The J-Sub Experiment Patron Program Masterpost

We’re currently running a small campaign to raise $120 in pledges to our Patron Program for a new Internet contract/connection and some recording equipment.

We wanted to share with you all what our Patron program consists of. We provide weekly benefits at low-cost, monthly charges. There is no better deal when it comes to studying Japanese.

Please visit our Patreon Page to see our latest benefits.

For $1 and $2 Patrons

The perk of the $1 Patrons is that they get to see everything well in advance, essentially whenever something is finished and not when it is scheduled for general release. We will be uploading the DJSUs at about 7 at a time. So you will get to see everything about a week before it released.

$2 Patrons also gain access to our newsletter, which we fill with all the dirty details of our production process and we tel you about our future projects before everyone else!

For $3 Patrons and Higher


Linguistic Perspective: Genki (Lesson 5)

Our Linguistics Perspective posts were so popular that we’ve decided to create it into a full series. We have made it a series exclusive to our Patrons. Our first book series will be Genki, so if you are currently in a classroom learning from Genki, I highly recommend you check this out.

This is a weekly series.

For $5 Patrons or Higher


Final Fantasy X Japanese Runthrough (Part 4)

For you video game fans, we are doing a runthrough of Final Fantasy X. It is not a comprehensive parsing of the entire script, but we talk about everything you need to know so that you can manage playing the game by yourself.

This is a weekly series.

For $7 Patrons and Higher

Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail, Episode 1 Runthrough Part 3

We have started our Patron-exclusive runthrough of episode 1 of Fairy Tail. This runthrough is just like our other runthroughs, but they cover more material per upload session.

This is a bimonthly series.

For $10 Patrons

You receive eternal glory by being thanked in our posts and videos, and you also get the chance to have our conjectures, conundrums, theories, and tricks named after you.

And note, if and when we do publish, those are the names we will be using (it’s considered bad form to name something new after yourself.)

We Honor Monthly Installments Through Paypal

If you do not want to sign up on Patreon, you can always make your contributions through Paypal- and with that e-mail we will send you everything you’re paying for. We have no problem with that!

And that’s that. Keep in mind that we are working towards a goal of $120 by the end of this month and we are at $17/$120.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Episode 21 Runthrough (Part 19)

And we’re back. This is this week’s Part 2, the sequel to Part 17, meaning that we won’t be re-introducing things. So please, please, read Part 17 first for explanations on everything we sort of breeze through here.


(cont’d) Scene 13 — Central Hotel — Edward, Alphonse, Ling, Lan Fan

りん: 一族の命運が懸かっている。

エドワード: いいだろう。

エドワード: ホムンクルス、持ち逃げすんなよ。      

りん: 約束は守るよ。

りん: 一飯の恩があるしね。

エドワード: 一飯?      

エドワード: ルームサービス代 ?

りん: ごっそさん。      

エドワード: 一飯どころじゃねぇじゃねぇか。


りん: 一族の命運が懸かっている。
(Rin: Ichizoku no meiun ga kakatte iru.)

一族 (ichizoku): is a noun meaning “clan” or “household.” Ling is part of an “ichizoku” that’s warring with other related “ichizoku” for control of not-China.

の (no): is the genitive particle.

命運 (meiun): is a noun meaning “fate.”

が (ga): is the nominative particle.

懸かっている (kakatte iru): is the periphrastic progressive, indicative, imperfective, affirmative conjugation of the verb “kakaru,” which means a lot of things, these meaning coming from “to hang,” and from that, “to depend (on),” which is what it means here.

Note that we don’t have the thing it actually depends on expressed. So we’ll supply an “it.” But the object would be in the dative.

Translation: “Ling: The fate of the clan depends on (it).”


エドワード: いいだろう。
(Edowaado: II darou.)

いい (ii): is the same adjectival verb we saw before. Here it expresses approval, which means it can be translated as “fine” or “okay.”

だろう (darou): is the same verbal expression we saw before, only with the last vowel lengthened. Here is is closer to “ne” and expresses a pensive mood.

Translation: “Edward: Fine.”


エドワード: ホムンクルス、持ち逃げすんなよ。
(Edowaado: Homunkurusu, mochinige sun na yo.)

ホムンクルス (homunkurusu): is the same noun as before. Note that we have not case particle here. It would have been “wo.”

持ち逃げ (mochinige): is a noun meaning “taking and escaping,” as in “to run off with something.”

すんな (sunna): is a truncated form of “suru na.” “-na” is a negative imperative suffix, meaning “do not X.”

よ (yo): is an emphatic ending particle. It expresses that this is new information that should be remembered or taken to heart.

Translation: “Edward: Don’t run off with the Homunculi.”

The thing is that Ling is looking for a source of immortality. So that’s why Edward says this.


りん: 約束は守るよ。
(Rin: Yakusoku wa mamoru yo.)

約束 (yakusoku): is a noun meaning “promise.”

は (wa): is the topical particle.

守る (mamoru): is the indicative, imperfective, affirmative conjugation of the verb meaning “to guard,” or “to keep,” especially when it comes to “yakusoku.”

よ (yo): is the same ending particle as before.

Translation: “Ling: As to [that] promise, I will keep it.”


りん: 一飯の恩があるしね。
(Rin: Ippan no on ga aru shi ne.)

一飯 (ippan): is a noun, coming from the number “ichi” and the counter suffix “-han,” meaning “one meal” or “a meal.”

の (no): is the genitive particle.

恩 (on): is a noun meaning “debt,” as in a debt of gratitude, like “I owe you one.”

が (ga): is the nominative particle.

ある (aru): is the indicative, imperfective, affirmative conjugation of the copula. In this case, it means “to have,” as in “to have a debt of a meal.” This is idiomatic, and one can translate as “to be in debt for the meal.”

し (shi): is a suffix that indicates a reason for something, in this case, a reason for him to keep the promise. We will translate this lexically as “for.”

ね (ne): is the same ending particle as before.

Translation: “Ling: For I have a debt of a meal, don’t I?”


エドワード: 一飯?
(Edowaado: Ippan?)

一飯 (ippan): is the same word as before.

Translation: “Edward: A meal?”


エドワード: ルームサービス代 ?
(Edowaado: Ruumu saabisu-dai?)

ルームサービス (ruumu saabisu): is a noun meaning “room service.”

代 (dai): is a suffix meaning “cost” or “charge” or “bill.”

Translation: “Edward: Room service bill?”


りん: ごっそさん。
(Rin: “Gossochin”)

ごっそちん (gossochin): is a contraction of the expression “Gochisou-sama,” which means something like “honorable feast,” and is part of the longer expression “gochisou-sama deshita” meaning “it was an honorable feast.” This is used when someone else treats you to a meal. People tend to translate it as “Thank you for the meal.”

Translation: “Ling: Honorable feast.”

(Yes, every now and again we’ll stick to a horrible translation because we’re more interested in the words’ meanings and how they connect than we are in how one would express the same idea in English.)

Also note that Edward is now looking at a super long list of things that they’re charging Edward for.


エドワード: 一飯どころじゃねぇじゃねぇか。
(Edowaado: Ippan-dokoro ja nee ja nee ka.)

一飯 (ippan): is the same noun as before.

どころ (dokoro): is a suffix, which marks an extreme example of something one will or cannot do. It’s the “let alone” in the sentence. “I can’t swim, let alone dive.” We personally like to think of this as an “of all things” kind of suffix as well.

