2017/03/28

Welcoming new members in Japanese.




Hi, there!
Sorry for not updating for such a long time.
I can't believe one month has passed since the last post.

By the way, have you already started communicating in a Japanese speaking group on Facebook or any other SNS as I wrote in my previous posts?
Then, it's YOUR turn to welcome a new member to your community.
That's the main topic for today's lesson.

For beginners

If you are a beginner learner of Japanese language, remember just one new word.
It's ようこそ (Youkoso) which means "Welcome".
But this is too short as a warm welcome, so, it will be much better if you add your self-introduction. If you don't remember how to introduce yourself in social media, please refer my past article on this topic. "ようこそ" and your self-introduction will be a perfect welcoming message for a beginner.

Now, the problem for beginners is that it is not easy to find self-introduction among thousands of posts.
In this case, you can visit "The Nihongo Learning Community" again, and find the list of self-introductions by native Japanese speakers.
日本語話者の自己紹介まとめ List of self-introductions by native Japanese speakers

In this group, of course you can see lots of non Japanese speakers introducing themselves in Japanese, too. If you would like to welcome them in Japanese, you can refer this list.
学習者・非母語話者自己紹介まとめ List of self-introductions by learners and non Japanese native speakers

For A2 level learners

If you feel above-mentioned welcoming message is not challenging, then, you can add some questions. For example, when the new member is a student, you can ask his or her major, something like this.

ご専攻は何ですか?
Go-senkou wa nandesuka?
What do you major in?

If he or she is already working, then you can ask like this.

お仕事は何ですか?
O-shigoto wa nandesuka?
What do you do for a living?

As a closing, you can add this pattern.

ここで一緒に〜ましょう!
Kokode isshoni ~ mashou!
Let's do ~ here together!

What you do together must be something related to the group you belong to.
For example, If you are in the "The Japanese Learning Community", You can tell him or her to learn Japanese together as following.

ここで一緒に日本語を勉強しましょう!
Kokode isshoni nihongo-wo benkyou shimashou!
Let's learn Japanese here together!

For B1 level or higher

One of the more powerful ways to welcome new members is finding something you have in common with them. Just look at the profile and find something you like, or somewhere you have been.

If you find something you like in their profile whether it's about books sports, or anything, then you can add these expressions.

新海誠の映画がお好きなんですか? 私もです。」
"Shinkai makotono eigaga o-sukinandesuka? Watashimo desu."
"Do you like the films by Shinkai Makoto? Me, too."

If you find a common place that you've also been to, then you can add these expression.

「私もブダペストに行ったことがあるんですよ」
"Watashimo Budapesutoni itta kotoga arundesuyo."
"I have been to Budapest, too."

Even if you can't find anything in common, it's OK. If you have heard about their birth place or where they live, you can tell them this way.
「~ご出身なんですね。行ってみたいです。」
"~ go-shussin-nandesune. Itte mitaidesu."
"You are from ~. I would like to visit there."

This "〜てみたい" is very convenient expression when you have nothing in common with them.
Literally, it means "I would like to try ~ing."
So, if somebody is sharing a picture of any food, you can say "食べてみたいです" (I want to try eating it.) . Or "聞いてみたいです"(I want to try listening to it.) for any post on a certain piece of music.

Example

Suppose you were a Canadian and welcoming a Japanese whose name is Makie from Hokkaido, where you have never been to, to a Shinkai Makoto's  fans group. Then your welcoming message would be like this.

ようこそ、まきえさん!
日本語を勉強中のカナダ人です。
「君の名は。」の奥寺先輩にハマってます。
北海道ご出身なんですね。行ってみたいです。
ここで一緒に新海さんのアニメについて話しましょう!
Welcome, Makie!
I'm a Canadian learning Japanese.
I like the character Ms.Okudera in the film "Your name."
You are from Hokkaido, right? I want to visit there someday.
Let's talk about Anime by Mr.Shinkai in this group!


This is the end of the lesson today.
I hope you found it helpful.

But as I always remind you, please don't stop here. Before you turn your TV on, open the links I shared in this article, and start to communicate in Japanese. Just one post will change your day.

In the next post, I will write how to add short captions to your photos. If you have an account on Instagram, you can't miss it!

2017/02/26

Expressing Approval in Social Media




Hi, there!
I guess you would have already introduced yourself in a Japanese speaking community in Facebook or other social media by now.

