Japanese Self-Studying Updates (Lessons 1-8) | Blushing Geek

Japanese Self-Studying Updates (Lessons 1-8)

Early this year, I had this unrelenting desire to learn how to speak and understand Japanese. But, let’s be honest, language lessons were quite expensive, and besides, I want my experience in learning the language to be an unforgettable and something I would be proud of. Ofcourse learning it on a paid class is still something you’ll be proud of too since you did your best, but I want it to be extra special. Nah, who am I kidding? I’m just broke haha. But seriously, I really wanna know if I could learn the language without enrolling for a paid class *wink.

I’ve been meaning to write this article the moment I started the first lesson but I don’t want to sound like bragging or something, so I set it aside. But now that I’m heading to lesson 9 and how many things I’ve learn so far, I think I really need to share it. I know there are a lot of people who wanna know Japanese but got discouraged because they find it difficult or troublesome, but trust me on this, it’s ALL worth it.

Just like the rest, I’ve been to many websites and Youtube tutorials but to no avail. After 2 or 3 lessons, I got bored then quit. I think the only thing I learn so far from that experience was that I am not carved on studying something alone, I miss the environment of a full class, so I guess that’s the reason why I got bored to all the lessons I’ve been to. So I kind of accepted that the only thing I could learn in Japanese is the characters, Hiragana and Katakana.

After accepting defeat, something unexpected happened. While I was browsing in Youtube, I came across to Misa-sensei’s video about some Japanese rude words to avoid. She explained it so wonderfully, I got curious so I checked out her account and found her Grammar Lessons for Absolute Beginners playlist. I tried the lesson 1, and my! I LOVED it! So yep, I’m back to learning the language once again.

With all the things going on – blogging, reading, watching anime etc. – I could only accommodate to learn the language atleast once a week. I thought at first it’s not going to be fruitful but I realized that it’s perfect. The last thing I wanna do now is to rush things through, so this schedule is pretty much what I needed. I could watch aleast two lessons and then got a whole week to familiarize and really understand them until I do the next lesson.

Don’t get me wrong, this article is not going to be a tutorial but some sort of summary of what I’ve learn every week. It’s some sort of a journal that hopefully I could visit a year after learning the language (hopefully) and be reminded of what I’ve been through all throughout the journey.

For my first weekly update, it’s going to be pretty long since I’m going to talk from lessons 1-8 so please bear with me *wink.

LESSON 1: Japanese Grammar and Simple Sentence Structure

I already know Hiragana and Katakana so I skipped Misa-sensei’s Hiragana and Katakana guide, I haven’t checked the video but I’m pretty sure it’s as good as her other videos. It’s advisable that you learn them first before you start learning the grammar.

Japanese basic sentence structure | Blushing Geek

(Translation: Speaking of A, B desu)

  • Japanese particles are small words that indicate relations of words within a sentence. For the first lesson, I’ve got to learn the hiragana はwhich is a topic marker. (You can check out more Japanese particles in this link.) For the sentence structure above, A is a topic and desu (which is read as des) is a verb. Example:  I’m Vanessa => Watashi wa (は) Vanessa desu (Speaking of Me, it’s Vanessa)
  • Hiragana は is pronounce as WA if it is used as topic marker and HA if it is part of a sentence. Example: Spring => Haru (はる)
  • Another interesting thing I learn were the meaning behind こんにちは (Hello, Good Day, Good Afternoon => Konnichiha) and こんばんは (Good Evening => Konbanha). As I’ve mentioned, when は is a part of a sentence, it should be read as HA but for こんにちは (konnichiha) and こんにちは (konbanha), they are read as WA. Why is that?

    Konnichi – is an old word for today
    So こんにちは (konnichiha) simply means as: Speaking of today, or as of today
    The は in konnichi is used as a particle and not part of the word.

