Oct 30, 2008

Japanese Grammar Lesson: Japanese Verb Base TA

Japanese Grammar Lesson: Japanese Verb Base TA
by Makurasuki Sensei

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Japanese Verbs : Verb bases – Putting verbs into the TA –form (た-form)

The ability to put Japanese verbs into the various bases quickly without pause is a pre-requisite for speaking fluently and becoming a competent and capable conversationalist. Of all the verbs Bases (I, II, III, IV , V, TA-た, and TE-て) the TA - た form ranks high in usage as one of the top three most used bases for verbs only after TE-てand Base-III or root form. I am focusing on it now in order to prepare you for the quick, powerful grammar secrets that employ Base TA - たverbs. Knowintg these secrets will catapult your Japanese speaking ability through the roof. I’ll be discussing Japanese grammar rules that use Japanese verbs in Base TA - た.

One of the main things you should know about the TA - た form of a verb is that it is used to put verbs into past tense plain form. A verb in base TA - た form is equivalent to English’s have done or past tense perfect. The TA - た form of a verb has evolved from the classical form tari and it still has many uses (see http://japanetics.blogspot.com)

**** How to put a Japanese verb into Base TA ****

1. Vowel Stemmed verbs (i.e. ichidan verbs or verbs that end in either IRU, or ERU -える.)
a. to put a verb into the TA-た form when the verb has a vowel stem simply add TA - た

Base III, or dictionary form of 5 Japanese verbs

1. kanjiru - 感じる

2. oboeru - 覚える

3. kangaeru - 考える

4. deru - 出る

5. iru - 居る

Stems for 5 Japanese verbs

1. kanji - 感じ

2. oboe - 覚え

3. kangae - 考え

4. de - 出

5. I - 居,

Base TA for 5 Japanese verbs
TA - た ending verbs are past tense.

1. kanjita - 感じた

2. oboeta - 覚えた

3. kangaeta - 考えた

4. deta - 出た

5. ita- 居た

Meaning transformation of 5 Japanese Verbs

1. To feel becomes to have felt.
感じる becomes感じた

2. To remember becomes to have remembered.
覚える becomes覚えた

3. To think becomes to have thought.

4. To leave becomes to have left.

5. To be becomes to have been. (was, were)

Try putting your favorite verb ending in iru or eru into the TA form today and get your Nihongo more Jozu!
And remember…
If you want more information on how you can use memory and the laws of attraction to master any language the please see
Master Memory

As Always,
Ganbatte ne!
Do your best!
Makurasuki Sensei

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Oct 28, 2008

Intermediate Japanese pronunciation

Intermediate Japanese pronunciation for beginning Japanese learners – An oxymoron

RA - ら, RI - り, RU - る, RE - れ, and RO - ろ
This article is on how to pronounce the unfamiliar sounds of this line of syllables in the Japanese language.

Explained in ghetto American English so that even the Author has a hard time understanding – I am just kidding when I say this…

Japanese pronunciation tips - JPPGG #102

These tips are my lazy explanation for lack of knowing the correct technical terminology for what I will be describing so gomen ne! Forgive! I am a born American and English is my native language. I did not start on my path towards Japanese language mastery, until I was 19 years old. I was taught at the University during a linguistics class that after the age of 12 the part of the brain that handles the understanding of languages hardens and solidifies to the point that pronunciation and the understanding of words

Understand how the English letters L and R are and D are pronounced in English then experiment with variations and cross-mixes by combining the letters as you do red, blue, and green in fine-tuning the color or warmth of a television set. RA - ら, RI - り, RU - る, RE - れ, and RO - ろ are pronounced by lightly flicking your tongue on the roof of your mouth at the hard palette area. The tongue it seems to me is softer and wider when flicking and flattening it at the top of your mouth. D is stiff, but "ra, ri, ru, re, ro" pronunciation is more flexibly soft when struck against the rooftop of your mouth.

Do you remember making a taco out of your tongue when you were a kid? Make a taco toward the tip of the tongue. It is a smaller taco than the one you played with as a kid. The taco is more towards the tip of the tongue and then flapped in directions as to lay the tongue back down into its normal location in the mouth. Ra is jaw dropping wide from nose to chin. Re is made with a cheeks wide smile, Ru is rounded lips in a circle, ro is both the dropped jaw of ra + ooh lala.

