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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 2M ago

I recently read that fewer and fewer people are choosing history as a major. It seems that majors that have more ‘real-world value’ have become more important. With the uncertain economic future, students are more interested in a major that can give them a job in the real world.

But, I think it is important to have a good background. Most of the questions about how or why a culture is a certain way can be answered with a little history. For example, the States are a very different place since it is essentially made up of immigrants. Many of them coming to the States because they saw it as a land of opportunity. This has provided the States with diversity, but also some unique America-only problems. Compare that to a country that, sort of, ‘grew up’ together, like Japan.

When I visited Paris 10 or so years ago, I was just there to see the touristy stuff like the museums and Eiffel Tower. And since I was really busy planning for other things, I hadn’t really done that much research. I just figured I would plan it out once I got there. But occasionally this meant walking by some rather famous landmark and having no real idea of why it was there. And the city itself just seemed like a big mass of streets, instead of neighborhoods with distinct personalities.

Every city has a story though and knowing that story helps bring a lot of context to what you see and also change your mundane walk through another big city into something a little more meaningful. That’s what interested me in reading through a copy of History of Tokyo, which is one of the more complete histories of the city.

Story of Rebirth

Although the book covers the history of the Meiji Restoration onward 1867~, it starts out talking about the earthquake of 1923, which destroyed a lot of the city. It covers how the earthquake was seen as devastating but also a way for the city to be reborn into a new modern city. It’s hard to imagine that Tokyo was once a fairly flat city with only a few tall buildings. Yet even with that limited capacity it might have been one of the largest cities in the 19th century, even surpassing London.

This theme of rebirth seems to be an ongoing in Japan. Japan opened it’s doors during the Meiji restoration and within 40 years was able to completely modernize. The 1923 earthquake allowed Tokyo to start again and build a better city. Japan was reborn again in the post-war period as well becoming an electronics giant. And now Japan has been reborn as a major tourist destination.

Different Approach

History of Tokyo walks you through each of these stages of rebirth, taking you from Edo (the old name of Tokyo) to late 80s Tokyo with old black and white photographs and excerpts from writers. This really helps to make the story more relatable and interesting to read.

Before I came Japan, I managed to make my way through The Making of Modern Japan. It provides a very solid picture of the making of modern Japan from the 1600s on. However, it read like your typical history book with lots of facts and details. These are useful of course, but can tend to all blend together and make it difficult to see the path Japan took. It also included photographs but like so many history books, they were all sandwiched in the middle in one big wad.

History of Tokyo instead gives you a look on history that is not as clinical and fact heavy, but still well-researched. Edward Seidensticker obviously did his homework and backed up a lot of his writing with firsthand sources and details.

Overall

I recommend this book if you are even a little interested in history. And if you are not interested in history, you should be since it can add a lot of depth to your travels. It’s a thick book, but well worth the investment in time.

Also, if you are visiting Tokyo, be sure to check out the Edo museum. It has a lot of exhibits that really show what it was like in old Tokyo. It was much more interesting than I expected and well worth the visit.

Have you been to Tokyo? What did you find the most interesting about it? Let me know in the comments.

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 2M ago

JLPT N5 Grammar: The Past Form - YouTube

Welcome everyone, this is Mac with another N5 Grammar Lesson from JLPT Boot Camp. Last episode, we learned about the present tense. Today, we are going learn how to use the past tense in casual and polite forms. We are going to look at a few, very short exchanges. Let’s give it a try.

Conversation 1

Let’s join Matt and Yu talking on a date. Since they are friends, they will be using the casual form.

Matt: きのう 何なにを したの。
             Kinou naniwo shitano.
            What did (you) do yesterday?

Yu:     すしを 食たべた。
             Sushiwo tabeta.
             (I) ate sushi.

Breaking that down, Matt says きのう, yesterday, 何, what, を, the object marking particle, した, the past casual form of する, to do, and finally の, casual question marking particle. All together, he is asking “What did you do yesterday?”

Yu replies with すし, sushi, を, the object marking particle, 食べた, the past casual form of 食べる, to eat. All together, she is responding by saying “I ate sushi.”

Matt and Yu are using the casual past form. To form this you must change the last kana of the verb. For group 1 verbs, there are many forms to remember. If the verb ends inす, you change it to した, く change it to いた, ぐ change it to いだ, む, ぶ, or ぬ change it to んだ, る or う change it to った. This is a lot to get used to obviously, so I recommend practicing how to conjugate a verb when you first encounter it. The more comfortable you are with these the better.

Let’s practice a few of these. We’ll give you the verb; you give me the past casual form.  Move your mouse over the word to see the answer.

話はなす

おく

およぐ

飲のむ

つかう

I’ve included a helpful chart in the PDF to help you practice with this.

Let’s make a slightly longer sentence with つくる, to make. Can you make the casual past tense?

つくった
tsukutta
made

That’s right. Now, how about something longer? Say “Yesterday, (I) made dinner.” And dinner in Japanese is ばんごはん.

きのう ばんごはんを つくった。
Kinou bangohanwo tsukutta.
Yesterday (I) made dinner.

Now for group 2, all you need to do is take the last kana off and add た.

Can you try it with おりる, to get off (the train)? Can you give me the casual past tense?

おりた
orita
got off

Pretty easy right? Let’s make a simple sentence with that. Can you say “I got off at Osaka Station?” Osaka station is 大阪駅おおさかえき in Japanese, while “at” in this situation would be the で particle.

わたしは 大阪駅おおさかえきで おりた。
Watashiwa oosakaekide orita.
I got off at Osaka Station.

Okay, you got it.

Finally for group 3, irregulars, 来くる becomes 来きた, する becomes した. An oddball here is the verb 行いく, to go. For the casual past tense, it is 行いった. Note the ちいさい つ between い and た.

Let’s try a simple sentence. Can you say “I went to the store?” And store in Japanese is おみせ.

わたしは お店みせに 行いった。
Watashiwa omiseni itta.
I went to the store.

Conversation 2

Exactly! All right, now let’s go back to the conversation between Matt and Yu.

Matt: 一人ひとりで 食たべたの。
             Hitoride tabetano.
            Did (you) eat by (your)self?

Yu:     ううん、一人で 食べなかったよ。ねこと 食べた。
             Uun, hitoride tabenakattayo. Nekoto tabeta.
            No, (I) didn’t eat by (my)self. (I) ate with my cat.

Breaking down what Matt said, 一人ひとりで, by oneself, 食たべた, ate, and finally の, the casual question marking particle. All together, he is asking “Did you eat it alone?”

Yu responds with いえ, no, 一人ひとりで, by oneself, 食たべなかった, didn’t eat, and then よ, a particle used for emphasis. Next sentence, ねこ, cat, と, which can mean and, or with, and finally 食たべた, the affirmative past tense of 食たべる, to eat. All together, she responded with “No, (I) didn’t eat by myself. (I) ate with (my) cat.”

Ok, so Yu is using the negative casual past form. In the previous episode, we went over how to form the negative for the non-past tense. In order to make it about the past we simply need to cut off the final い and add かった, which is exactly how we form the past tense of い-adjectives.

