Category Archives: Learn Japanese

Lesson 27: ~ How To Say ‘While’ In Japanese Using ながら、

So far, you have learned how to use the present progressive tense, aka the ている form. But in this lesson, we are going to step it up a notch by learning how to say while in Japanese. This grammar conjugation is referred to as ながら.

Conjugating Verbs To Use ながら

Luckily for you guys, this verb form is quite easy. The general rule of thumb is Verb-ます stem + ながら. However, there are still a few instances where this conjugation can be a little bit deceiving. Let’s go over it some more by separating its forms in verb groups.


As mentioned before, all you need to do to use ながら is to use the verb stem. In other words, cut off the る and add ながら。

Here are some examples of this verb form in action.


る Verbs Stem Form ながら
食べる 食べ たべながら
見る 見ながら
伝える 伝え 伝えながら
開ける 開けながら 開けながら




IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind that ながら always goes with a verb and shouldn’t stand by itself at any given moment in time.




う Verbs are in the same category, but since the stem of う verbs isn’t syllabic like those of る verbs, usually another character is needed to fill in the gap before making a conjugation.

Here are some examples of this verb form in action in うverbs


う Verbs Stem Form ながら
書く かk 書きながら
歩く あるk 歩きながら
買う 買いながら
踊る 踊r 踊りながら


As you can see I left some characters in romaji because that is where the stem ends. I just did this to show you that you must be careful using conjugating うverbs with ながら. However, if it is one thing you can always count on when dealing with うverbs, it’s the use of いなが. Just remember to drop the うbefore you do anything though.

Irregular Verbs

Using ながらwith irregular verbs is a common way of expressing “while doing something” in Japanese. The conjugations are simple, so you shouldn’t have too much of a problem when dealing with them.


The most important irregular verbs you ought to pay attention to are:

する(to do)


来る (to come)


With their conjugations being:

する―→ しながら

来るー→ 来ながら


When to use ながら

Think of ながら as a more advanced form of ている. Yes, its used to describe the present progressive tense, but it also used to describe actions done at the SAME time. This is the main distinction between the two. Here are some examples to further explain its usage:



While I was walking, I dropped my food.


While using the computer, I was also on the phone.


While singing, I lost my voice.


While studying, I was listening to music.

Okay, so you see just how useful this little particle/ grammar point can be right? Once again, use it to describe simultaneous actions in either the past, present or future. Let’s put what you’ve just learned to the test in a short homework assignment. 頑張って 皆さん。


Conjugate the following verbs using ながら

  1. 食(た)べる
  2. 飲(の)む
  3. 歩(ある)く
  4. 泳(およ)ぐ
  5. 読(よ)む
  6. 歌(うた)う
  7. 死(し)ぬ
  8. する
  9. くる
  10. 見(み)る
  11. 掃除(そうじ)する
  12. 聴く


Answer Key


  1. 食(た)べながら
  2. 飲(の)みながら
  3. 歩(ある)きながら
  4. 泳(およ)ぎながら
  5. 読(よ)みながら
  6. 歌(うた)いながら
  7. 死(し)にながら
  8. しながら
  9. きながら
  10. 見(み)ながら
  11. 掃除(そうじ)しながら
  12. 聴きながら



Lesson 26: TE IRU Form

In the last lesson, you learned a pretty handy grammar point known as the TEて form, and as you’ve come to realize its great at making connections. Today we’ll be adding on a little something extra to the TE form known as the TE IRU form. The ている form of a verb is used to express the -ing, or in a more technical term, the present progressive.

Conjugating ている Form

The conjugation of the ている form isn’t too tricky, but there are certain things you need to be careful of when doing so. We’ll be looking at る, う、 and irregular verbs to make this lesson as in-depth as possible.


Think of conjugating these verbs in the て form first, and then simply add いる. A nifty trick is to remember that いる by itself means ‘to be/to exist.’ So, let’s apply that trick to our favorite る verb, 食べる (to eat). First comes the て form, 食べて, then add いる、食べている. “To exist eating.”


Unfortunately, うverbs always have to go and make things hard in Japanese. Conjugating these won’t be as easy since うverbs can end in つ, る, む, ぬ, く, ぐ, and す.  The same rule still applies, but you need to conjugate with caution.

Here are some examples




持つ― もっている

書くー かいてる

If you looked at that and went “これはなに? “It’s okay, I did too.

  1. For verbs ending in む, remove the う, replace the ‘m’ sound with ん and て becomes で. As for the rest, add いる。
  2. For う verbs ending in る, take off the る add a small っ, and then follow up with ている。
  3. For verbs ending in ぐ, take off the ぐ、and add いでいる。
  4. For verbs ending in く, take off the く, and add いている.
  5. For verbs ending in つ, replace the つ with a small っ and add ている。

Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs with the ているform are much more forgiving than that of the うverbs. So, you won’t have to struggle as much. The irregular verbs you’ve learned so far are する、くる。

する becomes している。

くる becomes きている 。

It’s that simple!



