WaniKani Makes Our Mark on PixelCanvas

Last night the WaniKani forum people started working on PixelCanvas to make our mark with our lovable crabigator mascot! MatteoC invited us to join in. He used the logo to make a pixelized image for us to duplicate on the canvas.

PixelCanvas.io is a shared infinite canvas, where you can plop down one pixel of your choice of 16 colors. You can only place an individual pixel once every 70 seconds or so (depending on location I believe), so it’s a race to finish your image before others overwrite it! Our logo is 96 * 75 = 7200 pixels. I don’t know how to read the kanji yet, but I’m assuming it says Wani Kani! 😀

Check out the current progress here:  http://pixelcanvas.io/@-2068,2310

This is what it looked like when I joined. I immediately started working on the right border.

Then three hours later. I started working on the big claw after this.

Here’s a PixelCanvas screenshot at the time I made this post. I bet we will finish it by tonight.

This PixelCanvas we are using is an infinite canvas and variable cooldown, and although people might overwrite our mark (including our own members, haha). We aren’t placed very close to center, so it takes my pixels about 1:12 to be placed. More toward the center I found it only took 20 seconds to place.

Reddit Place

This is the first I’ve heard of a pixel canvas, but looks like Reddit unleashed one for its users on April Fool’s day a few months ago – called Place. In 72 hours, with no rules, here is what happened!

Here’s a slower time lapse of the same canvas.

And… an Incomplete History of r/place:

 

All the Vocabulary I’ve Learned – Handy Tool

This project took me half the day, but I needed it. I wanted a way to see, sort, and search all the vocabulary I’ve learned from WaniKani.  The WaniKani site has a search field, but it doesn’t give Parts of Speech nor is sortable.

Why did I want this? In KaniWani (a separate site that drills you on the WaniKani vocab), instead of showing you the kanji, they show you the English meaning, and you type in the Japanese translations. What messed me up a lot was all the synonyms!

The table I made includes ALL the vocabulary I learned! I’m splitting them up in a page per 10 levels, so that includes approximately 1000 words. Page 1 is done, so that’s the first 10 levels! I added a column with the Parts of Speech that will hopefully help me distinguish some vocabulary going forward.

WaniKani Vocabulary – Levels 1-10 (1,027 terms)

How does this help me? Say I want to see all the words that can signify “action”. I just type “action” in the search box and I see there are four words in levels 1-10 that contain that word.

 

Showing 1 to 4 of 4 entries (filtered from 1,027 total entries)
Or maybe I want to find all the verbs that end in る.  There are 95! Maybe I just want to see the vocab from level 7. I just type 7 in the search. So handy, I love it!
This is all very rudimentary compared to the real databases and web programming I used to do in my career, but it got done fast and fulfills my goal. I just used the WaniKani API into Google Spreadsheets and sorted/displayed the data just how I wanted. I added a new URL column that adds a link directly to the WaniKani page for the word. With a second new column, all my time was taken up by manually inputting the Part of Speech column, which isn’t given by the API, ouch. Then I added it to a huge WordPress Table Press table in my blog.
I’ll be adding other levels as I get to them.

Sēn Lín Hú Chinese Summer Camp!

My daughter (a rising 7th grader) and I will be attending the Concordia Language Villages Chinese Family camp in July! This camp is so popular they just added a second week for families to enjoy learning Chinese together.

When I was younger, this was my camp of choice, I went to Mori No Ike Japanese camp the first summer and El Lago del Bosque (Spanish camp) the next. My favorite was the Japanese camp. I remember donning a kimono, trying my hand at brush painting, learning judo, and so much more. I can’t wait to come back with my daughter!

These camps, situated across northern Minnesota focus on cultural immersion. You only speak that language, only eat that culture’s food, use the currency to buy  and so much more. The CLVway is the method of immersion at Concordia Language Villages, and reflects the Asian concept of 道 or the “way” to excellence through practice.