A quick reminder, for group 1 verbs, to form the negative, you change the final kana to the あ row of kana and add ない. For group 2, you cut off the final kana and add ない. For group 3, for する you have しない and for 来くる, 来こない.

Let’s try it now with 行いく, to go. Can you tell me the past negative form?

行いかなかった
ikanakatta
didn’t go

That’s right. You change the final kana to the あ row of kana, and add ない to get the non-past negative. Then, cut off the last い and add かった. Now let’s try a slightly longer sentence, how do you say “(I) didn’t go to the party.”

パーティーに 行いかなかった。
Paateiini ikanakatta.
(I) didn’t go to the party.

Nice work! Let’s go back to Matt. Now, he is talking to his co-worker, so he needs to be polite.

Conversation 3

Let’s go back to Matt and his co-worker. The next day, Matt’s co-worker asks about his hobbies as well.

Co-worker: しゅうまつは 何なにを しましたか。
                         Shuumatsuwa naniwo shimashitaka.
                        What did (you) do on the weekend?

Matt:            東京とうきょうに 行いきました。
                         Toukyouni ikimashita.
                        (I) went to Tokyo.

Let’s break down what his co-worker said, しゅうまつ, weekend, は, the topic marking particle, 何なに, what, を, object marking particle, しました, did, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together, she is asking “What did you do (this) weekend?”

Matt responds with 東京とうきょう, Tokyo, に, particle used to mark a time or location, and finally 行いきました, went.

And now Matt and his co-worker are using the polite past form. This is formed in a very similar way to how the non-past polite form is. You need to first get the verb stem or the ます stem by changing the final kana to the い row of kana for group 1 verbs, and for group 2 verbs. For group 3, for する you have し and for 来くる, き.

Once you have the stem, just add ました to form the polite past. Can you try it now with あらう, to wash?

あらいました
araimashita
washed

Exactly! You change the う to い and add ました. Now, how about a little bit longer sentence? Can you say “(I) washed my hands.” And hand or hands in Japanese is 手.

手を あらいました。
tewo araimashita.
(I) washed hands.

Great! Keep in mind that you don’t have to mention the topic, I. It can be implied from context.

Conversation 4

Let’s finish that polite conversation between Matt and his co-worker.

Co-worker: おみやげを 買かいましたか。
                         Omiyagewo kaimashitaka.
                        Did (you) buy omiyage?

Matt:            いいえ、買かいませんでした。わすれました。すみません。
                         Iie, kaimsendeshita. wasuremashita. sumimasen.
                       No, (I) didn’t buy (omiyage). (I) forgot. Sorry.

Co-worker: あぁあ。
                         Aaa.
                        Oh man.

Let’s break down what his co-worker said, first, おみやげ, souvenir brought back from a trip, を, the object marking particle, 買かいました, polite past tense of 買かう, to buy, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together, she is asking “Did you buy omiyage?”

Matt responds with いえ, no, 買かいませんでした, the polite past negative form of 買かう, to buy, next わすれました, polite past tense of わすれる, to forget, and finally すみません, sorry.

Now, if you are not familiar, in Japan it’s very common to buy some kind of souvenir or omiyage for your co-workers when you go on a trip. Typically, people buy some kind of food that can be easily shared.

Matt is using the polite negative past form, which is quite easy to form as well. Simply add でした to the non-past polite form and you’ve got it. Let’s give it a try with 飲のむ. First, what is the non-past polite negative form?

飲のみません
nomimasen
don’t drink

That’s right, change the last kana to the い row of kana and add ません. Now, can you make it about the past?

飲のみませんでした
nomimasendeshita
didn’t drink

Right! Can you make it a little longer? Can you say “(I) didn’t drink beer.”? And, beer in Japanese is ビール.

ビールを 飲のみませんでした。
Biiruwo nomimasendeshita.
(I) didn’t drink beer.

Good work! Let’s check your understanding with a final pop quiz.

Pop Quiz

I’ll give you an English phrase, please give me the Japanese. And understand that the particles aren’t important for now. We’ll go over them in later videos. Concentrate on getting the verbs formed correctly.

(I) walked to the station. (Casual)

Now this is the casual form not the polite form. And a little hint, station in Japanese is 駅 and “to walk” is あるく.

Answer:

駅えきまで あるいた。
Ekimade aruita.

“I walked to the station”, would be “駅えきまで あるいた”, in Japanese. Breaking that down, 駅えき, station, まで, a particle used to mark an endpoint, and finally あるいた, the casual past tense of あるく. Remember that group 1 verbs that end in く change to いた at the end except for 行いく. It’s irregular. For 行いく, to go, we say 行いった.

(I) didn’t run to the station. (casual)

Again this is casual. And ‘to run’ is はしる in Japanese.

Answer:

駅えきまで はしらなかった。
Ekimade hashiranakatta.

“I didn’t run to the station”, would be “駅えきまで はしらなかった”, in Japanese. Breaking that down, again 駅えき, station, まで, a particle marking an endpoint, はしらなかった, the negative past form of はしる, to run.

(I) paid. (polite)

This time, can you give me the polite form? And ‘to pay’ is はらう in Japanese.

Answer:

はらいました。
Haraimashita.

This one is simple, はらいました is the polite past form of はらう, to pay.

One last one,

I didn’t study. (polite)

Again, this is polite. And ‘to study’ is べんきょうする in Japanese.

Answer:

べんきょう しませんでした。
Benkyou         shimasendeshita.

The polite past negative form of べんきょう する is べんきょうしませんでした. Remember, that する is irregular. The affirmative form is します, and the negative form is しません.

Review

Let’s review everything we went over today. We learned about how to form the casual past tense, which is especially tricky for group 1 verbs – す becomes した, く becomes いた, ぐ becomes いだ, む, ぶ, ぬ become んだ, る and う become った. Practice this often and whenever you learn a new group 1 verb ask yourself about how to change it into the past tense.

For group 2, it is quite easy, just remove the last kana and add た. For group 3, する becomes した, 来くるbecomes 来きた. And one more irregular you will have to remember is 行いく, to go, which becomes 行いった for the past tense.

For the casual negative past form, first change the verb to the non-past negative form, then just take the final い and add かった.

For the polite form, take the ますstem and add ました, or for the negative form, add ませんでした.

That’s it for this episode. For notes and more practice with the grammar point, stop by the JLPT Boot Camp courses site. There you can find quizzes, study guides for this grammar point and every grammar point covered in the videos. You can also get all of your questions answered you might have. Just leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

The JLPT Study Guide for the N5 is now available at Amazon. Packed with exercises to help you master all the grammar points needed for the test, this is a must have study guide for anyone preparing for the N5. It also has reading and listening strategies and practice exercises so you can hone those skills before the exam. Once you’ve finished the book, there are 3 practice tests to check your level and 100s of audio flashcards you can use anywhere to review what you learned.

Thanks for watching and hit the subscribe button for more helpful videos like this one.