Now, the most easiest way to communicate with Japanese people is showing your sympathy, expressing approval or agreeing with somebody else. It's much easier than arguing something you can't agree, or explaining something they don't know. So, if you are not so confident in your Japanese level, start with these activity.

いいですね Iidesune

The most common expression for this purpose is "いいですね"(iidesune) which means simply "It is good.". You can reply with this expression to all the posts instead of tapping on "like" button in Facebook.

"It's not raining today."
"Iidesune!"

"I ate a hamburger."
"Iidesune!"

"I like Shinkai Makoto."
"Iidesune!"

"desu" as in "Iidesune!" makes a sentence polite, so if you reply to your close friend or kids, just "いいね!"(Iine!)will be enough.

同感 Doukan


When somebody posted his or her opinion, "Iidesune!" is not wrong, but "Doukan desu." is more appropriate.

「手塚は宮崎や新海よりも偉大な作家だ」
(Tedukawa Miyazakiya Shinkaiyorimo idaina sakkada.)
"Tezuka was a greater creator than Miyazaki or Shinkai."
「同感です」
(Doukan desu.)
"I agree."

As I wrote above, "desu" as in "Doukan desu" is a polite way. So when you speak with your close friends, you can omit "desu".

「『君の名は。』見たいなあ。」"
(Kiminonawa mitainaa)
"I want to watch the movie "Your name"."
"同感。"
(Doukan.)
"I agree."

However, when there is no opinion in a post, you can not use this expression.

「『君の名は。』見たよ。」
"I watched the movie "Your name."."
"Doukan desu." (Wrong)
"Iidesune." (Correct)


たいへんですね。 Taihen desune.


"Iidesune" means "It is good.", as I wrote above, so apparently, you can not use this expression when you show your sympathy to a person who experienced something bad, such as losing their money, or catching a cold.
In that case, you can say 「たいへんですね」(Taihen desune) or "That is hard." literally.

For example,

「頭が痛い」(Atamaga itai) "I have a headache."
「たいへんですね」

「お金がない」(Okanega nai) "I have no money."
「たいへんですね」

「休みがほしい」(Yasumiga hoshii) "I want a day off." (I don't have day off.)
「たいへんですね」

Cultural Note

In Japan, evaluating directly somebody who is superior is not considered polite.
For example, "You are a good teacher." is not recommendable even though it is a positive evaluation.
In this case, you can say "勉強になりました"(Benkyouni narimasita) or "I could learn a lot (from your post)." in stead of "Iidesune!".


This is all for today's post.
If you have any question, please don't hesitate to ask in a comment.
 In the next post, I will write on how to ask question.
Have a good day!


2017/02/06

How To Introduce Yourself in Social Media.



In the previous two posts, I wrote how to find a Japanese group in Facebook, and how to read posts in those Japanese groups. Now, it's time to start posting. You don't know what to post? Then introduce yourself!

The Two Powerful Keywords


It is not difficult to introduce yourself in Japanese. Even if you are a total beginner, only two powerful keywords make it easier.

The first keyword is "よろしく" or "Yoroshiku".
Literally, it means "nicely". But it can carry various meanings, depending on the context, such as "Nice to meet you." or "Thank you in advance.". If it is your first post in a group, of course it means the former.

This is a perfect expression for young people like high school students to introduce themselves. But if you are an adult, you can make it a little more formal by adding "おねがいします" or  "onegaishimasu", which means "Please".

"します" (shimasu) in this expression is a polite form, but if you are trying to participate in a professional group, you can make it more humble expression, by using "いたします" (itashimasu) instead. Then, you can make yourself sound like a business person or more professional person.

The second keyword is "はじめまして"(Hajimemashite).
When you are in a Japanese speaking group, you may find other Japanese people using it. It means "The first time" literally, and it is often used in a self-introduction.  I don't recommend this expression in a casual situation, since it sounds a little formal, but you can combine this with "よろしくおねがいします" (Yoroshiku onegai shimasu) or "よろしく おねがい いたします" (Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu) in a more professional situation.

So, if you are teenager, try this version.
"よろしく!"
"Yoroshiku!"

If you are an adult and going to participate a group which relates to your personal interest, I recommend this version.
"よろしく おねがい します。"
"Yoroshiku onegaishimasu."

If you would like to introduce yourself as a professional person, this is the best.
"はじめまして。よろしく お願い いたします。"
"Hajimemashite. Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu."

