Beginner Japanese : Lesson 6

We started off today’s lesson by listening to the song Take Me Higher by V6

This song is actually the theme song for Ultraman, and sounded familiar to me once Sensei started playing to opening part of the song. 🙂

In today’s lesson,  we continue to learn more action words like 食べます(eat)、すいます(to smoke/suck in something),聞きます(hear/listen)、書きます(read), and also the vocabulary for basic items like パン(bread), (たまご)eggs and にく(meat).

We are also revised on the construction of sentences using particles like で andへ, which represents the particles “at/by what means” and “to” respectively.

As we progresses further on in the course, we are required to construct more diverse sentences which include more verbs and particles, and also incorporate s past, present, past negative and present negative tenses into those sentences.

For Example: If I want to ask : “Shall we go to Kobe together?” I will use the particle へ to construct the sentence :  いっしょに  こうべ へ いきませんか。

And if we are to ask: “Where did you purchase your bag/briefcase from ?”

It would be: ”どこで その かばんを 買いましたか。”



We also learnt how to use ”それから” which means “after that”, to join two things/actions together.

For example: ” Tomorrow, I will eat lunch first and after that, I will study Japanese.” 

It will be constructed as: “明日 ひるごはんを たべます。それから にほんごを べんきゅうします。











Japan Trip (22 Feb – 03 Mar 2014)

And off we go ~~~

For this one week plus Japan Trip. Can Sensei, Ling-san and I travelled to 4 places in Japan, namely Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya and Himeji.

Setting off from Changi Airport at around 12 noon on the 22nd Feb, the plane ride took close to 9 hours, in which we arrived at the Kansai International Airport at close to 10pm SG Time (11pm JP Time). The temperature was freezingly cold at about 3 degrees Celsius, as we make our way towards the subway station, which is conveniently located next to the Airport itself.


After figuring out the directions, we boarded the train which took close to 45 minutes, and arrived at our hotel close to midnight. We had to get as much rest as we can, as we needed to rush for an early flight to Tokyo the following morning.

The internal flight to Tokyo took roughly about 2 hours, and upon arrival, we made our way to Tawaramachi via the Tokyo subway. Speaking of the Tokyo subway, it is one of the most complicated subway lines in the world, with 13 lines, and 290 stations in total. You could very easily get lost by alighting at the wrong station, or switching of the wrong trains, as simply hopping on the train going the opposite direction does not necessarily bring you back to the previous station, so careful research and attentiveness is key to getting to where you want to go 🙂


We spent the next 3 days in Tokyo roaming around, meeting friends, and soaking in the atmosphere of this metropolitan city. Unlike Osaka, the pace of life in Tokyo is at a faster pace, where people seem to rushing from place to place, and making almost no eye contact with each other. However, the bright lights and constant buzz of the city is what sets it aside from most other places in the world.


One of the places we visited in Tokyo was the Sensoji Temple. Even on a weekday, the place was filled with tourists and locals alike, looking to explore intrigues of the temple and its surroundings, as well as to pray for luck, peace and fortune. Rows and rows of shops selling everything from memorabilia, snacks to clothing and books. Some of the rickshaw drivers, whom brings tourists around, can speak English as well,  so don`t hesitate to approach them, and see how much it costs for a ride if you happen to visit the temple.

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Another place that we managed to visit in Tokyo was the Cup Noodles Museum. Located in Yokohama‘s Minato Mirai District, the museum showcases the history of instant ramen noodles using a combination of whimsical exhibits and hands on workshops. It was opened by the Nissin Food company, whose founder invented instant ramen noodles in 1958 as a fast and convenient food. It is the second cup noodles museum to open in Japan; the first is the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka.

When we were there, we also gotten to change to create our very own cup noodles. We were given the options to decorate our cup noodles with colour pens, and also decide on the ingredients of the noodles. After creating our noodles, we kept our noodles sealed in an air inflated bag, so as to protect it from the bumps on the flight back to Singapore.

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After leaving Tokyo, we took a 3 hour bus ride south, to Nagoya.

Nagoya, with over two million inhabitants, is Japan’s fourth most populated city. The city is less urbanized as compared to Tokyo and Osaka, but we still found several interesting stuff to do in Nagoya.

