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Episode 3: Pronouncing Japanese

In the previous episode, I went over the Japanese writing systems and introduced dakuten and handakuten. Now I will elaborate on this further as to how it affects pronouncing Japanese as well as introducing the concept of vowel lengths and other issues that affect pronunciation.

Episode Topics:
Pronouncing Japanese, dakuten (ten-ten) and handakuten (maru), compound sounds (youon or diphthong), long vowels (chouon), small tsu (sokuon or stop), he vs. e, ha vs. wa, wo vs. o

Kaa-chan Corner:
Topic: Japan’s image. Non-Japanese may think of anime, manga, sushi, and karate but what image do Japanese have of Japan? (food is what strongly comes to mind for my mom and it is based on the season–feel free to comment with your image of Japan)

Vocabulary List:
atsui ocha – hot tea. 暑いお茶 [あついおちゃ]
atsukan – hot sake. 熱燗 [あつかん]
bon-odori – obon dances. 盆踊り [ぼんおどり]
daredemo odottemo ii – it’s alright if anyone dances. だれでも踊ってもいい
[だれでもおどってもいい]
eisa – Okinawan folk dance done during obon. エイサー
ippan – in general, generally. 一般 [いっぱん]
kakikouri / kakigouri – shaved ice, often served in Japan with red
beans, fruit, milk, or other toppings. かき氷 [かきこおり]
kingyo – goldfish. 金魚 [きんぎょ]
kingyo-tsukui – traditional Japanese festival game where you win the
live goldfish that you can scoop out of a pool with a paper tool that
breaks in water. 金魚つくい [きんぎょつくい]
kisetsu wo daiji ni suru – hold the seasons precious. 季節を大事にする
[きせつをだいじにする]
kisetsu ni awasete tabemono – (eating) foods that are in season.
季節に会わせて食べ物 [きせつにあわせてたべもの]
matsuri – festival. 祭り [まつり]
mikan – mandarin orange, tangerine. 蜜柑 [みかん]
mizore – literally “sleet”, there are various mizore dishes in Japan,
often with radishes or in a claypot. 霙 [みぞれ]
mochi – rice cake. 餅 [もち]
neri aruku – parade 練り歩く [ねりあるく]
obon: a major holiday in Japan based on the lunar calendar and therefore
not held on a set day(s) throughout the nation using the Gregorian
calendar (July in some parts, August in other parts); Buddhist custom
for commemorating one’s ancestors when they return to this world. お盆
[おぼん]
seimeisai: Taoist-influenced custom introduced to Okinawa in 1768 where
families gather at ancestral tombs and honor ancestors with a picnic.
清明祭 [せいめいさい]
shuukan – custom, habit. 習慣 [しゅうかん]
sukiyaki – a Japanese dish where food is simmered in a pot at the table.
すき焼き [すきやき]
tanoshimi-kata – the way they play, have fun. 楽しみ方 [たのしみかた]
(o)zouni – mochi boiled with vegetables. 雑煮 [ぞうに]

Further Reading:
50-on alphabet chart with drawings of the mouth’s formation and audio of the sounds (hiragana/katakana, click on the 01-06 links above for dakuten readings)
Youon entry at Wikipedia
Chouon entry at Wikipedia
Sokuon entry at Wikipedia
Japanese cuisine entry at Wikipedia
Eisa dance entry at Wikipedia

Transcript:
Episode transcript PDF (Japanese portion includes furigana) (interview not transcribed)

Download Podcast:
Episode 3 – Pronouncing Japanese

Episode 2: Writing Japanese

In the previous episode I covered how to pronounce the alphabet. Now let’s discuss writing Japanese.

