April 8th meeting!


This is Stacie, your Japanese director!

Today, we went over the particles (助詞 (じょし / joshi)) used in Japanese.

Specifically, we went over は, が, を, に, で, and の.

Particles can be confusing especially if you’re not experienced with reading Japanese so don’t be discouraged if today’s meeting confused you.

If you couldn’t come to the meeting or would like to review what we went over, here are the Powerpoint slides for Japanese Particles!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through Facebook!

Have a great day!


November 5th meeting

Hello! This is your Japanese director, Stacie.

Last week, we had a combined meeting for Japanese and Origami. I kept the Japanese portion short because I knew teaching origami would take longer.We folded leaves and turkeys so I focused on Autumn themed words!

We learned:

秋 (あき), pronounced “aki,” which means “fall”

葉っぱ (はっぱ), pronounced “happa,” which means “leaf”

紅葉 (こうよう / もみじ), pronounced “kouyou / momiji.” This one’s a little more complicated to explain because there is no direct translation in English. If pronounced “kouyou,” it means something similar to autumn colors or leaves turning red. If pronounced “momiji,” it means “Japanese maple.”

七面鳥 (しちめんちょう) pronounced “shichimenchou,” and it means turkey.

感謝 (かんしゃ) pronounced “kansha,” and it means gratitude.

We also learned how to say phrases of gratitude for Thanksgiving.

私は____ に感謝しています (watashi wa ____ ni kansha shite imasu).

This translates to “I am thankful for my ____.”

Some words that can go into the blank are:

家族 (かぞく) (kazoku) – family

友達 (ともだち) (tomodachi) – friend

先生 (せんせい) (sensei) – teacher

For example, if you say “私は家族に感謝しています” (watashi wa kazoku ni kansha shite imasu), it means “I am thankful for my family.”

And that’s all I taught for November 5th’s meeting! Thanks to those who came on November 5th and we hope to see you tomorrow for cooking day!

Useful smartphone apps!

Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director.

Today, I’m going to introduce some useful apps for people who want to learn the Japanese writing system! It’s mainly Hiragana and Katakana because Kanji is a little bit more difficult to learn.

Here are the apps I will be introducing: Screenshot_20161017-160946.jpg

1. Kana Town: Hiragana & Katakana (rating: 4.8/5)

This is my personal favorite out of the five, but it has its pros and cons. Kana Town is an app that lets you study Hiragana and Katakana. There is also a section for vocabulary, but they are very basic. However, there is an option that allows you to purchase more vocab packs.


The picture above is what the app looks like when you open it. It tells you how much you mastered Hiragana and Katakana. If you click on the Hiragana tab, it will look like the picture below.


As you can see, there is a list of all the Hiragana characters to choose from. You can go at your own pace by clicking just the ones you want to study and then choosing the option to practice only selected kanas. You can gradually increase the amount as you get more confident. When you select the ones you want to study (or select randomize), the picture below will show up.


A character will show up and you have to type in the correct answer. The picture above showed く so I would type in “ku” and it it will move on to the next one. If you get it wrong on the first try, you can continue guessing or give up and get the answer. All of this works the same way for Katakana.

I personally think this app is very nicely organized and very easy to use. The design is very clean too. The only downside for me is that you can’t practice writing the Hiragana and Katakana. This app is only for being able to recognize them. However, this is a great way to get into learning the characters.

2. Dr. Moku’s Hiragana & Katakana (rating: 4.3/5)

This is for people who are having difficulty memorizing the characters! This app gives you fun and creative ways to memorize each character. The picture below is what you will see.


As you can see, it gives you creative ways to memorize each character. The only downside is that it costs money. The app itself is free, but you are given very few characters to study unless you purchase the full version. With just the free version, there is very little to do and you can’t really learn much. However, it is helpful and a fun way to learn. For those who are interested or having difficulty memorizing the characters, I would suggest for you guys to check out this app and maybe consider purchasing the full version!

