N4 Grammar: Using tebakari and youda post image

This week, I’m continuing on with N4 grammar points by talking about how to use verbs with particles and other phrases. This month, I’m going over tebakari and youda. You can use bakari to talk about only doing one thing. Do you know when to use youda in conversation. How do you use bakari? Watch [...]


Power Harassment in Japan

Power Harassment in Japan post image

Every Monday, my family and I sit around the TV and watch スカッとジャパン.  スカッとする roughly means to feel refreshed or exhilarated.  It can also refer to the feeling you get when someone gets their come-uppings, so to speak.  So there are numerous stories of a bad boss treating their employees badly and then their fall [...]

December JLPT 2016 First Impressions post image

This July JLPT is only available in a few countries, but the December test is the big one.  This test is conducted all around the world.  And for a lot of people, this is the one shot you get at passing the exam until next year.  It can be pretty intense, considering a lot of [...]


Last Minute JLPT Advice

Last Minute JLPT Advice post image

Ok, this Sunday is the test.  And last week, I shared a few things you can do in these last couple of days.  And hopefully, you’ve been making use of those over the last week.  I’ve got a few more last minute pointers before you head off to the test.  It’s important to realize that [...]


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Preparing for the December JLPT

We are inching closer to the big test day on December 4th. I’m getting regular emails from everyone about what they can do to increase their score this late in the game. You’ve studied as much as you were motivated to, you hopefully went through all those JLPT prep books you bought to get ready [...]


JLPT N4 Kanji

JLPT N4 Kanji post image

At the N5 level, the kanji that is introduced is very rudimentary.  You only need to know around 100 characters.  That doesn’t give you much to work with.  You learn most of the numbers you will need, which is the first thing you need to know in any language.  And there are few basic characters [...]


How to use Japanese Particles

How to use Japanese Particles post image

One of the most common things I get emailed about every month is how to use Japanese particles.  They are a tricky bunch of grammar points that sometimes don’t correlate well with something in other languages.  Some particles match up fairly well, while others at first glance, appear to match up with something in English, [...]


The Final Month Preparations

The Final Month Preparations post image

This season tends to be my busiest.  In October, we have a series of sports days, 運動会うんどうかい, to plan for and attend as well as some Halloween events.  In November, I get swamped with a seasonal translation project that takes up  a good portion of my time.  And then, in December, we have Christmas, which [...]


Being Ready to Talk in Japanese

I was in the store the other day picking up some knives that I had bought as a wedding gift for my friend. Initially I was a bit nervous because I managed to forget the receipt for the knives that I had just purchased the week before. So I was afraid they wouldn’t let me [...]

N4 Grammar: Using souda, sugiru, and tagatteiru post image

This month, I’m continuing on with N4 grammar points by talking about how to use verb stems with some important structures. This month, I’m going over souda, sugiru and tagatteiru. You can use souda and tagatteiru to talk about impressions. Do you know when to use ~tai and when to use ~tagatteiru. How do you [...]


Sins of the Son

Sins of the Son post image

In America, kids are typically on their own at age 18 or at the very least after they have graduated from college. A parents responsibility for their deeds good or bad tends to stop there. We don’t hear a lot from the parents of grown criminals. They typically don’t get a mention. The situation is [...]


I’ve been teaching English for well over 12 years now. And I have taught all types from children to adults, from company presidents to housewives. I’ve learned that everyone tends to learn a little differently and is motivated to learn a language by different things. I’ve always wondered if there is a significant difference in [...]