As mentioned earlier this form is used for when you want to express the act of doing something, hence the -ing form. Whether it’s eating, swimming, walking, running, singing, dancing, drinking, etc., the ているcan help you with expressing all of that. It can also be used in connection with the て form to make connections to present progressive actions (-ing). Let’s practice with dialogue; it’ll be easy I promise. But a few notes before we start our practice! Think of ている like any other verb conjugation; it can be used in the negative, polite, or short form, along with many other ways that we won’t get into in this exact lesson, so keep that in mind.

See if you can translate the dialogue while identifying the uses of the ている form.

Practice I

See if you can translate the dialogue while identifying the uses of the ている form.





メアリ:ありませんよ。今、ピッザを食べています ?。

Practice II

Conjugate these verbs into the ているform.

  1. かつぐ







Answer Key

Practice I

Mary: Takeshi, what are you doing?

Takeshi: I am doing my homework, how about you?

Mary: I’m watching T.V and drinking water

Takeshi: Oh, I see. So, you don’t have any homework I assume?

Mary: Nope. Now, I’m eating pizza ?.


Practice II

1. かついでる

  1. おどっている
  2. かりている
  3. のぞんでいる
  4. きている


Lesson 25: TE Form

This lesson will discuss a new form of verb conjugation. This form is called “て form” and it is used when you want to ask for or give permission, ask someone to do something, and when you want to put two verbs in a sentence together.

This form is really important to the Japanese language, so you must understand it very clearly! It may take you a while to get used to this new form, but after studying the information presented in this lesson a few times, you should have a good understanding of what て form is and how to get it.

Conjugating Form

て form is rather a complicated form of conjugation. There are several different rules and a few exceptions that you must learn. First, we will learn how to conjugate る verbs into て form. Then we will move on to the different rules for う verbs. Finally we will look at the rules for irregular verbs and exceptions.


The rule for conjugating る verbs is the simplest rule of them all. For these verbs, you must start with the dictionary form of the verb. For example, use みる, the dictionary form of みます which means “to see/to watch.”

Take みる and remove the る. Replace the る with て. You are left with みて. This rule applies the same for all る verbs.

たべる would become たべて in て form, and so on.


う verbs are a bit more complicated than る verbs. Remember that う verbs do not have to end in う. They can also end in つ, る, む, ふ, ぬ, く, ぐ, and す.

For う verbs that end in う, つ, and る, remove the final syllable and replace it with って. For example, あう becomes あって. This is the same for verbs that end in つ and る. You must remove theつ and る and replace it with って.

For う verbs that end in む, ふ, or ぬ, you must remove the final syllable and replace it with んで. For example, よむ, becomes よんで. You just remove む and replace it with んで. The same applies for the verbs that end in ふ and ぬ. ふ and ぬ are removed and んで is added.

For verbs that end in く, you should drop the final く and add いて. There is an exception to this rule, and it is the verb いく. For いく, you drop the く and add って. Be sure to remember this!

Similarly, with verbs that end in ぐ, you drop the final ぐ and add いで.

If the う verb ends in す, you drop the final す and add して. An example is はなす, which becomes はなして.

Irregular Verbs

For the two irregular verbs, する and くる, you must memorize the て forms. する becomes して and くる becomes きて.

Form Uses

て form is commonly used to ask someone to do something for you. It is also commonly used to ask or give permission.

In order to make a request, you must use the てください form. This means you take the てform of whatever verb is relevant to what you are asking and add ください to it. This will have the effect of politely asking the person to do something for you.

For example, if you want to ask someone to watch something, you can say みてください. If you want to add the subject and subject particle to the sentence, that is acceptable too. For example, you could ask someone to watch a specific movie. You could say えいがをみてください.

To use the て form to ask or give permission, you need the てもいいですand てはいけません. If asking for permission, you would add か to てもいいです.

For example, if you want to ask someone if you can watch a movie that belongs to him or her, you can say えいがをみてもいいですか. If the person is okay with you watching the movie, he or she can say みてもいいですよ. Theよ is optional. If the person does not want you to watch the movie, he or she could say みてはいけません.

Another way you can use て form is to link two activities together in a sentence. For example, if you want to say “I will listen to music and watch a movie,” you would say わたしはおんがくをきいて、えいがをみます. Notice how the first verb in the sentence is in て form and the second verb is in the regular present tense ます form. You can do this with any verb.

Read through this lesson a few times to ensure you understand て form and how to conjugate. Once you have memorized the forms and feel comfortable, proceed to the exercises below.

Practice I

Write five sentences that use two verbs. Remember when and how to use the TE form to link them together.

Practice II

Write theて form of the following verbs.

  1. する
  2. たべる
  3. あう
  4. かく
  5. よむ

Answer Key

Practice II

  1. して
  2. たべて
  3. あって
  4. かいて
  5. よんで


Lesson 24: Adjectives in Past Tense and Like/Dislike

Lesson 22 detailed how to conjugate  い and な adjectives in the present tense. You learned both affirmative and negative conjugations. Now, we will learn both the negative and positive conjugations for adjectives in the past tense. If you are still uncomfortable with the present tense forms of the adjectives, review Lesson 22 before moving on to this lesson. You will also learn how to say your likes and dislikes in this lesson. The adjectives for “like” and “dislike” function the same way the other adjectives in this lesson do.