3. Hiragana – Read and Write (rating 4.5/5)

4. Katakana – Read and Write (rating 4.5/5)

5. Kanji – Read and Write (rating 4.3/5)

These three apps are grouped together because they are by the same creators. This app is very nicely organized for beginners. When you open the app, you will see the screen below.


There is an introduction page that explains the Japanese writing system and about the app. If you want, you can go straight to lesson one without reading the introduction. Here is a picture of lesson one below.


This app breaks down the Hiragana characters into small lessons. Each lesson teaches you about the characters and gives detailed explanations of what’s important. You can also practice writing the characters. The app will give you random characters and you will have to write them in the box. Unfortunately, it’s randomized so you will have to either learn all the characters or just skip the ones you don’t know yet.


The Katakana app works exactly the same way as the Hiragana one, but just with Katakana characters. The Kanji one is a little bit more complicated since there is no chart to refer to. The Kanji app is a nice introduction to beginners and teachers you simple Kanji. I think it’s a nice way to start, but definitely not the app to help you learn the 2000 Kanji you need to know.

And that’s all I have!

I personally think the Hiragana, Katakana, & Kanji app is more useful than Kana Town if you want to learn the characters in more detail, how to use them, and what to look out for. You can also practice writing and listen to the pronunciations. The three apps might be a nice way to learn the characters for people who are completely new to the language. Kana Town is a nice way to review and make sure you know how to read each character. Dr. Moku helps you learn in fun ways so you can memorize better. Each one is different and has its own pros and cons. Try each one out and see what works for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful!

Saturday, October 8 Meeting

Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director.

If you came to the meeting today, thanks for coming! For those who couldn’t come to the meeting today, don’t worry! I will write about what we learned in this post. Those who came today can use this to review what you learned. This was the first Japanese meeting and I didn’t know everyone’s levels so I stuck with self-introduction and some basic information on sentence structure.

自己紹介 (jikoshoukai) is the Japanese word for self-introduction. We went over things like how to ask what someone’s name is, how to say what year you are in school, and how many people are in your family.

名前 (namae) is the Japanese word for “name.” To ask someone what their name is, you would say お名前は何ですか? (onamae wa nan desu ka?). This translates to “What is your name?” To answer this question, you want to say ____です。( ____desu.) which translates to “I am ____.” So if someone asked me お名前は何ですか?, I would respond “ステイシーです. (ステイシー is how I write my name in Japanese!)

Next, we learned how to ask someone what year in school they are. 何年生ですか? (nan nensei desu ka?) translates to “What year in school are you?” You would respond by saying ___年生です。(___nensei desu.) which translates to “I am a ____.” In Japanese, we don’t have special words like freshman or sophomore. We use numbers instead. For example, if you are a freshman, you would say I am a first year. Freshman, or first year, is 1年生 (ichi nensei). Sophomore, or second year, is 2年生 (ni nensei). Junior, or third year, is 3年生 (san nensei). Senior, or fourth year, is 4年生 (yo nensei). I am a sophomore so I would respond to the question by saying 2年生です (ni nensei desu).

The last part of the 自己紹介 (jikoshoukai) was saying how many family members you have. “Family” in Japanese is 家族 (kazoku). 家族は何人いますか? (kazoku wa nan nin imasu ka?) translates to “How many people are in your family?” You would respond to this question by saying __人います。(__nin imasu.) which translates to “I have __people (in my family).” In our meeting today, everyone had 3, 4, or 5 people in their family. If you have 3 people, you would say 3人います (san nin imasu). I didn’t introduce all the numbers in club today, but here are the counters for people:

1 person – 1人 (hitori)

2 people – 2人 (futari)

3 people – 3人 (san nin)

4 people – 4人 (yo nin)

5 people – 5人 (go nin)

6 people – 6人 (roku nin)

and so on. As you can see, the counter for people is irregular when you want to say “1 person” or “2 people.” There are many irregular ways to count and say numbers in Japanese depending on the situation. I will go into more detail about this in the future!