Amongst those, was our visit to the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. Divided into two buildings, it exhibits and educates about marine mammals including dolphins, orca and beluga whales and other marine creatures from five aquatic regions between Japan and the Antarctic Ocean. We also managed to catch one of their dolphin shows, in which their highly trained dolphins perform tricks like jumping across hops, attempting to hit a target hanging 30 metres in the air, and peforming synchronized actions as instructed by the trainers.

English mistakes and Nagoya Aquarium 006                        aquarium

Our last stop was Himeji,  a city located in the Hyōgo Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. When were there, we met with one of Can Sensei’s friend, whom was local, and showed us around the 500,000 + populated city. Among the places we visited, was the renowned Himeji Castle.


Actually, we did not got the chance to visit the castle itself, as it is under renovation till March 2015. We did, however, able to visit an exhibition that features the castle’s heritage and history. Sadly, the exhibition staff did not allow photography in most areas , so we did not manage to get much photos to show you guys 😦

After leaving the castle area, we proceeded to the Hello Kitty Cafe (Cafe de Miki with Hello Kitty), located just 10 mins away. The cafe was a corporation between Sanrio and eyewear brand ‘Paris Miki’. The cafe serves coffee, tea and confectionery, and is also facilitated with a salon and Paris Miki glasses store. This serves as a great pit stop for us to take a break, and strike up casual conversations, as we admire the carefully designed interiors of the cafe.

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In conclusion, above are just some of the highlights of our fulfilling trip to Japan. It is both a learning and enjoyable trip for me as I have been learning Japanese for close to 3 months, and can better understand the words and meanings when in Japan, as opposed to my first trip in September last year, when I have not started learning Japanese yet. This trip sparked my interest even more in the Japanese Language, and will spur me on to continue to excel in my Japanese Language 😉


Tetsu: My Journey into Japanese Foundation Studies (Lesson 5)

On the 5th lesson, Can sensei taught us the some basic Japanese verbs (notably transitive verbs たどうし), as well as how to generate a sentence pattern using transitive verbs.

Sensei also taught us that we can use the ren-you-kei (连用形) to assist in forming proper sentences. The ren-you-kei makes use of the front portion of a verb.

For example: The verb for “eat” is ta-be-masu(たべます). But if we are to say “ate”, we will need to remove the ma-su“ます”portion, and replace it with ma-shita “ました”. And if we are to say “did not eat”, we will substitute ma-su“ます”with masen deshita “ませんでした”.

In another words :

Ate = たべました

Did not eat = たべませんでした


As practice, Can sensei asked the class to form sentences using a given set of objects and verbs in order to get us familiarized with the sentencing pattern, and attempt to speak it aloud as well. Can Sensei then corrected us on the mistakes that we make as we read it out, at the same time, correcting our mistakes that we wrote on paper, allowing us to know where our mistakes lie.

To cap the lesson off, we viewed an episode of a Japanese drama “Dragon Zakura”, which was adapted from a Japanese manga, and tells the story of a poor lawyer trying to get his career on track by helping to prepare five students to pass the entrance exam of the University of Tokyo. In the drama, we focused on the words that are being spoken, as well as how sentences are being formed by the actors.


Tetsu: My Journey into Japanese Foundation Studies (Lesson 4)

On the 4th Lesson , Can Sensei introduced the class to Time and Numbers.

Time and Numbers in Japanese is slightly trickier as compared to English (In my Opinion:>), as certain numbers, when used in Time and Numeric Context, can be different. For Example, if we read the number 4 on its own, it is read as “shi(し)”, however, if we are speaking about 4 o’clock, the 4  is read as “yo(よ)”  instead of “shi(し)”.  Also, the number 4, when used in a number more than 10, is read as “yon よん”.

ji( じ) refers to o’clock, which is quite straight forward, but here comes the tricky part. Minutes can be refered to as ” pun (ぷん)” or “fun (ふん)”, depending on the number of minutes we are referring to.

Confused ? Well, below is an example of how time is read in Japanese for easier understanding.

Speaking of differences, Can Sensei also taught us the differences in the reading and writing of numbers in relation to Tens, Hundreds and Thousands. For Example, the number 300 is read as “san byaku(さんぴゃく), but the number 200 does not use “pyaku” as the hundred reading, instead using “hyaku”. So 200 is read as “ni hyaku (にひゃく)”

Below is an example of how numbers are read in the different amounts.