    Konban – translate as tonight
    So こんばんは (konbanha) originally means as: Speaking of tonight
    Just like konnichi, the は in konban is used as a particle and not part of the word.
  • Japan has 2 types of readings: Kunyomi (Japanese reading) and Onyomi (Chinese reading) – thus explains the complicated Kanji (adopted Chinese characters).
  • Kanji for Japan (Nihon)
    Kanji for Japan | Blushing Geek

hon could also means book, but for this translation, it’s origin or came from

  • Japan (nihon) + jin (which means person in Chinese reading – onyomi) = Japanese
    Kanji for Japanese | Blushing Geek

 

Nationality = Country + jin
Examples:
Japanese => Nihon-jin
Filipino => Firipin-jin
American => Amerika-jin

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • stupid => baka
  • is, it is, a, the, am => desu
  • tonight => konban
  • konbanwa – good evening => konbanha
  • teeth => ha
  • today => kyou (what’s commonly used)
  • today =>  konnichi (old word)
  • hello, good day, good afternoon => konnichiha
  • early, fast, quick => hayai
  • light, slow => osoi
  • scary => kowai
  • cute => kawai-i
  • late morning  => osoyou (informal)
  • good morning => ohayou gozaimasu (formal)
  • good morning => ohayou (informal or casual)
  • person => hito
  • book => hon

 

LESSON 2: This / It / That + Adjectives

Kore – this (you’re holding it)

  • Structure: Kore + wa (は)
  • Example: (You are holding it) This is a pen => Kore wa (は) pen desu.

Sore – that or it (near you or what the listener is holding)

  • Structure: Sore + wa (は)
  • Example: (The listener is wearing a ribbon) That is a ribbon => Sore wa (は) ribbon desu.

Are – that (over there – away from both you and the listener)

  • Structure: Are + wa (は)
  • Example: (Away from both of you) That is a big tree => Are wa (は) ookii ki desu.

VS

Kono – this (you’re holding it)

  • Structure: Kono + noun + wa (は)
  • Example: (You are holding it) This paper is white => Kono kami wa (は) shiro-i desu.

Sono – is that or is it (near you or what the listener is holding)

  • Structure: Sono + noun + wa (は)
  • Example: (The listener is wearing a ribbon) That ribbon is cute.  => Sono ribbon wa (は) kawaii desu.

Ano – that (over there – away from both you and the listener)

  • Structure: Ano + noun + wa (は)
  • Example: (Away from both of you) That tree is big => Ano ki wa (は) ookii desu.

Watashi no + wa (は) is different front Kore/Sore/Ano

 ***

NO is a possessive particle (‘s in English sentence) making watashi which means I to My or Mine.
Example: Emma’s cat => Emma no neku.

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • trees => ki
  • hair, paper, God => kami
  • white => shiroi
  • big => ooki-i
  • key => kagi
  • humongous => dekai (informal/casual)
  • water => mizu
  • cold => tsumeta-i (touch)
  • cold => samu-i (weather)
  • next => tsugi
  • cat => neku

 

LESSON 3: Noun Negation

ka is added at the end of the sentence to ask questions. Example: Are you alright? => Daijobu desu ka?Normally, in Japan, when talking with friends, they omit particles (such as wa は), desu (a verb) and ka (used in asking questions). Example: Are you alright? => Daijobu?

Japanese people add the word NE at the end of the sentence all the time. Example: Hot isn’t it? => Atsui desu ne?
NEmeans isn’t it? Don’t you think?
They add NE so they wouldn’t stand out or they want them to agree with him/her. (confirmation)

YA suffix is added to stores or shops
Example: Book Store => hon-ya

 ***

For noun negation, they use either of the following:

  • dewa arimasen (formal)
    Example:  A dolphin is not a fish. => Iruka wa sakana dewa arimasen
  • ja arimasen (casual)
    Example: I’m not American. => America-jin ja arimasen
  • ja nai (informal, and which is commonly used for negation)
    Example:  I’m not well. => Genki ja nai desu

 ***

Hai (yes) and Iie (no) are not usually used with friends since it’s too formal.
they use un (yeah, yup) and uun (no) instead