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 4M ago

For those of you who are lucky enough to have been able to register online at MyJLPT, you can now see your official results for the December 2018 JLPT. The official results will be mailed out next week and should be arriving sometime next week for those that took the test in Japan. It will probably take a few weeks longer for those that took the test outside of Japan. However, if you entered a 8 digit password on your application form, you should be able to check your results online now at the official jlpt.jp site (not the JEES site MyJLPT).

If you are outside of Japan, you may want to check with the organization that conducts the test in your country to see if they have another system for reporting the results to you. Different countries and organizations have different time frames for when your results will get to. To check and see what organization puts on the test in your country, you can check the official JLPT site as well.

What do you do now?

Okay, so you got your results back and now it is time to look them over and give yourself a good self-evaluation. I’m sure over the last few weeks you have been tensely waiting for these results to come back so you can decide on how to spend your study time more effectively. Last year, I outlined some key steps that you can take to make the best use of your test results, which I encourage you to take the time to read over if you haven’t already.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

But, this year I want to address one of the big questions I get around this time. And that is should you move on to the next level or stay where you are and retest. For example, a reader who had just failed the N3 by only a few points emailed me the other day, and was wondering if she should move on to N2 or stay with N3 in order to perfect her score.

It’s not an easy question to answer though because it depends a lot on your personal goals and your motivation.  You need to start by asking yourself what the test means to you. Is it something that you need to pass in order to get a job or qualify you for a position?  Are you taking the test for personal motivation and achievement? Do you just love taking tests?

If you are taking the test to qualify for a position, it might be better to focus on the particular level that is needed.  For example, if you need N2 for a job, or would like to put that on your resume, I would move on to that level even if you haven’t passed lower levels.  Later, if you do find it difficult to pass that higher level, you can move back to the level you were having trouble with.

On the other hand, if you are taking the test for personal achievement, it really comes down to your personal motivation. I think there is a lot to be said for perfecting your knowledge on a subject. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at Japanese from really mastering the basics of N5. But for others this might take a serious toll on your motivation.

The Race

In the end, the race of life is always a race with yourself. Don’t feel like you need to pass N2 in a year just because somebody else has. It’s probably not going to be all that useful to you if you speed though it anyway. Real world usage, especially with speaking and writing Japanese, is also really important.

Quick Update

I know I have been a little quiet lately.  I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my JLPT Study Guide for N5 that should be coming out soon.  We’ve had multiple delays because I want to make this the best possible book for the N5.  I’m getting excited about bringing it to everyone as soon as I can.

How about you?

How well did you do? Let me know in the comments below.

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In about 36 to 48 hours, a lot of you will be walking into the December JLPT. The test is conducted twice a year, but the locations that put on the summer test can be limited. So, this might be the only chance for a lot of you to take the test until next year. Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten a lot of emails about the test and how to study for it so I thought I would address some of the major concerns and questions that kept coming up.

What to do Now

With only a day or so left, you might be wondering if there is anything you could possible do to improve your score at this late stage. Although language learning is more about focusing on the long game, there are a handful of things you can do that can help you reinforce your knowledge so that you can get the best possible score.

First things first, if you haven’t already, take a practice test. There is one full-sized practice test that the JLPT organization provides for free. I have linked to them at the bottom of the page. These will give you a good feeling of the level of the test as well as how long you have to complete each section as long as you time out the test. I wrote up a blog post about how long each section is that can help you with this.

If you have taken a practice test. It’s time to focus on your weak points. How you do this depends on what your weak point is.

Grammar – If you are weak at grammar, it’s time to crack open a grammar book like the Kanzen Master series (tougher, truer to the test) or the So-Matome series (easier to get through, not as difficult as the real test). Look at every grammar point and, to yourself or someone else, explain how you use it. Think about what kind of situations you can use it in and what situations you can’t use it in. If you struggle to explain how to use the grammar point, do some additional research. The point is to reinforce it until you can confidently use it.

Listening – If you are weak at listening, you can help your score out by building up your listening stamina. On the JLPT, you will be required to sit and listen to Japanese for extended, uninterrupted period of time. If you are not use to this, you will benefit from simply practicing your focus. Listen to as much Japanese material as you can in one session. This needs to be focused, intentional practice, so you won’t be able to listen to this while walking or working out. Just sit there and listen. It’s best to try to do this without headphones since you won’t have them during the test.

Reading – If you are weak at reading, you can also benefit by building up your reading stamina. Again, if you are not use to reading Japanese for an extended length of time, this is a good time to sit down and practice your focus. For levels N5~N3 you will need to practice reading prepared materials like a textbook, but for N2+ you can pick up a lot of native materials to read. Even if you have read the material before though, re-reading can help increase your speed and comprehension.

Kanji and Vocabulary – If you are weak at kanji or vocabulary, it’s best to go on a vocabulary binge. There are several good decks for various levels available on Memrise.com or Anki’s shared decks that can help you on your binge. Basically, vocabulary and kanji are one of the only things that can be drilled into your head pretty easily. This is especially true for the lower levels. As you move higher you will have to switch to more reading to build your vocabulary.

The Night Before

It should go without saying that the night before you need to get a good night’s sleep. That generally means a good 8 hours of sleep, although some survive on less. But getting a good night’s rest also means eating a pretty plain dinner. The night before the test is not the best time to try green curry for the first time.

I personally try to empty out my mind the night before and try to forget completely about the test, so that I can sleep without worries. I often watch a movie or play a video game. The point is, you don’t want to keep cramming things into your head at the last minute. Try to empty your head as much as possible before so that it’s not busy processing all that at night. Instead, your brain can kick back and take a well-deserved vacation.

Good Luck

Good luck everyone! I hope you do your personal best on the test. Remember that it’s only a test. And remember to come back here and let me know how well you did in the comments below.

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 6M ago

N5 Kanji 九, kyuu, nine - YouTube

This is 5 Minute Kanji, and today we are going to go over a dancing kanji this time, the kanji for eight.

Mnemonic:

How CUte! Look at the 9 dancers, dressed to the 9s dancing to the KUs of the doves sitting on the KOKONOTSU.

Onyomi:

きゅう、く
kyuu, ku

Kunyomi:

ここの.つ、ここの
kokonotsu, kokono

Like the other number kanji, the onyomi is used when counting up in Japanese, while the kunyomi ここのつ is used as a generic counter for objects that don’t have a specific counter.

Mnemonic Factory

The kanji looks like a person trying to hook 9 fish. Or a woman dressed to the 9s in a dress. Or it could be a detective, down on all fours, looking for 9 KLUes to the crime. The key point to remember is that the kanji for nine has a hook on the right side.

The kanji for power 力 looks a lot like it, but doesn’t have the hook. And the kanji for katana or a blade 刀 also looks similar but doesn’t have a hat or top to it.

The onyomi mnemonic has a lot of possibilities. You can talk about a QUEUE, as in a line of people waiting for something. Or you can talk about a KYUpon you use to save some money. Be careful, though. The Japanese word for coupon is actually クーポン. So this mnemonic could actually work for both of the onyomi readings . You can also use COOl for the く sound. So you can imagine a pack of 9 CUte and COOl Ninjas.

For kunyomi, you are pretty much stuck with KOKONOTSU, as in the tropical fruit. But that’s not so bad. Who doesn’t like KOKONOTSU?

