Sep 30, 2008

Sell your textbooks back

Looking for a good place to sell your books back? Look no further

Sell Your Textbooks For Cash

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Sep 28, 2008

At the door in Japan

Let's say you are in Japan, and you are visiting a friend. So you go to their door and give it a knock. After you hear some movement inside, you will probably hear this phrase too.

Dochirasama desu ka? or Who is it?

Politely tell them it is you by stating your name followed by desu, the polite form of the verb "to be".

So if you are Robert, say
Robert desu. - It is Robert.

If you are Brett, say
Brett desu. - It is Brett.

If you are Julie, say
Julie desu. It is Julie.
After stating politely who you are, and if they like you, they will tell you
Dozo, o-hairi kudasai - which is to say - please come in.

Sep 26, 2008

Sake Talkie

A blog about the Technical aspects of Mastering the Japanese Language.

read more | digg story

How to say dog and cat in Japanese

The word for dog in Japanese is inu.
The word for cat in Japanese is neko.

inu - dog


neko - cat

We can make two new words from the words for cat and dog. If we want to make the word for puppy and kitten, all we have to do is add the word for small or ko 小.

小 + 犬  = 小犬, koinu
small + dog = puppy

小 + 猫 = 小猫, koneko
small + cat = kitten

In review:

inu - dog
neko - cat
koinu - puppy
koneko - kitten

Sep 24, 2008

more on honorifics in Japanese

Forming honorific adjectives
Honorific adjective Constructions

EI - irregular







1.akai  akou + gozaru = akou gozaimasu
2.atarashii  atarashuu + gozaru = atarashuu gozaimasu
3.boroi  borou + gozaru = borou gozaimasu
4.furui  furuu + gozaru = furuu gozaimasu

that is to say any ai ending adjective will turn to long o - o^ ou

The best example of this is hayai. Hayai ends in ai therefore changing the ai into long o we have hayou gozaimasu just like the phrase "good morning" o-hayou gozaimasu
hope this helps.

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Sep 23, 2008

The JPPGG System For Learning Japanese is now Japanese Grammar Plug and Play so JGPP

If you are studying Japanese right now, and are desirous to improve your speaking ability, then this article is for you. In this article, I am going to share with you my Japanese learning method called, JPPGG or Japanese Plug and Play Ghetto Grammar.

The benefit of using this system is that while you are building up your vocabulary you will be given the power to create exciting sentences which serve to reinforce the retention of your vocabulary and significantly increase your Japanese speaking ability. The only thing holding you back, is the amount of vocabulary that you yourself commit to learn, and memorize.

Towards the bottom of the article, I give 10 commonly used Japanese grammar constructions that you can manipulate to 'drill and kill' your way towards better Japanese. All you have to do is plug in your favorite verb, and play.

Plug and play style of learning Japanese is a lot of fun. When first learning Japanese it seemed like an insurmountable task because Japanese is such a different language from my own (English). So I took everything I was given to learn with and purposefully made it interesting in any way possible. I wouldn't practice this way in front of everybody, but when I was alone or with a good friend, I always had a good time making interesting word combinations.

One word which delighted me, no matter what sentence I used it in, was the word onara suru or "to fart". Knowing that single word made the dull process of learning boring grammar fun. Instead of yawning during study time, learning Japanese and Japanese grammar became exciting because each new grammar meant new and funny sentences that I could create, make and test on the Japanese people themselves. And let me tell you, I would be making funny sentences all year long. This is what eventually was the real determining factor, that helped me get better at Japanese.

For example, from the constructions below you could say, "I eat beans in order to fart." - onara suru tame ni mame o taberu - This type of sentence makes me laugh; its fun and helpful to my Japanese language learning. I mean the verb, to go, is fun and all, but other verbs, like fart, burp, burp, belch, squeak or whatever other interesting words I find make sentences that make sense, are useful and really come to life. All the tediousness of second language learning fades away. I hoot and laugh just contemplating the potential meanings of the new, clever sentences I can construct.

But seriously, there was a time that I would do whatever it took to improve my Japanese. Using my JPPGG in this extraordinary way certainly helped me achieve my Japanese language ability and Japanese language goals. I now boast a vocabulary of over 7000 words using my plug and play system or JPPGG.

Below are just 10 Japanese grammar principles for you to start plugging your vocabulary into. I will give more in later articles, but for now here are 10 really basic ones. These construction all use verbs in their plain form or Base (III).

