It’s been a long time since I last posted and I’m sure a lot of people have probably moved on since then, but, after a lot of personal issues and health problems, Kirby no Nihongo has returned.  Just not to WordPress.  You can find the new site at www.kirbynonihongo.com.

Currently, I’ve simply migrated all the posts over to the new site, added a new design and layout, which I’m still finishing up on, and haven’t begun updating again, officially.  However, I intend to finish the design up on the weekend and be up and running again by early next week, maybe Monday or Tuesday, with new transcripts and vocabulary posts.

The current plan is to have a minimum of two posts a week – one for transcripts and one for vocabulary or other grammar related topics.  If I can squeeze in something else during that time, that’s just gravy.

Again, sorry for the long lay off, but there was very little I could do about it and I have no real excuse for it outside of that.  Check out the new site at www.kirbynonihongo.com and feel free to let me know how you’re Japanese has progressed since I last updated!  I know I’ve kept at it, despite everything, and am preparing for my first proficiency test.


It’s been a while since I lasted updated the blog. I just want to let everyone know that I’m still here and fully intend to continue the transcripts and other related posts. I’ve run into some personal problems of late, which have been compounded by a recent death in the family, which are the main reasons for the lack of updates. I have finished writing out several transcripts, but just haven’t had the time to sit down and type them up and format for the web. I apologize for falling so far behind without updating anyone on the situation, but hope you’ll understand. I should start getting some updates going sometime next week, so please bare with me for the time being and thanks for your support.

This is a rather short and simple lesson that, again, deals with the numbers we have been learning in previous vocabulary posts. It might not sound like much, but phone numbers come up in everyday conversation quite often, whether you are ordering take out or adding someone to your cell phone or applying to a job, you almost always need to give, find or hear a phone number.

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To date, we’ve learned a lot of numbers related vocabulary. We’ve covered numbers in general, the months of the year and the days of the week, which are all numbers related topics. Building on these, this post will teach you how to tell time in Japanese.

Like previous vocabulary posts, I’ll be introducing some new kanji. For the kanji, remember, the katakana is for the On reading and the hiragana is for the Kun reading. If you have no idea what I mean by On or Kun, make sure to read my post on How to Read Kanji. And, as always, I will be providing the kanji based readings for telling time followed by the kana and English translations for those who can’t read kanji yet.

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Absolute Pimsleur’s Japanese I is an excellent resource for learning Japanese, but it is not the only one and should not be treated as the be all and end all of your learning experience. I know this site focuses heavily on it, but don’t let that fool you.

Remember, you should be pursuing other avenues for learning Japanese besides Pimsleur’s. It’s a solid oral and audio comprehension (learning to understand the Japanese you hear), but it’s more a suppliment than an all-in-one tool for learning the language. You should be focusing on the reading and writing aspects of the language and learning some basic grammar and vocabulary as you go along as well. Yes, the tapes introduce new vocabulary and build on it each lesson, but I don’t think it’s enough on its own.

If you have no other means of learning the language outside Pimsleur’s, I recommend checking out the various Vocabulary posts I’ve been making for simple, progressive vocabulary lessons. Also, you would benefit from doing regular writing and reading. Re-reading the various Pimsleur’s Japanese I Transcripts I’ve been doing would be a free and easy option, as it has no romanji to mess up your learning to read the kana. While repetitive reading and writing of the same kana, word, words or sentences may seem tedious, it actually works and you will begin recognizing regular words, particles and sentence structures this way that simply listening to tapes won’t allow.

Depending on how things go, I may start adding grammar, particles, conjugations and other topics to my posts. For now, the focus remains on the Pimsleur transcripts and simple vocabulary. You can check out my Japanese Resources post if you are interested in some first hand opinion on the various Japanese books I’ve used and recommend.

Finally, I just want to reiterate that you cannot rely on a single resource when attempting to learn a language as complex as Japanese.  Aids, like Pimsleur’s, are just that, aids.  They help flesh out more in-depth courses or other aspects of the language not covered by them.  Don’t get me wrong, Pimsleur’s is damn good, but it can only take you so far and that’s all I’m trying to stress to you in this post.

Remember, keep at it and don’t get discouraged.  Progress, especially early on, takes time, but with a little effort, you’ll start to see the benefits of your hard work.

Japan – Nihon or Nippon?

A common question from most beginners is whether Japan (日本) is written and pronounced as  にほんor にっぽん.  In actuality, it is both.  日本 can be pronounced にほん or にっぽん and it would be correct. However, the way it works is as so:

にほん is used in everyday conversation, to name the country, language and so on.

にっぽん is, typically, only used by the government and for legal documentation.  Banks and other money related places sometimes use this notation as well.

So, if you were trying to figure out which one to use or were wondering why it was pronounced differently sometimes, there’s your answer.  I don’t live in Japan, so I’m sure there’s other circumstances that would warrant either’s use, but from what I’ve gathered from other sites and texts, this is the basic useage of both words.

Learning kanji can be a difficult task for the most seasoned Japanese speaker. Kanji have two distinct readings – On and Kun. Many use different readings for completely different words. On top of that, many have multiple On and Kun readings to further complicate which one to use to pronounce a word. In general, the On is used in compounds, words with more than one kanji in them, and the Kun is used when the kanji is by itself. You’ll come to see that is not always the case though, as the language is riddled with exceptions and exceptions to those exceptions. For the time being, I’ll try to simplify it for everyone with some simple definitions of the two readings and explanations as to when to use them.

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