In order to conjugate an い adjective into the affirmative past tense, you must drop the final い symbol and add かったですto the end. For example, おもしろい would become おもしろかったです. This would mean that something in the past was interesting. You could say “That movie was interesting,” by saying そのえいがはおもしろかったです.

For the past tense negative, you must drop the final い and add く. After く, you need to add ありませんでした. Notice how theです in the affirmative changes to でした (the past tense of です). This occurs even though both phrases are in the past tense. If you wanted to say “That movie was not interesting,” you could say そのえいがはおもしろくありませんでした.


To make the affirmative past tense form of a な adjective, you first need to drop the な ending. After this, simply add でした. Likewise, for the negative past tense form, drop the な ending first. Then, add じゃありませんでした. Take きれいな as an example. You could say “That town was pretty,” by saying そのまちはきれいでした. You could also say “That town was not pretty,” by saying そのまちはきれいじゃありませんでした.

Irregular Adjectives

The only irregular adjective you really need to worry about is いい. When you conjugate this into the past affirmative form, you must change いい to よかったです. When conjugating いい into the past negative form, you must change いい to よくありませんでした. This adjective does not follow any established patterns, so you will just have to memorize it.

Talking About Likes and Dislikes

There is a specific adjective for “like” and also an adjective for “dislike.” すきな is “like” and きらいな is “dislike.”

The sentence structure for talking about your likes and dislikes is like this:

X は Y がすきです.

In the above structure, すき can be replaced with きらい. The subject is not necessary if you are talking about yourself, but if you are referring to someone else’s likes and dislikes, you can add a subject. It is important to remember that すき and きらい always use が as their particle.

You can also amp up these two adjectives by adding だい in front of the word. This changes “like” to “really like” or even “love” whereas “dislike” changes to “hate.”

だいすきです= to really like something, or love something

だいきらいです = to hate something


Practice I

Conjugate the following い adjectives into the past affirmative and past negative forms.

  1. おもしろい
  2. いそがしい
  3. あたらしい
  4. おおきい
  5. あつい
  6. さむい
  7. こわい
  8. ちいさい
  9. たのしい
  10. むずかしい

Practice II

Conjugate the following な and irregular adjectives into the past affirmative and past negative forms.

  1. げんきな
  2. きれいな
  3. きらいな
  4. ひまな
  5. しずかな
  6. にぎやかな
  7. いい

Answer Key

Practice I

  1. おもしろかったです おもしろくありませんでした
  2. いそがしかったです いそがしくありませんでした
  3. あたらしかったです あたらしくありませんでした
  4. おおきかったです おおきくありませんでした
  5. あつかったです あつくありませんでした
  6. さむかったです さむくありませんでした
  7. こわかったです こわくありませんでした
  8. ちいさかったです ちいさくありませんでした
  9. たのしかったです たのしくありませんでした
  10. むずかしかったです むじかしくありませんでした

Practice II

  1. げんきでした げんきじゃありませんでした
  2. きれいでした きれいじゃありませんでした
  3. きらいでした きらいじゃありませんでした
  4. ひまでした ひまじゃありませんでした
  5. しずかでした しずかじゃありませんでした
  6. にぎやかでした にぎやかじゃありませんでした
  7. よかったです よくありませんでした

Lesson 23: Kanji Part 3

Lessons 17 and 20 focused on teaching you some kanji characters. This lesson will serve as a follow up to those lessons and help you add more kanji to your vocabulary. Keep in mind that you should review the previous kanji lessons—this will help you keep those kanji fresh in your mind, even if you are not using them right away. Kanji is definitely necessary for serious students of Japanese! Keep practicing until you learn all of these new kanji, but remember to refresh your memory on the older kanji as well!

First look at the chart below, then read through the paragraphs that follow. Move on to the exercises when you feel comfortable with the kanji. The answer key is below the assignment as always.

1. ひがし East
2. 西 にし West
3. みなみ South
4. きた North
5. ぐち/くち Mouth/exit
6. To exit
7. みぎ Right
8. ひだり Left
9. ふん Minute
10. がい Outside


The kanji in the chart above have their most common readings listed beside them. The English for those readings are found in the final column. Keep in mind that kanji can have multiple meanings. Read the paragraphs below for some more details on each individual kanji.

The first kanji character, which means “east,” is used when talking about the direction, but it is also used to write the word “Tokyo.” In kanji, “Tokyo” is written as 東京. This kanji can be combined with kanji number five to write the word for “east exit” (東口). The hiragana for “east exit” is ひがしぐち.

The second kanji is used alone to write “west,” but it is also combined with kanji number five. This forms the word for “west exit.” It is written 西口in kanji.

Kanji number three is used to write “south,” “south east,” and “south exit.” You can write “south east” by combining this kanji with the kanji for “east” (南東). You can write “south exit” like so: 南口.