Episode Topics:
Japanese writing systems: hiragana, katakana, kanji, romaji, typing romaji on a computer to display hiragana/katakana/kanji

Kaa-chan Corner:
Kaa-chan talking about what life is like in Okinawa and growing up there in that “back in my day we didn’t have shoes and used to walk 20 miles in the snow” kind of way, which is growing up in poverty-stricken post-war Okinawa in a polygamist family amidst patriarchal traditions and the American military presence (conversation with Kinomura-san continued from previous episode)

Vocabulary List:
aaiu: that kind of. ああいう
asonde: play(ing). 遊んで [あそんで]
baka: stupid. 馬鹿 [ばか]
bakuon: explosion. 爆音 [ばくおん]
benkyou: study. 勉強 [べんきょう]
chounan: first born/eldest son. 長男 [ちょうなん]
chourei: morning assembly. 朝礼 [ちょうれい]
chuudan: interruption. 中断 [ちゅうだん]
chuugoku: China. 中国 [ちゅうごく]
daibu: much, quite, rather. 大分 [だいぶ]
daigaku: university. 大学 [だいがく]
daiji: precious, important, serious. 大事 [だいじ]
doa: door. ドアー
esa: feed, animal food. 餌 [えさ]
futsuu: normal, generally, usually. 普通 [ふつう]
fuu: wheat gluten. 麩 [ふ]
gochisou: a feast. 御馳走 [ごちそう]
hadashi: barefoot. 裸足 [はだし]
haka: grave, tomb. 墓 [はか]
hanbun: half. 半分 [はんぶん]
heru: reduce, decrease, wear off/out. 減る [へる]
hito kurasu: one class. 一クラス [ひとクラス]
hondo: the (Japanese) mainland. 本土 [ほんど]
hotondo: almost all, nearly all. 殆ど [ほとんど]
hougen: local dialect. 方言 [ほうげん]
ii to omou: I think it’s good. いいと思う [いいとおもう]
ipputasaifuu: like polygamy, polygamist style. 一夫多妻風 [いっぷたさいふう]
iroiro: (a lot of) various things. 色々 [いろいろ]
issai: all, everything. 一切 [いっさい]
jidai: period, era, time. 時代 [じだい]
jiki: time, period, season. 時期 [じき]
jimen: ground. 地面 [じめん]
jinan: second born/eldest son. 次男 [じなん]
jugyou: instruction, teaching. 授業 [じゅぎょう]
kankou: tourism, sightseeing. 観光 [かんこう]
juumin: resident, inhabitant. 住民 [じゅうみん]
kaji: household work. 家事 [かじ]
kankyou: to be influenced by one’s environment. 環境 [かんきょう]
kashizuku: wait on, attend to. 傅く [かしずく]
keizaiteki: economically. 経済的 [けいざいてき]
kekka: result, consequence. 結果 [けっか]
kichi: military base. 基地 [きち]
kimochi: feelings. 気持ち [きもち]
kodomo: child, kid. 子供 [こども]
koukou: high school. 高校 [こうこう]
kuraberu: compare. 比べる [くらべる]
kyuuryou: pay, wages, salary. 給料 [きゅうりょう]
mazushii: poor. 貧しい [まずしい]
meiji (jidai) umare: born in the Meiji period (1868-1912). 明治生まれ
[めいじうまれ]
mendou wo miru: look after, take care of. 面倒を見る [めんどうをみる]
moro ni hairu: (in the context of this conversation) can hear it all,
overwhelmed by the sound of (the explosion). 諸に入る [もろにはいる]
muchi: ignorance. 無知 [むち]
mukashi: a long time ago. 昔 [むかし]
mukou: other side, the other party. 向こう [むこう]
mushi: to ignore, disregard. 無視 [むし]
