A young girl (on the left) and two young boys (one in the middle and another to the right) are wearing Japanese high school uniforms and are talking while walking down a street. The girl has a bag over her right shoulder while the two boys are holding books in their right arm.

8 Ways to Make Your Japanese Sound More Natural

Have you tried practicing lines out of a Japanese textbook only to get blank stares from native speakers? As you may already know, the material in textbooks can sound stiff and unnatural. Take a look at the following two examples; which do you think sounds more natural?  1a. 私はお酒を飲みに行きました。すごく楽しかったです。 (Watashi wa osake o nomi ni … Read more

An illustration of the 12 different Chinese Zodiac signs with each sign alternating in beige, purple, and black colors.

The Complete Japanese Zodiac And Astrological Signs Guide

People have always been fascinated by pseudosciences such as astrology, tarot cards, and personality typing. The Japanese are no different. In addition to regular fortune telling, personality typing by blood types, and palm reading, zodiacs are especially popular in Japan. There are two prevailing zodiac systems in Japan; one is the traditional Chinese zodiac, which … Read more

An illustration of clouds in the blue sky. There is a big cloud in the middle of the image. Above it, is the word “DREAM” spelled out in a whitish, cloud-shaped font.

How to Say “Dream” in Japanese and More

Have you had a dream recently? Was it a good dream or a nightmare? The word for “dream” in Japanese is “夢 (yume),” but there are several types of dreams. This guide will teach you words and expressions for different types of dreams and nightmares in Japanese. Some terms in this guide express things that … Read more

A young woman resting her head on her arm on top of a desk. On this desk, there is a black laptop next to her and an open binder in front of her. On the binder is a black pair of glasses and a black pen next to the binder. There is a lot of envelopes, folders, and notebooks that are all stacked up into one pile which is balanced on top of the woman’s face.

9 Ways to Say “I’m Tired” in Japanese

Working in Japan can be very difficult. Many people work long hours and even have to work on the weekends.  Karōshi (death by overwork) is a real thing in Japan. At the very least, business owners, company workers, and even students work hard and can get very tired.   Here’s how native Japanese speakers express their … Read more

Three young women standing next to each other. Only their upper bodies are shown. One girl in the middle is blowing a bubble with gum while the girl on the right side of the picture is pointing at it and laughing. The girl on the left side of the picture is also pointing at the bubble and laughing.

15 Natural Ways to Say Laugh in Japanese

Don’t you think it’s true that laughter is one of the most important things in our life? Check out this Japanese proverb:   笑う門には福来たる (Warau kado ni wa fuku kitaru)Laughter will bring luck. / Fortune comes to those who laugh/smile Let’s break this down: The Standard Way to Say Laugh in Japanese There are a variety of … Read more

A small, white, rectangular piece of paper with the words, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” written on it. This paper is stuck to a corkboard with a red pushpin.

Using まじ (Maji) and まじで (Maji De) Naturally in Japanese

美月:この味、マジやばい~。美味しすぎる!Mitsuki: (Kono aji, maji yabai~. Oishi sugiru!)Mitsuki: This tastes absolutely incredible! So good! 雪子:確かに、これはマジでくせになるね。Yukiko:  (Tashika ni, kore wa maji de kuse ni naru ne.)Yukiko: Absolutely, this is seriously addictive. What Does まじ (Maji) and まじで (Maji De) Mean? まじ (maji) and まじで (maji de) are interchangeable in many cases. They both can mean: まじ (Maji) … Read more

A young Asian woman wearing blue jeans and a denim jacket sitting on a gray couch. She is holding a glass of water in her right hand and giving an “okay” gesture with her left hand. There is a white fan blurred in front and to the left of the image.

10 Ways to Say “Okay” in Natural Japanese

There are many ways to say “okay” in Japanese using different levels of politeness. This article will teach you how to say “okay” naturally in different situations.   Ways to Say Okay to Confirm Things Here are the natural ways to say “okay” in Japanese to confirm things. 1. オッケー(Okkē): Okay This is the simplest and … Read more

A sand-textured and colored surface with three rocks on it in the lower right corner. The biggest rock is on the bottom, with a medium sized rock above it, and the smallest rock above that. The text on the image reads, “What is Hou Ga Ii In Japanese?”

What is 方がいい (Hou Ga Ii) in Japanese?