じゃ (ja): is a contraction of “de wa,” which is a compound particle, which is equivalent to “wa.”

ねぇ (nee): is just “nai,” the copula, except that the /ai/ got combined into /ne/.

This is an expression, “X-dokoro de wa (or ja) nai,” and it means something like “This isn’t it, let alone an X,” as in “you’re out of you’re mind if you think it is an X” or “I don’t have the time for X” or “X is out of the question.” In this case, it’s the first. We’ll be doing a clunky translation for this one, though. So keep that in mind.

じゃねぇか (ja nee ka): is the same expression we saw before, equivalent to “ne,’ but now with that same vowel combination.

Translation: “Edward: [This] isn’t a meal, of all things, is it?”


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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Episode 21 Runthrough (Part 14)

We are back with our runthrough. Please check out Part 13 is you haven’t done so already, because we’re covering Parts 13, 14, and 15 sequentially, meaning that we’re not stopping to re-explain things. The explanations will therefore be in previous sections.


(cont’d) Scene 11 Street—Night — Edward, Alphonse, Brosh

アルフォンス: 地下への入り口は?

エドワード: なかった。

エドワード: だが、錬金術で塞いだ跡はあった。

エドワード: さすがに入り口を残しとくほどバカじゃねぇや。

アルフォンス: そっか。

アルフォンス: ここからホムンクルスに会いに行くのは無理みたいだね。  

エドワード: ヤツら、オレのことを貴重な人柱だから死なれちゃ困るって言ってた。    

アルフォンス: 僕も言われた。

アルフォンス: 扉を開けたから人柱になれるって。

エドワード: 人柱ってのは多分扉を開けて帰って来られる力量を持った術師のことだ。


アルフォンス: 地下への入り口は?
(Arufonsu: Chika e no iriguchi wa?)

地下 (chika): is a noun meaning “basement.”

へ (e): is the locative particle. The locative case indicates a direction. It often gets translated as “to.”

の (no): is the genitive particle. We’re thinking that “e no” is a truncation of something longer, but we’re not sure what. We might have to go to the dictionary for this one.

入り口 (iriguchi): is a noun meaning “entrance.” the “Entrance of to the basement” is the “entrance to the basement.”

は (wa): is the topical particle.

Translation: “Alphonse: The entrance to the basement?”


エドワード: なかった。
(Edowaado: Nakatta.)

なかった (nakatta): is the indicative, past, negative conjugation of the copula “aru.” This is one of the cases where the copula is going to be translated in the vein of “to have.”

Translation: “Edward: [It] did not have [one].” is fine for our purposes, but keep in mind that “aru” means that something is present, and so if it’s negative it means that it isn’t there, or it wasn’t there. So one can also say: “[It] was not [there].”


エドワード: だが、錬金術で塞いだ跡はあった。
(Edowaado: Da ga, renkinjitsu de fusaida ato wa atta.)

だ (da): is the copula. This is part of an expression. What “da” is doing here is recapitulating what was said, something like “it is so…”

が (ga): is the conjunction from before. “da ga” as an expression can be translated to “but.”

錬金術 (renkinjitsu): is a noun we’ve seen before, meaning “alchemy.”

で (de): is the instrumental particle. The instrumental case marks the means or the cause of something to happen. One can translate this as “with” quite often.

塞いだ (fusaida): is the indicative, past, affirmative conjugation of “ fusugu,” meaning “to close up.” Edward saw that where the entrance was the night before, there now stood an artificial wall, you see.

跡 (ato): is a noun meaning “signs” or “indications.”

は (wa): is the topical particle.

あった (atta): is the indicative, past, affirmative conjugation of the copula “aru.”

Translation: “Edward: But, there were indications that [someone] blocked up [the entrance] with alchemy.”


エドワード: さすがに入り口を残しとくほどバカじゃねぇや。
(Edowaado: Sasuga-ni iriguchi wo nokoshit’oku hodo baka ja nee ya.)

さすがに (sasuga-ni): is the noun “sasuga,” meaning “as one would expect” plus the adverbial suffix “ni.”

入り口 (iriguchi): is the same noun as before.

を (wo): is the accusative particle. The accusative case marks the direct object of the verb. Its other functions are quite rare.

残しとく (nokotshit’oku): is a contraction of “nokoshite oku,” which is, in turn, the gerund of the verb “nokosu,” meaning “to leave behind,” and “oku,” a verb meaning many things, but here, “to prepare.” “X(gerund) oku” can mean, roughly, “to prepare (or to do a job) by X-ing.” All we mean to say is that in the their job of hiding their tracks, they (the homunculi) went and left the entrance open. A less odd way of translating this is often to say “to go ahead and X,” which preserves a lot of nuances.

ほど (hodo): is a noun/adverb meaning “extent” “X hodo Y” means “Y to the extend that X.” (It’s really a noun, but gets used adverbially.)

バカ (baka): is a noun meaning “stupid.” It is one of these “na-adjectives” you sometimes hear about.

じゃ (ja): is a contraction of the compound particle “de wa,” which is equivalent to “wa.”

ねぇ (nee): is a casual form of saying “nai,” which is the indicative, imperfective, negative conjugation of “aru.”

や (ya): is a casual form of “yo.”

Translation: “Edward: As one would expect, they are not so stupid as to go ahead and leave it [as is.]”


アルフォンス: そっか。
(Arufonsu: Sokka.)

そっか (sokka): is a contraction of “Sou ka,” which is an expression we’ve already seen.

Translation: “Is that so?”


アルフォンス: ここからホムンクルスに会いに行くのは無理みたいだね。
(Arufonsu: Koko kara homunkurusu ni ai ni iku no wa muri mitai da ne.)

ここ (koko): is noun meaning “here.” This is the directional /k/ we’ve seen before.

から (kara): is the same post-position we saw before, meaning “from.” This “koko kara” is a kind of metaphorical use, not meaning literally from where they’re standing, but from the information they have.

ホムンクルス (homunkurusu): is a noun meaning “homunculus,” which are the villains in this show. This is also plural, so we will see it as “homunculi.”

に (ni): is the dative particle. The following verb’s object takes the dative.

会い (ai): is the stem, or participle, of the verb “au,” meaning “to meet with.”

に (ni): is also the dative particle. Here it is marking the purpose of the following verb.

行く (iku): is the indicative, imperfective, affirmative conjugation of the verb meaning “to go.”

の (no): is the same substantivizing particle as before.

は (wa): is the topical particle.

無理 (muri): is a noun meaning “impossible.”

みたい (mitai): is a suffix meaning “seeming(ly).”

だ (da): is the copula.

ね (ne): is the dubitative ending particle. It expresses doubt or a desire for confirmation from the addressee.

Translation: “Alphonse: From here it seems impossible that we will go to meet with the humunculi, huh?”


エドワード: ヤツら、オレのことを貴重な人柱だから死なれちゃ困るって言ってた。
(Edowaado: Yatsu-ra, ore no koto wo kichou-na hitobashira da kara shinarecha komaru tte itte’ta)

ヤツら (yatsu-ra): is the casual pronoun “yatsu,” meaning “that guy,” which the pluralizing suffix -ra, making it “those guys.” Note that we do not have a particle here. It would be “wa.”

オレ (ore): is a casual first-person singular pronoun. “I.”

の (no): is the attributive form of the copula “da.” Don’t worry too much about this. Just know that it isn’t the genitive particle.