Lastly, I explain a little bit about the basic sentence structure. The basic sentence structure looks something like this: _____は_____です。は (wa) is the topic marking particle. です (desu) is the sentence ender. If you take a look at は, some of you might notice that it is the Hiragana character for “ha.” So why is it read as “wa”? This is because it is a particle used in a sentence. When “は” is part of a word, it is read as “ha.” In this case, you would read it as “wa” because it is used in a sentence as a particle. You might also be confused on what exactly です (desu) is. There is no equivalent word in English for this and it’s not really translatable. It is normally just called a sentence ender because it usually ends a sentence. The use of です (desu) can be seen above with the sentences ___です。( ____desu) and ___年生です。(___nensei desu). Here is an example using this sentence structure: 私はステイシーです。(watashi wa Stacie desu). In this sentence, 私 (watashi / I) is the topic, は (wa) is the topic marking particle, ステイシー (Stacie) is my name, and です is the sentence ender. All together, it means “I am Stacie.”

Another thing I explained was the question marker, か (ka). Whenever you’re asking a question, your sentences will usually end with a か (ka). This can be seen above with the questions お名前は何ですか? (onamae wa nan desu ka?), 何年生ですか? (nan nensei desu ka?), and 家族は何人いますか? (kazoku wa nan nin imasu ka?). Because か (ka) is the question marker, you actually don’t need to put a question mark at the end of the sentence. For example, you can say お名前は何ですか。 (onamae wa nan desu ka。) and it would still be a question even though there is no question mark at the end. Because there is a か (ka) at the end, it becomes a question. However, this does not mean the question mark is unnecessary in the Japanese language because there are cases where a question will not end with か (ka). In these cases, you must add a question mark to let others know it is a question. I will not go into detail about different cases because this is just a simple introduction.

And that’s it! That’s all we covered in our first meeting.

If you didn’t already, please fill in this form: http://tinyurl.com/j74ubwk

If you have any questions regarding the things I talked about, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment down below!

Thanks and I hope I see you next meeting!

The Japanese Writing System (Part 2)

Hello! This is your Japanese director, Stacie.

This is a continuation from Part 1 of The Japanese Writing System.

The third writing system is Kanji. For kanji, there is no specific chart to learn from because there are over 2000 of them. If you want to read a Japanese novel, you will generally have to learn over 2000 kanji. Kanji is derived from Chinese characters and it can be very complicated to beginners with no exposure to Chinese characters. One kanji has different meanings and different ways to read which can complicate things even more. For starters, I will explain the 2 different readings.

Kanji has 2 different ways to read: on-reading (音読み ; onyomi) and kun-reading (訓読み ; kunyomi). On-readings are pronunciations borrowed from China and kun-readings are originated from Japan. On-reading is generally used when the word is a compound word (more than 1 kanji). Kun-reading is generally used when the kanji is by itself. For example, let’s look at the kanji 力. It means power or force. 力 by itself is read as ちから (chikara). However, when you combine it with another kanji, it is read as りょく (ryoku). ちから (chikara) is the kun-reading and りょく (ryoku) is the on-reading. The kanji 力 in the word 努力 (どりょく ; doryoku) is read as ryoku since it is used in a combination. When kanjis are used in combination, they generally use the on-reading.ど (do) is also the on-reading for the kanji 努. However, on-readings and kun-readings can also be used in combination. For example, the word 見本 (みほん ; mihon) is using both on-reading and kun-reading. み (mi) is the kun-reading for 見 and ほん is the on-reading for 本.

Just like Hiragana and Katakana, Kanji has a specific way to write. These are called stroke orders. Although it’s not necessary to follow the stroke order, following the stroke order usually allows you to write the kanji more naturally. Here is an example below.10003.GIF

As you can see, kanji is a very complex part of the Japanese writing system. Learning enough kanji to be able to read a book might take you a while, but once you start learning, it’s not too bad. Normally, you learn kanji in words and not each character by itself. Learning it in words also allows you to learn more than one kanji at a time and can help you learn the meanings of them from the help of the words’ meanings. However, learning the characters one by one is not a bad idea if that is what you prefer. Kanji will probably take the longest to learn, but just keep studying and you’ll get there one day!