Practicing writing

Satori and I will get our own room and attached bath. When we first arrive, Satori will take a proficiency test and get placed in a specific group so they can teach her at an appropriate level. I’ll hang out with the parents and learn as well. We will get to do activities together too! I’m so looking forward to this!

If I can swing it, we might hit up their huge International Day (I-Day) at their German camp. Here is where all the camps get together and celebrate the cultures with dance, food, art and more.

Dance at International Day

森の池は三十歳になります!

I’d love to go back to Mori no Ike again, this year of 2017 is their 30th year of Japanese Language camp. (Come to think of it, I actually did attend their very first year opening.)

かき氷

かき氷

 

Japanese food

 

Language groups

All pictures and the YouTube video are from the Concordia Language Villages website. Maybe I’ll dig up my old pictures from when I attended too, but for sure, I look forward to sharing the new pictures we will take this summer!

Fun with Kanji Fonts

Here are the Kanji I’ve been focusing on this week (level 11). To mix up the presentation, I’m showing off some free kanji fonts I downloaded. Jitai, one of the WaniKani addons, lets me mix up the font so I get used to seeing kanji in various styles and handwriting in my WaniKani drills. Since my goal is to read Japanese fairly well, this addon was a must for me to use. Plus it adds some unexpected fun to my drills, I never know what my kanji are going to look like!

I chose a variety of handwriting and typed fonts that appealed to me, and will showcase a few of my favorites. All are free to use and have links to the download in their titles.

How to Use these Fonts in WaniKani

To add these fonts, just download them, open up the font file, and there’s a button to install them. Then you open up your Jitai script and inside it will tell you where you can add your font names. Some of these are already added in the script, so will show up if you have them installed. Fire up your drills, and you’ll start seeing some fun, new fonts! (If this is too confusing, let me know, I’ll write up a detailed post on how to do it.)

Mushin Font

Below is a very blocky style, I can hardly recognize kanji characters that I’m used to seeing with slides and curves. It’s a handwritten font. I also added some sentence grammar I’ve learned this past week in NihongoMaster to this first image.

Mushin

Mushin font

  • Hiragana and Katakana
  • Kanji (JIS Level 1 + 2)
  • Numbers
  • Symbols and Punctuation

 

Mamelon font

Somewhat similar to the above, but a more upright, rounded edge design.

Mamelon

Mamelon font

  • Hiragana and Katakana
  • Kanji (JIS Level 2 + 15 kanji from IBM Extended)
  • Numbers
  • Symbols and Punctuation

 

Hoso fuwa font

Handwriting font written with a fine tip pen, cheerful style.

Hosofuwafont

Hoso Fuwa font

  • Hiragana and Katakana
  • Kanji (JIS Level 1)
  • Numbers
  • Symbols and Punctuation

 

KF Himaji font

Super cute, fun handwriting font!  Hima (ひま) means spare time/leisure.

Note: The creator of this font states that you can’t use this font if you don’t know Japanese.  http://www.kfstudio.net

KF Himaji

KF Himaji

  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Alphanumeric
  • JIS first standard kanji
  • JIS second standard kanji
  • Punctuations and symbols
  • and more!

 

Aoyagi Reisho Font

Japanese calligraphy style font written by a famous calligrapher Aoyagi Kouzan. It may take me some practice figuring some of these out, but it looks pretty awesome.

Aoyagi Reisho font

  • Hiragana and Katakana
  • Alphanumeric
  • Kanji (Level 1)
  • Punctuations and symbols

 

Armed Banana font

This one is pretty crazy, I can barely recognize any of them! It is a pen writing style font. Very cool, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it, haha.

Armed Banana

Armed Banana

  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Alphanumeric
  • Kanji (JIS Level 2)
  • Punctuations and symbols

The default WaniKani font

Doing this post was more fun than I expected! Maybe I’ll show off other favorites I’ve been using in a later post. But I can’t stop until I’ve shown the default WaniKani font we are all familiar with.