こと (koto): is a noun meaning “thing.” When it comes to people “X no koto” is an expression that serves to emphasize X. So one can say “X itself.” So it doesn’t get translated as “the thing being X,” though that’d be literal.

を (wo): is, to our understanding, a misuse of “wo,” or at least a casual use of “wo.” What this should be is “ga.” We’ll research this and get back to you on this.

貴重な  (kichou-na): is a noun meaning “precious,” with the adjectival verbal suffix -na. It is adjectival because it is used to mark a noun modifying another, but it is verbal because it functions in an attributive verbal phrase (it’s a pseudo-copula, you see.)

人柱 (hitobashira): is a noun meaning “human sacrifice.”

だ (da): is the copula.

から (kara): is a conjunction, meaning “because.”

死なれちゃ (shinarecha): is a contraction of “shirarete wa.” The use of the gerund and the topical particle serves as a conditional expression. “shinarete” comes from “shinareru,” which is the passive of “shinu,” meaning “to die.” This use of the passive is known as “the suffering passive,” which means that the action is not passive itself, but its happening is an inconvenience to someone.

困る (komaru): is the indicative, imperfective, affirmative conjugation of the verb meaning “to get in trouble.”

って (tte): is the casual quotative particle.

言ってた (itte’ta): is the contracted form of the periphrastic progressive, indicative, past, affirmative conjugation of “iu,” meaning “to say.” Periphrastic means that it is a conjunction created by more than one verb (”te oku” and “te chau” can also be considered periphrastic. What this perophrastic construction grants us is that it gives the verbs progressive aspect. Progressive aspect is to say that the action of the verb took place across a certain amount of time, not just at one time. In English, progressive aspect is expressed as “to be Xing”

Translation: “Edward: Those guys, they were saying that because I myself am their precious human sacrificed, if I died, they would get into trouble.” 


アルフォンス: 僕も言われた。
(Arufonsu: Boku mo owareta.)

僕 (boku): is a masculine first-person singular pronoun: “I.”

も (mo): is a secondary particle. A secondary particle is a particle that acts in conjunction with another but adds some more information. “mo” adds the sense of “too” or “even,” as in “I, too, ate a cookie.” or “Even my brother can do that.” In this case, it is the former: “too.” When paired with “wa,” “wo,” and “ga,” those particles drop out and you’re just left with “mo.” In this case, it was “wa” that was dropped out.

言われた (iwareta): is the indicative, passive, past, affirmative conjugation of the verb “iu.”

Translation: “Alphonse: I, too, was told that.”


アルフォンス: 扉を開けたから人柱になれるって。
(Arufonsu: Tobira wo aketa kara hitobashira ni nareru tte.)

扉 (tobira): is a noun meaning “door.” In this show, there is a “door of truth” that alchemists can sometimes open at the cost of their body organs. That’s what he’s talking about.

を (wo): is the accusative particle.

開けた (aketa): is the indicative, past, affirmative conjugation of the verb “akeru,” meaning “to open.”

から (kara): is the same conjunction as before, meaning “because.”

人柱 (hitobashira): is the same noun as before.

に (ni): is the dative particle. The following verb takes the dative.

なれる (nareru): is the potential, imperfective, affirmative conjugation of the verb “naru,” meaning “to become.” The potential mood describes the possibility of an action occurring.

って (tte): is the casual quotative particle. It shows up in many places, and whether or not it is a multi-functional particle, we don’t know yet. So we do not want to say that this is a quote and that the verb “omou,” “to think,” has been dropped out, but it is a possibility.

Translation: “Alphonse: {Possibly: I think that} Because I opened the door, I can be a human sacrifice.”


エドワード: 人柱ってのは多分扉を開けて帰って来られる力量を持った術師のことだ。
(Edowaado: hitobashira tte no wa tabun tobira wo akete kaettekorareru rikiryou wo motta jitsushi no koto da.”

人柱 (hitobashira): is the same noun as before.

って (tte): is the casual quoting particle.

の (no): is the substantivizing suffix.

は (wa): is the topical particle.

多分 (tabun): is an adverb meaning “probably” or “perhaps.”

扉 (tobira): is the same noun as before.

を (wo): is the accusative particle.

開けて (akete): is the gerund of the verb “akeru,” which we’ve seen before.

帰って来られる (kaettekorareru): is the potential, indicative, imperfective, affirmative conjugation of “kaettekuru,” meaning “to come back.” You’ll note, of course, that this is actually two verb “kaette,” gerund of “kaeru,” meaning “to return,” and “kuru,” meaning “to come.”

力量 (rikiryou): is a noun meaning “ ability” or “capacity”

を (wo): is the accusative particle.

持った (motta): is the indicative, past, affirmative conjugation of the verb “motsu,” meaning “to possess.”

術師 (jitsushi): is a noun meaning “technique user,” but one can see it as an abbreviation of “renkinjitsu-shi,” just keeping the last two parts.

のこと (no koto): is the same expression as before.

だ (da): is the copula.

Translation: “Edward: The ‘human sacrifices,’ they are probably the alchemists themselves that possessed the power that opens the door and can come back.” (Note: If you want to say “power to open the door…” instead, that is fine and generally more appropriate.)


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Research Reflections, a Year Later

The J-Sub Experiment is a research endeavor. We look at things, analyze them, share our findings, listen to what others have to say, record that data, and go look at new things, allowing the cycle to continue.

We’ve been at this for over a year, and really we only got going with any real moment around June of last year. Nevertheless, a lot has happened and a lot has changed.

We have always pledged to be transparent with our audience; and we believe that now is a good time just to touch base with all of you.


Naturally, we are constantly on the lookout for people who are objecting to what we say, no matter the nature of the objection.
Only 1 person has consistently objected to what we have said. And this person is consistently correct in their objections, which are basically minor things and oversights on our part.
We also had 1 person catch on to an error we made when talking about a phoneme.

Our theories have developed slowly over time. If you read what we’ve written from day 1 to now, we contradict each other on quite a few points. Nobody has brought this up, which does not necessarily mean that nobody has noticed, just that nobody has seen it worthwhile to bring it to our attention to clarify. We hope that this is because we’ve done a good job showing an organic changing of our position— demonstrating why we’d believe one thing a one point and why we believe something else at another.


We have changed blog names and changed themes; but the number of growth has remained generally the same, with only a slight increase in recent weeks. We gain on average 3 followers per day. Our new followers do not necessarily interact (like and reblog) with our material on a regular basis. Those who interact frequently with our posts are about 3% of our total followers, which are 1102 people.

On dontcallmesensei, when we only posted semi-personal things, we gained 81 followers from June 2016 to December 2016. From December 2016 to January 2017, we’ve gained 111 followers, in large part due to that blog hosting the Daily Japanese Study Units.


We call “interaction” anything involving us asking or inviting our audience to send us asks, answer surveys, or anything that requires a response.

Our main project that required a response was our survey, which was overall a failure, although we thank everybody who contributed and we do have that information recorded and it has been helpful. At that time we had close to 1000 followers and we got 23 responses.

We have also posted ask games on dontcallmesensei before December, which nobody participated in.

We even asked people if they wanted to see us play a video game for a few minutes and nobody asked us for the link.

Our Patreon, which we provide links to in our Daily Study Units and are on our main blog, is not doing well. We have one $1 pledge, which we are incredibly grateful for; and we do remain optimistic that we will be able to turn this around. (And in case anybody is wondering, this isn’t something we do on the side. This is our job and our yearly income is based on what we can do with the materials we produce for The J-Sub Experiment as a platform.)