Example Words

How about a few examples where these words are used?

Onyomi
For onyomi, we have 九きゅう for 9. As I said in earlier videos, the kanji itself is rarely used in everyday situations. You will most likely see it on formal documents, awards, or price lists at old fashioned restaurants. The month of September uses the shorter reading く, so we would say 九月くがつ. The く reading is also used in 九九くく, or multiplication table.

For 9 people, we can actually use both, 九人きゅうにん or 九人くにん for 9 people. And another useful word is 九州きゅうしゅう, which literally means 9 states, but it is the name for the large westernmost island that forms the Japanese mainland, which used to have 9 states. However, in modern day Japan, the area has 7 prefectures in it – 福岡ふくおか、佐賀さが、 長崎ながさき、大分おおいた、熊本くまもと、宮崎みやざき、and 鹿児島かごしま.

Kunyomi
There is the generic counter 九ここのつ, used to count objects that don’t have a counter of their own or you forgot which one to use.

The day of the month also uses the kunyomi. We say 九日ここのか for the 9th day of the month.

Story Review

Can you remember the story from the beginning? Let’s give it a try, and yell out the words that are missing.

How __te! Look at the _ dancers, dressed to the _s dancing to the __s of the doves sitting on the _________.

Perfect? Let’s give it another try.

How __te! Look at the _ dancers, dressed to the _s dancing to the __s of the doves sitting on the _________.

Word Review

Can you read these? I’ll give you the kanji and please yell out the reading for each word

九つ

九人

九州

九日

九月

九九

That’s it for the kanji for nine. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to learn more kanji, hit the subscribe button and hit the bell mark to get a notification every time I send out a new video. Also be sure to check out my other 5 Minute Kanji videos.

Head over to the Courses site to download the kanji practice sheet and take a kanji quiz.

Download the Kanji PDF and Take the Quiz

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 7M ago

JLPT N5 Grammar: The Non-past Form - YouTube

Welcome everyone, this is Mac with another N5 Grammar Lesson from JLPT Boot Camp. Last episode, we learned about the uses of the が particle. Today, we are going to learn how to talk about the non-past form, which can refer to the present or future. We are going to look at a few, very short exchanges. Let’s give it a try.

Conversation 1

Matt and Yu are talking about their hobbies.

Yu: 本を 読よむの。
         Honwo yomuno.
         Do you read books?

Matt: ええ、読よむ。
             Ee, yomu.
             I do.

Breaking that down, Yu says 本ほん, book, を, the object marking particle, then 読よむ, the casual non-past form of ‘to read’, and finally の, a particle used to mark a question in casual speech. All together, she is asking “Do you read books?”

Matt responds with ええ, yes, and then 読よむ, the casual non-past form of ‘to read’. So he is replying with “Yes, (I) read.”

And Matt and Yu are using the non-past casual form. This is the form you see in most Japanese dictionaries, so you might hear it called the dictionary form or it is sometimes called the plain form. It is considered casual, so you will hear it often among friends. Since it is casual, it’s best to not use it in any kind of business situation or with anyone older than you.

Let’s try it once. Can you say “I have a car.”?

Remember that I is わたし, to have, in this situation, is ある, and car is 車くるま.

わたしは 車くるまが ある。
Watashiwa kurumaga aru.
I have a car.

Pretty easy. You actually don’t need to make any changes to the verb from its dictionary form, just use it as is.

Conversation 2

Yu has one more question for Matt.

Yu: J-popを 聞きくの。
         Jepoppuwo kikuno.
         Do you listen to J-pop?

Matt: いえ、聞きかない。
             Ie, kikanai.
            No, I don’t.

Breaking that down, Yu says J-pop, Japanese pop music, を, the object marking particle, 聞きく, to listen, and then の, the casual question marking particle. All together she is asking “Do you listen to J-pop?”

Matt responds with いえ, no, and 聞きかない, don’t listen. All together he is saying “No, (I) don’t listen (to J-pop)”.

Here, Matt made use of the non-past negative casual form. This is slightly more difficult to form than the affirmative. How we conjugate depends on what kind of verb it is. If it is one of the most common verbs, a group 1 verb or godan verb, we need to change the last kana to one that ends in あ. For example, for the verb 飲む, to drink, we change む to ま. Then, we add ない. All together, we have 飲のまない.

Let’s give it a try, can you say “(I) don’t go.” “To go” is 行いく in Japanese.

To form this we first change the last kana く to か and then add ない. Altogether, we have:

行いかない
ikanai
don’t go

Yeah, exactly! For bonus points, how about “I don’t go to the company on Saturday.”?

I in Japanese is わたし, company is 会社かいしゃ, and Saturday is どようび.

わたしは 土どよう日び 会社かいしゃに 行いかない。
Watashiwa doyoubi kaishani ikanai.
I don’t go to (my) company on Saturday.

Breaking that down, わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, どようび, Saturday, 会社かいしゃ, company, に, a particle used to mark a location we are traveling to, and 行いかない, not go.

For group 2 verbs, also called ichidan verbs, we simply need to cut off the final kana and add ない. By the way, if you were wondering how to tell the difference between group 1 and group 2. The second to last kana of group 2 verbs usually ends with え or い like 食たべる, to eat, or おりる, to get off (the train).

Obviously, there are some exceptions to this, but this will give you a general idea of what verbs are group 2.

Can you give it a try? Can you say “don’t eat”?

食たべない
tabenai
don’t eat

Exactly! Take the final kana る off and add ない. For bonus points, can you say “(I) don’t eat at McDonald’s”?

And McDonald’s in Japanese is マクドナルド.

わたしは マクドナルドで 食たべない。
Watashiwa makudonarudode tabenai.
I don’t eat at McDonald’s.

Now, group 3 verbs are irregular. Don’t worry though, Japanese only has two irregular verbs -する, to do, and 来くる, to come. する becomes しない in the negative form, and 来くる becomes 来こない in the negative form. Let’s try it once. Can you say “don’t study”?

To study in Japanese is a する-verb, which means it is a noun that when used with する becomes a verb. So, “to study” is べんきょう する. Can you change the dictionary form into the negative non-past form?

べんきょう しない
benkyou shinai
don’t study

Okay, maybe you shouldn’t say that so often. I hope you study a lot, especially these conjugations. You should drill them often so that you are comfortable with them and use them automatically.

Conversation 3

Let’s go back to Matt and his co-worker. The next day, Matt’s co-worker asks about his hobbies as well.

Co-worker: 日本語にほんごを べんきょうしますか。
                         Nihongowo benkyoushimasuka.
                        Do you study Japanese?

Matt:             はい、毎日まいにち べんきょうします。
                         Hai,     mainichi     benkyoushimasu.
                        Yes, I study every day.

Breaking that down, Matt’s co-worker says 日本語にほんご, Japanese, を, the object marking particle, べんきょう します, study, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together she is asking “Do (you) study Japanese?”

Matt responds with はい, yes, 毎日まいにち, every day, and finally べんきょうします, study. All together, he is saying “(I) study every day.”

