Category Archives: Japanese

Japanese Newspaper Compounds: The 1000 Most Important in Order Frequency

Japanese Kanji Book Recommendation

An excellent Japanese kanji book recommendation for people who want to improve their chances of understanding a Japanese newspaper.

The book contains the 1,000 most important kanji compounds found in Japanese newspapers. Although the book is rather old and is now out of print, it is still a very valid publication worth having on your shelf.

Click here for the Amazon link.

Japanese Newspaper Compounds: The 1000 Most Important in Order Frequency
Japanese Newspaper Compounds: The 1000 Most Important in Order Frequency



Jgram – Short for “A great website for learning Japanese grammar”


Grammar is not everyone’s favorite part of language learning. We all know that. How do you go about learning all the different structures in Japanese? There are so many different structures, and looking them up can be a real challenge sometimes. Many don’t have English equivalents, and using a dictionary is almost always useless.

Enter “Jgram“!

It’s so easy to look up structures and see actual examples in context.

It’s free to use and has a very intuitive interface. It’s also easy to copy and paste into a spreadsheet so you can make your own lists, and if you’re really keen, create Anki decks with.

You’ll find it has also been conveniently categorized into JLPT levels, making it even more useful when studying for that nasty grammar section.

Make sure you check it out. It is highly recommended.

足と脚の違い 『あし』 Lesson 002

足と脚の違い 『あし』 Lesson 002

Time for another kanji lesson. Same reading, slightly different meaning… 足と脚の違いって何?

This time, we’re looking at 「足」 and 「脚」. Both of these kanji are read  「あし」.

  1. 足- Think of this one as your foot (easy to remember by looking at the shape on the bottom. On the left is your heel and your toes are represented by the tapered side on the right.
  2. 脚 – This one here, is for your leg.

Thanks for reading this 漢字使い分け教室 series – stay tuned for future posts on this topic. I still have quite a few kanji to go through.



Difficult Japanese Kanji

Difficult Japanese Kanji: Tsuruma & Tsurumai

Difficult Japanese Kanji: Tsuruma & Tsurumai

Difficult Japanese Kanji
Tsurumai Station

Difficult Japaense kanji like this one can really make it hard for people… not to mention discouraging!

What do we have in this photo?

This is a directional sign in a local subway (Tsurumai Station on the Tsurumai Subway Line in Nagoya City). It displays information about the library, and the JR station.

What’s unusual about it?

Well… the one which I’ve numbered ①, is for the library. The place name 鶴舞 is read “tsuruma”. The one numbered ②, is for the JR station, and even though it uses the exact same kanji, it is read “tsurumai” (the subway station is also read this way).

In addition, there is also a park right outside exit 4, which is called Tsuruma Park (鶴舞公園) which also uses the same kanji.

How do you type it into your computer?

To get the characters up on your screen, you need to type in “tsurumai”… this will bring up 鶴舞.

Seriously, how much harder could a writing system get?

Do you know of any other really messed up kanji examples?


漢字使い分け教室 『あう』 Lesson 001

漢字使い分け教室 『あう』 Lesson 001

This is the first post for this series. Information is based on materials released by Japan’s 文化庁.

外国人aren’t the only people who have trouble figuring out which kanji to use when presented with a number of options with the same reading. Japanese school students (and sometimes adults too apparently) also encounter moments of ambiguity where these materials may be used for reference.

The original guide contains dozens of kanji, so I’ll be breaking them up into digestible chunks for you (and me), otherwise they may be a little difficult to remember effectively.

For the first lesson, we’re talking about 会う・合う・遭う. The reading for all three of these words is あう.

The detailed explanations can be found in the below graphic, and although in Japanese, are actually quite easy to understand; especially given that the source material is originally intended for Japanese natives. Here is a basic summary;

  1. 会う – mainly used with people meet face to face.
  2. 合う – to match or suit. Also to do together (話し合う for instance).
  3. 遭う – to meet with some unfortunate, unforeseen (incident etc).

Thanks for reading this 漢字使い分け教室 series – stay tuned for future posts on this topic – we have a whole bunch of kanji to go through.

Please leave any comments or questions below.

漢字使い分け教室 『あう』 Lesson 001