Author Archive | Sami Nicholas

Tiny but Mighty: Use Japanese Particles Like a Pro

Particles are like flavors. It’s not much use having an espresso shot of hazelnut or vanilla if you don’t have a coffee to mix it with. Furthermore, while vanilla coffee and hazelnut coffee are both still coffees, they’ve also become …

Japanese Phonetics and the Power of Pronunciation

Let me set the scene: Japanese class, second semester. Small university in the middle of nowhere. A meter of snow. The semester had just started, so my 10 classmates and I were arranged in horseshoe formation around the teacher, who …

How to Say “I Want” in Japanese, Explained with Ties

It’s an unremarkable weekday evening and a salaryman is collapsed in the aisle of a dilapidated discount department store. He is, for some reason, sobbing. A concerned customer service representative approaches him to ask what’s wrong, to which he replies:…

The Etiquette and Format of Japanese Email Writing

“… I think that your Japanese is good enough to understand how you should address a professor. Please reword this email before I forward it to the department head.” This is the last sentence of an email I received after …