Compare these to the above styles! Can you see the similarities? The differences?

Do you have a favorite font? Let me know!

Checking out iKnow.jp

I first looked into iKnow over a month ago, as I’d heard it was a great tool to learn vocabulary. At first glance, the website interface looks great – that is important to me if I’m going to spend any time on it. The soothing sky blue (it literally is a sky background) helps me focus during drills. But it is not a free service. I had to decide if it’s worth it for me. I could, after all, just import these decks into Anki for free.

Interface clean and easy to understand, attractive colors

 

My current iKnow Courses

This service offers several Japanese courses to get you well on your way to mastering Japanese, up to Japanese Core 6000. Right off the bat, you should take a placement test to determine which course you should take. At my beginner level, I was sent to the very beginning courses – kana and Core 1000.

Highlighted in yellow below are the three courses I’m currently working on. Two courses in Master Hiragana and Katakana (easy review for me), and a more challenging course of Japanese Core 1000 – the top 1,000 most commonly used words in Japanese.

iKnow's Japanese course offerings

iKnow’s Japanese course offerings

Master Hiragana/Katakana

I immediately starting using these to solidify my kana skills. Before using this service, I’d estimate I was instantly accurate with ~97% hiragana, and ~90% katakana. I just needed exposure to the ones I don’t see a lot. My goal is to instantly recognize and be able to type kana accurately, as I do in words in English, so the iKnow! Master Hiragana and Master Katakana courses are just what I needed.

I usually just do the basic iKnow training drills, first one in the option below. They call their drill types “Apps”. In the first drill type (I am not comfortable calling them apps), they show you a character, you hear it, then you type it. You also get a drills where you choose it from a list of answers. Sometimes you don’t get the audio. I do these very fast, as my goal here isn’t learning them, it’s more as a review to improve speed and accuracy.

Drill App choices

Drill App choices

It uses spaced repetition drills, like most of the services I use. I have to admit I am a bit confused when today it said “Course Completed” with my Hiragana course. I haven’t spent enough time to master anything at all, much less move all terms to “Strong”. It was moved to a different “Review” tab, I’m not sure why. My Study Progress in Hiragana is 100% though, so I guess I studied them enough so they assume I know my Hiragana. I’ll soon reach that in Katakana too, I purposely was going a bit slower with that one.

Master Hiragana course going well

Master Hiragana and Katakana courses going well

Japanese Core 1000: Step 1

Out of this Core 1000, they introduce 100 at a time, so I’m on Step 1. My first exposure was over a month ago with these and it was just too overwhelming for me, I couldn’t continue. So much kanji and grammar I just didn’t know, I thought I’d come back when I knew more.

I revisited this week and it is now much more manageable. I’m going to take it very slow though! I’ll do five at a time for now, until my grammar gets more advanced. I am required to be able to put whole sentences together, and there are tenses I’m barely familiar with (haven’t officially learned yet).

At WaniKani Level 10, I do know all the kanji and vocabulary they’ve given me so far, you can see samples below.

Japanese Core 1000 - sampling of some of the first words

Japanese Core 1000 – sampling of some of the first words

As for using them in sentences, I can just barely figure it all out, lol. I know all this will be super easy for me in a few months worth of study, but I’m only on Month 3 of learning Japanese right now.

Here’s some sample sentences I am to put together, thanks to both NihongoMaster and WaniKani, I can tackle these, but it’s all so very new to me! Putting it all together is a little daunting, but I know this is great exposure for me.

私は絵を見るのが好きです。
わたし は え を みる の が すき です。
I like looking at pictures.

私は友達の所に泊まった。
わたし は ともだち の ところ に とまった。
I stayed at my friend’s place for the night.

夏休みにお祖母ちゃんの家へ行きました。
なつやすみ に おばあちゃん の うち へ いきました。
I went to my grandma’s house during summer vacation.