Kanji number four works like kanji number three does. You can write “north” and “north exit.” “North exit” would be 北口.

Kanji number five can be used to write ぐち or くち. ぐち means “exit” and くち means “mouth.” The kanji symbol stays the same even though the meaning and pronunciation differ.

The sixth kanji is used to write 出る(でる) (to exit), 出口 (でぐち)(exit), and 出す (だす) (to take something out).

The seventh symbol is read みぎand means “right” (as in the direction). You can also say “right turn” by saying 右折 (うせつ). Likewise, the eighth kanji symbol on the list is the word for “left” and is read ひだり. You can say “left turn” by saying 左折which is read させつ.

Kanji number nine is often read as ふん. This symbol is used to represent minutes. For example, if you want to say ten minutes, you would say じゅっぷん which is written as 十分. The reading of the kanji symbol will change depending on how many minutes you are talking about. Five minutes, for example, is read as ごふん and written as 五分.

The final kanji symbol is the symbol for “outside.” It is normally read as がい but can sometimes be read as そと. Use it to write “foreign country” (外国, read asがいこく), “foreigner” (外国人, read asがいこくじん), and “outside” (外, read asそと).

Once you have read all of the kanji notes and thoroughly studied the chart, move on to the exercises below. As you learn more and more kanji, be sure to review the previous lessons, including this one, by reading over the charts and filling in the exercises again!

Practice I

  1. Write each kanji symbol out ten times, making sure to follow the correct stroke order. It’s also a good idea to write the English meaning beside the symbols, and sometimes the hiragana (if you don’t know how to pronounce a kanji).

Practice II

Write the correct kanji for the following English definitions.

  1. North
  2. South
  3. East
  4. West
  5. To exit
  6. Mouth
  7. Minute
  8. Left
  9. Outside
  10. Right

Practice III

Write to following words in Japanese, using kanji where appropriate.

  1. Foreign country
  2. Left turn
  3. Foreigner
  4. Exit
  5. Right turn
  6. North exit
  7. Tokyo
  8. West exit
  9. South exit
  10. East exit


Answer Key

Practice II

  1. 西

Practice III

  1. 外国
  2. 左折
  3. 外国人
  4. 右折
  5. 北口
  6. 東京
  7. 西口
  8. 南口
  9. 東口

Lesson 22: I and Na Adjectives in Present Tense

This lesson will teach you about a Japanese part of speech that we have not yet discussed: adjectives. Adjectives function a very specific way in Japanese. You must learn to conjugate them into the past, present, negative, and affirmative forms just like you learned with verbs. The rules for conjugating adjectives are different than the rules for conjugating verbs, so read the following lesson to learn how it’s done!

The Japanese language has two kinds of adjectives. Both kinds will conjugate differently, so you must memorize both sets of rules. The two types of adjectives are い and な. Adjectives are named for the syllable that comes at the end of the word.

To learn how to conjugate い adjectives, let’s take the word たかい, which means “expensive.” If we want to use this adjective in the present affirmative form, for example to say that something is expensive, we simply leave the word as it is and place it in front of the noun it modifies. For example: それはたかいほんです(That is an expensive book). You can also leave the noun out any simply say that something is expensive. For example: それはたかいです(That is expensive). If your listener knows what subject you are speaking about, then this form is okay.

If you wish to negate an い adjective, you must change the い to く and add ありません. Let’s use たかい like in the example above. それはたかくありません(That is not expensive). そのほんはたかくありません(That book is not expensive).

You can also leave off the subject completely, so long as your listener knows what you are talking about. たかいですor たかくありません can each be a sentence, expressing that you think something is expensive or not expensive. As long as the subject is understood, it is okay to just use these words.

The second type of adjectives in Japanese is な adjectives. These words will end in な, but only if they precede a noun. For example, take the な adjective きれいな. If you are talking about a cat and want to say it is pretty, you could simply say きれいです. Notice that the な part of the word is dropped since a verb follows the adjective, not a noun. If you place the noun cat after the adjective, you leave な in place: きれいなねこです. Use きれいですonly if the subject is understood!

If you want to negate a な adjective, you drop the な and add じゃありません. For example: きれいじゃありません(It’s not pretty). Or, このねこはきれいじゃありません(This cat is not pretty).

Besides these two types of adjectives, there is one irregular one. This one is いい. This means “good.” When in the affirmative present form, you simply say いいです. If you want to negate this, you would change the いい to よ and add くありません. It then becomes よくありません.

This is the only irregularity you should worry about for now. The rest of the adjectives conjugate according to the patterns described above.

The best way to learn these new adjectives is to practice conjugating them. Check out the exercises below to learn more adjectives and get some practice with writing and conjugating them.

Exercise I

Conjugate the following adjectives into present negative form.

  1. たかい
  2. きれいな
  3. おもしろい
  4. ちさい
  5. むずかしい

Exercise II

Write a sentence for each of the following adjectives. You can use the adjective n present negative or affirmative ways. There will be no answers to this section of the lesson since you are making up your own sentences! If you want to check your answers, refer back to the lesson!