nakayoku yatte imashita: (everyone) got along well. 仲良くやっていました
[なかよくやっていました]
nantoka: something or other. 何とか [なんとか]
naranai: (in the context used in the conversation) won’t grow. 生らない
[ならない]
nokori: the remainder, the rest. 残り [のこり]
obon: a major holiday in Japan based on the lunar calendar and therefore
not held on a set day(s) throughout the nation using the Gregorian
calendar (July in some parts, August in other parts); Buddhist custom
for commemorating one’s ancestors when they return to this world. お盆
[おぼん]
okane: money. お金 [おかね]
okoshita: caused by. 起こした [おこした]
okusan: wife. 奥さん [おくさん]
oshikomu: forcibly, push. 押し込む [おしこむ]
otto: husband. 夫 [おっと]
ryukyu, -jin: Ryukyu, Ryukuan person, pertaining to Okinawa prefecture
which was formerly the Ryukyu Kingdom. 琉球[りゅうきゅう], 琉球人[りゅうきゅうじん]
sabetsu: discrimination. 差別 [さべつ]
saikin: recently, lately. 最近 [さいきん]
sangyou: industry. 産業 [さんぎょう]
seikatsu: livelihood, existence. 生活 [せいかつ]
seimeisai: Taoist-influenced custom introduced to Okinawa in 1768 where
families gather at ancestral tombs and honor ancestors with a picnic.
清明祭 [せいめいさい]
seizei: as far as possible, at most. 精々 [せいぜい]
semai: narrow, small. 狭い [せまい]
sensou: war. 戦争 [せんそう]
shadan: intercept, cut out (noise). 遮断 [しゃだん]
shigoto: job, employment. 仕事 [しごと]
shikamo: moreover, besides, on top of that. 然も [しかも]
shinseki: relatives. 親戚 [しんせき]
shuunyuu: income, earnings, revenue. 収入 [しゅうにゅう]
sonna kanji: it’s like that, that kind of thing. そんな感じ [そんなかんじ]
sono kawari: alternatively, instead. その代わり [そのかわり]
sosen: ancestors. 祖先 [そせん]
souiu hito: that kind of person. そういう人 [そういうひと]
sugoi: wow, amazing, very. すごい
sukunai: few, limited. 少ない [すくない]
suruki: the desire to do something. する気 [するき]
tabemono: food. 食べ物 [たべもの]
taihen: serious, difficult, troublesome, a lot of. 大変 [たいへん]
tasukeru: to help, to assist. 助ける [たすける]
tayotteru: depending on, relying on. 頼ってる [たよってる]
tonikaku: anyhow, anyway. とにかく
torarete: taken away, seized. 取られて [とられて]
touji: at that time, in those days. 当時 [とうじ]
tsugu: inherit, succeed. 継ぐ [つぐ]
umaku: skilled, good, do something well. うまく
urusai: noisy, annoying. 煩い [うるさい]
ushiro: (in the) back, rear. 後ろ [うしろ]
usumete: thin something out, dilute. 薄めて [うすめて]
utsusu: move, transfer. 移す [うつす]
wakeru: to divide (among, between), distribute. 分ける [分ける]
wareware: we, us, our. 我々 [われわれ]
yachin: rent. 家賃 [やちん]
yaru: to do, to give. やる
yasui: cheap, inexpensive. 安い [やすい]
yousu ni: it’s like, appears to be, the state of affairs. 様子に [ようすに]
zaisan: estate, property. 財産 [ざいさん]
zeitaku: luxury, extravagance. 贅沢 [ぜいたく]
zenbu: all of it, everything. 全部 [ぜんぶ]
zenzen: not at all. 全然 [ぜんぜん]
zutto: all the time, throughout. ずっと