Sentence Trainer App

When choosing their Sentence Trainer app, they quiz you on various things, listening, reading, and writing sentences. In one example, you hear the entire sentence, then fill in the missing blank. Well that’s easy enough for me!  They offer up to three hints if you have trouble.

Fill in the blank

Fill in the blank

My next drill was a bit more challenging, I hear a sentence and have to type it all out myself!

Listen and type!

Listen and type!

I needed to use one hint – they gave me “まいあさ” – every morning. I should’ve known that, but just haven’t been exposed to the actual word yet in my studies.

I drink coffee every morning.

I drink coffee every morning.

Next drill type, they give me the English translation and I have to sort out the Japanese sentence. This is a simple one!

Translate into Japanese

Translate into Japanese

So for these first five exercises, I got them all right, and used one hint. Time was inflated because I took screenshots and came back here to blog about it!

Yay, I love Sentence Trainer!

Yay, I love Sentence Trainer!

Here are the sentences I worked with for my first attempt with Sentence Trainer app.

Sentences I worked with

 

 

Motivating with Progress tracking and achievements!

I am definitely enjoying the service, it’s getting me exposure and practice to so much. I love how it motivates you by keeping a calendar and tracking your “Study Streak”. Right now my Study Streak is 19 days! You also earn Achievements.

I will need more work with the Core courses before I can give a better description on how it’s really working for me, but I signed up for a Pro account and am going to give it a few months.

If you register for a 12 month Pro account and use this link, you’ll get three months free. I’m already on a plan and don’t get any months free, but at least it could help you!

iKnow Referral Link

Are you already using iKnow or have you tried it in the past? What are your experiences?

WaniKani Self-Study Quiz Edition

There is nothing better out there for learning Kanji fast than WaniKani. It absolutely works and will help you learn over 2000 kanji in under two years. Before I started, I knew pretty much no kanji, definitely less than 10. A bit over two months later, I’ve reached “Enlightened” on many terms. In four more months, these will be “Burned”, supposedly forever burned in memory. In my drills, I usually get 94-100% correct. If I pause to think really hard on ones I don’t know off the top of my head, I’d get closer to 100%.

But that’s it, I don’t want to have to pause to rack my brain! That involves thinking about the radicals involved and the “story” and then coming up with the answer! Which is understandable and totally fine for the first week or two, but after that, I want instant recognition. I know I should place my trust in the Almighty Crabigator and completely rely on the Spaced Repetition System where my reviews are all carefully timed; which in effect forms the strongest memories by recalling them right at the point you’re about to forget them. Well, gulp, sometimes I do indeed forget them. Or I have to think for a moment to obtain the answer.

WaniKani's SRS Spaced Repetition System Intervals

WaniKani’s SRS Spaced Repetition System Intervals (click to see larger)

 

But am I asking too much?

I want *instant* recognition and 100% accuracy! I need more than 8 drills to really burn those into my brain, I mean turtle shells. There is at least one person on the WaniKani forums who I believe has achieved that, he is known for only getting two drills wrong – ever. And he does his own drills.

So I decided I want to do a little extra practice on the side, like right after I learn them – in those first few hours – drill them a bit extra so I really know them. And then letting the SRS magic take its course.

Now, I could import some premade decks into Anki, but I don’t particularly enjoy doing Anki too much. I could painstakingly make my own flashcards (which I did for writing practice), but I prefer practicing on my computer.

WaniKani Self Study Quiz Edition

Then I discovered WaniKani Self Study Quiz Edition browser extension! (The person I mentioned above authored this extension, and this is how he can be so accurate.) Just one click to enable the addon and now, right within WaniKani, I have instant customizable quizzes on my radicals, kanji, and vocabulary! It’s like a dream come true for me. Click the link above to get the script or learn more by heading to the forums with the full list of features.