  1. つまらない (boring)
  2. げんきな (healthy)
  3. いそがしい (busy)
  4. あつい (hot)
  5. さむい (cold)
  6. ひまな (not busy)
  7. しずかな (quiet)
  8. にぎやかな (lively)
  9. たのしい (fun)
  10. おおきい (large, big)

Exercise III

Translate the following sentences into English. If you are not familiar with a word, look it up in a dictionary.

  1. このまちはきれいです。
  2. それはおもしろいほんです。
  3. えいがはおもしろくありません。
  4. にほんごはむずかしくありません。
  5. わたしはいそがしいです。
  6. わたしはひまじゃありません。


Answer Key

Exercise I

  1. たかくありません
  2. きれいじゃありません
  3. おもしろくありません
  4. ちさくありません
  5. むずかしくありません

Exercise III

  1. This city is pretty.
  2. That is an interesting book.
  3. The movie is not interesting.
  4. Japanese is not difficult.
  5. I am busy.
  6. I do not have a lot of free time.

Lesson 21: Negating Sentences and Past Tense Verbs

In one of our early lessons we learned the dictionary form and present tense long form of some Japanese verbs. Now it is time to build on that previous knowledge by learning how to negate the present tense long form. This lesson will also start to explain how past tense verbs work in Japanese.

For the purposes of teaching the different forms in this lesson, we will use the verb たべる. Remember, this is the dictionary form of the verb!

Present Tense Long Form:

Affirmative: たべます (to eat)

Negative: たべません  (to not eat)

This is similar to negative あります sentences (ありません) which you have already learned in a previous lesson. In order to negate other verbs, ます must become ません. This means that the verb is negated, unless you are using the ませんか structure to extend an invitation.

Now, in order to make verbs, both affirmative and negative, in the past tense, you need to follow the patterns below.

Present Tense Affirmative: たべます

Past Tense Affirmative: たべました

Present Tense Negative: たべません

Past Tense Negative: たべませんでした

As you can see, ます becomes ました and ません becomes ませんでした.

Exercise I

Below are the dictionary forms of several Japanese verbs. Put these verbs into the affirmative present tense form, the negative present tense form, the affirmative past tense form, and the negative past tense form.

  1. たべる
  2. のむ
  3. みる
  4. よむ
  5. する
  6. いく
  7. かく
  8. かう
  9. べんきょうする
  10. とる

You can also change the X は Y です form into the past tense. This occurs by changing です to でした. でした is the past tense form of です. Both of these verbs are affirmative. The negative form of X は Y です is X は Y じゃありません. This means that X is not Y. (This is review from a previous lesson!) This sentence form can also be changed into the past tense. じゃありません becomes じゃありませんでした in the past tense.

Exercise II

Translate the following sentences from Japanese to English.

  1. あなたはせんせいでしたか。
  2. これはにほんごのほんじゃありません。
  3. わたしのせんもんはれきしがくじゃありませんでした。
  4. せんしゅうなにをしましたか。
  5. せんしゅうにほんごをべんきょうしませんでした。
  6. わたしはだいがくせいじゃありませんでした。
  7. わたしはだいがくせいじゃありません。
  8. 火曜日がっこうにいきました。
  9. きょうとですしを食べました。
  10. かいものに行きませんでした。

Other phrases that go well with past tense verbs are こどものとき and こうこうのとき. こどものとき means “the time that you were a child” while こうこうのとき means “the time that you were in high school. You can ask questions and make sentences based on these time periods in the past like so:

Q: こどものときよくえいがを見ましたか。
(When you were a child, did you often watch movies?)

A: はい、よくえいがをみました。
(Yes, I watched movies often.)

You can replace よく with any of the frequency words you have already learned. Look at the following examples.

Q: こうこうのときあまり本をよみませんでしたか。
(In high school, did you rarely read books?)

A: はい、あまり本をよみませんでした。
(Yes, I rarely read books.)

Q: こうこうのときまいにちべんきょうしましたか。
(In high school, did you study every day?)

A: いいえ。よくべんきょうしました。
(No. I studied often.)

Q: こどものときなにをよくしましたか。
(When you were a child, what did you do often?)

A: よくゲムをしました。
(I often played games.)

Exercise III

Translate the following sentences into Japanese.

  1. Did you listen to music often as a child?
  2. I never read when I was a child.
  3. I read every day in high school.
  4. I rarely watched movies in high school.
  5. I studied Japanese every day in high school.
  6. Did you sometimes eat sushi as a child?
  7. I never drank sake in high school.
  8. I sometimes ate meat.
  9. I rarely played games as a child.
  10. I often played tennis in high school.