If you aren't familiar yet with these terms, Base (III) verbs are your every day action verbs taken straight from a dictionary. They have yet to be conjugated or altered in any way. To use the JPPGG, just pick and choose some Japanese verbs that you know or look them up as you like, then plug them into one or all of the 10 constructions below and start making your own unique Japanese sentences, for use in typical Japanese conversations.

*If you are serious about learning Japanese, I recommend getting a dictionary. If you are unsure which kind to buy, I recommend dictionaries from Sanseido Press.

There are basically two types of dictionaries. The Wa-Ei (Japanese to English) dictionary, or, the Ei-Wa (English to Japanese) dictionary. Larger dictionaries that contain both the Ei-Wa and Wa-Ei in a single volume are also available. The average Wa-Ei dictionary costs around US $14.

Also called plain form verbs, base (III) verbs always ends by itself or in some sort of u vowel ending syllable cluster like, u, ku, gu, su, zu, tsu, tzu, bu, fu, mu, nu, yu, etc. Feel free to plug any verb that you like into these JPPGG constructions. Using 'off the wall' verbs like skate boarding, surfing, frying, laying, squatting, will help you retain the essential Japanese grammar longer over time in your long term memory. In this way your vocabulary will have time to develop without being stagnated by your grammar ability. I guarantee that you will not only have fun making Japanese sentences, but you wll also remember your vocabulary words faster, and retain them longer.

Don't feel obligated to use common verbs. Instead, think of some neat, obscure verb that you would like to use then look it up in the dictionary and go for it! Be a rebel! I dare you to get out of that old school mentality and utilize some word like, onara suru (v. to fart). Nobody will ever know what you are saying unless you take it outside and use it on somebody but hey, even the great Tennoheika, or Emporer himself has occasions where he will honorifically fart.

**Preliminary one point ghetto advice from a plug and play master **
- wa is the particle that I have always defined as , "As for ~" where ~ is anything at all, even nothing. Although there is not always an exact equivalent for a Japanese word to some words in English, I have found that thinking of the Japanese word, 'koto' as "the thing of ~". So koto ga and koto wa together, its meaning does sound weird to the ears of a gaijin (foreigner), as tripped out as any English we have ever heard might be, but you learn to accept these kinds of differences between languages because we know that a little disregard for proper sounds will help with our eventual improvement in our Japanese speaking ability.

As of yet I have found no better way of describing these Japanese words in English, and they seem to be sufficient interpretations in the situations in which they were used. Again, although they might at first sound a little awkward, we overlook the formalities for our long range goals of Japanese language mastery, and we get over it. Koto wa or koto ga could roughly be translated as "As for the thing of~ ".

1. Verb(base III) koto ga, koto wa - the thing of verb, the thing of verbing

2. Verb(base III) tame ni - in order to verb

3. Verb(base III) mae ni - before I verb, before verbing.

4. Verb(base III) koto ga arimasu - Sometimes I verb

5. Verb(base III) koto ga yoku arimasu - I do a lot of verb or I often verb.

6. Verb(base III) koto ga amari arimasu - I don't often verb, I rarely verb.

7. Verb(base III) koto ga dekimasu - I am able to verb, I can verb

8. Verb(base III) deshou - I will probably verb, or the verb will probably happen, or it might verb.

9. Verb(base III) koto ni suru - decide to verb, I resolved within myself to verb, I have chosen to verb, etc.
10. Verb(base III) hou ga ii desu - Its better to verb, or you should verb

11. Verb(base III) yo(u) ni - so that verb, like verbing, in similitude of verbing

In the old days, when the grammar-translation methods of foreign language teaching were king, my JPPGG and other similar methods were known as, substitution drills. I prefer to call this way of studying Japanese JPPGG, or, Japanese Plug and Play Ghetto Grammar. Instead of substituting, we plug and instead of drilling, we play. I prefer playing to drilling any day. Hopefully by now you understand the idea behind JPPGG and that my goal in creating this language learning system is to help you get better at Japanese in less time than it would take traditionally.

I'm big on multitasking and didn't want to see young Japanese language learners held back by the amount of vocabulary they know. Instead, my hope was that while the Japanese language learners learn more and more vocabulary (nouns, verbs, adjectives, expressions, salutations, adverbs, particles etc.)

The amount of grammar knowledge they have wouldn't prevent them from being able to say at least some simple sentences. Once they understand how the constructions of the grammar principles are made, they can then make altogether new sentences, drilling home Japanese into the fibers of their being making them capable Japanese conversationalists.

The system works no matter what the name you substitute and drill or you plug and play new words into the grammar constructions as you learn them. Go ahead, drill and kill your way, or should I say, plug and play your way towards better Japanese, I dare you.

As always do your best!
Ganbatte Ne!