Our Facebook page has 2 likes from people who are not our friends. Our Twitter has 1 follower from Tumblr. Our Instagram has 0 followers who are not our friends.

This information actually does not bother us who work on material as much as it does our associates, who see Internet platforms as, by default, personality based. We are not personality based. People are here for the Japanese resources. Clearly nobody cares who we are, what our day-to-day looks like, and that’s completely fine as long as people are responding well to the materials we work so hard to produce.

Our model doesn’t depend on this kind of interaction existing, and even when we do become more popular and we get more likes and follows and all that on other social media platforms, it will always be a very small percentage of our total audience.


If what people write on their blogs’ profiles are true, and if everybody who answered the survey did so truthfully, then we know that our average follower is female, in her 20′s, not from the U.S., white, and at a basic level of Japanese, but with some real basis.

The trait of most immediate importance for us is the level of Japanese. If only people who were very advanced in their Japanese studies were reading our material, then that would indicate that people at the lower levels found us too complicated or confusing or at any rate not helpful. That is thankfully not the case. We imagine that beginners do not understand everything, but there is enough that they can get from it that they can get something out of it.

Our most popular posts, and the ones that get the most notes, are sporadic runthrough posts (which we cannot explain) and the linguistic posts that focus on one thing. Our Hiragana and Katakana post and our Ending Particle post are both doing very well, probably due to the fact that they are themes people recognize quickly (as opposed to phonemics and morae).

Our Daily Japanese Study Units are being reblogged consistently by a small group of people, but generally have a similar number of notes (about 20). Study Unit 11 is the most popular, with 70 notes.


The profile image of dontcallmesensei is 尻, which means “butt,” and nobody has pointed that in a very long time.

Lots of our followers like FMA:B, but nobody has expressed a reaction (good or bad) to the fact that our next runthrough will be from that show.

We find that interactions work better when we provide a public response. So someone sends an ask and we answer it publicly. We suspect that our survey would have worked better had we done that, but we wanted to keep all that information confidential, even when the asks were anonymous.

We have a sizable amount of Spanish-speakers. We’ve considering writing something on Japanese-Spanish Spanish-Japanese translation.

A large part of the linguistics-themed blogs on Tumblr are focused on the humanities side of the field (like sociolinguistics), as opposed to what we focus on which is more scientific (in the sense that we just look at data and try to account for it in a systematic way). We have not heard anything from that humanities side, which really is of little importance.

Our associates have asked us to incorporate our personality into the platform. (We did run a personality-based blog once that did well.) But we’re very hesitant to do so. Personalities that are popular with one audience are not necessarily popular with another. That’s what has happened here. We have bigger priorities than to create  a personality (a large part of Internet personalities are not actual personalities, even if they look natural) to cater to this specific audience. Further, we believe that our audience will be more appreciative of the honesty and transparency in the long run.

In our posts, we’ve been insistent on a number of points that contradict traditional Japanese instruction:
that adjectives in Japanese are very few;
that -na adjectives are just nouns;
that there aren’t two sets of verbs (u-verb and ru-verbs);
that various particles are actually indicating grammatical case;
that Kana-only texts are not helpful, even at the absolute beginner level.

Our Daily Study Units exist to show people that “expressions” are by and large just regular sentences on the syntactic level. (And “expressions” are the backbone of language textbooks.)

The fact that we say them so often and don’t have to double back on them (though the -na adjective thing is raising some questions, though they’re still nouns) makes us very happy; and what makes us happier is that people seem to see the logic behind it.

Conclusion (TL;DR): We are doing very well. We are not fighting an uphill battle against detractors. We have a growing audience. Our audience likes it when we focus on specific topics as well as our more instructional material. We do not have to compromise our linguistic perspective for any reason. If we do intend to grow and form something a bit more akin to a community, i.e. being able to interact with our audience in a mutually beneficial way, we will have to find a way to do that. That will be one of the big challenges of 2017.

We hope that this post serves as a testament to our transparency and honesty. Our values as a research endeavor and small business lie in respecting your privacy. We will never put a cookie on your browser to learn more about. We will never use marketing schemes to cheat you out of your money (and believe us, people have told us to.) Developing healthy communication is our job. Developing attractive products is our job. At the end of the day, this is about finding answers to big questions and serving each and every one of you.

If I wrote a Textbook…

We are currently between two periods development at The J-Sub Experiment; and we’re using this time to talk about different elements of Japanese and Japanese linguistics before we get back to anime scripts. (By the way, the next show script will be from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.)

A persisting question for us has been the order in which information is presented and the manner in which it is explained. Both these questions exist as prominent questions in a branch of Linguistics called Applied Linguistics.

Applied Linguistics is the branch that concerns itself with the use of linguistic knowledge outside of the academic/theoretical realms of writing and academia. Most commonly, this means the teaching of language and clinical assistance (so things like speech pathology and speech therapy).

We are not applied linguists in the sense that we do not consider ourselves language teachers. We are helpers. We provide information in an accessible way and we leave it up to the individual to use it as they see most fit.

But, having said that, we have written two “Japanese From Zero” series where we try to tell people what they need to know to hit the ground running. We did so as an anti-textbook, trope. A textbook tends to baby you for a long time and then, in part 3 or 4, violently shove you out of the nest and more often than not one hits the ground or flutters for a few minutes before one gets exhausted and collapses onto the ground all the same.

But if we had to write a textbook, break down Japanese into units of 2 important ideas, what would that look like? On dontcallmesensei we look at a lot of that, but it’s more oriented towards exams and spoken Japanese. So let’s pretend for a while and have some fun.

For the sake of the exercise, let’s imagine that the textbook comes with a preface that gets one through Kana and that the Kanji and terms used are in the Vocabulary section of the lesson.

The J-Sub Experiment’s Theoretical Textbook: Lesson 1

1) The Japanese Sentence

As with all languages, sentences in Japanese take many shapes and forms. Nevertheless, there exist various patterns one should quickly recognize. That way, even if one does not know the word, one has a pretty good idea of what it should be.

[Nouns, Adverbs, Post-Positions, Adjectives] [Verb] [Ending Particles]

A) Ending Particles

Ending particles are words that express a mood or intention but don’t quite have a role in adding information to the idea of a sentence. Imagine if there were these small words to convey out loud what you convey through emojis and emotions. Ending Particles are like that. Ending Particles are optional, and so a sentence need not have one.

Common Ending Particles: よ、ね、な、か、なの、の、さ、ぞ、かな、かね

B) Verbs

Verbs are words that express an action or a state of state of being. Verbs are the most dynamic and varied part of the Japanese language. We’ll learn about it bit by bit. For now, we’ll just divide them into categories.

i) Copulae- verbs meaning “to be” or “to have,” expressing an identity relationship between two nouns. They are だ、ある、and いる.

ii) u Verbs- verbs ending in /u/ in the imperfective, affirmative conjugations. These are most verbs; and the real doozie. Thankfully, once you understand the rules of conjugation, everything will work out. Irregular verbs are very, very few. They are less than to.

Common u Verbs: 食べる、する、来る、行く、寝る、入る.

3) ω (omega) Verbs- verbs that end in something we’re calling /ω/. We’ll talk about what the heck that means soon. These verbs are mostly u-verbs conjugated for the negative and verbs expressing a state of being, which are adjectival in meaning.

Common ω Verbs: おいしい、かわいい、ない、かなしい、いい.