How to Self Study using this app

Currently you can only drill one set, one level at a time, and I think that’s been fine for everyone who uses it, as the script has been out for a year now. You choose the Level and Category (radicals/kanji/vocab) you want to study. Below I highlighted the new menu you will see once this extension is activated – one above each level.

Self Study Options, yes the first term is “Boobs”

I chose the Radicals for Level 9 – my current level. There isn’t much to study for radicals, just recognize them and know the name WaniKani chose for them, but they are important to keep up with the mnemonic stories to remember kanji and vocab!

Then I customize the quiz options. These settings are conveniently saved so you don’t have to set them again next time. You can also choose handy Presets that have options already configured.

Next time I’ll only have to hit the “Quiz” button to start! 

Customizable Quiz options

Customizable Quiz options

The quiz begins! As an overlay, a small window appears and you can enter the answer. With lightning mode enabled, pressing [Enter] after a correct answer will move to the next quiz item. If you don’t know it, you can  press the Question icon (or F1) to get the answer. After the round, you can do another, or choose the setting to have it end after one round. Stats are displayed at the end.

Similar feel to WK drill

Similar feel to WK drill

What’s really cool is you can also quiz yourself on your listening skills! Something I haven’t looked into much, but hey, I got my first one right!

Here are some animated images that the author used to describe how it all works.

Quiz yourself on wanikani terms

Quiz yourself on wanikani terms with Self-Study Quiz Edition

 

When I first started WaniKani, this is what I so desperately wanted. A way to hide the English meanings and kana readings so I could quiz myself very quickly on the fly, right on the main Kanji page. This is my NEW BEST FRIEND! Look, it even shuffles the terms for you!

私はあなたを愛しています、rfindley!

Only downfall? I can’t use my favorite UserStyle with this script, as it doesn’t look the best, but I don’t mind coming back to WaniKani default colors now and then. 🙂

One small improvement might be to darken the background while you’re doing the quiz. Perhaps make the popup window sizeable or a bit bigger, as it gets lost on my huge monitor. Adding custom sets or combining the levels was something that was discussed on the forums, but honestly, it works fine as is.

If you use WaniKani, do you do any type of extra studying? Anki? Flashcards? Writing practice? Or perhaps Wanikani Self Study Quiz Edition?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Seeing that in this blog someday I’ll also be talking about learning Spanish, I’ll celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this cake I bought and shared with my かぞく.

And just for fun, I added some plastic Mexican flags that I had laying around. おいしいケーキです。

いただきます!

And with that, I’ll leave you some Cake of a different sort…

 

Nihongo Master Verbs

What I’ve Learned 4/24 – 5/4

Here’s what I’ve done in the past week and a half!

WaniKani - Level 9 Kanji

CharacterMeaningOnyomiKunyomi
重heavyじゅう, ちょうおも, かさ, え
負loseふま, お
物thingぶつ, もつもの
新newしんあたら, あら, にい
勝winしょうか
予beforehandよあらかじ
具toolぐ
送sendそうおく
談discussだん
美beauty, beautifulび, みうつく
表expressひょうあらわ, おもて
界worldかい
発departureはつ
部part, department, clubぶへ
事action, matter, thingじこと, つか
受accept, receiveじゅう
実truth, realityじつみ
相mutualそう, しょうあい
屋roof, shop, storeおくや
要needようい, かなめ
定determineてい, じょうさだ
乗rideじょうの
使useしつか
返returnへんかえ
度degrees, occurrenceど, たくたび
客guestきゃく
県prefectureけん
和peace, japanese styleわ, おなご, やわ
持holdじも
待waitたいま
服clothes, clothingふく
泳swimえいおよ
始begin, startしはじ
苦sufferingくくる, にが
仮temporaryかかり

Instead of showing just my current WaniKani level Kanji, I’ll also show the vocabulary I’m working on for level 9. There are over 100 entries, so the table defaults to showing 10 entries, you can tab through them all if you like.