Answer Key

Exercise I

  1. 食べます、たべません、たべました、たべませんでした
  2. のみます、のみません、のみました、のみませんでした
  3. みます、みません、みました、みませんでした
  4. よみます、よみません、よみました、よみませんでした
  5. します、しません、しました、しませんでした
  6. いきます、いきません、いきました、いきませんでした
  7. かきます、かきません、かきました、かきませんでした
  8. かいます、かいません、かいました、かいませんであひた
  9. べんきょうします、べんきょうしません、べんきょうしました、べんきょうしませんでした
  10. とります、とりません、とりました、とりませんでした

Exercise II

  1. Were you a teacher?
  2. This is not a Japanese book.
  3. My major was not history.
  4. What did you do last week?
  5. Last week I did not study Japanese.
  6. I was not a college student.
  7. I am not a college student.
  8. Tuesday I went to school.
  9. I ate sushi in Kyoto.
  10. I did not go shopping.

Exercise III

  1. こどものときよくおんがくをききましたか。
  2. こどものときぜんぜん本をよみませんでした。
  3. こうこうのときまいにち本をよみました。
  4. こうこうのときあまりえいがをみませんでした。
  5. こうこうのときまいにちにほんごをべんきょうしました。
  6. こどものときときどきすしをたべましたか。
  7. こうこうのときぜんぜんさけをのみませんでした。
  8. わたしはときどきにくをたべました。
  9. こどものときあまりゲムをしませんでした。
  10. こうこうのときよくテニスをしました。

Lesson 20: Elementary Kanji Part 2

Lesson 17 taught you some elementary kanji. I hope you have been practicing, because now it is time to learn another set! Review Lesson 17 if it has been a while since you practiced your kanji. Keep in mind that kanji is really essential for serious students of Japanese—the symbols are used in everyday written Japanese and appear on many signs and menus throughout Japan!

Take a look at the chart below, read through the notes, and complete the exercises to get started on this second set of kanji. There will be an answer key blow the exercises, so don’t scroll down too far until you have completed the work!

The Kanji

1. よう Weekday
2. うえ/じょう Up, above
3. した/か Down, below
4. なか/ちゅう/じゅう Middle, inside
5. わたし/し I, private
6. いま/こん Now
7. To see
8. い/こう To go
9. To eat
10. To drink


The kanji presented above have their most common readings listed beside them. The English listed in the last column is a rough translation (or one of the translations) that the kanji can have. After reading through this note section, you will be able to understand more clearly what each individual kanji is used for.

The first kanji is used when writing the days of the week. Each name for a day of the week has the syllables よう in it. You have already learned the kanji for each day of the week as well as the kanji for day. Now all you have to do is put the three together. Remember, the kanji for “day” will go at the end and this new kanji for よう will go in the middle!

The next three kanji symbols will help you with location words. 上 is used when you want to say that one object is on top of another. The second reading for this kanji is used when talking about a person being good at some activity. The adjective for “to be good at” is 上ずな. We will cover how to use this adjective in a later lesson.

The kanji forした is used when you want to say an object is below something else. The second reading for this kanji is commonly used when writing the word for “subway” (地下鉄). The kanji for なか is used when saying one object is inside of another. The second reading is used when reading the word for China (中国) and the third is used when talking about years.

Kanji number five is a very useful kanji. This is the kanji you use in place of私, or “I.” Both males and females can use this pronoun and this kanji. The second reading of this kanji is used when the kanji means “private” such as in “private university” (私立大学).

The sixth kanji is used when you are talking about something happening right “now.” いま means “now.” It is also used to write the words for “today” and “tonight” (hint: the word for “today is written with this kanji plus the kanji for day). Tonight is written as 今晩.

The final four kanji are used most often as verbs. We are going to concentrate on those readings and meanings the most. Each of the kanji represents a syllable that makes up a verb you have learned. For the remaining syllables of the verbs, hiragana symbols must be used. 行 can also be used to write the word for “bank” (銀行).

Now that you have learned some information about each kanji, take some time to memorize the symbols. It may also be helpful to look up a stroke dictionary on the internet (or buy a paper version). Stroke dictionaries will show you the stroke count and which stroke comes first. Practice writing the kanji until you feel comfortable with each symbol.

Exercise I

Write the following words using kanji where appropriate (it is okay to have some hiragana symbols in some of your answers).

  1. Verb for “to eat.”
  2. Today
  3. I
  4. Verb for “to see.”
  5. Inside
  6. Above
  7. Verb for “to drink.”
  8. Now
  9. Verb for “to go.”
  10. Monday
  11. Tuesday
  12. Wednesday
  13. Thursday
  14. Friday
  15. Saturday
  16. Sunday
  17. Under

Exercise II

Transcribe the following kanji and hiragana into romaji or English.

  1. 飲みもの
  2. 食べもの
  3. ぎん行
  4. 見る
  5. 飲む
  6. 行く
  7. 食べる
  8. 今日
  9. 今ばん

Exercise III

Translate the following sentences from Japanese to English.