C) Adverbs

Adverbs are words that modify the action. In Japanese, adverbs are easy to spot because they don’t look inflect in any way. Adverbs, mind you, will sometimes have adjectival meanings, i.e. they will be modifying nouns. Nouns and ω Verbs will sometimes be able to become adverbs through special suffixes.

Common adverbs: まだ、すごく、はやく、ちゃんと、ちょっと、ぜんぜん、あまり.

D) Post-Positions

Post-Positions are words that go after phrases in order to give us some spatio-temporal orientation. They are like prepositions, only that they come after the phrase.

Common Post-Postions: から、まで、で.

E) Adjectives

Adjectives are words that modify a noun. We’ve already noted that ω verbs and adverbs have adjectival functions at times; but true adjectives that are neither adverbs nor ω verbs are few and far between. They are often called “adnominals.” They go before the noun they modify.

Common Adjectives: ものの、あくる、いわゆる、おきな.

F) Nouns

Nouns are words that describe people, places, things, and ideas. You are probably used to nouns having articles (a, an, the) and inflect for number (-s, -es, -en, -ice). Lucky for you, there really isn’t anything quite like that for Japanese noun. There are no articles; and nouns generally do not inflect for number. So whether it’s one dog or ten dogs, it’s still “dog,” so to speak.

Common Nouns: 私、ぼく、名、犬、猫、家、こと、もの.

2) Noun Cases

Japanese nouns may not inflect for number, but they do inflect for case. 

What’s a case? 

You know the difference between “he” and “him” and “his”? You know how they’re kind of the same word but have different uses? Well that difference in uses is case.

Japanese has 7 different cases, each with its own particle that follows the noun.

Topical– indicates the topic of a sentence. The topic exists independently from the rest of the sentence. It’s “your father” in the sentence “Your father, how is he?” The Topical Particle is は (pronounced /wa/).

Nominative– indicates the subject of the sentence. It’s “the dog” in “The dog chased the rabbit.” The Nominative Particle is が.

Accusative– indicates the direct object of the verb in the sentence. It’s “the rabbit” in “The dog chased the rabbit.” The Accusative Particle is を (pronounced /wo/ or /o/).

Genitive– indicates that the noun belongs to another noun or indicates the subset to which the noun belongs. The pronouns “his,” “her,” “its” and “their” are genitive. The Genitive Particle is の.

Dative– is the probably the most dynamic of the cases, having many many uses. Here are some of the most popular: the dative indicates 1) that the noun is the immediate location of the action, or that 2) the noun is the indirect object of the verb in the sentence, or 3) it indicates the purpose of the action, or 4) it is the object of the verb (as is the case in certain situations where it is supplanting the accusative.) It is “the girl” in “The boy gave the girl a present.” The Dative Particle is に.

Instrumental– indicates the means or cause of the action. It is “with a hammer” in “I nail things with a hammer.” The Instrumental Particle is で.

Locative– is a very limited case that notes the direction of an action, as well as the recipient of a letter. It is “to Canada” in “I’m going to Canada next year.” The Locative Particle is へ (pronounced /e/).

[Here we would have many exercises that would help people get used to the idea of cases.]

That’s the idea. We should show you an Ancient Greek textbook which starts similarly.

Tonight’s the Big Night!

As of now, we have officially launched The J-Sub Experiment as an online platform! That includes this blog, our main website, social media, and our video outlets yet to come.

For all of you here, not much changes. But here’s our agenda!

Weekly Schedule

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 7pm to 9pm (EST) Live Tweeting @jsubexperiment (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) (Transcripts to be uploaded to dontcallmesensei)

Tuesday: Flashcard Upload and Runthrough (Tumblr exclusive!)

Thursday: Linguistic or Grammar Quickie!

Saturday: Long Post or series of shorter posts (3000 word minimum)


December- Dabbling into video games and streaming (previews and reports are Patron-exclusive!)

January- Production begins on large video project

January- Complete runthrough of one episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


We do need your help! No project can make it alone – and we’re no exception.

Monetary support: Join the team! Please join us on Patreon where we compensate our patrons for their support for just $1 or $2 a week with early access to our posts and previews of everything that is to come.

Free support: The best way to help us is to follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and to answer this quick survey! We have a list of prizes we will give out when we reach certain milestones in the survey. They’re just 7 easy questions and it takes less than 2 minutes. (So far we have 23 entries.)

Thank you all who have been with us throughout the journey of getting here. We may look a bit different, but not much changes: we’re still here to provide you with everything you need to finally have a strong and sound grasp on the Japanese language.

To learn more about us, visit the link!

And to get into contact with us, visit the link or just send us an ask on Tumblr!


Welcome to the Comments Post!

If you have something you’d like to share with us, anything at all, please let us know which post you’re referring to, and you very much appreciated thoughts.

“Okay, why not let people comment on the posts themselves?”

It’s for 2 main reasons:

  1. We’re new to the platform; and we aren’t sure what will happen in the comments section. In the best case scenario, people comment on the data and offer their own perspective, in the worst case scenario, people fight and spam abounds. We’d rather have that bad stuff all in one place.
  2. Having the comments in one spot allows us to more clearly see what things need further clarification in general. We work on a systematic level, so this is part of being able to see the bigger picture.

We hope to eventually have comments sections for each series we do. Until then, we’ll have this one general comments section.

Thank you for your understanding!


Lucky Star! Episode 1 (Part 19)

The following is an unedited post created on our Tumblr page. You may find the original here.

We’re back! (But I’m sick T_T) I’ll try to get three a day released. That’ll keep us on schedule. All I ask is that you give me time to double back on these things before telling me where I’ve slipped. I guarantee you that the vast majority of what I say is true, but we’re human; and accidents happen.

Also, I will be writing each day’s 3 parts sequentially. So I’m cross referencing them. Tomorrow I’ll explain everything all over again and cross-reference accordingly. I can’t have people looking for part 19 when we’re at part 36, you know?

Anyway, the 3 parts for tonight are actually 3 different scenes. The scene here is of Konata and Tsukasa asking Miyuki about the differences between the cold and the flu in school.

みゆき:え? インフルエンザと風邪の違いですか?
みゆき:で-ですが まあ、重なる部分も割とあるので風邪のスケールアップ版と言えないことも…ないかも…

みゆき:え? インフルエンザと風邪の違いですか?
(Miyuki: E? infuruenza to kaze no chigai desu ka?)

え (e): is an interjection meaning “what?”

インフルエンザ (infuruenza): is a loanword noun meaning “influenza.”

と (to): is a conjunction for noun phrases, translating in most cases to “and.”

風邪 (kaze): is a noun meaning “cold,” as in the illness.

の (no): is a genitive particle. The genitive is a grammatical case that indicates a relationship between two things. Normally “X no Y” translates to “Y of X.” In this case, this is, one might say, a comparative genitive, where “X to Y no Z” is translating to “the Z between Y and X.”

違い (chigai): is a verbal stem, or participle, of “chigau,” a verb meaning “to be different” or “to be wrong.” The verbal stem, however, is one of those that is not treated like a regular noun, and as a noun it means “difference.”

です (desu): is the polite, affirmative, present conjugation of the copula “da.” A copula is a verb that translates to “is,” to keep it simple.

か (ka): is an interrogative ending particle, making the whole sentence a question.

Translation: “What? The differences between influenza and the cold?”