WaniKani Level 9 Vocabulary

CharacterKanaMeaning
物ものthing
予定よていa plan, plan
泳ぐおよぐto swim
勝者しょうしゃwinner, victor
和風わふうjapanese style
待つまつto wait
乗るのるto ride
美人びじんbeautiful woman
服ふくclothes, clothing
お客さんおきゃくさんguest, visitor, customer
用事ようじerrand, business
中学校ちゅうがっこうmiddle school, junior high school
待たせるまたせるto make someone wait, to keep someone waiting, to make wait, to keep waiting
〜県けんprefecture
毎度まいどeach time, frequently, every time
勝負しょうぶmatch, showdown, contest
仮にかりにtemporarily, suppose
相談そうだんconsultation, discussion, advice
本屋ほんやbookstore, book shop
食事しょくじmeal
不自由ふじゆうdiscomfort, inconvenience, disability, impairment, poverty, destitution
全部ぜんぶall, entire, whole
天使てんしangel
新年しんねんnew year
食べ物たべものfood
火事かじfire
発表はっぴょうannouncement, presentation
記事きじarticle, news story, report, account, news article
仮定かていassumption, hypothesis
通りとおりavenue, street, road, way
気を付けてきをつけてbe careful, take care
苦いにがいbitter tasting, bitter
体重たいじゅうbody weight
肉屋にくやbutcher shop, meat shop, meat store
対談たいだんconversation, dialogue, talk
決定けっていdecision, determination
〜度どdegrees
出発しゅっぱつdeparture
発見はっけんdiscovery
二重にじゅうdouble, dual
楽勝らくしょうeasy victory, easy win
重要じゅうようessential, important, necessary
魚屋さかなやfish shop, fish market, fish dealer, fish store, fishmonger
発売はつばいfor sale, selling, item for sale, sale
表おもてfront, surface, exterior, face, outside, appearance
家具かぐfurniture
客室きゃくしつguest room
高校生こうこうせいhigh school student, high schooler
家事かじhousework, chores
何度なんどhow many times, how often, what temperature
大事だいじimportant, valuable, serious matter
和食わしょくjapanese style food, japanese food
仮名かなkana
必要ひつようnecessary, needed, essential
新しいあたらしいnew
苦しいくるしいpainful, agonizing, agonising
相手あいてpartner, companion
弱々しいよわよわしいweak looking, frail, weak seeming, seemingly weak
住民じゅうみんresidents, citizens
〜屋やstore, shop
必勝ひっしょうsure victory, certain victory, sure win, sure victory, certain win
泳ぎおよぎswimming, swim
茶屋ちゃやtea shop, tea store, tea house
〜部ぶdepartment, club, category
和室わしつjapanese style room
本物ほんものthe real thing, real deal, the real deal, real thing, genuine article, the genuine article
持つもつto hold, to bring, to carry
事ことthing, matter, action
今度こんどthis time, next time
工事こうじconstruction
返事へんじreply, response
付くつくto be attached
実力じつりょくtrue strength, true ability, true power
道具どうぐtool
勝つかつto win
受けるうけるto receive, to accept, to catch
和服わふくjapanese style clothes, japanese clothing, japanese style clothing, japanese clothes
始めにはじめにin the beginning, to begin with, to start with
部屋へやroom
始まるはじまるto begin, something begins, to start, something starts
角度かくどangle
弱虫よわむしweakling, coward
始めるはじめるto begin, to start, to begin something, to start something
気持ちきもちfeeling
小学校しょうがっこうelementary school, primary school, grade school
名物めいぶつfamous product, special product, famous goods, special goods, famous item, special item
世界せかいthe world, society, the universe
見付けるみつけるto find, to find something
美しいうつくしいbeautiful
要点ようてんmain point, gist, main idea, essence
負けるまけるto lose, to be defeated
重いおもいheavy
高さたかさheight
白黒しろくろblack and white, white and black
乗せるのせるto give a ride, to give someone a ride, to place on
部室ぶしつclubroom
通すとおすto let pass, to overlook, to continue, to keep, to make way for, to persist in
欠かすかかすto miss, to fail, to fail to attend
要るいるto need
返すかえすto return, to return something
使うつかうto use
事実じじつtruth, fact, reality
実じつtruth, reality
乗り物のりものvehicle
発音はつおんpronunciation
部分ぶぶんportion, section, part
教えおしえteaching, instruction, teachings, lesson, doctrine
付近ふきんneighborhood, neighbourhood, vicinity, environs, nearby, locality
部首ぶしゅradical
表すあらわすto express
ハート形ハートがた, はーとがたheart shaped
丁度ちょうどexactly, just
具合ぐあいcondition, health
生物せいぶつliving things, creatures, bio
送るおくるto send
名古屋なごやnagoya
平和へいわpeace, harmony
見物けんぶつsightseeing, sightseer, watching, watcher, viewing, viewer
金持ちかねもちrich person, rich, wealthy