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • Mt. Fuji => Fuji-san (suffix san comes from Chinese reading -onyomi meaning mountain)
  • mountain => yama (Japanese reading)
  • yup, yeah, yes  => un (informal)
  • no  => uun (informal)
  • but  => demo
  • dolphin  => iruka
  • fish  => sakana
  • well  => genki
  • alright  => daijobu
  • pink => pinku
  • movie  => eiga
  • game => geemu
  • boring => tsumaranai (tsumannai – most commonly used)
  • good looking, handsome, or cool (because it’s manly)  => kakko-ii
  • new  => atarashi-i
  • interesting, funny  => omoshiro-i
  • expensive  => taka-i
  • church  => kyoukai
  • delicious, tasty  => oishi-i
  • hat  => boushi
  • tasty => umai or umee (mostly used by guys – informal)
  • coke  => koora
  • watch, clock  => tokei
  • picture, photo  => shashin
  • drawing  => e
  • flower, nose  => hana

 

LESSON 4: Adjectives

There are 2 types of adjectives in Japanese

  • i – adjective
    Examples:
    cute  => kawai-i
    hot  => atsu-i
    noisy  => atsu-i
  • na – adjective
    Examples:

    like  => suki-na
    easy  => kantan-na
    clean, beautiful  => kirei-na

***

i-adjective

  • adjectives that ends with i
  • Example: This tea is hot. => Kono ocha wa atsu-i desu 

na-adjective

  • adjectives that ends with na
  • na adjectives are good in hide and seek
  • when there IS NO NOUN following the na-adjective, EXCLUDE NA
  • Examples:
    Harry Potter is my favorite book. => Harii potta wa watashi no suki-na hon desu (hon = book [noun] follows suki so we include NA which is now suki-na)
    I like dogs. => Inu ga suki desu (there is no noun following suki, so we exclude NA)

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • noisy => urusa=i
  • easy => kantan-na
  • hot => atsu=i
  • very => totemo (tottemo – mostly used in casual conversation)
  • tea => ocha (mostly refers to green tea)
  • winter => fuyu
  • dogs => inu
  • Canada => kanado
  • easy, nice => yasashi-i (formal)
  • clean, beautiful => kirei-na
  • room => heya
  • black tea => koucha

 

LESSON 5: Negative Adjectives

Negation for i-adjective (i-adjective + kunai) (the last i is excluded)

  • kawai-i (cute)=> kawai-kunai (not cute)
  • samu-i (cold)=> samu-kunai (not cold)
  • atsu-i (hot) => atsu-kunai (not hot)

Examples (i-adjective negation)

  • Winter is not hot. => Fuyu wa atsu-kunai desu
  • December in Australia is not cold. => Oosutoraria no juu-ni-gatsu wa samu-kunai desu

 ***

Months in Japanese (number + gatsu)

  • Examples: January => Ichi-gatsu, February => Ni-gatsu etc.
  • irregular months: April => Shi-gatsu, July => Shichi-gatsu and September => Ku-gatsu
  • Know more about Japanese numbers here.

 ***

Negation for na-adjective (na-adjective + ja nai) (na is excluded)

  • kantan-na (easy) => kantan-ja nai (not easy)
  • suki-na (like) => suki-ja nai (not like)
  • kirei-na (clean, beautiful) => kirei-ja nai (not clean, not beautiful)

Examples (na- adjective negation)

  • Public bathrooms are not clean. => Koushuu toire wa kirei-ja nai desu
  •  I don’t like summer. => Natsu wa suki-ja nai desu

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • difficult => muzukushi-i
  • sleepy => nemu-i
  • quiet => shizuka-na
  • serious => shinken-na
  • itchy => kayu-i
  • arm => ude
  • summer => natsu
  • a lot of free time (could be referred to as bored because you have nothing to do) => hima-na
  • this week => konshuu
  • tomorrow => ashita
  • the public => koushuu
  • public => kou
  • bathroom => toire
  • public garden => kou-en
  • garden => en
  • stinky => kusa-i
  • house => uchi

 

LESSON 6: Past Tense & Past Negative

i-adjective Past Tense

  • katta – follows the guidelines for kunai (negation in Lesson 5)
  • Example: was cute => kawai-i katta

i-adjective Negative Past Tense

  • kuna-katta – omit the ending i then add kuna-katta
  • Example: was not cold => samu-kuna-katta  

Rundown Examples:

cheap => yasu-i

not cheap => yasu-kunai (negation)

was cheap => yasu-katta (past tense)

was not cheap =>yasu-kuna-katta (negative past tense)