(Konata: Un)

うん (un): is an interjection meaning “yes.” Or if you want to make it more casual sounding, you can translate it as “yeah.”

Translation: “Yes.”

(Miyuki: Etto desu ne. infuruenza wa wirusu-sei desu ga kounetsu, kinnikutsuu to zenshin shoujou ga ooku shikamo gappeishou no osore mo arimasu. ippou, kaze wa nodo no eishou ya hanamizu ga omode netsu wa sore hodo takaku narimasen. Sono hoka saibu no shoujou mo chigaimasu.

えっと (etto): is an interjection meaning that one is thinking. One can translate it to “um.”

です (desu): is the same as before. One will notice that when one is trying to be polite, one will add “desu.” as the verb even when there is no relationship being established. So you don’t have to translate the “desu.” Just take it as marking politness.

ね (ne): is the dubitative/softening ending particle. It’s used a lot in Japanese just to make things sound nice.

インフルエンザ (infuruenza): is the same as before.

は (wa): is our topical particle. The topic particle marks the topic phrase, which is something that is independent of the rest of the sentence. Sometimes it’ll be translated as the subject of a sentence, but that should not be something you decide to do automatically.

ウィルス性 (wirusu-sei): is a noun meaning “viral.” “Wirusu” is a noun meaning “virus;” and “sei” is a suffix that means “kind” or “nature.” So this means something like “the nature of a virus.” Also worth noting: “ウィ” is a Japanese digraph one sees very rarely; and I’m writing it as “wi” just to differentiate it from “ui.” The other option I have is to transcribe it as “yu,” but that’s a bit strange, too.

です (desu): is the same as before, but now functioning as it should. “So influenza is viral.”

が (ga): is a conjunction that just connects two statements. Context will let you know whether it should be translated as “though” or “and.” Logically, “though” and “and” and “but” and “even though” are all the same things.

高熱 (kounetsu): is a noun meaning “high fever.”

筋肉痛 (kinnikutsuu): is a noun meaning “muscle pain.”

と (to): appears to be a special use of the conjunction “to.” What we’re talking about here are (spoiler) is full-body symptoms; and high fever and muscle pain are those kinds of things; so in this construction of “X to Y,” X is an example of Y. So what we’ll do, for now, is translate it as “such as” and then see what you all have to say on the matter.

全身 (zenshin): is a noun meaning “the whole body.” Here it’s being used adjectivally to modify “shoujou.”

症状 (shoujou): is a noun meaning “symptoms.”

が (ga): is our nominative particle, meaning it marks the subject of the sentence.

多く (ooku): is the adverbial form of “ooi,” an adjective (but it really isn’t) meaning “many” or “numerous.” The adverbial form, like the Te-form, can unite sentences. That’s what’s happening here.

しかも (shikamo): is a conjunction meaning “moreover.”

合併症 (gappeishou): is a noun meaning “complications.”

の (no): is our genitive particle.

恐れ (osore): is a noun meaning “fear.” It is the verbal stem of “osoreru,” meaning “to fear.”

も (mo): is a secondary conjunction meaning “too” or “also.” The primary conjunction is “ga,” which when next to “mo” gets dropped out.

あります (arimasu): is the copula “aru” conjugated for the polite, affirmative, present.

So, “Full-body symptoms such as high fever and muscle pain are many; moreover there are fears of complications.”

一方 (ippou): is another conjunction. This one is used to connect two parts of a whole idea. The idea in this case is the differences between the cold and the flu. Now we’re going to talk about the cold. This often gets translated as “on the other hand.”

風邪 (kaze): is the same as before.

は (wa): is our topical particle.

喉 (nodo): is a noun meaning “throat.”

の (no): is the genitive particle.

炎症 (enshou): is a noun meaning “irritation”

や (ya): is a coordinating conjunction that lets us know for that this is not an exhaustive list. So “X ya Y ya Z” means “X and Y and Z (and possibly other things).”

鼻水 (hanamizu): is a noun meaning “runny nose.”

が (ga): is the nominative particle.

主 (omo): is a noun meaning “the principle thing.”

で (de): is the Te-form, or gerund, of the copula “da.” Here it’s connecting sentences.

So, “On the other hand, the principle things for a cold are [things like] inflammation of the throat and a runny nose.”

熱 (netsu): is a noun meaning “fever.” It’s the same “netsu” in “kounetsu.”

は (wa): is the topical particle.

それほど (sore-hodo): is an expression coming from the noun “sore,” meaning “that,” and “hodo,” meaning “extent.” It means “to that extent.” That “that” here is referring to the high fever of influenza.

高く (takaku): is the adverbial form of the adjective “takai,” meaning “high.”

なりません (narimasen): is the polite, negative, present conjugation of “naru,” meaning “to become.” “X+adverb suffix” plus “naru” means “to become X.”

その他 (sono-hoka): is another expression meaning “other than that.” “Hoka” is a noun meaning “other” and “sono” is an adjective meaning “that.”

細部 (saibu): is a noun meaning “detail.”

の (no): is the attributive form of the copula “da.” That means that we’re talking about the symptoms that are details. (See that the previous noun modifies the following.) If it were the genitive marker, we’d be talking about the “symptoms of details,” which makes no sense. What we mean by symptoms that are details is that they’re more minor things.

症状 (shoujou): is the same as before.

も (mo): is the same secondary particle.

違います (chigaimasu): is the polite, affirmative, present conjugation of the verb “chigau,” which we spoke of before.

Translation: “Umm… Influenza is viral; and full-body symptoms such as high fever and muscle pain are numerous. Furthermore [there] are also fears of complications. On the other hand, the principle things being inflammation of the throat and a runny nose, fevers do not become that high. Other than that there are also differences in the symptoms that are details.”

(Konata: Fuun)

ふーん (fuun): is a contemplative interjection, translating to “hmm.”

Translation: “Hmm.”

(Miyuki: Desu kara,
kono futatsu wa chigau byouki desu yo.)

ですから (desu kara): is an expression, meaning “thus.” It comes from “desu,” which we’re familiar with, and “kara,” a post-position and conjunction meaning “because.” So it more literally means something like “because [it] is.”

この (kono): is like “sono” but with a different lexical stem, /ko/, meaning “this.”

ふたつ (futatsu): is a general counter noun meaning “two [things].” The “fu” is the native Japanese lexical stem for “two.” “Ni” is of Chinese origin.

は (wa): is our topical particle.

違う (chigau): is the same verb as before, now in its plain, affirmative, present conjugation.

病気 (byouki): is a noun meaning “illness.”

です (desu): is the same as before.

よ (yo): is the emphatic ending particle, often conveying that this is information the speaker wants the listener to learn/acknowledge/memorize.

Translation: “Thus, these two are illnesses that are different.”

(Konata: Naru hodoo)

なるほど (naruhodo): is another expression coming from “naru” and “hodo,” both of which we’ve spoken. How we get from “the extent that it becomes” to “I see…” is unclear, but it means something equivalent to “I see…” The extra “o” is added because she sustains the word, because she’s now saddened by the fact that they’re not really the same or even similar, it seems.

Translation: “I see…”

みゆき:で-ですが まあ、重なる部分も割とあるので風邪のスケールアップ版と言えないことも…ないかも…
(Miyuki: De, desu ga maa, kasanaru bubun mo wari to aru no de kaze no sukeeru appu-ban to ienai koto mo… nai kamo…)

ですが (desu ga): is “desu” and the conjunction “ga.” It’s another conjunction meaning “however.”