 

NihongoMaster

I spent several days reviewing particle usage due to getting too many drills wrong relating to particles. I’ve increased my accuracy a lot, but still need to work on them more. I caved and made a OneNote on particle grammar (after I said I only write down notes in a notebook).  Now I have pages for each particle, complete with examples!

My OneNote notes on Particles

My OneNote notes on Japanese Particles

 

I also decided to add all the verbs I’ve learned in NihongoMaster, since I can search and sort the tables. Here is my Godan verb page.

Nihongo Master Verbs

Nihongo Master – Godan Verbs

 

I didn’t think I’d get much done with all this particle and verb review, but luckily, all the lessons covered kanji or vocab I already learned in WaniKani. But in NihongoMaster, I get to see and work with them in actual sentences!

You’ll notice a lot of my grammar lessons involve counters in both NihongoMaster and Human Japanese. Japanese have counters for everything it seems! You can’t just say two cats or two papers. There are special “counter” words for everything.

NihongoMaster Lessons

HUMAN JAPANESE

Still mostly reviewing all previous chapters, trying to “Master” all the quizzes. But most of the below is a review on what I’ve already learned with NihongoMaster or WaniKani.

  • Chapter 32: Counting Objects
    Teaches how to use numbers in sentences, which requires devices called counters, which are akin to English words like a loaf of bread, a pound of flour, and a bottle of wine.
  • Chapter 33: But…
    Examines how to create compound sentences with the negative conjunction.
  • Chapter 34: Adjectives
    Introduces adjectives in Japanese, along with the surprising fact that, like verbs, they conjugate to indicate tense.
  • Chapter 35: More Adjectives
    A vocab building lesson that adds dozens more adjectives to the student’s repertoire. Includes a dialogue.

JapanesePod101 Listening Practice

I finally settled on a learning track and finished Absolute Beginner Season 1 (25 lessons) and am a quarter of the way through Absolute Beginner Season 2. I plan to go over what I learned in more detail in another post.

Help me!

Particle confusion!

Learning Japanese has been fun, even addicting, just the right challenge for me. But last week, I encountered my first stumbling block (out of many to come, I’m sure). Particles!

Particle confusion

Particle confusion

It all makes sense at first, I’ve had no problem understanding the usage of each particle when grammar lessons first introduce them. But then more particles are introduced. And various usages of each particle. Some have the same usage, some slightly different. To the park. Through the park. Until the park. Listen to music. Listen to your mom. In the kitchen. In the library we actively did something. Yumiko ate the ice cream. Yumiko ate the ice cream.

Each explanation makes sense, but when it comes time to choose the right particle in a long sentence, I feel like I make one or two educated guesses, but have no clue for the third. Sometimes I have no clue at all. 🙁

It is times like these where first I need to take a breath, halt any new grammar learning, and take a comedic break.

