Tag Archives: language

Project: English Language Grammar for TESOL

Over the past few years I’ve been piddling about working on an English Language grammar that covers the language in a comprehensive way that is also useful as a single go-to reference for teaching. I have a few goals with this project: Continue reading


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Personal Growth

I have seen the future! My future, and it’s glorious.  Better than I had ever thought possible, truly.  And I will, as my favorite starship captain always says, “make it so.”

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Ways to learn and memorize Kanji

As a long-time student of Japanese one ever present aspect of my study is that of kanji.  For my generation the word kanji is fairly well known, for older generations it means Chinese character or glyph.  Though called Chinese characters the word kanji is Japanese.  The reason for this is that the Japanese language adopted the Chinese writing system some centuries ago.   Continue reading

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Mnemonics for Japanese

I recently mentioned my intent to write a book about Teaching Yourself Japanese, well, I’m making progress already.

I’ve been writing mnemonics for making memorizing the Japanese phonetic syllabary (syllabic alphabet) easy.  I’m focusing the mnemonics on the American English dialect because that’s my native dialect and I can’t claim any expertise on any others.  I figure by making that clear in the text that is the least biased way I can write and it still be effective.
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A view of the world through Japanese ears

I think I’d like to write a short story using the linguistic world view of the Japanese language. The sheer contrast in the way things are phrased and the polite/casual, and humble/honorific spectrums are somewhat alien in English. So the challenge then is, how do I represent these things paying due to the Japanese without using Japanese? Well, that is the challenge, and I’m usually up for a good challenge. Let’s see if I can give you a taste of the sort of flavor this short story might have.


“If you would lower it to my level, let me carry Mr. Undermountain’s baggage.”


“How much so, I’m helped. Would Mr. Horsegrounds be lively?”


“Only under your shadow I am. I put forward my good will from now on and hope you will extend the same to me.

Basically what I did was translate the meaning of the words as directly as possible while being a bit loose in terms of grammar and phrasing. The use of names in this case is meant to represent how the Japanese usually refer to their people they’re talking to by their last name rather than a second person pronoun. I didn’t stick to that throughout though since subjects aren’t required in Japanese. So in the cases where I needed to fill in a subject for grammaticality in English I did use a pronoun. I’m happy to hear your comments, feelings, and corrections, though keep in mind I’m taking liberties with both languages here.


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Food here thus far:

It’s been an adventure, it’s really hard to figure out what I’m eating because half of the names of stuff are written in kanji I don’t know. So I’ve been questing to learn what stuff is. I really expected most of the food here to be fish, because that’s what you always hear. でもそうじゃない! (but it’s not true!) There’s a crap ton of pork and beef and some chicken as well. Turkey is very rare here unlike in the US. Sure there are some fish dishes and shrimp and other seafood as well but it’s not nearly as huge of a thing as I expected.

Things I’ve learned about food in Japan:

Western food is IN, but only if it’s been totally Japanicized.

Wheat bread does not exist here.

70% of breads in bakeries are filled with something, some are sweet, some are savory.

Pork is either Buta or Ton, sometimes with Nikku (the word for meat) sometimes without.

Beef is usually Gyu, but it may be something else I havn’t figured out yet as well.

Seaweed is in tons of things you’d never expect, like combu-filled bread for instance.

Wakane Udon is primarily seaweed, the kind I had today had Spinach and a half of a boiled egg as well. Kitsune Udon has pieces of fried tofu, Kakiage Udon has a tempura mixture in it. If you don’t know Udon are big fat japanese noodles, contrasted with soba which are usually thin and spaghetti-like. Raamen or Ramen are thin noodles as well but the dishes are different than soba dishes, they’re also made from a different flour. The precise differences must be discovered somewhere else. Raamen apparently comes from the same word as Lo-mein, it’s a transliteration from Chinese both ways.

So far, Kitsune Udon is my favorite noodle dish. The broth is delicious, kind of sweet but a good salty contrast.

One other thing I’ve learned somewhat related to food but other things as well… the American dollar is worth jack shit here… Europeans come here and feel rich. It makes me sad :-/ Now is not the time to travel as an American. Oh also, Japanese coke is “Refreshing and Uplifting” so it’s gone one up on US coke I think.

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