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Improving Japanese through Conversation with Host Family

Ariadna ROVIRA TENAS “Learning languages isn’t difficult at all for me. Stuff like math and calculation feel very hard, though,” laughs Ariadna ROVIRA TENAS. Ariadna is Spanish. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, German, French, English and Italian. In college, she studied language interpretation, translation and Japanese. “I passed yon kyuu (the fourth level) of the Japanese …

Working at Hotel After Learning Japanese

Urgenbayar Both from China, Urgenbayar and LIU Sichen work for Tokyo Business Hotel (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo). Urgenbayar comes from Chifeng in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Lui was born in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang. Urgenbayar came to Japan in 2004. After graduating from college in China, he spent two years searching for a job but was unable …

Shared Houses Are Best for Learning Japanese

Melodie ALRIC “It’s been exactly a month since I came to Japan. I can’t speak Japanese yet and it’s frustrating. But at the same time, it also gives me an incentive to study harder,” Melodie ALRIC from France says cheerfully. Melodie is 20 years old and a student at the University of Lyons. She’s been …

I’m Experiencing Japanese Culture First Hand

Maria REYES “As a matter of fact, I was in Japan from the age of four to eight for my father’s job,” says American Maria REYES. Growing up, she began to miss Japan and joined a Japanese culture club in college. “I began to read books on Japanese culture and took up tea ceremony as …

A Good Way to Make Progress in Japanese is “To Like it”

Fredrik NYBERG Fredrik NYBERG has been studying the Japanese language for just ten months. Arriving from Norway in October 2012 at the age of 23, he enrolled in a Japanese language school called Yokohama International Education Academy. “Japan is fun because it’s so different from Norway,” he says, his eyes lighting up. It was manga …

They Came to Japan Drawn by an Interest in Games and Samurai

Alberto SESTI Giulia VALENTI Alberto SESTI and Giulia VALENTI came to Japan in March and are studying Japanese at TOPA 21st Century Language School in Koenji, Tokyo. Alberto and Giulia are both from Rome, Italy. Alberto played Japanese games as a child and this led to his interest in Japanese culture. He studied Japanese language …

Learning Japanese in Japan

The best way to learn a language is to live in the country where it’s spoken. In Japan, most learners go to a Japanese language school. Japan has many such schools. And there are a lot of learning materials. The Kichijoji Language School in Musashino City, Tokyo, has four terms a year. It has about …

Japanese Maps and the Meaning of Place-Names

Do you know that the kanji “日本” and “日” (ni / nichi / hi) means “day” and/or “sunshine”? Do you also know that “本” (hon / moto) means “book,” but also “origin,” and/or “home”? In brief, together “日本” means “the origin of sunshine.” This is why Japan is often referred to, in English, as “the …

What are Common Names for Japanese?

In Japanese, “namae” usually means a person’s “full name” (given & surname), however, it can also refer to just your given name, a similar concept to English. Generally, Japanese call one another by their surnames, although among close friends they may use given names. In Japan, it is said there are about 300,000 different surnames, …

Few Restaurants in Japan Provide English Menus

Something that non-Japanese must find inconvenient is restaurant menus. Called “oshinagaki” in Japanese, the term “menu” is now also casually used. Nevertheless, most restaurants still only provide ones written in Japanese. What many restaurants in Japan do provide are menus with photos so that customers can see what food is available, however, it is still …

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