The expression “〜方がいい (hou ga ii)” is used when giving advice or suggestions to someone. It translates to “It’s better to do ~” or “You should do ~” in English. Another expression, “〜(する)べきだ (suru beki da),” also means “You should do ~.” However, it is direct and can sound condescending. 方がいい is a much softer … Read more

A young woman wearing a yellow-greeish top and blue jeans standing in front of a light blue background. She has both of her hands up (palms up) to her shoulder to gesture “I don’t know.”

6 Natural Ways to Say “I Don’t Know” in Japanese

すみません。(私は)日本語が分かりません。(Sumimasen. (Watashi wa) nihongo ga wakarimasen.)Sorry. I don’t understand/don’t know Japanese.   The Many Ways to Say “I Don’t Know” in Japanese  “I don’t know” is one of the first things you should learn when studying a foreign language because it will surely come in handy! In this article, I will introduce many ways to say … Read more

A woman is climbing up a mountain/rock while wearing blue jeans and a gray shirt. She is dragging a huge boulder up the mountain with a chain. The blue sky and a city with many tall buildings can be seen in the background.

How to Use 大変 (Taihen) in Japanese Naturally

大変 (taihen): Very, Great, Serious, Terrible, Trouble, Serious, Awfully 大変 (taihen) + adjective/adverb/verb/expressions = Very, Extremely, Terribly, Awfully adjective/adverb/verb 大変 (taihen) is used to express something extreme. This word can be used for both negative and positive situations.  1. 大変 (Taihen) As An Adverb= Very, Extremely, Terribly, Awfully When you use 大変 (taihen) as an … Read more

A young, Asian woman is holding a pink cake with fruits on top on a black platter in front of her. The cake is blurred.

うまい (Umai): A Super Useful Japanese Word

ここのお寿司はめっちゃうまい!(Koko no osushi wa meccha umai!)The sushi here is super delicious! What is うまい (Umai) in Japanese?  うまい (umai) is a word that native Japanese speakers commonly use. It has several meanings.   うまい (Umai) Can Mean: It can be written in: However, it is most often written using hiragana (うまい). We’ll go into more detail … Read more

A woman wearing a gray business dress is walking while pulling a piece of luggage and is waving to another woman in the distance. The woman she is waving to is wearing a black business suit and has her back to the camera. This woman is waving back to the woman in gray.

What is お元気ですか (Ogenki Desu Ka)? And Why Native Speakers Don’t Use It

お元気ですか (ogenki desu ka) is an expression that is often translated to “How are you?” in English. This expression is used in both spoken conversations and in writing (letters, emails, texts, etc.) However… お元気ですか is NOT commonly used by native speakers.     One reason is that お元気ですか is a formal expression, so you wouldn’t use it … Read more

A young, Asian woman wearing a white shirt is facing the camera with a big smile. She has her left pointer finger touching her left cheek, while her right pointer finger is touching her right cheek. The background is light blue.

7 Ways to Say “Happy” in Japanese

Ah, happiness. As elusive as it can be in real life, grasping the nuances of different Japanese words for “happy” can be almost as puzzling.  While I can’t help you find inner peace and happiness in real life, I can teach you 7 different ways to say happy in Japanese, how they differ, and when … Read more

A young Asian woman is crossing her arms in front of her to form an “X,” the gestures for “no” or “no good” in Japanese.

Useful Japanese Words: What Does 断る (Kotowaru) Mean?

私は田中さんの招待を断った。(Watashi wa Tanaka-san no shōtai o kotowatta.)I turned down Mr. Tanaka’s invitation. The most common meaning of 断る (kotowaru) is “to decline” or “to refuse.” Let’s take a look at more examples of how 断る (kotowaru) is used naturally in Japanese.   Examples:   1. 友達と映画に行くことになっていたが、熱が出てしまったので、残念ながら断った*。 (Tomodachi to eiga ni iku koto ni natteita ga netsu ga … Read more

A young, Asian woman with her right hand at her waist and her left hand held up in front of her with her left pointer finger pointing back at herself. It appears as if she is telling someone to come over. The background is dark yellowish.

11 Natural Ways to Say “Come Here” in Japanese

There is a simple way to say “Come here” in Japanese. However, there are many other less direct and polite ways to say it.   Here are 10 natural ways to say “Come here” in Japanese. 1. Standard Expression: ここに来て下さい (Koko Ni Kite Kudasai): Please Come Here ここに来て下さい (Koko ni kite kudasai) is the typical phrase … Read more

A young, Asian woman is sitting in front of her laptop on a desk with her arms raised and a big, happy smile on her face. A small potted plant, a white cup, and a smartphone is also on the desk. A bookshelf with books can be seen blurred in the background.