It is necessary to mention your name if you introduce yourself in person, but here, you are in a Facebook group, and your name is displayed to everybody. If your name is written in Japanese or English alphabet, maybe you can omit it.

Your nationality


If you can invest a little more time to build stronger relation among other members in a group, I recommend to include your nationality.

As I wrote in "Write your profile in Japanese.",  "人"(jin) is useful to mention your nationality. But it is not your profile here, so you have to make a sentence. Don't worry, it's very easy. Just put "です"(desu) after "人".

e.g.
"日本語勉強中のカナダ人。"
"A Canadian who is  learning Japanese."

"日本語勉強中のカナダ人です。"
"I am a Canadian who is  learning Japanese."

Sometimes, I see Japanese learners introducing themselves using "から来ました。". But it means "I came from (somewhere).", so it is wrong if you are still in the place mentioned in your introduction. If you don't have nationality of the country you live, then, you can say "〜に います。"('somewhere' ni imasu.) which means "I am in 'somewhere'.". 

e.g.

"ハンガリーに います。"
"I am in Hungary."

"ベトナムに います。"
"I am in Vietnam."

"コソボに います。"
"I am in Kosovo."

"エジプトに います。"
"I am in Egypt."

Appreciating for the acceptance


This is not necessary for groups where you don't need to send a request to join, but if you do, I recommend you to include your gratitude for the acceptance.

The casual way is like this.
"承認 ありがとう。" (Shounin arigatou.)
"Thanks for the acceptance."

If you would like to use polite form, it will be like this.
"ご承認 ありがとう ございます。"

And for the more professional situation, I recommend this version.
"ご承認いただき ありがとうございます。"

"承認" means  (You guess it.) "acceptance".  When you put "ご" before the noun, you can make it more formal.

Finally, suppose you are Hungarian who are accepted to any professional group where their common language is Japanese. Then your self introduction will be following.

はじめまして。
ご承認ありがとうございます。
日本語(を)勉強中のハンガリー人です。
よろしくお願いいたします。


OK, this is all for today. 
Thank you for reading to the end of the article.

But please note, that only reading my post will not improve your Japanese. Do not forget to post your self-introduction to any Japanese groups. I wrote how to find them in my previous post, but if you can't find a group yet, try "The Japanese learning community."

And please share your experience in the comment. I hope you can start your new life in a Japanese speaking group. Good luck!


2017/01/28

How to Read Japanese on Social Media with Reading Support Tools



For the Japanese people in my generation, reading "real English" used to be something from another world for a long time. "Real English" means the one which the native speakers use. We knew all English sentences in our textbooks are not "real", because it was written only for students. And we did not have any access to the "real" English, except Hollywood movies. So, when I visited Canada thirty years ago, I was not sure if I can communicate with the "real" English speakers.

But thing are different now.

When a Japanese teenager takes his or her smartphone out of the pocket, the "real" English is just some taps away. Twitter is full of inspiring stories, jokes, or hoaxes. They are truly "real".

So, for the foreign language learners, I recommend to access those "real" language from the very beginning stage, instead of irrelevant sentences you find in the textbooks.

The easiest way is to search in Instagram. I advised you before to search with the Japanese keywords related to you, such as your nationality or profession to connect with Japanese people. But if you are not ready to connect with them and you are interested only in reading the "Real" Japanese, then, you can use any keywords. Rather, I recommend you to use something you love, even though you are not familiar with, such as names of Japanese towns you find in your favorite Anime.

The reason I recommend Instagram is, as I wrote it before, you can use the photos as visual aids. Even if you don't understand the Japanese sentences written as captions, you can estimate the meaning with the photos.

But, what if you haven't started learning Japanese yet?

No problem. You can use tons of reading assistance.
I will share with you just three examples of them below.

1. Google translation

If you are totally a beginner of Japanese language, I recommend to install the Google Translate extension into your Chrome.
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-translate/aapbdbdomjkkjkaonfhkkikfgjllcleb
Just highlight and right click the part of the web page you are reading, and you can get the result in another window. You don't have to even copy and paste the text.
The upside of this extension is you can translate a whole sentence, or even a paragraph if it is needed.



2. Google  Dictionary

The downside of Google translate is that it opens in a new tab. Sometimes it takes half a second, which is too long in this digital era.
So, if you are looking for much faster extensions, I recommend Google Dictionary.
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-dictionary-by-goog/mgijmajocgfcbeboacabfgobmjgjcoja
It opens in a small pop-up. You don't have to wait until a whole new tab opens.