In order for us to better memorize all the different times and numbers, Can Sensei  asked each of the students to come up with different combination of numbers for the other classmates to guess, as well as using Time and Numbers in a speech context, allowing us to ask questions in regards to time and numbers to each other. E.g “Can we meet at 4.30pm today ” and ” How many days are there in a year “.

Although there was a lot to absorb on this lesson, but it was very fulfilling, as the interactivity and detailed explanations given by Can Sensei allowed us to understand the how Time and Numbers work in Japanese Context 🙂


Tetsu: My Journey into Japanese Foundation Studies (Lesson 3)

Lesson 3 of Japanese Foundation Studies :

Today, Can sensei introduced us the the basic sentence patterns in Japanese.  This is an intricate part in the foundation of the Japanese language, as the understanding of sentence patterns allows us to be able to form proper Japanese sentences. Different words when used in sentencing are read differently as well. For example : は(ha), when used in sentencing is pronounced as “wa”, which in english represents “is”.

Also, we practiced on sentencing not just by understanding how to read  basic sentences, but also practising on it by creating our own sentences in small groups of 3, and afterwards presenting it to the class, and attempting to answer other classmates questions using proper sentencing as well. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect”.

In conclusion, Can sensei  showed us another episode of a Japanese drama “Legal High 2”, in which, along with getting a few laughs and giggles, allows us to observe how proper sentences are being expressed by the actors on the show.

Today’s class got me even more immersed into the language, as for the first time, I was able to craft a proper sentence, with the guidance of Can sensei and the other classmates. It is a step in the right direction, and makes me even more determined to excel in my Japanese 🙂


Tetsu: My Journey into Japanese Foundation Studies (Lesson 2)

Foundation Studies Lesson 2 Recap :

For the 2nd Lesson in Japanese Foundation Studies, we started off listening and given the lyrics to AKB48’s Koi Suru Fortune Cookie. (Youtube Video embedded below:>)

By listening and studying what are the various meanings of the words in the lyrics of the songs, we are able to learn to pronounce the words in the correct pitch by singing the song out loud.

Later on, Can brought in his former student Ken, who has achieved his N1 close to 2 years ago, to share his experiences and his journey in learning Japanese. Ken encouraged us that the journey in the Japanese Language may be tough and met with roadblocks and obstacles, but with perseverance and constant practice,both in terms of written and conversational, it is achievable. His speech really motivated me :>

We also touched on the High and Low pitches in pronouncing Japanese words. Different pitch pronunciation of certain words may result in a total different meaning of the word itself, and correct pronunciation is an essence in a Language, as reiterated by Sensei . And finally, we were given homework to further practice on more Hiragana Characters, adding the the few that we have been identifying and practising on in the first Foundation Class.



Tetsu: My Journey into Japanese Foundation Studies

Hi Everyone

My name is Tetsu. I currently just started my Japanese Foundation Studies, and is also the administrator to Can

My interest for the Japanese came since a young age, when I started watching Japanese Anime like SlamDunk, Yu Yu Hakusho and 小叮噹. These Anime exposed me to the creativity and humor of the Japanese people. Another venue which garnered my interest was through the TV Series “Japan Hour”, in which it showcased the Japanese’s traditional culture, which is still well protected till this day, unlike many other countries.

I am glad to have met Can, and given the opportunity to pickup the Japanese Language. His teaching method is very informative and interactive, which keeps the class vibrant.

During the first Japanese Foundation Class, Can, introduced us to some commonly used  Japanese Greetings like “How are you”, “Good Morning” and “Thank you”, the correct way to say them (formal/informal), as well as the high and low pitches associated with each greeting. Later on in the class, he introduced us to some Hiragana characters, and taught us how these characters are written, and how certain characters can be matched together to produce a certain meaning. To cap the session off, Can showed us a Humourous Japanese TV Series called “Legal High 2”, in which we tried to understand what is being said in Japanese with the assistance of Subtitles, and having a good laugh at the same time  :>

Although it will not be easy, but I believe with good guidance from Can, as well as perseverance, I will be able to improve and excel in my Japanese in time to come.