Further Reading:
50-on alphabet chart with drawings of the mouth’s formation and audio of the sounds (hiragana/katakana, click on the 01-06 links above for dakuten readings)
Kyouiku kanji entry at Wikipedia
Jyouyou kanji entry at Wikipedia
Jinmeiyou kanji entry at Wikipedia
Omniglot: Japanese (Nihongo)
Sound and Symbol: the Case of Romaji
Okinawa Prefecture
Seimeisai
Okinawan tombs
American military on Okinawa

Transcript:
Episode transcript PDF (Japanese portion includes furigana) (interview not transcribed)

Download Podcast:
Episode 2 – Writing Japanese

Episode 1: Introduction

Welcome to Naruhodo Japan, the podcast for learning about the language and culture of Japan from a Nikkei perspective. To learn more about this podcast, please see the About section. This is the debut episode and contains Japanese material for both beginners and intermediate/advanced. All interviews in this episode are with Issei, first generation Japanese, those that were born and raised in Japan. I apologize for the strong background noise in the second part of the Kaa-chan Corner segment. (I was not there to supervise the recording and you can hear television noise in the background. At least it was a Japanese tv program so consider it part of your listening skills study.)

Episode Topics:
Naruhodo Japan podcast introduction, alphabet pronunciation (focus on vowels), how long does it take to learn and master Japanese.

Kaa-chan Corner:
Burakumin, Kaa-chan interviews Kinomura-san

Miscellaneous:
Mariko interviews Kura-san

Vocabulary List:
ainu: Ainu indigenous people of northern Japan. アイヌ
burakumin: a minority group in Japan of historically social outcasts.
部落民 [ぶらくみん]
chousen, -jin: Korea, Korean 朝鮮 [ちょうせん]
douwa: social integration, anti-discrimination. 同和 [どうわ]
edo (jidai) kouki: the late Edo period. (Edo period was 1600-1868) 江戸後期
[えどこうき]
fuman: dissatisfaction, discontent. 不満 [ふまん]
gyaku: contrary, reverse. 逆 [ぎゃく]
hihan: criticism. 批判 [ひはん
houritsu: law. 法律 [ほうりつ]
hijyou ni: extremely, greatly, very much. 非常に [ひじょうに]
ichibu: a part, a portion. 一部 [いちぶ]
isshu: a kind of. 一種 [いっしゅ]
kanari: quite, rather, considerable. [かなり]
kankei: related to, connected to. 関係 [かんけい]
keizai: economy. 経済 [けいざい]
keibetsu: scorn, contempt. 軽蔑 [けいべつ]
koseki: family registry (proof of Japanese citizenship). 戸籍 [こせき]
kotowaru: decline, reject, excuse oneself from. 断(わ)る [断(わ)る]
kyouiku: education. 教育 [きょういく]
mazushii: poor. 貧しい [まずしい]
meiji (jidai): Meiji period. (1868-1912) 明治 [めいじ]
mondai: issue, problem, question. 問題 [もんだい]
nendai: age, period, generation. 年代 [ねんだい]
nenpai: people of the same age/generation. 年輩 [ねんぱい]
sabetsu: discrimination. 差別 [さべつ]
sei: because of, due to, on account of (effect and consequences). 所為
[せい]
seifu: government administration. 政府 [せいふ]
sengo: after the war. 戦後 [せんご]
shippai seisaku: mistaken policy. 失敗政策 [しっぱいせいさく]
shokugyou: occupation, profession. 職業 [しょくぎょう]
shugi: principle, doctrine, cause. 主義 [しゅぎ]
shusshin: come from, where one is from. 出身 [しゅっしん]
shuugou: gathering, meeting, assembly. 集合 [しゅうごう]
shuushoku: find employment. 就職 [しゅうしょく]
shuzoku: a tribe. 種族 [しゅぞく]
taisaku: counter-measure. 対策 [たいさく]
tokushu: unique, particular, special. 特殊 [とくしゅ]
touroku: registration. 登録 [とうろく]
tsugou: circumstances. 都合 [つごう]
yousu: situation, state of affairs. 様子 [ようす]
yutaka: plentiful, abundant, affluent. 豊か [ゆたか]
yuugou: harmony, unity. 融合 [ゆうごう]
zeikin: tax. 税金 [ぜいきん]

Further Reading:
Burakumin entry at Wikipedia
部落問題 at Wikipedia Japan
Japan’s Burakumin: An Introduction by Alastair McLaughlan
The Burakumin: The Complicity of Japanese Buddhism in Oppression and an Opportunity for Liberation
The burakumin: Japan’s underclass
Caste, Ethnicity and Nationality: Japan Finds Plenty of Space for Discrimination
Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute (部落解放・人権研究所)
Edo period entry at Wikipedia
Meiji period entry at Wikipedia

Transcript:
Episode transcript PDF (Japanese portion includes furigana) (interviews not transcribed)

Download Podcast:
Episode 1 – Introduction