3. Rikaikun

The third option is Rikaikun. If you are a FireFox user, the extension is called Rikaichan. But they are basically same.
Once you install this extension, you don't have to even click the word you want to look up. Just place your mouse pointer over the word you want to look up, then you will see the blue pop-up window in which the meaning and pronunciation are displayed.
The upside is its speed. It's amazingly fast, comparing with google translation or Google Dictionary.
The downside of Rikaikun is that you cannot use this tool for any other language. It works only for Japanese language learning.



We, language educators, call these tools PLEs which stands for "Personal Learning Environments".
If you are equipped with these PLEs, you are ready to join in any Japanese groups in Social Media.
In my next post, I will share the simple and proper way to introduce yourself in the Japanese groups.

2017/01/17

Find Japanese groups in Facebook.



Hi.
I'm going to write how to find Japanese groups in Facebook today.

The basic strategy is same as I wrote in my previous post.
Search with Japanese keyword which is related to yourself, such as your nationality, your profession, and so on.

For example, if you are Canadian, "カナダ" which means "Canada" in Japanese is one of the best keywords to find Japanese group where you can meet Japanese people who would be interested in you.

However, there are things to be considered to find a good Japanese group.

What you have to look for in a Japanese group is, the size and the rules of the group.

If it is a small group, then, you don't have to worry about it. Usually, the group is like a family and people get to know each other pretty soon.

The problem is, when the group has a large number of members and the rules of the group are not written in the group description. In these groups, the administrators are tend not to be engaged in the group so much, and people are enjoying their freedom. The freedom itself is OK, but it allows some people to act like a final boss. I don't want you to be in a dangerous group like that before you equip a weapon that is Japanese language in this case.

So, when you found an interesting group, I recommend you to check the description of the group. You don't have to understand everything. But if it is too simple or too short, you have to be more careful. The big green Wart might be waiting for you there.

On the other hand, when lots of rules are written in the description, you can say that the group is well-managed in general. The administrators are deeply engaged into the group, and when they find any problem, they respond as soon as possible.

Now, I would like to show you two examples of those groups.

The first one is "The Nihongo Learning Community".
About 20,000 people are learning Japanese here with more than 300 professional teachers. You can ask questions, or answer the quiz provided by their teachers. There are some Japanese people who are not professional teachers, but they are not allowed to act as teachers such as answering questions about Japanese language.

The Administrators of the group are Mr. Yoshikai and Ms. Nojima. When they find any post violating the rules, which are written to protect the learners, they boot the violator out of the group. So, I can recommend this group even to high school girls.

The second group is "海外旅行好きサークルwith国際交流".
The name of the group means "Group of people who love traveling abroad and who want to build international friendship".

In this group, people are mainly sharing the pictures they took on their trip. Some of non Japanese members share the pictures they took in their own countries. Basically they communicate only in Japanese, but you can find some pictures taken in your country even if you live in small country far from Japan. For example, there is no Japanese language class in Kosovo, but you can find some posts by whom visited there.

As I wrote in my previous post, it is essential to find somebody who would be interested in you, to learn Japanese through social media. In this sense, this group will be important to you, even though teaching language is not their primary reason to be there.

So, this is the way to find Japanese groups in Facebook. If you have any question, please ask me in the comment.

In my next post, I will write about how to read Japanese on social media. Don't miss it!

2017/01/10

Use Japanese Hashtags in Instagram

Have you tried what I wrote in the previous post?
If not, please write your profile in Japanese first.

If you have done it, let's proceed to the next lesson.

It's the hashtags.

Before you start posting something with Japanese hashtags, please note that there are some rules to use Japanese hashtags as learning resources.

If you use hashtags to find something to read in Japanese, then, it's easier.
Search any keyword you like, such as #君の名は。(You name), #聲の形(A Silent Voice), #この世界の片隅に(In one corner of this world), #甲鉄城のカバネリ(KABANERI OF THE IRON FORTRESS), and so on.

But if you would like to communicate in Japanese, I recommend you to use hashtags more related to yourself, such as your nationality or your profession.  The reason is that you have to find somebody who would be interested in you. For example, if you are a Hungarian, find Japanese people who are interested in Hungary. If you are a graphic designer, use #グラフィックデザイン, which means "Graphic design" in Japanese. If you live nearby any sight-seeing spots such as Niagara Falls, then it might be a very powerful keyword. If you are a Muslim, you can find lots of Japanese using the keywords like #イスラム(Islam) or #モスク(Mosque).