Matt and his co-worker are using the polite present tense here, sometimes called the ます form. Like the casual negative form, how you form this depends on what kind of verb it is.

For group 1 / godan verbs, you need to change the final kana to the い row of kana and add ます. For example, if you want to say I drink, we can take the dictionary form of ‘to drink’ in Japanese, 飲のむ, change the final kana to み and add ます – 飲のみます.

Can you try it now with 行いく, to go?

行いきます
ikimasu
go (polite)

Right, we changed the final kana く to き and added ます.

How about saying “I sometimes go to a movie”? Sometimes in Japanese is ときどき, and movie is えいが.

わたしは ときどき えいがに 行いきます。
Watashiwa tokidoki eigani ikimasu.
I sometimes go to the movies.

Good work! Now, with group 2 or ichidan verbs, we just need to take the る off the end and add ます. Remember that the second to last kana of group 2 verbs tend to end with a kana from the え row, like 食たべる, to eat or the い row like おりる, to get off (the train).

Let’s give it a try with ねる, to sleep. Can you tell me the polite non-past form?

ねます
nemasu
sleep

Right! For bonus points, can you say “(I) sleep at 10 every day?” 10 o’clock in Japanese is じゅうじand every day in Japanese is まいにち.

毎日まいにち 10時じに ねます。
Mainichi jyuujini nemasu.
I go to sleep at 10 every day.

Exactly! The final group of verbs of course are group 3 verbs – する, to do, and 来くる, to come. する becomes します, while 来くる becomes 来きます.

Let’s try it with these. Can you say “(My) friend comes.”? Friend in Japanese is ともだち.

ともだちが 来きます。
Tomodachiga kimasu.
(My) friend [comes / is coming].

Excellent! And we used the が particle there to mark exhaustively the person that will come, my friend.

Conversation 4

Let’s go back to our conversation with Matt and his co-worker.  She has one more question about his hobbies.

Co-worker: ビールを 飲のみますか。
                         Biiruwo nomimasuka.
                        Do you drink beer?

Matt:            いえ、飲のみません。
                         Ie, nomimasen.
                       No, I don’t drink.

Co-worker: ほんとうですか。 なぜですか。
                         Hontoudesuka. Nazedesuka.
                        Really? Why?

Breaking that down, ビール, beer, を, the object marking particle, 飲のみます, the polite form of 飲のむ, to drink, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together Matt’s co-worker is asking “Do drink beer?”

Matt responds with いえ, no, and 飲のみません, the polite present negative form of 飲のむ, to drink. So, all together, he is saying “No, I don’t drink.”

And his co-worker responds with ほんとう, really, です, the copula, and finally か, the question marker. Then asks なぜ, why, です, the copula, and finally another か, the question marking particle. All together she is asking “Really? Why?”

Here, Matt used the negative form, which is pretty easy to form. All you have to do is add ません instead of ます. For example, with 話はなす, the polite affirmative form is 話はなします, the negative would be 話はなしません. Can you try it with the group 1 verb 行いく, to go?

行いきません
ikimasen
don’t go (polite)

Right! Can you say “(I) am not going to school tomorrow.”? School is 学校, and tomorrow in Japanese is あした.

あした 学校がっこうへ 行いきません。
Ashita   gakkouhe ikimasen.
(I) am not going to school tomorrow.

You got it! Let’s review what we learned with a quick pop quiz. I’ll give you the English. Can you give me the Japanese?

Pop Quiz

First one,

I don’t smoke. (casual)

A quick hint, “to smoke” in Japanese is “タバコを すう”. すう can mean “to suck” or “to breathe in” so literally you are sucking on tobacco or breathing in tobacco.

Answer:

わたしは タバコを すわない。
Watashiwa tabakowo   suwanai.

“I don’t smoke.” in Japanese would be “わたしは タバコを すわない。”Breaking that down, we have わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, タバコ, tobacco or cigarettes, を, the object marking particle and finally すわない, the negative non-past form of すう, to smoke.

I drink alcohol. (casual)

A quick hint, alcohol is おさけ in Japanese.

Answer:

わたしは おさけを 飲のむ。
Watashiwa osakewo    nomu.

“I drink alcohol.” in Japanese would be “わたしは おさけを 飲む。” Breaking that down, we have わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, おさけ, alcohol, を, the object marking particle, and finally 飲のむ, to drink.

I run every morning. (polite)

‘To run’ in Japanese is はしる.

Answer:

まいあさ わたしは はしります。
Maiasa       watashiwa  hashirimasu.

“I run every morning.” in polite Japanese, would be “まいあさ わたしは はしります。”Breaking that down, we have まいあさ, every morning, わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, はしります, the polite non-past form of はしる, to run.

One last one,

I don’t study on Saturdays. (polite)

Answer:

土よう日に べんきょう しません。
doyoubini       benkyou        shimasen

“I don’t study on Sundays” in polite Japanese, would be “土どよう日びに べんきょう しません。” Breaking that down, we have 土どよう日び, Sunday, に, particle marking times or locations, and finally べんきょう しません, the polite negative non-past form of べんきょうする, to study.

Review

This lesson we went over how to form the present tense in both casual and polite forms. For the casual form, the affirmative is simply the plain or dictionary form of the word. For the negative form, how you conjugate the verb depends on what kind of verb it is. For group 1, you shift the final kana to the あrow of kana and add ない. For group 2, you remove the last kana and simply add ない. While for group 3, you have しない for する, to do and 来こない for 来くる, to come.

For the polite form, you have to conjugate the verb differently depending on what type it is as well. If it is group 1, change the final kana to the い row of kana and then add ます. For group 2, cut the final kana off and add ます. Then for the last group, group 3, you have します for する, to do, and 来きます for 来くる, to come. Forming the negative is quite simple, just add ません instead of ます.

That’s it for this episode. For notes and more practice with the grammar point, stop by the JLPT Boot Camp courses site. There you can find quizzes, study guides for this grammar point and every grammar point covered in the videos. You can also get all of your questions answered you might have. Just leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

The JLPT Study Guide for the N5 is now available at Amazon. Packed with exercises to help you master all the grammar points needed for the test, this is a must have study guide for anyone preparing for the N5. It also has reading and listening strategies and practice exercises so you can hone those skills before the exam. Once you’ve finished the book, there are 3 practice tests to check your level and 100s of audio flashcards you can use anywhere to review what you learned.

Thanks for watching and hit the subscribe button for more helpful videos like this one.

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 8M ago

N5 Kanji 八, hachi, eight - YouTube

This is 5 Minute Kanji, and today we are going to go over a cruising kanji this time, the kanji for eight.

Mnemonic:

YO! You want to party on my 8 YATTSU? I’ll pop the HACHI and let you inside.

Onyomi:

ハチ
hachi

Kunyomi:

やっ.つ、や.つ、よう
yattsu, yatsu, you

Like the other number kanji, the onyomi is used when counting up in Japanese, while the kunyomi やっつ is used as a generic counter for objects that don’t have a specific counter.

Mnemonic Factory

The kanji looks like a stick being broke in HAlf. Or possibly a HACHI, a hat. Or it could even be the sails of a one of the YATTSU in your fleet.

