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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…

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…