 ***

se ga taka-i = to be tall (about people)
Example:  My (older) sister is tall. => Ane wa se ga taka-i desu

 ***

na-adjective Past Tense

  • deshita – formal (follows what are the guidelines for kunai (negation in Lesson 5)
    Example: was easy => kantan deshita
  • datta – informal (follows what are the guidelines for negation in Lesson 5)
    Example: was easy => kantan datta

na- adjective Negative Past Tense

  • ja nakatta – omit the ending na then add ja nakatta
  • Example: didn’t like => suki-ja nakatta

Rundown Examples:

easy => kantan-na

not easy => kantan-ja nai (dewa/ja arimasen) (negation)

was easy => kantan deshita/datta (past tense)

was not easy => kantan ja nakatta (negative past tense)

 ***

Irregular Adjectives

  • ii => good
  • kakko-ii => handsome, cool (because it’s manly)

ii Negation

  • ii => yo-kunai
  • Example: Not smart => Atama ga yo-kunai (lit. the head is not good)

ii Past Tense

  • ii => yo-katta
  • Example: The movie was good. => Eiga wa yo-katta desu

ii Past Negation

  • ii => yo-kuna-katta
  • Example: The movie was not good. => Eiga wa yo-kuna-katta desu

Rundown Examples:

good => ii

not good => yo-kunai (negation)

was good =>  yo-katta (past tense)

was not good => yo-kuna=katta (negative past tense)

 ***

kakko-ii Negation

  • kakko-ii => kakko-yo-kunai
  • Example: Mickey Mouse is not cool/handsome. => Mikki mausu wa kakko-yo-kunai desu

kakko-ii Past Tense

  • kakko-ii => kakko-yo-katta
  • Example: Mickey Mouse was cool/handsome. => Mikki mausu wa kakko-yo-katta desu

kakko-ii Past Negation

  • kakko-ii => kakko-yo-kuna-katta
  • Example: Mickey Mouse was not cool/handsome. => Mikki mausu wa kakko-yo-kuna-katta desu

Rundown Examples:

cool/handsome => kakko-ii

not cool/not handsome => kakko-yo-kunai (negation)

was cool/handsome => kakko-yo-katta (past tense)

was not cool/was not handsome => kakko-yo-kuna=katta (negative past tense)

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • child => kodomo
  • when => toki
  • cheap => yasu-i
  • there is no, doesn’t exist => nai
  • money => okane
  • warm => atataka-i (they mostly used attaka-i)
  • wrist watch => ude-dokei (comes from ude=arm and tokei=watch)
  • to be tall => se ga taka-i (used for person)
  • sister => ane
  • already, not anymore => mou
  • now => ima
  • exam => shiken
  • head => atama

 

LESSON 7: Verbs

2 types of verbs

  • ru verb – iru/eru ending verbs
    Examples:
    to eat => taberu
    to look, to watch, to see => miru
    to wake up => okiru
    to sleep => neru
  • u verb – other verbs
    Examples:
    to write, to draw => kaku
    to listen => kiku
    to sing => utau
    to talk, to speak => hanasu
    to say => iu
    to buy => kau
    to wait => matsu
    to exist, there is => aru
    to sell => uru
    to take, to grab => toru

Irregular verbs

  • suru – to do
  • kuru – to come

 ***

wa (は) vs ga (が) particles

は particle (wa) – topic marker

  • indicates what the topic is in a sentence
  • as for – / speaking of –
  • Example: This is a pen. => Kore wa pen desu
  • A は B
    B is the main thing
    (what comes after は is what the speaker wants to tell)
    A is just an introduction and just a “topic”

がparticle (ga) – subject marker

  • emphasizes what comes before が (ga)
  • Example: This is (the one that is) a pen. => Kore ga pen desu

を particle (wo) – object marker

  • pronounced as O
  • <object> wo <verb>
  • Example: (I) (will) eat sushi => sushi wo taberu

***

ni suru – used when ordering in a restaurant
Example: I’ll have pasta => Pasuta ni suru