  1. 月曜日私はぎん行に行きます。
  2. 今日はどう曜日です。
  3. なにを食べますか。
  4. えいがを見ましょう。
  5. 私の本はつくえの上です。


Answer Key

Exercise I

  1. 食べます
  2. 今日
  3. 見ます
  4. 飲みます
  5. 行きます
  6.  月曜日
  7. 火曜日
  8. 水曜日
  9. 木曜日
  10. 金曜日
  11. 土曜日
  12. 日曜日

Exercise II

  1. Nomimono / drinks
  2. Tabemono / food
  3. Ginkou / bank
  4. Miru / dictionary form “to see”
  5. Nomu / dictionary form “to drink”
  6. Iku / dictionary form “to go”
  7. Taberu / dictionary form “to eat”
  8. Kyou / today
  9. Konban / tonight
  10. Ima / now

Exercise III

  1. I will go to the bank on Monday.
  2. Today is Saturday.
  3. What will you eat?
  4. Let’s watch a movie.
  5. My book is on top of the desk.

Lesson 19: Supplementary Vocabulary and Practice Part 2

Here is another lesson that will cover some supplementary vocabulary and practice. Some of this may be review, and some of it you may have never seen before. It is good to practice new words so that you will be prepared for future lessons, but it is also good to revisit some of the vocabulary you have used previously. It can be hard to learn and remember all of the vocabulary words you are taught in a lesson, especially if you do not use them on a regular basis.

It is also a good idea to make flash cards for new words that you learn. You should write the Japanese script on one side and the English on the other. Try not to write the romaji on the flash card. You can then test yourself by looking at the English side of the card and saying the Japanese word. You can also look at the Japanese and see if you can translate it into English. Flash cards are a useful tool, and you can sometimes find online programs to make flash cards with!

Look at the table of vocabulary words below. Study them over, and then complete the exercises that follow. You should be able to complete the exercises without looking at the chart. It may take you a while to remember all of the words; do not worry, this is completely normal!

Japanese Romaji English
クラス Kurasu Class
おみやげ Omiyage Souvenir
かく Kaku To write (verb)
びょういん Byouin hospital
かう Kau To buy (verb)
わかる Wakaru To understand (verb)
アルバイト Arubaito Part time job
こども Kodomo Child
せんしゅう Senshuu Last week
ホテル Hoteru hotel
ひと Hito Person
スーパー Suupaa Supermarket
本や Honya bookstore
かいもの Kaimono shopping
あした Ashita tomorrow
まち Machi Town/city
しゃしん Syashin Picture/photo
バスてい Basutei Bus stop
こうえん Kouen Park
きのう Kinou Yesterday
ごはん Gohan Meal (or rice)
きょう Kyou today
てがみ Tegami Letter (to someone)
おてら Otera temple
とる Toru To take a picture



Translate the following sentences into English.

  1. わたしはおてらにいきます。
  2. わたしのいぬはこうえんにいます。
  3. こどもがいますか。
  4. あしたはとしょかんでにほんごをべんきょうします。
  5. かいものにいきませんか。
  6. とこどきおみやげをかいます。
  7. げつようびクラスがありますか。
  8. なにをかいますか。
  9. えいごをわかりますか。
  10. わたしはおかあさんにてがみをかきます。
  11. どんなまちにいきますか。
  12. いっしょにごはんをたべましょう。
  13. きのうはどうようびでした。
  14. あのひとはだれですか。
  15. わたしはバスていにまちます。
  16. びょういんはがっこうのみぎです。
  17. このまちで本やがありますか。
  18. せんしゅうテニスをしました。
  19. たくさんしゃしんをとります。
  20. スーパーでコーラがありますか。
  21. わたしはいそがしいです。アルバイトがありますから。
  22. そのホテルはとてもきれいですね。
  23. このしゃしんはたかいです。
  24. あなたのてがみは本のうえです。
  25. きょうはわたしのたんじょうびです。

Now take a look at the following conversation. You should read the conversation out loud to practice your pronunciation. It is also good to practice this conversation with a partner. You can change some of the phrases around to get some more practice, but first just read the conversation as it is written. Then translate the entire conversation into English. The answer key is at the bottom of this lesson!

A: B-さん, こんばんは! おげんきですか。

B: こんばんは! はい、げんきです。あなたは?

A: はい、わたしもげんきです。いっしょになにかをしましょう。

B: はい。でも、わたしはとてもいそがしいです。アルバイトがあるますから。



A: いいえ、もくようびはテストをべんきょうします。

B: そうか。きにょうびはどうですか。



A: はい、いきましょう。きょうとでなにをしますか。



B: じゃあ、きにょうびに!



Answer Key

  1. I am going to a temple.
  2. My dog is in the park.
  3. Do you have children?
  4. Tomorrow I will study Japanese at the library.
  5. Would you like to go shopping?
  6. I sometimes buy souvenirs.
  7. Do you have class on Monday?
  8. What are you going to buy?
  9. Do you understand English?
  10. I am writing a letter to my mother.
  11. What kind of city are you going to?
  12. We should eat a meal together.
  13. Yesterday was Saturday.
  14. Who is that person?
  15. I am waiting at the bus stop.
  16. The hospital is to the right of the school.
  17. Is there a bookstore in this town?
  18. I played tennis last week.
  19. I am taking a lot of photos.
  20. Does the supermarket have soda?
  21. I am busy because I have a part time job.
  22. That hotel is very pretty, isn’t it?
  23. This picture is expensive.
  24. Your letter is on top of the book.
  25. Today is my birthday.