Here is more insight I give to serious Japanese wanna' speak it correctly soon Japanese language learners, in my non- technical jargon at-ed language sort of explanation. I hope you can bear this, because I am sure any linguist out there would kill me for shame and spite, thank you in advance. After making a canyon in your mouth or by pushing the tongue, forward to the upper harder palette at the roof of your mouth. Pretend as if your mouth was a hot potato and your tongue being separate when saying the ra RI Ru re ro line in the syllabary and that your tongue must come quickly off the roof of your mouth because it is hot.

The “r”’s in Japanese, of which there are but five are usually difficult for foreigners or non-native Japanese speakers to get correctly. You can simulate actual native pronunciation by pronouncing your "ra, ri, ru, re, ro" line to yourself like gooey l's or softened d's. The r’s are often miss-heard as d’s in English. I was saying some words to a junior Japanese language-learning apprentice and she heard the Japanese r’s at first as d’s. So go figure, and get out their and practice.

One note of caution, before you even attempt the “ra RI Ru re ro” line of the Japanese syllabary, master the first five syllables, which constitute the Japanese vowels.

In pronunciation:
eh, and

In short hand:
e, and

In Hiragana:

あ - a
い – i
う – u
え - e
お – o,

in Katakana:

ア - a
イ - i
ウ - u
エ - e
オ - o

Remember, the first five syllables or morae as they are known in Japanese, are the five vowels used in the Japanese language. If we first master the first five Japanese vowels correctly, then pronunciation for all the rest of the syllables shall fall into place in due time and learning hiragana and katakana should be a little easier to understand and memorize quicker.

The following is a link to the International Phonetic Alphabet or the IPA http://www.unc.edu/underling/images/ipachart.gif/ here you can see all about vowels as seen from the ears and mouth of international phonetic champions.

How to pronounce the 5 Japanese vowels –

a - あ ah - like when the dentist tells you, “Say ah.”

i - い ee - as in “leech” or me.

u - う not exactly ooh, but for beginning pronunciation masters
stick with the pronouncing “u - う” like ooh as in “ooh lala,” or the pooh part of “Winnie the pooh”.

e - え eh as in bed-head. (Edges of mouth as when smiling corners
of mouth stretched

o - お oh as in “boat”, or “note” (long, long, closed mid-back)

It is interesting to note that as we have in English the “e” at the end of the word “note”, that if it weren’t there, it would simply be - “not”. However, with the addition of the “e” at the end, it somehow takes the “o” of the word, which was pronounced as “ah”, and pulls on it, through the letter “t” forcing a long – “oh” pronunciation.

*It is interesting to note that in, the plosive bilabials, “pa - ぱ”, and “ba -ば” come from the aspirated “ha -は” in written kana in this order:

HAPA then BA.

は ぱ ( then ば.

or, ha -は then ha - はwith the degree symbol (ぱ), then ha - は with the ten ten marks (ば) or a single quotation mark – “. The order in the dictionary also follows that pattern in its other dignified grouping like that of "ta -た" going to "da -だ"; and "ka -か" going to "ga -が" in the velar group.

Makurasuki says “Ganbatte Ne!” 頑張ってね but needs to edit this weird take on Japanese pronunciation, I hope you enjoyed it….

Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Oct 25, 2008

More interesting plug and play Japanese grammar

Verb (Base V) + to suru – Try to Verb

With the above Japanese grammar construction you can make sentences that express the desire to try.

First put verbs into base V then add + to suru

Japanese verbs –

1. damasu – to deceive

2. iku – v. to go
3. magaru – to turn ( a corner, while driving etc.)

damaso^ to shimashita – they tried to pull a fast one on me
iko^ to shita – try or attempt to go
magaro^ to shita – tried to turn

do^ryoku suru – to put forth effort, to try

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Oct 19, 2008

Japanese Grammar Practice for fun

Japanese Grammar Plug and Play
Japanese Lesson #89– Verb (Base I) + ZU NI IRARENAI (Verb + ず に いられない)
(I can’t help but verb)

Today’s Japanese grammar lesson makes use of verbs in Base I. Verbs put into base I always end with the syllable, A (あ) (Pronounced aw as in awful, or awesome). We could think of verbs in Base I as links to negative states or conditions in verbs. Verbs in Base I are usually followed by the word NAI ( ない)- Nai is comparable to the English word not. For example, in English, we say that we can do something or we can not do something, or we say that we will do something, or, will not do something.