The onyomi mnemonic might be a bit tough for this one. We have the HACHI or hatch from the intro or HOt CHI or hot tea, or possibly a burning inner life force. You may also put some HOt CHIzu on your food.

For kunyomi, you are much more limited in your choices. It really comes down to YATTSU, as in the boat and YO! As in YO mamma so fat she needs 8 YATTSU to keep her from sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

Example Words

How about a few examples where these words are used?

Onyomi
For onyomi, we have 八はち for 8. As I said in earlier videos, the kanji itself is rarely used in everyday situations. You will most likely see it on formal documents, awards, or price lists at old fashioned restaurants. Like the other number kanji, the month is the onyomi plus がつ, so to talk about August, we would say 八月はちがつ. We also have 八人はちにん for 8 people.

Kunyomi
There is the generic counter やっつ, used to count objects that don’t have a counter of their own or you forgot which one to use. It can also be pronounced やつ, without the っ (chiisai tsu).

There is an unusual word that is often used in Japan to refer to snack time and that is おやつ, sometimes translated as “tea time.” It usually refers to the time after lunch but before dinner when people eat a light snack, often with coffee or tea. The reason for this is that according to the old time system, what we call 2 o’clock now was actually referred to as the 8th time period. Today, the kanji is rarely if ever used though.

Irregular
Like most of the other number kanji the day of the month is irregular. You would say 八日ようか. There is also a fairly unique word – 八百屋やおや, literally 800 shop, but this actually refers to a greengrocer. Although not common in a lot of other developed countries, you can still find a few greengrocers here and there in Japan, and this word, written in kana, might appear on the N5 test.

Story Review

Can you remember the story from the beginning? Let’s give it a try, and yell out the words that are missing.

__! You want to party on my _ ______? I’ll pop the _____ and let you inside.

Perfect? Let’s give it another try.

__! You want to party on my _ ______? I’ll pop the _____ and let you inside.

Word Review

Can you read these? I’ll give you the kanji and please yell out the reading for each word

八つ

八百屋

八日

八月

八人

御八つ

Again, the kanji for おやつ is rarely used though. This is more of a trivia fact than something you will be tested on.

That’s it for the kanji for eight. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to learn more kanji, hit the subscribe button and hit the bell mark to get a notification every time I send out a new video. Also be sure to check out my other 5 Minute Kanji videos.

Head over to the Courses site to download the kanji practice sheet and take a kanji quiz.

Download the Kanji PDF and Take the Quiz

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 9M ago

JLPT N5 Grammar: The が Particle - YouTube

Welcome everyone, this is Mac with another N5 Grammar Lesson from JLPT Boot Camp. Last episode, we learned about は, the tricky topic marking particle. Today, we are going learn how to use が, the subject marking particle. We are going to look at a few, very short exchanges. Let’s give it a try.

Conversation 1

Matt and Yu are in the park talking about the animals they see.

Matt: わたしは いぬが すき。
            Watashiwa inuga suki.
           (As for me), I like dogs.

Yu: わたしは ねこが すき。
        Watashiwa nekoga suki.
        (As for me), I like cats.

Breaking that down, Matt starts with わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, then いぬ, dog, が, the subject marking particle and finally すき, liked. All together he is saying “I like dogs.”

Yu responds by saying わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, then ねこ, cat, が, the subject marking particle, and finally すき, liked. All together, she says “I like cats.”

Matt and Yu are using one of the more common structures in Japanese は…が…. In the previous episode, we learned how the は particle can be used to give a sentence context, by putting it in a box. With this structure we are adding a little more to that box. We are describing the fact that dogs are liked when talking about myself.

This structure is commonly used to express a state in relation to a topic. Nothing is actually doing anything in this sentence. In the example above, we are expressing the state of Matt liking dogs. This is how this structure is commonly used at the N5 level – to express preferences or what you want to do.

Let’s give it a try right now. Can you say “I like pizza”?  So, quickly again, I is わたし in Japanese, liked is すき and pizza is ピザ.   Can you use the は…が structure to make the sentence?

To say “I like pizza.” in Japanese, you would say:

わたしは ピザが すきです。
Watashiwa pizaga sukidesu.
I like pizza.

Breaking that down, わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, ピザ, pizza, が, the subject marking particle, and finally すき, liked. です is not necessary, but it makes the whole sentence polite. And most of what you will hear on the N5 will be in this polite form.

So, again, you are putting the fact that pizza is liked inside the I box.

Another way you will see this is describing what you want to do:

わたしは ピザが 食べたいです。
Watashiwa pizaga tabetaidesu.
I want to eat pizza.

In the sentence above, 食べたい means to want to eat. We will learn how to form this structure in a later video. For now, just remember that you commonly use the が particle when using the ~たい tai form to express desires like this.

It can also be used to express other states. For example, if you want to talk about the state of you understanding Japanese you can say the following sentence:

わたしは 日本語が わかります。
Watashiwa nihongoga wakarimasu.
I understand Japanese.

Breaking that down, わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, 日本語, Japanese, が, the subject marking particle, and finally わかります, understand in the polite ます form.

Conversation 2

Going back to Matt and Yu, we see they are now eating their bento.

Matt: このおべんとうは おいしいね。だれが つくりましたか。
             Konoobentouwa oishiine. Darega tsukurimashitaka.
            This bento is delicious. Who made it?

Yu: お父さんが つくりました。
         Otousanga tsukurimashita.
        (My) father made it.

Matt: ほんとう?
            Hontou.
           Really?

Breaking that down, Matt starts with この, this, おべんとう, bento or boxed lunch; a packed lunch, then は, the topic marking particle, and おいしい, delicious. In the next sentence, he says だれ, who, が, the subject marking particle, and then つくりました, made, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together he says “This bento is delicious. Who made it?”

Yu responds with お父さん, father, が, the subject marking particle marking the doer of the sentence, and finally つくりました, made.

Matt finishes with ほんとう, really.

Another thing to remember about は and が is that we can not use the は particle with a question word like だれ. Since we are asking specifically about something that we don’t yet know about (i.e. new information), we need to use が with the question word. This is commonly used with だれ, who, since people tend to be the subjects of sentences.

In other questions, we will often use other particles. For example, if you want to ask what someone is doing:

何を していますか。
Nanio shiteimasuka.
What are (you) doing?

Breaking that down, 何, what, を, the object marking particle, しています, doing, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together, “What are you doing?”

Keep in mind, we can use the は particle to mark the topic of the question however, like in the following sentence:

ゆうびんきょくは どこですか。
Yubinkyokuwa dokodesuka.
Where is the post office? (lit. As for the post office, where is?)

Breaking that down, ゆうびんきょく, post office, は, the topic marking particle, どこ, where, then です, the copula or ‘is’, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together, we are asking “where is the post office?”

In the question above, the topic, the post office, gives the question context. This is a very common sentence pattern at the N5 level:

Topic + + question word + ですか。

Can you give it a try? Can you ask “When is lunch”? Remember that lunch in Japanese is ひるごはん, and when is いつ.

