How to Start Learning Japanese

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Japanese is an East Asian language, spoken by approximately 125 million people across the world. It is the national language of Japan, but it is spoken in Korea, the United States, and many other places as well. If you are a native English speaker, Japanese will be very different. It will require practice, but with a little effort, you can become an effective Japanese speaker.

1 Learn Hiragana.

Hiragana is the Japanese alphabet. It is comprised of 51 phonetic characters, and each character stands for exactly one sound. (This is different from English in which one letter may sound different in different contexts). Once you know Hiragana, you will know how to pronounce any word in Japanese. Begin your Japanese journey by studying and memorizing these characters.

The minimal way to learn Japanese Hiragana : Easy Hiragana App  (iOS)

2 Learn some Katakana.
Katakana is a series of characters used to stand for loan words or non-Japanese words (such as hot dog or internet). You will want to learn the Katakana terms for English words you are likely to use.

3 Learn Kanji.

Kanji are typographic Chinese symbols that are used to stand for basic words and phrases in Japanese. Whereas Hiragana symbols are more like English letters (depicting simple sounds), Kanji symbols are used to depict complete words. Knowing some basic Kanji will enable you to understand and speak basic Japanese.

Learn Japanese Kanji by using flashcards. Kanji Flashcards (iOS)

4 Avoid relying on Romaji.
Romaji is a system of using English letters to spell Japanese words. Romaji can be useful for learning initial key phrases, or for online communications. If you rely too much on Romaji, however, you will never move on to a genuine grasp of the language. Focus your study on Hiragana, Katakana, and some Kanji.

5 Practice grammar.
In order to learn Japanese grammar, you’ll need to try to forget everything you already know about grammar. Don’t apply the rules and concepts of your native language to Japanese. Instead, try to take the rules of Japanese grammar at face value.

  • Obtain a Japanese grammar workbook and begin following the lessons.
  • Locate free online resources to study Japanese grammar.

6 Learn some key phrases.
Learning a few key phrases will allow you to begin practicing, and may allow you to enjoy some casual conversation with a Japanese speaker. Although Romaji should not be relied upon, using Romaji to learn these basic phrases can work as a good jumping off point.

  • Hello – Kon’nichiwa
  • Goodbye – Sayonara
  • I’m fine, thanks – Watashiwa genki desu. Arigato.
  • Thank you very much – Domo arigato gozaimasu
  • Nice to meet you – Hajime mash’te

How to write an email in Japanese

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How to write an email in Japanese. If you’re working for a Japanese company, or in a company where Japanese is being used, you probably have to write emails in Japanese, hence the need to know how to write an email in Japanese. This is a chance for you to make use of your honorific arsenal. In this article, Learn Japanese daily will introduce to you how to write an email in Japanese in a proper way.

A proper email in Japanese consists of: 宛名 (atena : receiver)、挨拶 (aisatsu : greetings)、名乗り (nanori : addressing yourself)、要旨 (youshi : main body content)、詳細 (shousai : details)、結びの挨拶 (musubi no aisatsu : closing remarks)、署名 (shomei : name, signature). In case both parties are already close, you can leave out certain parts, however, the email be become less formal.

宛名 (atena : receiver)

Written right in the first line of the email.

ABC 株式会社 – Name of the company or organization, the form of the company shouldn’t be left out: limited, join stock.
代表取締役  – Position, skip this if it’s just an ordinary staff.
平野友朗様  – Fullname + 様 will make a better impression. However sometimes it’s ok to not write the fullname but only Lastname + 様.

When both parties are rather close, we can leave out the name of the company (organization) and the position. It’s ok to just write the fullname or Lastname + 様. When both parties are already really close and want to be more casual, replace 様 with さま.

挨拶 (aisatsu : greetings)

For example :

ご無沙汰しております。It’s been a long time.

先日は、ありがとうございました。Thank you for yesterday.

早速のご連絡ありがとうございます。 Thank you for contacting soon.

In case of contacting outside of the company, some frequently used phrases are: お世話になっております – Thanks for always helping me, or even more formal: いつも大変お世話になっております – Thank you for always supporting me. In case that’s the first time making contact, instead of using the two above phrases, we should use: おせわになります. I hope for the kind assistance hereafter. In internal cases, the frequently used phrase is: お疲れ様です – You have been hard-working lately.

名乗り (nanori : addressing yourself)

Next, write the name of the company (organization), position and your name, just like the receiver’s section (of course we don’t use 様 for yourself). You can use the structure: Position ~をしております、fullname と申します. Some people think the name of the sender is already displayed on the email, however not every web browser will display your name right, or when you read your email on your phone, the sender’s information may not be displayed. Therefore, you should address yourself so the other person can catch a glympse of who they are exchanging emails with.

要旨 (youshi : main body content)

When you are done greeting and addressing yourself. It’s time to move on to the main body content of the email. In this section, mention the main ideas of the email so the receiver can get an idea of it. Some phrases might be:

打ち合わせの日程について、ご相談いたします。 I’d like to discuss about the meeting schedule.

先日のお礼を申し上げたく、メールをお送りしました。I’d like to show my gratitude to you about the other day.

… についてお詫びを申し上げたく、ご連絡いたしました。I’d like to apologize about…

お見積内容のご確認のために、ご連絡いたしました。I’d like to confirm the bidding information.

In case you need an answer, you can use such phrases:

「お手数ですが、ご確認よろしくお願いいたします」 Excuse me, but could you please confirm…

「お返事をお待ちしております」 I’m looking forward to your feedback.

詳細 (shousai : Details)

In this section, explain to the other person what you wish to convey, what you want them to do for you. The most important thing is to explain clearly, the used words shouldn’t be too complicated. Using honorifics is important, however, if you are not too good at honorifics, use the formal form (ます) to prioritize the content you want to convey.

In this article, you can organize the content in a list, or use bullet points… to make the content more clearly. For example:

内容       ビジネスメールコミュニケーション講座

日時      2015年2月20日(金)

場所      株式会社アイ・コミュニケーション

対象      新入社員もしくは研修担当者

参加費   8,640円(税込)

結びの挨拶 (musubi no aisatsu : Closing remarks)

After you have done stating the main body content, use some closings to wrap it up, for example:

今後ともよろしくお願いいたします。I hope to receive your assistance hereafter.

ご検討の程、よろしくお願いいたします。I really hope you can consider.

引き続きよろしくお願いいたします。I really hope you continue (the job).

ご協力いただけますよう、よろしくお願いいたします. I really hope you will give me your cooperatioin.

署名 (shomei : name, signature)

You can write your name or insert your electronic signature to wrap it up:

会社名 name of the company、部署名 position.

名前  name (if the name is hard to pronounce, there should be a pronunciation).

郵便番号、住所、ビル・建物名 (address)

電話番号 (telephone number)

ファクス番号 (Fax number)

メールアドレス (email)

URL(ウェブサイト名も記載)the company’s website.

These above information will help your partner contact you more conveniently, especially for emergencies.

Above are the 7 main parts of an email in Japanese and how to write an email in Japanese. Hopefully this article will help you be able to write your a work email on your own.