- As verbs in Base III tend toward affirmative, verb in Base I tend toward the negative -

The verb to be able to, or, DEKIRU (できる) in base III is positive affirmative, while DEKINAI, which is DEKIRU in Base I + nai is not positive nor affirmative, but negative. Base I forms are like linkage for putting words in their not positive, not affirmative conditions.

DEKINAI (できない) is to CAN’T as
DEKIRU (できる) is to CAN.

SHINAI (しない) is to WON’T DO as
SURU (する) is to WILL DO.

In order to put verbs into bases, it’s necessary to understand the difference between Ichidan 一段verbs ( vowel stemmed verbs) and Yo^dan ようだん or Godan verbs (consonant stemmed verbs). I was taught that there exists three types of verbs but these types are unrelated to the three types of English verbs. In English, the three types of verbs are passive, active and forms of the copula- to be. In Japanese you have kami ichidan katsuyo verbs, godan katsuyo verbs and irregular verbs.


I was so sad, I couldn’t help but cry.

NAKU ( 泣く)– v. to cry
in Base I – NAKA ( 泣か)
NAKA + ZU + NI IRARENAI 泣かずにいられない

Things got so bad, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t help but go back home.

KAERU ( 帰る)– v. to return home, to go back
in Base I, KAERA ( 帰ら)

I got so sick I couldn’t help but throw-up.

HAKIDASU (吐き出す) – v. to throw up, vomit, spit out
in Base I, HAKIDASA (吐き出さ)

The music was we were listening to was so good, I couldn’t help but dance.

ODORU ( 躍る)– v. To dance
in Base I, ODORA (躍ら)

These examples are extreme to show that you can make up any type of sentence you want using the grammar practice constructions and it will benefit your Japanese language skills immensely useful. There you have it! Another plug and play grammar principle you can use to add to your arsenal of Japanese language weaponry, which, depending on you, can take you yet another step towards better Japanese.

As Always,
Ganbatte Ne! 頑張ってね!
Do Your Best!
Makurasuki マクラスキー

learn to count in Japanese

some quick Japanese grammar

Reverse English learning for Japanese Speakers

http://saketalkie.blogspot.com candid discussions on all sorts of Japanese topics especially how to speak Japanese

study Japanese with the help of you- Super Japanese accelerated language learning 3 cubed

for other language speakers that want to learn Japanese, try the following



Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

How to pronounce the Japanese syllable "tsu"

The Tsu syllable

Japanese pronunciation tips
How to pronounce the Japanese syllable “tsu”

Of the 46 syllables in the Japanese syllabary, three are frequently mispronounced by beginning Japanese language learners. The focus of this mini lesson is on one hard to pronounce Japanese syllable, the “tsu” syllable.

Even when native English speakers say the word of Japanese origin, tsunami, they seem to be saying sunami. When speaking in Japanese, the difference in meaning between words that start with su, and words that start with tsu is enormous. In other words, mispronouncing tsu for su could wreak havoc. Learning correct pronunciation is therefore important toward meaningful communication.

Japanese words that contain “tsu” or begin or end with this syllable, require a little cleverness, patience and consistent practice to master it's pronunciation.

The pronunciation of the "tsu" syllable is not overly difficult and can be understood by eliding two English words, eight suits. The English words, eight suits, when elided together gives a close verbal approximation of the way the Japanese syllable “tsu” should sound when pronounced correctly.

