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Beginner Japanese Tip: Overcoming the Ambiguity of “Daijobu”

One of the more challenging aspects of learning Japanese is dealing with words that have multiple—often opposite—meanings. For beginners, one prominent example of this phenomenon is the word daijobu. Essentially, this word represents the concept of being “OK” or “all right.” For example, if you trip and fall in public, a passerby may ask, “daijobu…

How to Reduce Your Cost of Living in Japan and Thrive on a Tight Budget

There’s no beating around the bush: Japan is not a cheap place to live in Asia. Of course, especially compared to many European and North American countries, Japan’s cost of living is not particularly expensive either. Japan is experiencing inflation, but it’s significantly lower than that experienced by other high-income countries. Currently, the yen is…

Why the Japanese Nintendo 3DS Is an Amazing Device for Learning Japanese

In my ongoing (and perhaps never-ending) quest to achieve full Japanese literacy, I’ve developed a reputation for being a digital flashcard addict. However, effective as they are, flashcards alone are not enough to become fully literate in Japanese (as friends and colleagues often remind me). Going beyond textbooks and immersing yourself in native Japanese content…

Moving to Japan? Learn Katakana First.

If you’re moving to Japan (or even taking an extended vacation), you’ll want to start learning the language, including how to read. Register for a class or buy a coursebook. You’ll start first from hiragana, then katakana, and finally kanji. It’s a natural progression. Actually, it’s not. Or at least, not for everyone. Hear me…

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