A: B-san, good evening. How are you?

B: Good evening! I am well. And you?

A: Yes, I am also well. We should do something together.

B: Yes. But, I am very busy because I have a part time job.

A: I see. Um, how is Wednesday?

B: Wednesday I have class. How is Thursday?

A: No, Thursday I have to study for a test.

B: I see. Then, how is Friday?

A: Friday? I’m going to Kyoto.

B: I am also going to Kyoto. Shouldn’t we go together?

A: Yes, let’s go. What are you going to do in Kyoto?

B: Um…I’m going shopping. I’m also going to a temple.

A: I will go shopping with you. See you later!

B: See you Friday!

Lesson 18: Location Words


Describing where things are is an important skill to have in Japanese. Being able to describe where things are not only enhances your ability to describe locations; it also aids you in asking for and giving directions. In order to do so, there is a set of words known as “location” words. These words are used to describe where something is (a noun) in relation to other noun. These words are not used only in the scenarios described in this lesson, but we are just going to focus on their main uses for now.

First, here is a list of the location words and their English equivalent.

To the right of みぎ
To the left of ひだり
In front of まえ
Behind うしろ
Inside なか
On/above うえ
Under/beneath した
Near そば
Next to となり


Explanation – Part I

X は Y の “location word” です.

This is the basic sentence structure that you will follow in order to describe where something is. To start with, let’s say that you want to describe where the bank is. If the bank is in front of the library, you would say ぎんこうはとしょかんのまえです。

の must always go between the second location and the location word. As seen in the above sentence, the second location is the library, and the location word is まえ. So, when saying the bank is in front of the library, the word for library must go with the location word. That’s how we get ぎんこうはとしょかんのまえです. If the bank was behind the library instead of in front of it, you would say ぎんこうはとしょかんのうしろです. You can change the location word to any on the above list; just place it in the same place that まえ and うしろ previously occupied in the sentence.

Take a look at the following sentence pairs to see some more examples of how location words look.

A: 本はどこですか。

B: 本はテーブルのうえです。

A: デパートはどこですか。

B: デパート はぎんこうのひだりです。

A: えんぴつはどこですか。

B: 本のしたです。

As you can see, in the final sentence the subject was omitted. Keep in mind that this is acceptable in Japanese as long as the listener knows what the subject is.

Explanation – Part II    

Now that you have an idea of the basic structure for location words, let’s go a little more in depth.

You will recall from an earlier lesson (Lesson #10) the Japanese pronouns それ, これ, and あれ. You were also taught another form of these pronouns (その, この, and あの). Now we are going to learn a third form of these pronouns because these forms can be used with location words. The new forms are そこ, ここ, and あそこ. Take a look at the chart below in case this does not make sense.

それ (that) これ (this) あれ (that over there)
その (that noun) この (this noun right here) あの (that noun over there)
そこ (there) ここ (here) あそこ (over there)

*Note that where it says “noun” in the chart, a noun should be filled in.

Here are the new pronouns in examples:

ぎんこうはどこですか。 (Where is the bank?)
ぎんこうはあそこです。 (The bank is over there.)

ぎんこうはどこですか。 (Where is the bank?)
そこです。(It is there.)

ぎんこうはどこですか。(Where is the bank?)
ぎんこうはここです。レストランのまえです。(The bank is here. In front of the restaurant.)

These pronouns work best when you can point to the location of the building or noun.

Finally, let’s learn how to say that something is in between two other things. You will use this structure.

X は Y と Z のあいだです.

For example, if the pencil is in between the book and the bag, you would say:


This structure also works for buildings.

Practice I

Translate the following from English to Japanese. If you aren’t sure of the Japanese word for a noun, look it up in a dictionary. You may want to purchase a Japanese dictionary or use one online. There is a link to a Japanese dictionary on the right hand menu of this website. Using a dictionary will help you learn new words. Don’t look at the answer key until you have finished the exercises!

  1. The umbrella is under the chair.
  2. The restaurant is near the department store.
  3. The school is next to the bank.
  4. The pen is in the bag.
  5. The book is near the bag.

Practice II

Translate the following into English.

  1. 日本の本はどこですか。
  2. じしょはどこですか。
  3. としょかんはどこですか。
    (としょかんは) ゆうびんきょくとぎんこうのあいだです。
  4. えんぴつはどこですか。かばんのなかですか。
  5. 水はどこですか。

Answer Key

  1. かさはいすのしたです。
  2. レストラン はデパート のそばです。
  3. かっこうはぎんこうのとなりです。
  4. ペンはかばんのなかです。
  5. 本はかばんのそばです。


  1. Where is the Japanese book?
    It is under the newspaper.
  2. Where is the dictionary?
    It is over there, on top of the desk.
  3. Where is the library?
    (The library is) between the post office and the bank.
  4. Where is the pencil? Is it inside the bag?
    Yes, the pencil is inside the bag.
  5. Where is the water?
    The water is next to the soda.