Improve your Japanese pronunciation by saying the following out loud:

eight suits, eight suits, eigh t suits, eigh t su its, eigh tsu its, eight suits

Continue saying aloud this phrase a few more times. Concentrate on the elision that occurs between the words eight, and suits. Say it faster and faster until you can feel the tsu come out of the phrase. The most correct or nearest equivalent that Japanese language learners can get to saying the “tsu” syllable is taking the t from the eight and adding the su to it as in the previous example. Once you have a feel for the way the "tsu" syllable is pronounced, practice sounding authentic by saying the following words that contain "tsu" -

tsuitachi 一日 – 20th of the month
tsu^yu^ 梅雨– the rainy season
itsu? 何時? (いつ) – when?
hachimitsu 蜂蜜– honey
itsutsu いつつ– 5 objects; object counter
itsumo^ 何時も– always
Motsuaruto モ-ツア-ルト – Mozart

Oct 13, 2008

Japanese grammar fun

Japanese Wish Making
How to make wishes in Japanese

Japanese Grammar Lesson #98

How to Make Wishes in Japanese or

How to say , "If I could only. . . " in Japanese.

Base IV + ba ii no ni or

A Japanese verb in its conditional state + ii no ni

To wish (something), (I wish I could verb, despite not being able to although it is so cool.)

To make sentences that will express your wishes or longing for something put a Japanese verb into its conditional state and add ii noni. I always took noni as meaning, "In spite of" or "Despite something." "ii" is the word for good, so that yoi could be used or even other adjectives of different shapes and sizes.

For this construction, any Japanese verb in its condtional form conditional will suffice for this lesson's construction. The use of nara is also acceptable. So that you could have-noun nara ii noni etc.The Japanese conditional being either a verb in base IViku ? ik(e) (baseIV) + ba = ikeba or if (I) go or verb in base TA + RA, so that iku in base ta =itta,  itta + ra or ittara

The verb iku in base IV is iko^- add the conditional extendor ba to the base so that ike+ba=ikebaIkeba ii no ni -It would have been cool if I could have went, or I wish I could have gone. Literally this phrase means something more like Despite it being good, if I go.In the same way you may say it this way, iku in base TA is itta- add ra to form the conditional.

So that itta + ra = ittara- than add ii no ni to complete the phrase that you wish would happen.Below are some examples to get you going. Make your own interesting sentences. Make questions out of them. Use them in Japan on real Japanese people to test them out and make sure they work. You never know what you might be able to say with your new grammar construction for making wishes in Japanese.


1. Yasukattara ii noni - I sure hope it is cheap, (lit. if it were cheap it would be good despite the fact that its probably not.)

2. Ittara ii noni or ikeba ii noni or - I wish I could go

3. Kirei dattara or kirei nara ii noni or - If she were cute that would be cool, or I hope she is pretty. (lit. Despite it being good if (she) is pretty.)

4. Shicchan ga ittara ii noni - it would be cool if shi chan (a girl whose name starts with Shi)

5. Mite mireba ii noni. - I wish you would go check it out. or It would be cool if you could go look at it.

6. Okane mochi nara ii noni - "I wish I were rich", or "If only I had a lot of money how nice things would be." etc.

As always,Ganbatte ne!

Do Your Best!

Oct 12, 2008

where to sell your textbooks back

I just wanted to mention this place if their are any college going students reading Japanetics about a place to go to get the best price for selling your text books at

Sell Your Textbooks For Cash

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Oct 9, 2008

Command Form - Nasai

Basic Japanese Grammar Crash Course
Accelerated Japanese Mastery
Base II + NASAI なさい – Lesser command form
To boss people around, or tell people what to do, commanding them in Japanese, you will need to know this Japanese Grammar construction:

Verb (base II) + NASAI なさい - Do verb! Command form.


Suwarinasai! 坐りなさい!
“Take your seat!”
Suwaru 座る - v. to sit down
suwaru 座るin base II is suwari 坐り
suwari 坐り + nasai  なさい = suwarinasai 坐りなさい Sit!

Shukudai o shinasai! 宿題をしなさい
“Do your homework!”
suruする – v. to do
suru in base II = shi し
shi し + nasai なさい = shinasai しなさい “DO IT!”

iku 行く– v . to go
iku in base II is iki 行き
iki 行き + nasai  なさい = ikinasai 行きなさい “GO!”

Plug in your favorite Japanese verbs into this Japanese Grammar Construction and start making your own cool sentences then test them on your Japanese friends.