(don’t feel too bad if you’re worried or scared about kanji because I suck at kanji too lol)

The Japanese Writing System (Part 1)

Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director! I’ll be introducing the Japanese writing system.

Japan has thee writing styles: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. This is part 1 and I will be covering Hiragana and Katakana. Part 2 will cover Kanji.Hiragana Chart.png

The chart above is the Hiragana writing system. As you can see, there are 46 main characters. You can combine them or alter them by adding a ” or °. For example, ka (か) can become ga (が) by adding ” on the top right corner. Ha (は) becomes pa (ぱ) by adding ° on the top right corner. There are also combinations. If you combine ki (き) and a small ya (や), it becomes kya (きゃ). The key point here is that the ya (や) is smaller. If you make it the same size as ki (き), it becomes kiya (きや) instead of kya (きゃ). Another thing to watch out for is the wo (を) and n (ん) character. Wo (を) is used as a particle. Words generally do not begin with the character wo (を). N (ん) is not a particle, but it never goes in the beginning of a word.

The chart below is the Katakana writing system. Hiragana is used for pure Japanese words, but Katakana is mainly used for foreign words. It may look similar to Hiragana, but they are different so make sure to familiarize yourself with the differences. Every Hiragana character has a Katakana equivalence. Just like Hiragana, n (ン) never goes in the beginning of a word. Wo (を), the Hiragana particle, in Katakana is ヲ. However, this character is not used as a particle. In everyday Japanese, it is very rare to see the Katakana wo (ヲ). It seems that wo (ヲ) was used in some pre-WWII documents, but these days, it is mainly used in video games and manga.


Let’s look at the chart and try reading these words!

にほんご (Japanese)

ことば (Word)

きょう (Today)

テスト (Test)

オフィス (Office)

ピアノ (Piano)

Respect of the Aged Day

Hey Everyone!

Today is Respect of the Aged Day in Japan! It’s a national holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday every September. It’s also called Keiro no Hi. The Holiday can be traced back to 1947 in a small village from the Hyogo Prefecture.

Image result for respect for the aged day
Figure 1

This day is the day to express respect to the elderly, thank them for all the contributions they’ve had to the community, and to congratulate them for their long lives. Elders who turn 100 years old 12 months before this day are given a silver sake dish from the government on this day. Below is a picture of a silver sake dish.

Image result for Silver sake dish respect the aged day
Figure 2

Sadly, due to government costs, the size of cups had shrunk and the government is currently thinking about just sending a letter and ending the practice.

Communities will throw parties and give special gifts to the elders.

Image result for respect for the aged day
Figure 3

In America, we have Grandparents’ Day, but we don’t have a day where we respect the elderly in general. The Japanese show great respect for the elderly. It is part of their culture.

For this day, maybe you can call your grandparents or do something nice to an elder.



First Meeting!

Hello folders and linguists!

First meeting is on September 28th, 5:00-5:50PM, Lincoln Hall 1028.

We are planning on splitting the meeting in half as many have expressed interest in either learning origami or Japanese. Those who want both should come in the first half and stay for the whole hour.

5:00-5:25 : Japanese

5:26-5:50: Origami

If you have origami paper, please bring it to the meeting. We received a huge amount of interest on Quad Day and, despite stocking well on origami paper beforehand for the club, feel that we may not have enough paper to sustain everyone who wants to experiment and try folding creations freely (as that is how we all learn origami).

Want to buy origami? If you have access to a car or are okay with taking the buses (Red C or Yellow N), there are arts and crafts stores “Jo-Ann” and “Michaels” outside of campus. Otherwise, go to AMKO. The store is very clustered and you’ll find it in the corner that’s straight ahead the entrance when you walk in (if still confused ask for help because they DO have it there). The paper is with other miscellaneous things. Now, origami paper is expensive, but the styled paper at AMKO (with the designs on it) is actually cheaper per page than amazon or crafts stores. They have tissue-esque origami paper too, but that is NOT recommended for beginners.

Any more news will be posted here!

We hope to see you at our first meeting!