Yamato Kotoba- The Original Japanese Language

Starting to learn Japanese is a daunting prospect. There are two 46 character syllabaries, hiragana and katakana, and then the Chinese characters, kanji. When I began learning, I had a basic concept that the early Japanese language had no written form and the characters were borrowed from China. Most kanji characters have an on'yomi, or … Continue reading Yamato Kotoba- The Original Japanese Language

Uniquely Japanese- Omou 思う

The kanji character for omou meaning to do in Japanese

Omou means, literally, to think, the verb. This is not uniquely Japanese, although maybe thinking is different in different languages and different cultures? It is however the root of many other Japanese words and several of them are unique to the Japanese language. I decided to write about omou first, so as to completely understand … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Omou 思う


Have you ever wondered at why every Japanese person has exquisite handwriting, when writing in English? I believe it is because they have finely honed fine motor skills, due to the fact that they practice calligraphy throughout their schooling life. Last time we were in Kyoto we were fortunate enough to experience a calligraphy homework … Continue reading Calligraphy

Kanji, how does it make sense?

A page of kanji practice

When I first started learning Japanese, I was very intimidated by the concept of learning so many Kanji. A basic knowledge is about 2000 characters, but there are loads more!!! I am reading a book about learning Japanese, which is written by a man whose father was a newspaper editor. He believes his father's repertoire … Continue reading Kanji, how does it make sense?