As always,
Ganbatte Ne! 頑張ってね
Do Your Best!
Makurasuki まくらすき

x dake ja naku y (mo)

X dake ja naku Y (mo) – Not only X, but y (also)

The word dake (pronounced dah - kay) means only. Ja naku is one form of the negative present copula “to be”. Ja naku is an abbreviated version of the more formal expression for “isn’t” dewa nakute, or dewa naku. Dewa has over the years become ja for all intents and purposes. So this is a good point to remember-  as dewa tends toward the contracted form ja, other Japanese words that start with the sound d tend toward j forms when in contraction.


Ringo dake ja naku banana mo kaimashita.
Not only apples but I also bought banana’s.

kohii dake ja naku o-cha mo suki desu.
Not only coffee but I also like tea.

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Oct 6, 2008

O hiru Ne

o hiru ne o suru - to take a nap -

o hiru ne - the ol' honorific afternoon sleep

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Oct 2, 2008

Japanese seafood discussion

Since carp and shark are two items of the sea that the Japanese don't have a habit of making into sushi, I will discuss them first then extrapolate on couple of thoughts concerning sushi. The word koi is more oftened used to indicate love, or the act of falling in love more than it is used to mean Koi or Carp.

Same* - shark *(Not pronounced as in English but with long ah as in saw and meh as used in the word men.)

The following items, usually taken from the sea, are occasionally used as sushi.

Kurage - jellyfish

Unagi - Unagi is Eel, or snakes of the sea. The fish with no real fins more similar to a snake than a fish. and the best I have ever had and came away saying, "Boy that sure was tasty Unagi." I thought Unagi particularly well prepared in the quaint town of Isahaya, which isabout a forty five minute drive away from Nagasaki. Nagasaki and the surrounding area is reknown for its excellently prepared eel. The unagi used as sushi is always cooked and is white meat that with a hint of brown.

Uni - taste like poo-poo of the sea until you acquire a taste for it. I love it. It is rather expensive, because it is a pain in the behind to get.

Tako - in Japanese is the word for kite, the flight wielding one or it can mean an octopus. Tako is pronounced like taco, a favorite Mexican food that even the Japanese know.

A lot of people have pre-conceived notions concerning the sushi. They seem to think of stinky, rotten raw fish that has been dead for a month. And anybody who thinks of sushi in this way couldn't be thinking of it in a worse manner. The look and taste of well prepared sushi by iron chefs in my opinion can be compared to lustrousand precious jewels. Served on a plate, arranged like art and appearing like rubies, saphires and diamonds.

Another myth about sushi is that the octopus sushi is served raw. This is not the case. It shoud be stated at the gate that is very rare to eat octopus raw. I myself having the privalege only twice out of about 300 eatings to try raw octopus. Raw octopus is not boiled. The octopus westerners traditionally associate with the sushi turns a light shade of purple because it is boiled. I grant you permission to safely approach octopus sushi with a smile and a glad heart, knowing that it is boiled. To reiterate, octopus used as sushi is boiled, and its good. Don't knock it before you try it. Or give it to Mikey he'll like it... he likes everything.

If sushi didn't have such a bad image, that more people could enjoy it's truly redeeming qualities. Just thinking about sushi and talking about it in this lense makes my mouth water,... try it and see. It is the images, stigmata and the English words we use to describe sushi that block our minds preventing us from ever attempting to try such delicious and delectably marvelous jewels. I must admit raw octopus was nasty when I tried it and don't recommend it, but it needs to be stated again to reverse the damage we westerners have of sushi in general to remember that the octopus served as sushi is purple because it is boiled. It is not raw as is usually typified in the prejudices of western thought.

kazu no ko - this is the yellow, and crunchy roe of the herring fish. There never seems to be a lack of kazu no ko although it is one of the few sushi items that won't make my mouth water just thinking about. In other words I never developed a keen taste for kazunoko nor is it one of my favorites.