So, the main idea about using hashtags to find Japanese people to communicate with, is that you have to use Japanese keywords which are related to yourself. You can use whatever you like to find these keywords. Personally, I use Google translation in such cases, but it doesn't matter what you are going to use. If you like printed dictionaries, that's fine. It's up to you.

The next question is "which social media you should use?".

If you are novice in Japanese, photo sharing service such as Instagram is the best. In Instagram, you always have visual aids to understand the Japanese words written as a caption or comment. This will be a great support in your earlier days in learning Japanese.

I will write how to comment in Japanese later on. If you can't wait commenting, you can start it right now, by using Google translation. But if you feel shy, it is completely all right to have a certain period for just looking at the posts by Japanese people. Or, you can react to them by tapping "like" buttons at least.

If you can't find useful Japanese hashtags to learn Japanese, please ask me in a comment. I will try to find it out for you.

In my next post, I will help you to find useful communities to learn Japanese in Facebook. Don't miss it!


2017/01/04

Write your profile in Japanese.



If you would like to learn Japanese using social media, you have to write your profile in Japanese before you start following them. Generally speaking, some of Japanese people are very shy, and they will not follow you back when they don't understand what is written on your profile. So, making your appropriate profile is the very first key to start learning Japanese through social media.

First, I recommend you to write what you love about Japan.

Most popular pattern is "ハマってます" .  (Hamattemasu)
Original verb "hamaru" means "fall into something" or "caught into something so that it can't move".
But if you use this word with something you love, it means that you love something too much, you are addicted to something or you are into something. This usage is very colloquial, so it is usually written in Katakana, not in Hiragana.

Examples
「進撃の巨人」にハマってます。
Into "Attack on Titan".

「ワンパンマン」にハマってます。
Into "One Punch Man".

If you would like to say something else, all you have to do is just to fill in the blank in the following pattern.
「______」にハマってます。

Second, I recommend you to write about your identification.
Of course, you don't have to disclose your full name, phone number or street address. 
But at least, your nationality or cultural back ground will be needed to have Japanese followers.

These following patterns describe your nationality as well as the country where you came from and that you are eager to learn Japanese language.

日本語勉強中の___人。
(nihongo benkyouchuuno ____jin.)
Fill in the blank with your nationality, then it means "I am __ who is learning Japanese."
"-人" (-jin) means person, so, "Nihonjin" means Japanese, and "Kanadajin" means Canadian.

Examples

  1. 日本語勉強中のカナダ人。I am a Canadian learning Japanese.
  2. 日本語勉強中のハンガリー人。I am a Hungarian learning Japanese.
  3. 日本語勉強中のフィリピン人。I am Filipino learning Japanese.
  4. 日本語勉強中の韓国人。I am Korean learning Japanese.
  5. 日本語勉強中の中国人。I am Chinese learning Japanese.
  6. 日本語勉強中のインドネシア人。I am Indonesian learning Japanese.

If you don't know how to write your nationality in Japanese, just copy and paste from this page.
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E3%81%AE%E4%B8%80%E8%A6%A7

But be careful not to paste all of the word, if you find some Kanji character after Katakana in your country name. It means something like "Republic", "Kingdom", and so on. The word "人", or "person" does not follow these Kanji word. So, just paste a Katakana Part.

Examples
  1. アメリカ合衆国 The United States of America
  2. アメリカ人 an American (person).
I can't say that "アメリカ合衆国人" or "a person from United States of America"is grammatically wrong, but I have never seen such an expression.

Third, if you live in a big country like Canada or China, you can add your town, too. 
It is super easy because you just add "在住" (zaijuu) after the name of your town.
Here is the examples.

  1. エドモントン在住。Live in Edmonton.
  2. カルガリー在住。Live in Calgary.
  3. トロント在住。Live in Toronto.
  4. モントリオール在住。Live in Montreal.
  5. バンクーバー在住。Live in Vancouver.
  6. 北京在住。Live in Beijing.
  7. 上海在住。Live in Shanghai.

If you live in Canada, and love watching "Attack on Titan", then your profile will be like this.

日本語勉強中のカナダ人。「進撃の巨人」にハマってます。
A Canadian learning Japanese. Into "Attack on Titan".

If you have any question, please don't hesitate to ask me. Feel free to add your comments.