All aboard! A ship raising the car ramp.

Time = Money

So learning Japanese takes a lot of time, or money, or both. では、クラスを始める前に調べなければいけません。 And it’s your time and money, so why not do some research first? If you don’t research, you just waste both of these precious resources. This applies to all Japanese classes and teachers. Sometimes you can’t know until you take the course, unfortunately. I tried doing a traditional classroom-based course for three years and it was good for what it was. A solid explanation of Genki I and II, a grammar foundation, and a lot of vocabulary that you never got to use because conversation was saved for the higher levels. (Just a personal gripe about Genki… Read More

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pagoda in gray scale shot

The Path of Pitch Accent

So what is pitch accent? Let’s go to the self-proclaimed 上手 of it all. Or at least in the English-speaking world. Kevin O’Donnell (who goes by Dogen [see below]) is certainly メッチャペラペラ. No argument from me as to how hard the man worked to get where he is today. He teaches you pitch accent. For the government-approved dialect of Japanese. I get a bit irked by his choice of pseudonym.  Dōgen, also called Jōyō Daishi, or Kigen Dōgen, (born Jan. 19, 1200, Kyōto, Japan—died Sept. 22, 1253, Kyōto), leading Japanese Buddhist during the Kamakura period (1192–1333), who introduced Zen to Japan in the form of the Sōtō school (Chinese: Ts’ao-tung). A creative personality, he combined meditative practice and philosophical speculation.… Read More

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Go big or go home…

Go big or go home… …is a recipe due to make you fail in studying a new language. You need to do it every day, regularly. I’m as guilty as anyone else of failing to do this. So this is my new plan going forward in 2018. I’ve set my WaniKani subscription to expire by next December. So I will need to finish the course there in a year, which is certainly doable, especially since I’m not starting from level 1. There are some new online grammar resources, like And Dogen on Patreon. Heck, I might even take a physical course somewhere this year. So, go big or go… Read More

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Pitch Accent? Huh?

Recently, I learned about Dogen on Patreon via Tofugu. No, not this 道元. This one. (Although, I just now made this connection. Could it be…?) Anyways, I sort of knew Japanese had a pitch accent, but Dogen’s Patreon page makes it painfully clear that it is not a simple thing, to be ignored. Well, I guess you can ignore it, since context will provide information to the Japanese listener trying to understand my feeble attempts to speak. But wouldn’t it be cool to use はし in conversation, and have the listener know immediately what you meant? I have to confess, though, this is a BIG demotivator. It just adds another… Read More

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