ひるごはんは いつですか。
Hirugohanwa itsudesuka.
When is lunch? (lit. As for lunch, when is?)

Breaking that down, ひるごはん, lunch, は, the topic marking particle, いつ, when, then です, the copula or is, and finally か, the question marking particle.

Yu tells us that her father made the bento. He is the doer of the action, and this is another common use of が. When we want to specifically and exhaustively mention the doer of an action, we will use が.

What do I mean by exhaustively? Let’s take a look at these two sentences.

中村さんは はらいました。
Nakamuraha haraimashita.
As for Mr.Nakamura, he paid.

中村さんが はらいました。
Nakamuraga haraimashita.
Mr.Nakamura is the one that paid.

Both of these sentences are correct, but they have slightly different meanings. The first sentence, which uses the は particle, mentions a doer of the action the extremely excited 中村さん.  There may be other people that did this action though.  We just want to mention one of the people that did it. You could directly translate this as “ As for Mr.Nakamura, he paid.”

The second sentence mentions 中村さん exhaustively. He is the one specific person that did the action. A direct translation of this would be “Mr.Nakamura is the one that paid.”

Conversation 3

Let’s go back to our two friends for one finally exchange.

Yu: お父さんが おべんとうを つくります。
         Otousanga obentouwo tsukurimasu.
        (My) father makes bento.

Matt: なぜ。
             Naze.
            Why?

Yu: お父さんは りょうりが すきです。
         Otousanwa ryouriga sukidesu.
        (My) father likes cooking.

Breaking that down, お父さん, father, が, the subject marking particle; the doer in this sentence, おべんとう, bento or boxed lunch, then を, the object marking particle, and finally つくります, make. All together Yu says “My father makes bento.”

Matt responds with a simple なぜ, why.

Yu responds with お父さん, father, は, the topic marking particle, りょうり, cooking, が, usually the subject marking particle but here it marks the object, すき, liked and finally です, the copula. All together she is replying with “My father likes to cook,” literally “As for my father, cooking is liked.”

When you first mention something, it is marked with the が particle. This is because it is new information being introduced to the conversation. For any subsequent mentions, you can use the は particle, except if you want to use が for emphasis or to show a state.

All right let’s check your understanding with a pop quiz.

Pop Quiz

Can you tell me the following in Japanese?

Mr.Tanaka came. (first mention)

Answer:

田中さんが 来ました。
Tanakasanga kimashita.

For “Mr.Tanaka came.”, you would say 田中さんが 来ました。Breaking that down, 田中さん, Mr. Tanaka, が, the subject marking particle, and finally 来ました, the past tense of 来る, to come. We use が because it is the first time we mention Mr.Tanaka. But, this could also be used to express the fact that Mr.Tanaka is the one that came, implying that others didn’t. It depends on the context.

Who bought a book?

Answer:

だれが 本を 買いましたか。
Darega honwo kaimashitaka.

For “Who bought a book?”, we would say だれが 本を 買いましたか. Breaking that down, だれ, who, が, the subject marking particle, 本, book, を, the object marking particle, 買いました, bought and finally か, the question marking particle. We need to mark だれ with が because we are looking for specific new information.

I like pizza.

Answer:

わたしは ピザが すきです。
Watashiwa pizaga sukidesu.

And finally, for “I like pizza,” we would say わたしは ピザが すきで す. Breaking that down, わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, ピザ, pizza, が, the subject marking particle, すき, liked, and finally です to make the statement polite. The が particle is commonly used to mark preferences.

Review

We went over a lot in this video, so let’s wrap it all up.

The が particle can be used to mark preferences that we have. For example, when we talk about what we like or what we want to do, we need tocan use the が particle to express that. I talked a little about the ~たい form which can use the が particle, but it can also take を the object marking particle. The が particle is also used immediately after question words because we are asking about specific new information. The が particle can also exhaustively points to the doer of an action (e.g. Mr. Tanaka is the one that paid.) And when we first mention something, we should mark it with the が particle. After that, we can use the は particle.

That’s it for this episode. For notes and more practice with the grammar point, stop by the JLPT Boot Camp courses site. There you can find quizzes, study guides for this grammar point and every grammar point covered in the videos. You can also get all of your questions answered you might have. Just leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

The JLPT Study Guide for the N5 is now available at Amazon. Packed with exercises to help you master all the grammar points needed for the test, this is a must have study guide for anyone preparing for the N5. It also has reading and listening strategies and practice exercises so you can hone those skills before the exam. Once you’ve finished the book, there are 3 practice tests to check your level and 100s of audio flashcards you can use anywhere to review what you learned.

Thanks for watching and hit the subscribe button for more helpful videos like this one.

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 10M ago

N5 Kanji shichi しち 七 - YouTube

This is 5 Minute Kanji, and today we are going to go over a crazy nana of a kanji this time, the kanji for seven.

Mnemonic:

My girlfriend, SHE CHIlls by NA-NAing on a baNANA TSU relax.

Onyomi:

シチ
shichi

Kunyomi:

なな、なな.つ
nana, nanatsu

Like the other number kanji, the onyomi is used when counting up in Japanese, while the kunyomi ななつ is used as a generic counter for objects that don’t have a specific counter.

Mnemonic Factory

The kanji looks like someone eating a banana. Or you can also think of it as a combination of the two kana that form the onyomi reading – し and ち. Or it does kind of look like an upside down 7 with a line through it, which is the way some people write it.

The onyomi mnemonic has a lot of possibilities. Most of them involve something ‘she’ is doing, for example, “SHE CHEats on the JLPT,” or “SHE CHEers for her favorite ultimate Frisbee team – the flinging NANAs”.

For kunyomi, you’ve got baNANA of course, or a NANA, which is a British English word for a “silly person or a fool”. Or some people use it as an affectionate term for their grandma. Adding the TSU at the end might be difficult but you can always add too to a sentence, like “SHE ate CHIps and a baNANA TSU.”

Example Words

How about a few examples where these words are used?

Onyomi
For onyomi, we have しち for 7. Again, the kanji itself is rarely used in everyday situations. You will most likely see it on formal documents, awards, or price lists at old fashioned restaurants. Like the other number kanji, the month is the onyomi plus がつ, so to talk about July, we would say 七月しちがつ. We also have 七人しちにん for 7 people like the famous movie 七人しちにんの侍さむらい, The Seven Samurai, an incredibly famous, old Kurosawa film.

There is also the special holiday 七五三しちごさん, or 7-5-3 day. This is a special holiday when a boy turns 3, 5, and 7 go to a temple for a special, formal ceremony. Girls go when they turn 3 and 7.

Kunyomi
We can also use the kunyomi for counting, なな for 7. There is also the generic counter 七ななつ, used to count objects that don’t have a counter of their own or you forgot which one to use.

Irregular
Like most of the other number kanji the day of the month is irregular. You would say 七日なのか. There is also 七夕たなばた, which is a festival that is usually held on the 7th night of July, where boys and girls typically write their wishes on to slips of paper and tie them to bamboo branches. 七夕たなばた is an example of jukujikun, or kanji used simply for their meaning and don’t use the regular reading of the kanji in the compound.