まあ (maa): is an interjection that adds new information, often translated as “you might say.”

重なる (kasanaru): is a verb conjugated for the present, affirmative meaning “to overlap.”

部分 (bubun): is a noun meaning “part.”

も (mo): is the same secondary prefix as before.

割と (wari-to): is an adverb meaning “relatively.” It comes from “wari,” a noun meaning “split” and “to,” the quotative particle.

ある (aru): is the same verb we’ve seen before.

ので (no de): is the substantivizing suffix “no,” making the phrase syntactically a noun, and “de,” the instrumental particle being used as a marking the cause. This translates as “because.”

風邪 (kaze): is the same as before.

の (no): is the genitive particle.

スケールアップ版 (sukeeru appu-ban): is the loanword phrase “skeeru appu” meaning “scale up” or “upper tier” and the suffix “ban,” meaning “version” or “edition.”

と (to): is the quotative particle.

言えない (ienai): is the potential, negative, present conjugation of “iu,” meaning “to say.” This translates to “It is not possible to say” or “it is not impossible”

こと (koto): is a noun meaning “thing” and it often works like “no” in making the phrase a noun.

も (mo): is the same secondary particle as before. In our translation, to avoid two “too”’s, we’ll be translating this one as “as well.”

ない (nai): is the negative, present conjugation of “aru.”

かも (kamo): is the truncation of the expression “kamoshirenai,” which means “probably.”

Translation: “But, because you might say that there are, relatively, parts overlap, too, it is probably not impossible to say that [influenza] is an upper tier version of the cold, as well.”


Konata repeats herself, now much more cheerful because her initial assumption has been implicitly stated to not be a dumb assumption.

Translation: I see!

Words Worth Memorizing

インフルエンザ (infuruenza): influenza, the flue
風邪 (kaze): the cold
違い (chigai): difference
違う (chgau): to be different

うん (un): Yes
えっと (etto): Umm
です (desu): to be (polite)
ウィルス性 (wuirusu-sei): viral
熱 (netsu): cold
筋肉痛 (kinnikutsuu): muscle pain
全身 (zenshin): whole body
症状 (shoujou): symptom
多い (ooi): many, numerous
しかも (shikamo): moreover
恐れ (osore): fear
ある (aru): to be
一方 (ippou): on the other hand
喉 (nodo): throat
炎症 (enshou): inflammation
主 (omo): the main thing
それほど (sore hodo): to that extent
高い (takai): high
なる (naru): to become
その他 (sono hoka): other than that
ふーん (fuun): Hmm
ですから (desu kara): But…
ふたつ (futatsu): two things (general counter)
病気 (byouki): illness
なるほど (naru hodo): I see…
重なる (kasanaru): to overlap
部分 (bubun): part, section
言う (iu): to say
かもしれない (kamoshirenai): probably…

Lucky Star! Episode 1 (Part 13)

The following is an unedited post created on our Tumblr page. You may find the original here.

And we’re back with what is turning out to be a Lucky Star! marathon. I’m very happy that today is the day we finally finish this one dialogue and second scene in Lucky Star! Episode 1.
I’ll continue to remind you that these 8 parts (10-18) are done sequentially and I won’t be re-explaining things if we’ve seen them before. I’ll be doing my best to cross-reference, though!

つかさ:え? そうなの?
つかさ:あ そっか。
つかさ:そうか これからそうしようっと。
こなた:あ ところで 太いほうと細いほう とっちがチョココロネの頭?

(Konata: Hikkurikaesu? Negi-tan-shio wo?)

引っ繰り返す (hikkurikaesu): is a verb we’ve seen before. (See Part 12)

ねぎタン塩 (negi-tan-shio): is a noun we’ve seen before. (See Part 12)

を (wo): is our accusative particle. (I’d like to point out here for those who are unaware that I tend to write を as “wo,” but that it tends to be pronounced as “o.”)

I believe it’s fairly obvious that the direct object has been displaced to the right of the verb and that otherwise it would read “Negi-tan-shio wo hikkurikaesu?”

Translation: “You turn it over? Salted beef tongue with Welsh onion?”

(Konata: Negi-tan-shio wo hikkurikaeshi cha dame da yo.)

ねぎタン塩 (negi-tan-shio): is the same as always.

を (wo): is the same as always):

引っ繰り返し (hikkurikaeshi): is the verbal stem, or participle, of the verb “hikkurikaesu.” This words like a substantive participle. So think of the sentence: “Eating is fun.” and how “eating” is a noun. That’s what’s happening with this word.

ちゃ (cha): is an alteration of the topical particle “wa.” It’s the voiceless sister of “ja” that you see in “ja nai.”

だめ (dame): is a noun meaning “no good.” This word is often used to express prohibition.

だ (da): is the same as always. (See Part 10)

よ (yo): is the same as always. (See Part 10)

Translation: “Flipping a salted beef tongue with Welsh onion is no good!”

つかさ:え? そうなの?
(Tsukasa: E? Sou na no?)

え (e): is an interjection. It conveys surprise. One can translate it to “really?”

そう (sou): is something we’ve seen before. (See Part 11)

な (na): is the adjectival verb suffix we saw before. (See part 11)

の (no): is the substantivizing suffix, if my theory is correct. “Sou na no?” is the umpteenth variation on “Sou desu ka?”

Translation: “What? Is that so?”

(Konata: Datte hikkurikaeshitara ue ni notteru negi ga okocchachau jan.)

だって (datte): is an expression we’ve seen before. It has a variety of meanings, including “even if,” “still,” or “but.” We’ll decide on a translation in the next word.

引っ繰り返したら (hikkurikaeshitara): is a conditional conjugation of “hikkurikaesu.” This one uses the suffix -tara. So we’re going to be talking about what happens if you flip it, and one has good reason to flip the beef, because one wants to cook it. So this is similar to one saying “But if you do it, an unexpected bad thing will happen.” So the translation we’ll use for “datte” is “but.”

上 (ue): is a noun meaning “top” or “above.”

に (ni): is our dative of location. (See Part 10)

載ってる (notteru): is the hooligan truncation of the present progressive of “noru,” meaning “to board” or “to get on,” and in this context “to sit.”

葱 (negi): is the same noun we’ve been seeing, meaning “Welsh onion.” So the past IP, “Ue ni notteru” is modifying “negi.”

が (ga): is our nominative particle.

落っこちちゃう (okkochachau): is a “chau” verb. The verb stem is “okkocharu,” which means “to fall down” or “to drop.” We will be translating this verb in the future tense. (Keep in mind that Japanese has a present/future tense, or imperfective tense.)

じゃん (jan): is the same one we saw before. (See Part 12)

Translation: “But if you flip it the Welsh onion sitting on top will fall, right?”

つかさ:あ そっか。
(Tsukasa: A sokka.)

あ (a): is the same as before. (See Part 10)

そっか (sokka): is a truncation of “Sou ka,” and the umpteenth and first variation on “Sou desu ka.”

Translation: “Oh! Is that so?”

(Konata: Are wa hikkurikaesanai de katamen dake wo yakeba shizen-ni hi ga tooru-n da yo.)

あれ (are): is a noun meaning “that,” here in reference to what Konata has just said about flipping over the beef being a bad idea.

は (wa): is our topical particle.

引っ繰り返さない (hikkurikaesanai): is the negative, present conjugation of “hikkurikaesu.” It is working in conjunction with the following particle.