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • to eat => taberu
  • to look, to watch, to see => miru
  • to wake up => okiru
  • to sleep => neru
  • to write, to draw => kaku
  • to listen => kiku
  • to sing => utau
  • to talk, to speak => hanasu
  • to say => iu
  • to buy => kau
  • to wait => matsu
  • to exist, there is => aru
  • to sell => uru
  • to take, to grab => toru
  • to do => suru
  • to come => kuru
  • I’ll have, I’ll choose => ni suru
  • pasta =>  pasuta
  • multi floor, tall building, Bill (person) => biru
  • (general) building => tatemono
  • beer => biiru
  • medicine, tablet, pill => kusuri
  • tablet, pill (formal) => jouzai
  • soup => suupu
  • milk => gyuu-nyuu (most commonly used)
  • milk => miruku (that you order in a cafe)
  • tv => terebi
  • letter => tegami (comes from te=hands and kami=paper)
  • toilet paper => toire no kami
  • music => ongaku
  • song => song

 

LESSON 8: Combination of Adjectives and Verbs

no -aside from being used for possessive nouns, it’s also added to adjectives to make it a noun (or ing in English)
Example: singing => utau no
<verb> + no + wa/ga + <adjective>

Another Examples:

  • Singing is fun. => Utau no wa tanoshi-i desu
  • Dancing is not fun. => Odoru no wa tanoshi-kunai desu
  • Speaking Japanese is not easy /It’s not easy to speak in Japanese. => Nihongo wo hanasu no wa kantan ja nai desu
  • It’s important to have breakfast. => Asagohan wo taberu no wa daiji desu
  • I like playing games. => Geemu wo suru no ga suki desu

New vocabularies learned from this lesson:

  • meal, rice => gohan
  • morning => asa
  • breakfast => asagohan
  • noon => hiru
  • lunch => hirugohan
  • night => ban
  • dinner => bangohan
  • to teach => oshieru
  • study => benkyou (noun)
  • to study => benkyou suru
  • tennis => tenisu
  • mouth => kuchi
  • American football => ame futo (informal)
  • baseball => yakyuu
  • to dance => odoru (informal)
  • suffix added for language => go Example: Japanese => Nihon-go
  • important => daijina/taisetsuna
  • Japanese rice wine => sake
  • any alcoholic beverages => osake
  • hate, dislike => kirai-na

 

Once again, this is only a summary of what I learned from each lessons and not a lame attempt for a tutorial. I’ve only included those that I think was important and provided some examples as a guide. If you also want to learn Japanese, I really recommend watching Grammar Lessons for Absolute Beginners by Misa-sensei. Jaa mata ne!

Japanese Self-Studying Updates (Lessons 1-8) | Blushing Geek

Subscribe To Blushing Geek

I am just a simple girl who loves to combine my two favorite things in the world - books and travel. I enjoy discovering new places, either real or fantasy, and share them through my blog. Other than that, I'm a Filipina, photo junkie, Otaku, 100% geek, a lover of all things cute, movie/tv buff, in my 20s and a proud book hoarder.

    • Too cool!

    • Thanks Geybie. Got a hard time putting them all together but its worth it 🙂

    • Good luck! Hope you have fun with it.

    • Wow! What a great find for a language tutorial. I never thought about going to YouTube for that. Great idea. And Yay, eight lessons. Cheering you on, Vanessa!

      • Hehe, it is indeed. Miss sensei is such an awesome teacher and I am really learning a lot. There’s about 40+ lessons and I can’t wait to study the all. Thanks Sophia Rose 🙂

    • Awesome post, Vanessa! My bestie’s sister began studying Japanese as a self-starter, now she’s about to begin her last year at the Japanese institute in Rome, and she’s doing really great! With everything that’s going on in my life I’m not sure I would be up for this, but perhaps in the future, who knows!

      • Awww, I’m jealous. I am really enamored to try enrolling in a language school in Japan but I’m short of budget. Let’s just see what happens in my self-studying first and if everything works out, then the money for the language school will be use to visit Japan instead hehe.

        Yes, ofcourse. Everything is possible 🙂

    • Very cool! It’s always fun to try out a new language and a way of learning it that works for you. Good luck on the rest of your lessons!