Natto - This is one of my personal favoites. It is a breakfast food worth mentioning. Although it is a live moving creatue it has the potential to become one. Natto is fermented soy beans served with hot mustard served in a styrofoam cup. Served with mustard it is a great morning food. Just make sure to add all the tare that comes with it and add the mustard mix it up, it looks a little grody but it is worth every mouth full. At only ¥103 (one hundred and three yen), it is the most economical breakfast food readily available to those living in Japan. Natto is a budget minded food. You can buy it in family packs of three for even less money. Natto with its tare sauce(not the heavy soy sauce but the lighter and salty sweet tare(sauce)I grew to love the stuff. mmm oishii... This is occasionally used in sushi and is known as nattozushi.

The following are usually not used as sushi.

Mentaiko - Better than chile picante hot sauce on your rice. This stuff could burn a hole in your tongue but it makes plain rice so tasty, even more than ... I like it as a breakfast food on my bowl of rice in the morning, it is quite expensive but to me is always well worth its weight in gold. It usually comes in a pack of 3 sacks for around ¥900-1300 or $10-$12 U.S. dollars.

As far as I know the following items are usually never part of the sushi menu but are worth mentioning in this lense that began as a discussion on how Godzilla got It's name.

Shita - meaning tongue and implying cow tongue, not human tongue. The human tongue is more oftened known as a bero. (Watch the pronunciation of the ro in bero.)

kimo (pronounced like chemo in chemothreapy) - is otherwise known as reebah or liver rather than the anatomical kind.

Stay tuned for a future lense devoted to the foods of yaki-niku and o-konomiyaki. As always, Do Your Best! Ganbatte Ne! Makurasuki Sensei.

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Godzilla and how she/he got his/her namo

If you aren't quite sure how Godzilla got It's name, let me put it into a formula for you. You might also be curious to know or have wondered where the z or d in the name Godzilla came from then if Godzilla actually is just Gojira. The reason for the d and the z stems from the various ways westerners have come to represent graphically the sounds of the Japanese language. I personally think the z is for pizzazz. I mean what kind of killer, giant monsters don't have a z in their name.

In Japanese, Godzilla is pronounced Gojira, a combination of the words gorilla and whale. Gorira + Kujira = Gojira. Gorira meaning Gorilla + Kujira meaning whale combined becomes Godzilla. The ji of Gojira is sometimes written zi, to distinguish it from si or shi which is what it would be without the ten-ten mark. If you don't already know, the ten-ten mark is a single quotation mark put after other syllables to change the vocalization. IPA website on vowels here

Adding a " ten-ten mark to to the sa, shi, su, se, so line of of the Japanese syllabary *(See Mora(e): syllable like entities of which Japanese has 46.)transforms them into za, zhi, zu, ze, zo, or ja, ji, ju, je, jo, depending on the particular romanization used.

Ok I also wanted to mention here the proper nouns ikura written in Katakana which is the roe of salmon , and iruka is the word for a Porpoise. Avoid mixing these type of word together but use a tactic to memorize them. Here is a way I thought of to practice this kind of word in a phrase and being able to memorize them on long term memory for good. The way to memorize a word and not forget is to figure out a personal method, one which works best for you, something you can make memorable through associations you infer upon it.

If you thought that was easy then you might want to mix upo them up. If you were to say, "Iru ka?", it could mean, "Are you there? So all in all, there are three things iruka could mean.

Definitions of iruka:

1. (is) somebody or something (i.e. an animal since they too use iru in the form of to be etc.) there...

2. a porpoise, a dolphin

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Oct 1, 2008

jidohanbaiki - the japanese vending machine

Jidohanbaiki are Japanese vending machines. There are many, many different types of these machines in daily use in Japan. My experiences with vending machines have come mainly from staying in hotels in the US. From a vending machine in the U.S., I can usually get a variety of soft drinks, gum, candy, or chips. In Japan, the sky is the limit as to what is sold in a vending machine. I have seen batteries, flowers, umbrellas, ice cream, ramen, toys, energy drinks, beer, cigarettes, rice, bait for fishing, cameras, videos, and even rhinoceros beetles all sold from a vending machine or jidohanbaiki.

Let's learn the word for vending machine in Japanese.
The word for vending machine in Japanese is jidohanbaiki 自動販売機.

Let's break that word down and see what it really means-

jido - self operating or automated

hanbai - sell, to sell

ki - a machine

Put it all together and you have an automatic selling machine or vending machine, and I can tell you, Japan has some strange ones.