Posts Tagged ‘Personal’

The following text was written by another penpal for me introducing her hometown; Chiba. A small(er) town near Japan’s capital Tokyo.  The writer her name is Kaori and I wish to thank her for allowing me to share this text with everyone. This text is once more filled with kanji I have yet to learn, but Kaori was so friendly to add their hiragana readings in her mail for me. I still cannot read it fluently, but it does make me feel as if I’m getting better at reading Japanese. We must keep doing our best!








I live in Chiba at Kashiwa near capital Tokyo. Chiba is rural compared to Tokyo, but Disney Land is there. It’s said that Kashiwa resembles Shibuya in Tokyo. Personally, I don’t think Chiba resembles Shibuya at all. There are a lot of clothing shops, restaurants, izakaya, delicious ramen shops at the back alley in Kashiwa. It’s interesting to go strolling in there.

This translation was offered by Kaori herself, with only a minor spelling check by myself.



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Japanese StudentThe first thing I ever used in my quest to learn Japanese was the website YesJapan offers visitors an online, interactive way to learn Japanese backed up by a vibrant community eager to welcome new students and help those in need along the way. The website owner is George Trombley; and along with his wife Yukari Takenaka, he created the website and wrote the book series, Japanese from Zero!, based on their experiences as Japanese language teachers in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What does offer? First they offer 6 online course teaching students Japanese at a very reasonable pace. The lessons are given in a progressive way. This means that in course 1 during the span of 12 lessons the Hiragana alphabet gradually is taught, 5 to 10; in course 2 the same is done for Katakana and from course 3 onwards Kanji is taught. During course 1 and 2, sounds which are represented by hiragana/katakana that was not yet taught will be written using romaji until the hiragana/katakana is learned. The lessons teach grammar, writing and the various language skills to the student, accompanied by enough examples, all accompanied by audio examples.

However, that is not everything YesJapan has to offer. YesJapan also streams various shows of which YesJapan Daily, EigoEgg and Ask-A-Teacher are the most actively promoted shows. George Trombley, himself is the host in these shows.  He actively tries to teach students Japanese in a funny, yet highly educational manner. Both shows are highly interactive, for they are always held in cooperation with the chatrooms where students constantly stream there thoughts and George actively picks up topics from these suggestions. Unfortunately due to time differences, I have only been able to attend once these shows live. Though for those who wish to watch a show, do not despair for YesJapan also has a Youtube channel on which all shows are uploaded. I certainly recommend checking these out since some of them ccontain wonderful information about the language country and its people. ( YouTube channel)

However, what really is the main selling point for this website is its community, a feature of YesJapan George actively encourages. The three main communty tools are: Ask-A-Student; the forums and its chatroom. Its Ask-A-Student tool allows students to ask their fellow students. Believe me when I tell you that this is actively used and there enough students more than willing to share a word of wisdom with you. Of course, not everything can be put on Ask-A-Student, but do not fear for forums are there. On these forums, students, enthusiasts and George actively discuss not only the language, but also the Japanese current events, culture, the books, shows and website. In all this madness I can honestly say I have yet to read unpleasant or spiteful posts. Truly, something I recommend. But, my main love is its chatroom where all enthusiast gather to share a few words. Here often students type Japanese to practice the skills they have honed, but also to get feedback to correct mistakes if they are made. Even some Japanese frequent these forums and help correct our mistakes in return we aid their English. (Wanted: YesJapan chatroom needs more Japanese; go here).

Now do I use all features that offer? No, I do not. The teaching style of is not a style I personally like. However, some students do enjoy this. It is purely a matter of personal preferences and I suggest that you try it out and decide for yourself. However, I do actively frequent the forums and its chatroom, which I not only find helpful, but a wonderful place to spend some time.

I give 4 stars out of 5!

All images and materials are owned by

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With the Kanji I learned this week, I can write a lot of time references in Kanji: the weekdays, the day of the month, the months and time. However, some of them are hard to remember especially the days of the Month! So I thought I would type them all in one place and every day just read them out loud, until I can wake up and instantly say: 七月五日です。きょうは木曜日です。

I need to pay attention to various days of the month in Japanese, since these do not have a very regular patern for the first ten days of the month and each day of the month that contains ‘4’. I put them in bold to make sure I pay special attention to them.

While they are difficult to pronounce, to write them is actually very easy. You just need to know your math and kanji. However, in nowadays Japanese the Kanji numerals are replaced by Arabic numerals!