Sep 22, 2008

Words for I or me in Japanese

Japanese words for self

Watakushi 私 is the universal polite Japanese word represting one's self or "me". Watakushi 私 is seldom heard in conversations except the stately diplomatic kind of speeches, banquets and dinners.

Washi -わし is used by older, much older men as an abbreviated form of watakushi

Ore - pronounced like a mix between 'oh Ray', and 'oh day', is used by younger and older men who are tough, and sometimes mean and nasty, or just tough. Any cool male can used this word for me.

Watashi (even atashi)- used by feminine people to signify "me".

Boku 僕 (ぼく)- Me for boys

Ware 我- I, me for the samurai, or Emporers etc.

Watakushi tachi 私たち - Us

Warera 我ら われら - Us (more honorific ort old style)

Waga 我が (Old style)- my

Jibun Jishin 自分自信 - myself

all the above + NO (の) = my. or ours

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Sep 20, 2008


kiroku -n. record(s)
-ki record(s)
Re-biki - Leviticus or the record of re-bi (Levites)

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

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Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!
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Sep 18, 2008

Quick Japanese Grammar - Isahaya Dialect

In the city of Isahaya, which is a very hilly place, Kyushu in Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan becomes exciting for young people that are seeking things to do. Stay clear of the keisatsu by always riding your bike with a light after dark, then you can have lots of fun there.

Here is a dialectical Japanese grammar principle that I only heard in Isahaya, Japan

A super polite dialectical Japanese command form

nasai --> nshyai

So basically any verb in Base II + nasai Japanese Command form will suffice for this easy to convert Isahaya dialect.


"Come over and hang out again!", or
"Please visit us again!", or literally
"come and play!"

"Just eat it and see!"

Methinks that irrashai is part of this ancient Japanese language style

Tabete Goran nasai**

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Sep 17, 2008

japanese adjectives

Japanese Adjective discussion

Forming honorific adjectives
Honorific adjective Constructions

EI - irregular







1. akai  akou + gozaru = akou gozaimasu
2. atarashii  atarashuu + gozaru = atarashuu gozaimasu
3. boroi  borou + gozaru = borou gozaimasu
4. furui  furuu + gozaru = furuu gozaimasu
Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Sep 5, 2008

How to say, "rich" and "poor" in Japanese

Kane or 金, is defined as 1. a metal, 2. money; cash; a coin.

Japanese elementary schoolers learn this kanji in the first grade. It is easy to remember because it resembles what it represents - The kanji 金, looks like treasure in a chest, shining brightly.

You call a rich person, o-kane mochi, or literally holder of the gold.

O-kane mochi  - rich, wealthy

You call a poor person bimbo^.

bimbo^  - poor

Sep 3, 2008

How to say, "I'm hungry" in Japanese

To say "I'm hungry" in Japanese use the following phrase -
o - naka ga suita

Naka is a generic word for things in the middle. The kanji for naka is very simple - 中. It looks like a box with a line drawn through it.

o - naka  織中 おなか - stomach, belly, midsection, torso, etc. Literally,  "the honorific middle".

Here are some uses of o-naka -

1. o - naka ga suita - I'm hungry
2. o - naka ga itai  - I have a stomach ache.
3. o - naka no ko - The expected child.
織中 の 子

Your Name In Japanese

I was delighted to find out what my name looked like in Japanese, I still think it looks like every other Japanese word out there, A beautiful language.

read more | digg story

Sep 1, 2008

Closer to Mastering Japanese Grammar

Japanese Grammar Plug and Play #107 JPPGG

by Makurasuki Sensei &


Let's say that one day, while visiting Japan, you find yourself wanting to get someone to do you a favor. We must tell them that we need them to do us a favor and the more specific we are, the better . . . I mean . . . you're probably notgoing to want just any old thing, I mean... watcha wa... what do you really want?! What in the world could YOU possibly want? If the sushi is not up to your liking and you find yourself wanting instead some good ol'fashioned American Apple Pie, then you've got to get some Japanese language skills. In some parts of the ghetto they're called skillz!  

This lens will help us acquire those skillz. We'll learn how to rap in Japanese, and learn how to say this kind of stuff in Japanese . . . "but you're getting so much more" . . . "and more" . . . (steps back)," And More!" Furthermore. . . this system is simple. All you have to do is plug words, usually verbs, into the JPPGG Japanese Plug and play Ghetto Grammar constructions. (49 grammar lessons numbered from JPPGG70 to JPPGG119.

