8realkana.com (iOS)
 Learning Japanese? This app provides a simple way to learn the conjugation of essential verbs via on-screen flashcards. 

http://quizlet.com/https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/quizlet/id546473125?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quizlet.quizletandroid&hl=ja (Android) 
Study anything, anywhere. Flashcards familiarize you with new vocabulary (with fullscreen images and audio). Learn mode tests what you know and don't know. Match makes studying into a fun and competitive game. Take all of your study sets and your classes on the go with offline support (even for audio). 

Kanji LS 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/kanji-ls-touch-writing-learning/id304848819?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jb.asials.kanjils (Android)
practice all Kanji with system or handwriting font - strokeorder guidelines for all 5012 Kanji in the program’s database - 10.000 sample words (all have reading, english, german & french translation) 

jlpt study 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/jlpt-study-1-5-level-kanji/id330922255?mt=8 (iOS) 
This application will help you study the vocabulary for the Japanese Language Proficiency Tests (JLPT), level N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 (N5 being the easiest and N1 the hardest). 

Next, these are not App but you can use them online. 

http://lang-8.com/ (website) 
Let our community of native speakers support your language learning. A new language learning platform where native speakers correct what you write. 

Real kana 
http://www.realkana.com/ (website) 
Hiragana and Katakana Practice 

https://addons.mozilla.org/ja/firefox/addon/rikaichan/ (Firefox Add-ons) 
Japanese to English/German/French/Russian dictionary. Just hover the mouse on top of a word, and a popup appears. Automatically de-inflects verbs and adjectives. 

Denshi Jisho 
http://jisho.org/ (website) 
Online Japanese dictionary 

Youtube review about iOS Apps by a British man Top iOS Apps for Learning Japanese.

Have you used any of those Apps/websites?
Or is there anything you want to try?

Some people believe writing (on a paper) practice is the most important for Japanese learners.
Very important for learning grammar, vocabulary in addition to remembering kana and kanji.
I still think writing is an important practice but I think using those Apps is very helpful and effective, too now.
I encourage my students to use their smartphones in my lessons, too.
The worst enemy of studying foreign language is "feeling stress" I think.
(Yes, I feel the same about my studying English!)
Let's look for a helpful Apps/websites, use them and I hope you will be less stressed.
Have fun studying Japanese!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What do you think about "keigo"?

Business Japanese

Make the following e-mail message to formal/business style.


↓ ↓ ↓


あしたの うちあわせの じかんですが 14じに へんこうさせていただけませんでしょうか。
ちょくぜんの へんこうで ごめいわくを おかけして もうしわけございません。


お世話になっております : You usually write this sentence first for the business e-mail to someone NOT from your company.
For an e-mail among co-workers, お疲れ様です should be used instead.

~させていただけませんでしょうか : causative verb + いただけませんでしょうか → Would you mind if I…?
~させてもらえない? is for a casual conversation.

Yes, keigo is very difficult and the rules are quite complicated.
Honorific, humble, polite, special verbs… whatever.
I personally think the important point is how you show your respect for the person.
Super complicated keigo is not always necessary.
We, Japanese people don’t really say よい週末をお過ごしください (Have a great weekend) in a business e-mail, but I would feel good if someone write to me something like that.
Emphasize what you want to write to the person so that your e-mail will never be rude. :-)