The Japanese weekdays

  • 月曜日 – げつようび – Monday
  • 火曜日 – かようび – Tuesday
  • 水曜日 – すいようび – Wednesday
  • 木曜日 – もくようび – Thursday
  • 金曜日 – きんようび – Friday
  • 土曜日 – どようび – Saturday
  • 日曜日 – にちようび – Sunday

The Japanese days of the Month

  • 一日 – ついたち – 1
  • 二日 – ふいか – 2
  • 三日 – みっか – 3
  • 四日 – よっか – 4
  • 五日 – いつか – 5
  • 六日 – むいか – 6
  • 七日 – なのか – 7
  • 八日 – ようか – 8
  • 九日 – ここのか – 9
  • 十日 – よおか – 10
  • 十一日 – じゅういちにち – 11
  • 十二日 – じゅうににち – 12
  • 十三日 – じゅうさんにち – 13
  • 十四日 – じゅうよっか – 14
  • 十五日 – じゅうごにち – 15
  • 十六日 – じゅうろくにち – 16
  • 十七日 – じゅうしちにち – 17
  • 十八日 – じゅうはちにち – 18
  • 十九日 – じゅうくにち – 19
  • 二十日 – はつか – 20
  • 二十一日 – にじゅういちにち – 21
  • 二十二日 – にじゅうににち – 22
  • 二十三日 – にじゅうさんにち – 23
  • 二十四日 – にじゅうよっか – 24
  • 二十五日 – にじゅうごにち – 25
  • 二十六日 – にじゅうろくにち – 26
  • 二十七日 – にじゅうしちにち – 27
  • 二十八日 – にじゅうはちにち – 28
  • 二十九日 – にじゅうくにち – 29
  • 三十日 – さんじゅうにち – 30
  • 三十一日 – さんじゅういちにち – 31

The Japanese Months

  • 一月 – いちがつ – January
  • 二月 – にがつ – February
  • 三月 – さんがつ – March
  • 四月 – しがつ – April
  • 五月 – ごがつ – May
  • 六月 – ろくがつ – June
  • 七月 – しちがつ – July
  • 八月 – はちがつ – August
  • 九月 – くがつ – September
  • 十月 – じゅうがつ – October
  • 十一月 – じゅういちがつ – November
  • 十二月 – じゅうにがつ – December

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Japanese-Language Proficiency TestGreetings,

Before I started this blog, I already had a first goal in mind: passing this years JLPT N5 in december. For those who are unfamiliar with the JLPT, it stands for Japanese Language Proficiency Test. The test is held twice every year across the world, organised by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services, better known as the JEES. Today, it is held in over 60 countries and over 600 000 examines participate every year. The JLPT has become one of the best known standardized exam that measures the Japanese proficiency of non-native speakers.

Now what does N5 mean? The JLPT is divided in 5 levels, every level corresponds with a certain degree of proficiency. The N5 level is at the bottom of the difficulty spectrum and, logically, N1 is the most difficult level. N5 is the proficiency to be expected of one who has learned the elementary aspects of the Japanese language, a small amount of vocabulary and knows around over a 100 kanji. The JLPT organizers describe it this way:

  • One is able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiraganakatakana, and basic kanji.
  • One is able to listen and comprehend conversations about topics regularly encountered in daily life and classroom situations, and is able to pick up necessary information from short conversations spoken slowly.

This immediately brings us to the one weakness of the JLPT. The exam limits itself to only testing the reading and listening skills of students, ignoring writing and speaking. It is really a shame, but I can understand that organising oral exams for speaking, and correcting writing might be a logistical nightmare. This weakness by no means diminishes the importance of this exam! This exam is accepted by many universities and employers, both Japanese and otherwise, as proof of Japanese proficiency. Besides, don’t we all love to get a certificate proving that all our hard work amounted to something?

I really have a lot to do still, before I can even hope to pass that exam, but I still have 5 months to go before the exam is held!

Wish me luck!


Countries/areas where JLPT is administered(2011 test figures)

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1. よくスポーツをしますか。
2. よくえいがをみますか。
3. よくなにをのみますか。
4. おんがくはよくなにをききますか。
5. どこでべんきょうしますか。
6. じゅうまつはよくどこにいきますか。
7. じゅうまつはよくなにをしますか。
8. なん時ごろおきますか。
9. なん時ごろねますか。

Of course, nothing prevents you from answering these questions yourself? Just copy and paste and send it as a comment.

1. よくスポーツをしますか。 
2. よくえいがをみますか。 
3. よくなにをのみんすか。 
4. おんがくはよくなにをききますか。 
5. どこでべんきょうしますか。 
6. じゅうまつはよくどこにいきますか。 
7. じゅうまつはよくなにをしますか。 
8. なん時ごろおきますか。 
9. なん時ごろねますか。

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