Ok so where was I... Oh yeah . . . about you wanting things done, favors you may ask, or things you may need to get done, finished, accomplished, completed etc. During my stay in Japan I sometimes felt homesick. I would want to see a good ol American movie.  I wasn't happy unless I got to see a real American Movie. Not a Chinese movie starring Jackie Chan overdubbed in Japanese for my viewing pleasure... oh no...I wanted something specific and I wouldn’t be satisfied unless I got to watch my favorite American movies starring James Dean or Harrison Ford? (They comprise what are the only movies available in English and rentable  in Japanese video stores.) Yepper's, not much of a selection. . . but,  Look on the btight side, I can recite the dialogue of the movie, Rebel Without A Cause from memory

This lense is about to show you via my simple JLSystem's Japanese Plug & Play Ghetto Grammar or Japanese to the P squared G squared JPPGG® method, how to say that you want something or that you want something done (by someone or something else).

The Japanese word around which we are basing today’s Ghetto Grammar is hoshii. Hoshii is a Japanese adjective and its meaning according to Sanseido’s Daily Concise Japanese English Dictionary is a want, or a wish for. Its kanji is made up of two radicals which resemble the words for tani (valley) and ketsu (lack, or missing, but is also in words related to thirst and throat) and together inside of the kanji for this word hoshii, it makes me think of somebody out in the middle of Death Valley California having no water but really, really wishing that they had something to drink. That is a wish or a want for something. 

The Japanese construction for the equivalent English phrase of

--- I want noun - noun ga hoshii desu or emphatic no desu

Ex. a.)  I want an apple! - Ringo ga hoshii desu! 

Ex. b.) I want it now! - Ima hoshii! Etc.

--- I want you to verb -  Verb (base TE) hoshii desu. Polite form

Plain form would be verb (base TE) hoshii without any copula, or by adding the emphatic all purpose sentence ending da!. This is less polite.

Super polite form would be - verb (base TE) hoshu^ gozaimasu. This may be a little too polite for all circumstances. Because you are in the personal realms anyway you are relaying to someone else your wishes for somebody to do something. This bunpo(grammar) will work when put into question form like the following:

Ex. 1) What do you want done?  Nani shite hoshii desu ka? Or, simply Nani o shite hoshii? (Not as polite - What do you want me to do?)

Putting hoshii into its negative present form you can get sentences that mean I don't want you to do something as in Ex. 2

Ex. 2. I don't want anything done. Nanimo shite hoshikunai desu! (Without the copula)

Ex. 3. I want you to see a television show that I like.  Suki na terebi no bangumi o mite hoshii desu!

Since this adjective serves as an auxiliary, you can also put hoshii into the past or past negative as in Ex.4

Ex. 4. Kite hoshikatta kedo konakatta - I wanted you to come but you never came. (This little phrase turns out to be quite the alliterative tongue-a-twisty. Say it 5 times fast! I dare you!)


Ex. 5) Kurisumasu puresento o akeru no o matte hoshikatta, ammari akete hoshikunakatta no desu, zannen... Mou, shikata ga nai.  I wanted you to wait before you opened the Christmas presents, I really didn't want you to open them at all. Too bad and so sad but I guess there is nothing we can do about it now...

Hoshii can be made into a verb by adding dropping the final i, forming the plain form stem hoshi and adding ku adjective linker adding the verb, "to become" or, naru (One of the most used verbs in all Japanese). Hoshi-i naru becomes hoshikunaru.

Another way of saying the same thing would be by dropping the final i of hoshii and adding garu becoming hoshigaru (v. to wish for, want).

A common mistake made in Japanese is to mis-pronounce double vowels as single vowels. Two ii together in Japanese needs to be pronounced like two different i's. Actually you re-utter the second i. A lot of times double vowels will sound like the same vowels just drawn out. 

Here is a good example of which witch is which. Don't mistake hoshii, the adjective for wanting, with hoshi, the noun for the word star. The former being having its final vowel sound i held twice as long. 

***BONUS SENTENCE - Not available in any text book anywhere! ***

***Zutto mae kara kanojo o hoshigatte iru no ja nai to desu ka? Didn't you want to make her your girlfriend like forever now? Or, "You have been wanting that chick for a while now haven't you?”

This concludes today's Japanese Plug and Play Ghetto Grammar bunpo method JPPGG© for the month of July. Stay tuned for more incredible methods to help improve your Japanese language skills.

What about a lense on the middle school teenager girl who died because she was 1-2 minutes late to school and the gate closed in on her. Japan is strict on things like school and stuff yo! No joke about that. Conform! Conform! Conform! Conform! ... Just kidding.


Ganbatte ne! Do your Best! Makurasuki Sensei. - Travel More. Spend Less





Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!