Story Review

Can you remember the story from the beginning? Let’s give it a try, and yell out the words that are missing.

My girlfriend, ___ ___lls by __-__ing on a ba____ ___ relax.

Perfect? Let’s give it another try.

My girlfriend, ___ ___lls by __-__ing on a ba____ ___ relax.

Word Review

Can you read these? I’ll give you the kanji and please yell out the reading for each word

七月

七人

七つ

七日

七五三

That’s it for the kanji for seven. Be sure to visit the Courses site to download the kanji practice sheet, which will walk you through how to remember this kanji’s reading and help you use it well.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to learn more kanji, hit the subscribe button and hit the bell mark to get a notification every time I send out a new video. Also be sure to check out my other 5 Minute Kanji videos.

Head over to the Courses site to download the kanji practice sheet and take a kanji quiz.

Download the Kanji PDF and Take the Quiz

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JLPT Boot Camp by Clayton Macknight - 11M ago

JLPT N5 Grammar: The は Particle - YouTube

Welcome everyone, this is Mac with another N5 Grammar Lesson from JLPT Boot Camp. Last episode, we learned how to use adjectives to talk about things in the past politely. Today, we are going learn how to use the は particle, sometimes called the topic marking particle. We are going to look at a few, very short exchanges. Let’s give it a try.

Conversation 1

Let’s join our favorite couple Matt and Yu eating at a restaurant. She is trying to persuade Matt to eat some food.

Yu:なっとうは おいしいよ。
     Nattouwa        oishiyo.
     Natto is delicious.

Matt:おいしくないよ。
         Oishikunaiyo.
        (Natto) isn’t delicious.

Breaking that down, Yu said, なっとう, natto or fermented soybeans, は, the topic marking particle, おいしい, delicious, and finally よ, a particle used for emphasis. All together Yu is saying “Hey, natto is delicious.” And by using the よ particle, she is kind of suggesting that Matt agree.

Matt responds with おいしくない, not delicious, and よ, used to emphasize his difference in opinion here. All together,, Matt is saying “(Natto) is not delicious.”

And if you are not familiar with natto, fermented soybeans. It’s a common Japanese breakfast food, that’s quite gooey and sticky and often has an unpleasant smell. I like it, but others can’t stand it. I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t. It’s quite good in my opinion.

Anyway, Yu was using the はparticle, probably one of the trickiest particles to master at the N5 level. To make it more confusing, it can serve two functions – a topic marking particle and a particle used to mark contrast. We are going to go over the topic marking function first.

And for starters, you are probably wondering what exactly is the topic of a sentence. In Japanese, it is actually different from the subject of a sentence. This is obviously quite confusing. And it is best to try to forget about an English equivalent because there isn’t one really.

Valid topics are something that both the speaker and listener have knowledge about, can be perceived by one of the 5 senses, a generic noun, or a proper noun.

I like to think of the topic as a box you are putting the sentence in. It’s a way of ‘sorting’ out what you are talking about.

Thinking about Yu’s line – なっとうは おいしいよ. Delicious is the meaning we want to convey. And by putting it in the ‘natto’ box, we can understand that the two are related – natto = delicious. So, one structure to remember for this particle is AはB means A = B.

And now that we ‘put the box out’ by mentioning it in the first sentence, we don’t have to do that again. Matt can simply say おいしくない and we understand that he is talking about natto. That’s the topic of the conversation.

This is one of the main tasks the は particle does, it gives the sentence context by sorting it out. Why don’t you try an easy example out. Let’s talk about this sushi. Can you make a sentence about it? Can you say “this sushi is delicious”?

このすしは おいしいです。
Konosushiwa oishiidesu.
This sushi is delicious.

Breaking it down, この, this, すし, sushi, は, the topic marking particle, and finally おいしいです, polite way to say delicious. Note that we need to use この to talk about this specific sushi that we are looking at here. If we said すしは おいしいです (sushi is delicious) the listener might think that we are talking about all sushi, not just this specific sushi here.

Let’s go back to Matt and Yu for one more exchange.

Yu:わたしは なっとうを 食べます。
    Watashiwa nattouo tabemasu.
    (As for me,) I eat natto.

Matt:わたしは なっとうを 食べません。
      Watashiwa nattouo tabemasen.
      (As for me,) I don’t eat natto.

Breaking that down, Yu said わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, なっと, natto, を, the object marking particle, and finally 食べます, eat. All together, directly translated, she is saying “As for me, I eat natto.” or in plain English – “I eat natto.”

Matt responds with わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, なっとう, natto, を, the object marking particle, then finally 食べません, not eat. All together, directly translated, he is saying “As for me, I don’t eat natto.” or in plain English – “I don’t eat natto.”

Here we see the は particle being used in a slightly different way. Here it is being used as a contrasting particle. Yu is saying “As for me” and she is implying a comparison between her and others. In this case, she is kind of comparing herself to Matt. Matt in turn is contrasting himself to Yu. Let’s give it a try. Imagine if someone asks you what kind of music you like. You listen to rock music. How would you respond?

わたしは ロックを 聞きます。
Watashiwa rokkuo kikimasu.
(As for me,) I listen rock music.

Breaking it down, わたし, I, は, the topic marking particle, ロック, rock (music), を, the object marking particle, and finally 聞きます, listen to. All together, we say “As for me, I listen to rock.”

Pop Quiz

Can you tell me the following in Japanese?

Red flowers are pretty.

Red in Japanese is あかい, and flower is はな.

For “Red flowers are pretty”, you would say あかいはなは かわいいです. We start with あかい, for red, はな, flower, then は, the topic marking particle, next かわいい, pretty and finally we add です to make the whole sentence polite. To make it more casual we can drop the です of course.

As for me, I read manga.

The polite form of “to read” in Japanese is 読みます.

For “As for me, I read manga.”, you would say わたしは マンガを 読みます. We start with わたし, I , then は, used here to show contrast, next マンガ, manga, and then the を particle, the object marking particle, and finally 読みます, to read.

Review

So what was all that again? Let’s review.

We went over two ways to use the はparticle today. It’s most common use is to mark the topic of the sentence. It acts as a box that we sort the conversation into. It helps provide context and make the meaning more clear. If the topic can be understood from the conversation it doesn’t need to be restated.

It can also be used for contrast to imply a comparison with other similar topics. It is often used to talk about preferences as in talking about what you like to listen to or read.

That’s it for this episode. For notes and more practice with the grammar point, stop by the JLPT Boot Camp courses site. There you can find quizzes, study guides for this grammar point and every grammar point covered in the videos. You can also get all of your questions answered you might have. Just leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

The JLPT Study Guide for the N5 is now available at Amazon. Packed with exercises to help you master all the grammar points needed for the test, this is a must have study guide for anyone preparing for the N5. It also has reading and listening strategies and practice exercises so you can hone those skills before the exam. Once you’ve finished the book, there are 3 practice tests to check your level and 100s of audio flashcards you can use anywhere to review what you learned.

Thanks for watching and hit the subscribe for more helpful videos like this one.

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