で (de): is an intstrumental particle. With the negative it means “with not doing X” or “without Xing.” “…nai de” is a common expression.

片面  (katamen): is a noun meaning “one side.” In this case, we’re referring to the side without the onions, the bottom part.

だけ (dake): is a suffix meaning “only.” Suffixes in Japanese for nouns, as you’ve noticed, are relatively rare. This might be the most common for something that isn’t a pronoun.

を (wo): is our accusative particle.

焼けば (Yakeba): is another conditional conjugation. The verb stem comes from “yaku,” which means “to cook,” and the suffix is -eba. This conditional is a very general one. It just refers to one thing happening and that thing allowing something else to happen, but it is not a necessity that that second thing happen.

自然に (shizen-ni): is the noun “shizen,” meaning “nature,” which the adverbial suffix -ni, which we have seen before. This means “naturally.”

火 (hi): is a noun meaning “fire” or “heat,” as it is in this case.

が (ga): is our nominative particle.

通る (tooru): is a verb conjugated in the affirmative, present meaning “to go through.” When heat “goes though,” we’re talking about heat distribution, so we can translate it as “to distribute.”

ん (n): is the same as before. (See Part 10)

だ (ta): is the same as before. (See Part 10)

よ (yo): is the same as before. (See Part 10)

Translation: “On that subject, without flipping it over, if you cook just one side the head will distribute naturally.”

(Tsukasa: Sou ka … Kore kara sou shiyou tto.)

そう (sou): is the same as before. We talked about “Sou ka” a moment ago.

か (ka): is the interrogative ending particle. This is part of “Sou ka.”

これ (kore): is a noun meaning “this.”

から (kara): is a post-position. Here it translates to “after.”

そう (sou): is the same as before, but context allows us to see that we’re talking about “that” manner of cooking the beef.

しよう (shiyou): is the volitional form of “suru,” the verb meaning “to do.” “Shi” is the stem and -you is the suffix.

っと (tto): is the truncation of “to omou,” which is part of an expression “Volitional + to omou,” meaning roughly “to think to want to do something,” which gets translated to “to intend to do something.”

Translation: “Is that so? After this I intend to do that.”

(Konata: Zettai hikkurikaeshi cha dame da kara.)

絶対 (zettai): is an adverb meaning “absolutely.” (If this were an interjection, then we could separate it from the rest of the sentence Absolutely! … But it isn’t quite that. So I will link it to “dame.”

引っ繰り返し (hikkurikaeshi): is the same as before.

ちゃ (cha): is the same as before.

だめ (dame): is the same as before.

だ (da): is the same as always.

から (kara): is a conjunction, here meaning “because.” (I’m calling it a conjunction here for the sake of being open to the idea of having a “kara1″ and a “kara2,” though the conjunctival meaning stems from the post-position’s meaning.)

Translation: “Because flipping it over is absolutely no good.” 

(Miyuki: Sou nan desu ka.)

そう (sou): is the same as before.

な (na): is the adjectival veb ending.

ん (n): is the substantivizing suffix.

です (desu): is the same as always. (See Part 11)

か (ka): is the same as before. This is another “Sou desu ka.”

Translation: “Is that so?”

(Konata: Un)

うん (un): is an interjection meaning “yes.” Similar to “mhm” or “yeah” in English.

Translation: “Mhm.”

(Tsukasa: Hee)

へ~ (hee): is the same as before. (See Part 10)

Translation: *acknowledgement sound* (No real need to translate this with an actual word.)

こなた:あ ところで、太いほうと細いほう どっちがチョココロネの頭?
(Konata: A tokoro-de, futai hou to hosoi hou tocchi ga chokko-korone no atama?)

あ (a): is the same as before.

ところで (tokoro-de): is an expression. “Tokoro” means “place” both physically and ideally/metaphorically. “De” is a post-position particle being equivalent to “at.” I personally like to think of it as being similar to saying “while we’re here;” but what’s for certain is that it’s just a nice way of changing the subject. We’ll translate it as “So,”

太い (futai): is an adjective conjugated for the affirmative, present meaning “fat.”

ほう (hou): is a noun meaning “side” or “end.”

と (to): is our conjunction. Japanese does have perfect equivalents to “and” and “or.” In this construction, “to” means “or.” I’ll explain in a little bit.

細い (hosoi): is an adjective conjugated for the affirmative, present meaning “thin.”

ほう (hou): is the same as before.

どっち (docchi): is an interrogative noun meaning “which on (between two).” When we give our alternatives for “docchi,” we use “to” to link them. But because “docchi” is asking for one of the two, we use “or.”

が (ga): is our nominative particle

チョココロネ (chokko-korone): is a noun meaning chocolate cornet. This is the thing that got this whole conversation started in the first place.

の (no): is our genitive particle.

頭 (atama): is a noun meaning head.

Translation: “Oh! So, which, the fat end or the thing end, is the head of a chocolate cornet?”

(Tsukasa: E!?)

Translation: “What!?”

Words Worth Memorizing

葱 (negi): Welsh onion
塩 (shio): Salt
だめ (dame): no good
だって (datte): But; still
上 (ue): top; above
載る (noru): to ride; to get on
落っこちる (okkocharu): to fall off; to drop
あれ (are): that
片面 (katamen): one side
だけ (dake): only
焼く (yaku): to grill
自然 (shizen): nature
火 (hi): fire; heat
通る (tooru): to go through; to distribute
絶対 (zettai): absolutely; unconditionally
ところで (tokoro-de): “By the way…”
太い (futai): fat
ほう (hou): end; side
細い (hosoi): thin
どっち (docchi): which?
頭 (atama): head

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Thoughts on Routledge’s A Frequency Dictionary of Japanese

The following is an unedited post created on our Tumblr page. You may find the original here.

I’ve given this book a look-through, hoping it would be able to serve as a nifty reference for my research and work. To make that story short: it will be.

There are some curious things to note about the book, though:

1) The introduction is very thorough and is worth a read. It discusses the sources that the authors used when making the list and alludes to the ever enduring question of what is a word.

2) The entires are given in kanji (when commonly used) and romaji; but no kana. This is curious because the glossary/first index is ordered by kana, as one would expect from a Japanese dictionary. So regardless the readers are expected to know 1) the “kana order” and 2) what the entries would look like in kana.

3) Various conjugations are treated as words. Entry 3, for example, is た, which is there called a past auxiliary. You’ll also find う from the exhortative conjugation as well, amongst many others.

4) There are combinations of particles and verbs that are also treated as a single word as well. Entry 16, for example, is という, which is と and いう and I cannot for the life of me imagine that anyone actually believes that those are one word. Entry 125 is のではない, which is a particle, a verb, another particle, and another verb.

5) There are spread throughout a  number of useful charts and tables that tell you how frequently alternate pronunciations are used and in what contexts for some words (for example, いう and ゆう) and thematic groupings of certain words, like Animals, for example. (I was surprised to see lion there translated as ライオン because the word that comes to my mind is 獅子, which may or may not be in popular use nowadays.)

6) The further you get into the book, the more “normal” it gets, in the sense that you stop seeing phrases and particles and verb endings and you just see your standard nouns and verbs and adjectives and adverbs.

7) Like all reference books, you may want to get your feet wet with the language through a primer or something like that before actually trying to use a book like this. But when you go get around to using this kind of thing, it’s often useful to just read it and find out how far down the list you have to go before you stop recognizing most of the words. Then you start making flashcards or what have you in order to learn all the words you need to know.