How to use は and が

I love this guy Dogen!

わかりません!

How about you? Can you guess the right particles for this sentence? Let us know how you did!

Question #1: ここ___何____れんしゅし____きましたか。

For this week, I plan to halt new grammar lessons and focus on mastering these particular particles in common sentences: に、で、が、を and more. Maybe I will share a few tips in the blog!

 

A Wild Pikachu Appears -To Demonstrate Positions

To express positions in Japanese, we use the particle の to link a noun to a position word. The lovable Pikachu will demonstrate these positional phrases by hiding in various places.

Before we start, let’s familiarize ourselves with the grammar involved.

Post-position Grammar

Japanese is a post-positional language, unlike English, which generally uses prepositions. Both preposition and post-positions combine a noun (noun phrase). As determined by the prefix (pre/post) – the preposition comes before and the post-position comes after the noun phrase. Since Japanese uses post-positions, the noun comes first, and  the position word follows. The particle の connects the two. This is the particle used when describing possession, which makes sense here.

[noun] + の + [position word] + (に or で)

 

Right of the Flowers – 花の右

Here Pikachu is hiding to the right of two pink tulip flowers. Using the formula above, the noun flowers (はな) comes first, then の, and finally the position word, right (みぎ).

Full sentence? ピカチュウは花の右にあります。

To be honest, I’m not sure whether to use いる (animate) or ある (inanimate) for this Pikachu. Since this one is stuffed and doesn’t move, I’ll use ある.

Pikachu is right of the flowers. 花のみぎ

Pikachu is right of the flowers. 花のみぎ

Sound fun? Let’s learn more! Below is a table with the most common positional words. As with most tables on my blog, you can conveniently sort and search. I’m only using the most basic nouns that hopefully you will know if you have a few months of Japanese under your belt.

Position Nouns

KanjiKanaRomajiMeaning
上うえueabove; over; top
下したshitabelow; under; bottom
右みぎmigiright
左ひだりhidarileft
中なかnakamiddle; inside
外そとsotooutside
前まえmaefront; before
後ろうしろushirobehind; back
側そばsobanext to
辺へんhenaround here; near
間あいだaidain between

Left of the Stone – 石の左

Next up, one of the first kanji I ever learned – 石 – stone. Pikachu is to the left of the stone.

ピカチュウは石の左側にあります。

Gawa (側) means “side”, so 左側 means left side.

Left of the stone - 石の左

Left of the stone - 石の左

When taking these pictures, I know now that I should’ve spent the extra time making the noun a different color than the positional nouns, but I had a frantic dog (you will see at the end) going crazy in the backyard wondering what I was up to.

Under the Tree – 木の下

I felt like an idiot scooting around on my belly to get this picture and make sure the lowest swooping branches of the tree were included, just like the kanji character!

Under the tree - 木の下着

Under the tree – 木の下着

In Front of the Gate – ゲートの前に

He’s small, but he’s in the picture, almost buried in leaves!

In Front of the Gate

In Front of the Gate

I had to stop here, this is where my dog was able to get too close to Pikachu… I don’t want this to happen…

ピカチュウは私の犬の口の中にあります。
Pikachū wa watashi no inu no kuchi no naka ni arimasu.
Pikachu is inside my dog’s mouth!

My dog thinks any stuffed animal is her domain and supposed to be ripped to shreds. 🙁

Not safe around inu!

Not safe around inu!

Inside the Poké Ball  – ポケボールの中

Rather, let’s put him in a place where he’d be more comfortable… Until next time!

ピカチュウはポケボールの中にいる。

I Choose You!

I Choose You!

Thanks to…

Thank you to my assistant, my lovely daughter who went around with Pikachu and a basket to place all the chalkboards while I shot the photos! Everytime I called her “Assistant”, she asked me if I was going to call her Christina next (from Stein’s Gate’s Kurisa).