What Is よかった (Yokatta) In Japanese?

よかった (yokatta) is the past tense of 良い (yoi/ii), which means “good.”The meaning of よかった (yokatta) is: “It was good.”  It is often used to express positive feelings, such as happiness, being glad about something, or being relieved from anxiety. When used with the negative conditional form, it can also express regret. Yokatta can be … Read more

A young woman smiling towards the camera with her right hand up as if saying hi. There are light-green sticky notes stuck on to different parts of her body, with the name of that body part written on the note. One note is over her left eye (and reads “eye”), one note on her right cheek (that reads, “cheek”), one note on her right hand (that reads, “hand”) and one note on her left chest that reads, “body.”

A Comprehensive Guide to 40 Body Parts in Japanese

Imagine traveling in the beautiful green countryside of Japan when you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your stomach. You go to a hospital, but the doctors there don’t speak English. You find yourself unable to explain your symptoms. This hopefully will never happen, but just in case, it would be nice to be able … Read more

A wicker basket is seen on top of a wooden table and is filled with various fruits and vegetables like broccoli, red and yellow bell peppers, corn, garlic, apples, a carrot and more. Some of these vegetables are on the table surrounding the basket.

A Guide to Vegetable Names in Japanese

When people talk about Japanese cuisine, the focus always goes to sushi, tempura, or ramen. No one ever talks about the amazing vegetables used in Japanese cooking. If you love cooking or eating, knowing how to say the names of vegetables in Japanese will be super helpful.   In this guide, you’ll learn the names of … Read more

An image of five, small white cubs with letters on them. Them are placed side-by-side on top of a wooden surface. The words spell out the word, “IDIOT.”

What Is ばか (Baka) in Japanese? How Is It Used?

ばか means idiot, ridiculous, silly, foolish, stupid, or ignorant. It can be written in hiragana, ばか (baka), in katakana, バカ (baka), or kanji, 馬鹿 (baka). 馬 means “horse,” and 鹿 means “deer.” You must be asking yourself, “Why in the world would a horse and deer be considered stupid?” These characters are known as 当て字 … Read more

A sentence that reads, “I MUST DO THIS!” in white chalk on a black/gray surface. The “O” in the word “DO” is replaced with a small, red heart figure.

What Is なければならない (Nakereba Naranai) In Japanese?

なければならない (nakereba naranai)is used to express an obligation to do something. It means “must, “have to,” or “should” in English. For example, “I have to do my homework” or “I must study for the test tonight.” It also means “has to” when talking about someone else. For example, “She has to finish up her work.” … Read more

An illustration of three sets of hands clapping in the middle bottom of this image. On the left and right and side, there is a hand giving a thumbs up. There are small white circles and stars on a blue background in this image.

What Is “さすが (Sasuga)” in Japanese? How Do You Use It?

さすが (sasuga) has many uses in Japanese. It generally means: As one would expect. / Just as you’d expected. Compliment (That’s awesome. That’s great. I’m proud of you. Amazing.) さすが (sasuga) is an adverb used to express surprise and admiration for something we expected that then came true. It’s like saying, “I knew you would … Read more

A picture of a large, orange Japanese Torii gate in the middle of a calm ocean in shallow water. In the background, there are mountains and land with some buildings. Text on this image in reads, "Using もう (Mō) and まだ (Mada) in Japanese"

Using もう (Mō) and まだ (Mada) in Japanese: An In-Depth Guide

Depending on how it’s used, もう (mō) and まだ (mada) can have different meanings. Generally, they can have the following meanings: もう (mō) can mean: already, not anymore, again, soon, almost certain, or even “come on!”    まだ(mada) means “not yet” or “still.” What is もう(Mō) in Japanese?  もう(mō) is an adverb that can mean “already, soon, … Read more

A picture of the blue sky with white clouds above a snow-capped Mt. Fuji. In the foreground on the left and right side of this image, are branches with pink flowers on them extending out into the image. There is a text overlapped on this image that reads, “What Does どうも (Dōmo) Mean?.”

What Does どうも (Dōmo) in Japanese Mean? 7 Ways to Use it Naturally

You hear the word どうも (dōmo) all the time in Japan. どうも (dōmo) has many different meanings. It can be used as: an adverb to emphasize feelings of appreciation and gratitude.  an adverb to emphasize feelings of apology. a greeting, “hi,” “hey,” or “hello.” a casual way of saying “thank you,” like “thanks.” sorry well … Read more