Learn the TE-form song

The TE-form in Japanese is very useful, not only to make requests (for e.g. 〜てください) but also to link sentences and change tenses of verbs. Once you master it, you can easily replace the て with た to get the past tense form called the 〜た form.

While there are several songs around the Internet and in textbooks, I’m sharing the one that has helped me learn it, and till this date I hum it when in doubt. The song is courtesy of my dear friend Soham.

では、きましょう! Continue reading

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外国人インタビュー Foreigner Interviews in Japan

This is an interesting segment I discovered, that airs on the Nippon TV early morning show, “Zoom In!! Saturday “/「ズームイン!!サタデー」. It has the show cast questioning various foreigners in Japan, who are fluent with the language, about their favorite word, food, place or culture shocks experienced in Japan.


Each short interview begins with the phrase – 「どちらのくにかたですか?」followed by a series of funny revelations by the gaijins. This is an enjoyable language practice for learners because of the Japanese level of the foreigners as well as colorful Japanese subtitles for them, which works out as a Kanji learning exercise as well when you don’t understand something by speech alone. Just open up Akebi/Google Translate app on your phone and draw the Kanji you can’t recognize, and there you learnt something new!

The videos often get pulled down from YouTube due to copyright infringement and a few good ones that I’ve watched have gone down as well; so comment below if any of the linked ones are unavailable and I’ll try to upload them elsewhere. The first one has English subtitles, the rest of them don’t, and are meant for your own practice exercise. Please also share if you find more videos from the same series.  Continue reading

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Happy Birthday Nihon Daisuki!



2014年9月13日:Today is our first anniversary! I didn’t.. quite.. have this in mind though because I’ve been away for long. ^^; Coincidentally happened to notice the timestamp yesterday of the very first post, and realized it’s been one year already since I started this! And on this anniversary, I promise to regularly update this blog as often as I can, hopefully twice a week! So if you’re a Japanese learner, or just like reading what I share, please do subscribe to us by clicking the second button on the top menu. ^^ Doumo arigatou!

Ja.. On this note, let’s kanji/kotoba talk over wishing someone for their birthday or anniversary, in Japanese!

たんじょう (tanjoubi)

Meaning: Birthday
誕生 (birth) + 日 (day)

Note that the pronunciation of changes from to in this compound kanji.


Meaning: Congratulations!
You can use this to wish someone for any kind of achievement or occasion.

To wish someone on their birthday, you would say:

誕生日おめでとう! (tanjoubi omedetou!)

For formal usage, you can wish: お誕生日おめでとうございます!The おー prefix is optional, to make it more formal.

In case you forgot their birthday, and need to send a belated wish.. ^_^;


To ask someone when their birthday is:


Trivia: The “いつ” here (meaning “when”) shares the same Kanji with “なんじ” (meaning “what time”).


However, we write it in Hiragana for いつ and in Kanji for なん.

And of course, if someone wishes you, you reply “ありがとうございます!” which is what I say to you now for your wishes. ^^;

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Passed JLPT N5!




ハ~イ!\(^o^)/ 漢字かんじ得意とくいですが、文法ぶんぽう聴解ちょうかい苦手にがてです。 (/ _;)
でも、頑張がんばります!٩( •̀ω•́ )ﻭ

Yes, scores are pretty bad! But this was my first attempt, with only around two weeks of serious preparation and no formal coaching, so passing itself was an unexpected surprise. ^^ To read a detailed story on my experience with the test, click here for a post on my personal blog. Might help those who are going to take their first JLPT in the future.


Having done with N5, I’m going to attempt the N4 this December. I might possibly fail to finish preparation within just 3 months, but taking the test is going to motivate me to keep learning and not get too lazy with Nihongo. I shall try to update this blog more frequently as well. ^^


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Kanji that resemble Katakana

There are times where you’ll come across Katakana-like characters that aren’t.. really.. Katakana. Like there wasn’t enough confusion already with Kanji readings and compounds, here’s another challenge.

Below are a few Kanji that look like Katakana, with very minute variations that you might probably not notice, and simply have to depend on the context to distinguish. Much like how the number “1”, letter “l” (lowercase el) and letter “I” (uppercase aai) at times look alike depending on the font, but it doesn’t confuse a native speaker as much for a learner.

KatakanaKanjiKanji readingKanji meaning
koucraft, work
ryoku, riki, chikarapower, force
kou, kuchimouth
saiability, talent, aptitude

Share your experiences with such if any.

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Kanji: 大

Big, large, great

大 Kanji

This is my one of my favorite Kanji, and gets me somewhat high every time I notice it somewhere. Because of my presently limited knowledge of Kanji, I can only make out a handful of them from written text, so certainly when one of the most simple of Kanji like  appear, it makes me want to instantly scream – TAI/DAI! 

means large or great (also university). When attached to another Kanji (either before or after), usually acts like an adjective.

For example:


Large + Learning/School = High school or University


Large + Water = Flood


Large + Man = Giant / Great man


Large + Rain = Heavy rain

Though this is not always the case for every usage, as compound Kanji often don’t make sense. It is also used with Okurigana such as 大して (taishite) or 大きく (ōkiku). As you’ve noticed already, and with every Kanji having several readings, it is read as:

On-yomi: だい (dai), たい (tai), た (ta)
Kun-yomi: おお (ō), おおきい (大きい, ōkii), おおいに (大いに, ōini)

So you cannot just go reading it DAI everywhere just because it sounds better, as I would have liked, lol. You’ll have to learn as many commonly used words out there that contain to know the readings, if you end up getting obsessed with the character.

Speaking of obsession, even the Japanese celebrate a festival Daimonji (大文字), where large (pun intended) bonfires are lit, one forming the shape of 大.



Note that もん (daimonji) also translates to “the character dai”, wherein 文字 (monji) is the word for “character”.

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Meal Times


はん (Gohan) is the word for cooked rice ( for uncooked rice). However, since it is an essential part of Japanese cuisine, it is also used to mean a meal. The ~ is honorific and is rice, however  used informally is read めし (Meshi) and not just “han”, without the   prefix.

あさはん ・ あさめし
Breakfast / Asagohan / Asameshi

(Asa) means morning. So morning + meal = breakfast.

Lunch / Hirugohan / Hirumeshi

(Hiru) means noon.

ばんはん ・ばんめし
Dinner / Bangohan / Banmeshi

(Ban) means evening/night.

Side note: The “go” in gohan originally has the Kanji , however we can use the Hiragana due to avoid complexity.

Read more on gohan vs. meshi usage on StackExchange.

Read about honorific usage in the Japanese language over here.

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Herro Warudo!


Konnichiwa Sekai! Or as to not confuse non-Japanese readers, “Hello World!”.

This is evidently my first post on this new blog, tentatively named ほんだい (Nihon Daisuki i.e. I Love Japan) for lack of any idea for an impromptu blog title. Hosted at jp.nishant.me, once again the “jp” being a quickie sub-domain, not being able to come up with a better short one.

The purpose of this blog is to simply share my Japanese language learning process, not necessarily meant to be a systematic training to be followed, as well as links or images that I come across, to help you grasp concepts easily and in a more fun manner than formal lessons. As I am presently getting myself acquainted with Kanji(s), you might see more of that.

While I plan to take JLPT some day, I personally do not stick to only the N5 syllabus for my learning process. I get into whatever fascinates me from all the Japanese that I read watch or listen to, especially those Kanji that commonly occur, but don’t necessarily appear in the JLPT syllabus until way ahead in N3, or further. My level of understanding as of now are all the Hiragana and Katakana characters, a few 30-40 Kanji and beginner level vocabulary and grammar. So feel free to correct me wherever if you’ve got a better understanding of the subject. I’m also adding Furigana wherever possible, to help fellow aspiring novice learners comprehend my posts more easily.

That said, thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope to keep a habit of posting more often here, as compared to my personal blog.

どうぞ よろしくおねがいします!


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