Common Japanese Words – Japanese Words From Japanese Words to Japanese Fluency Wed, 23 Jan 2013 03:33:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Japanese Words for School Thu, 13 Dec 2012 02:46:05 +0000 Study in Japan

Since I have started this website, I have gotten a lot of e-mails asking me about studying in Japan. For those of you who don’t know, I used to work as an admissions counselor to help bring students here to Japan. Something I will be doing again soon. For those of you who want to really learn Japanese, and especially for those who want to work in Japan, I would highly recommend studying in here.

There are possibilities to work in Japan for people who can’t speak Japanese fluently, or at least at a business level, but they are few. The primary two being recruiting and English teaching. If you really want to open up your options, then you need to learn Japanese fluently. One great way to do that is to study in Japan. Studying in Japan will help you both learn the culture and learn the Japanese language. Two things you will need to know to find a good job in Japan.

So, here is a list of Japanese words for those interested in studying in Japan. These words should help you ask questions about how your credits transfer, graduating, clubs, scholarships, student life, etc. Please feel free to add on more words in the comments.

  1. High school- 高校、こうこう
  2. Community College- 短大、たんだい
  3. College/University- 大学、だいがく
  4. Transcripts-  成績証明書、せいせきしょうめいしょ
  5. Credits- 単位、たんい
  6. Essay- エッセイ、
  7. Entrence essay-入学論文
  8. Entrance exam- 入学試験、にゅうがくしけん
  9. Scholarship- 奨学金、しょうがくきん
  10. transfer- 編入、へんにゅう
  11. Graduate- 卒業する、そつぎょうする
  12. Diploma- 卒業証明書
  13. Club-サークル
  14. Major, field- 専門、せんもん

This is a pretty short list that you can put into Anki and should be able to mostly remember in about a day. For those of you who aren’t using Anki, be sure to check it out. It’s a great tool and will help you learn faster. Also, as I mentioned earlier, be sure to add any additional words in the comments section.

Common Japanese Words: You Need to Know Sun, 18 Nov 2012 03:17:15 +0000

You have been studying Japanese and learning lots of Japanese words. But what if you are heading to Japan and don’t have time to study or remember a lot of Japanese words? Well, I would say that there is always time if done efficiently, but just in case, here is a list of words that you must know.

I wanted to keep the list small and have decided to limit it to just 10 words. A Japanese words survival list if you will. If you can remember these words, then you should at be able to take care of your basic needs. They might not get you much further, but at least you will be able to get to the bathroom.

I should note that the grammar below is not complete. It is written for someone who only knows these ten words to get by.

1. Doko (どこ)-where

Knowing how to say where is really important. Especially if this is your first time to Japan. Just add the place name in front of this: Restaurant doko?

2. Ikitai (いきたい) -I want to go to

Similar to doko, but this allows you to tell someone where you want to go: Station ikitai.

3. Sumimasen (すみません)-Sorry, excuse me。

This word can be extremely useful because of all of the ways it can be used. Mainly, you can use it to say “sorry” or “excuse me”.

4. Ikura (いくら)-How much

You will most likely be buying things. This allows you to ask how much.

5. Otearai (おてあらい)-Bathroom

You will definitely want to remember this one. You can combine it with number one for: otearai doko?

6. Arigatou (ありがとう)-Thank you

This is the short form of thank you (thanks), but it is easy to say and easier to remember than the more polite arigatou gozaimasu.

7.  Byouin (びょういん)-Hospital

This one is a bit of a no brainer. You can combine it with ikitai or doko to help you actually get there?

8. Tabetai (たべたい)-Want to eat

Not quite hungry, but about as close as you can get with one word. Also allows you to say what you want to eat: sushi tabetai!

9. Nomitai (のみたい)-Want to drink

Same as above, but for drinking. Omizu (water) nomitai.

10. Eigo (えいご)-English?

Said with a rising voice this will mean “can you speak English?” More and more people can these days, so it might be helpful if you need some help.

*Bonus 1. Speak English slowly- A lot of Japanese words now days are English words. speak slowly and enunciate clearly and they will likely understand.

**Bonus 2. Write it down-Japanese are required to study English from middle school (now elementary school) and actually have a pretty good understanding of grammer.  Write it down and they will likely understand.

As I mentioned before, this definitely isn’t a complete list, and it is more for someone who has no experience with Japan. These words should help you get the basics, but not much more. On the plus side, anyone should be able to remember 10 words on the flight over. You could also print them out and stick it in your pocket.

Now’s your chance to tell me: what words would you put in your top 10 words you have to know.

For a much longer list of words see here: common Japanese words

You can also find a downloadable list here: 1000 Japanese words


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Japanese Words and Anki Sun, 14 Oct 2012 23:49:15 +0000 Learning Japanese words is definitely the foundation to learning Japanese. I’m not saying that grammar isn’t important, but words are the basic building blocks. If you know words you can still communicate. It may not be pretty, but you can probably get them to understand. You need words to convey all the details of what you want to say. So it goes without saying that the more words you know, the better you will be able to explain your thoughts in more detail and more completely. Anki can help you learn more Japanese words.

If you are reading this article and thinking “what is Anki”, check out this pst on how to Anki to study Japanese: Anki. Simply put, it’s a program that helps you schedule when to study words at the best time. Basically, it maximizes your study time. It’s a great Japanese study tool and it’s free!

So how should you use it?

Anki is a pretty amazing program with lots and lots of features. It will really let you micromanage your Japanese words if you so choose. I recommend that you play around with the options to see what suits you best.

There are three simple recommendations that I have to get the most out of the program.

1.  Add both the word and the sentence you found it in on the front of the card. You don’t have to translate the Japanese sentence, but it will help you remember where you found it and also to read it in context. A lot of times seeing the sentence will help you remember the meaning. The more connections to this word in your brain the better.







2. Use kanji for the sentence. This will help you get used to seeing the kanji and improve your recognition. It may seem difficult at first, but it does get easier the more you see it.

3. Study everyday! This is the last tip, but it is really the most important. In order for Anki to work well you need to study when the cards come up. If you only study once a week or every couple days you are not really getting the benefit of Anki. You have to study the words when Anki tells you to.

Bonus tips: Make sure you are studying the most common Japanese words. I spent two semesters in college learning Japanese that I couldn’t use. After two semesters I could barely complete a greeting. Make sure you study common words that are actually used.


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Common Japanese Words and an Easy Way to Learn Them Mon, 07 Dec 2009 02:52:12 +0000 learnjapanesefastbook

I have mention before that learning the the most common Japanese words first is an essential part of learning to speak Japanese quickly. You want to learn the words that you will use, not just the ones that are ordered in a book.

However, wouldn’t it also be great if there was a simple way to learn the words that didn’t require just pure repetition. A way to remember the words are pronounced and what they mean without having to look at it 20 times, finally remember it, only to forget it because you didn’t use it for a week?

The link to the program below focuses on exactly this problem. Unlike a lot of  the programs available Speak Japanese Fast doesn’t try to be a full Japanese learning suite. Instead it focuses on teaching you vocabulary quickly and remember them by using interesting stories to learn the meaning and the pronunciation. Remember the Kanji uses a very similar method in teaching Kanji and it works pretty well.

You can check out the program here.

Disclaimer: I get a percentage of all sales purchased from this link and appreciate your support. The money is used to keep Japanese Words up and running and allow me to spend more time writing and developing the site.

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1000 Common Japanese Words for Anki or Mnemosyne Mon, 16 Nov 2009 06:32:33 +0000
a blank writing pad on a table.

The most popular post on has been 1000+ Japanese Words List. As the title suggests, the post contains a list of over 1000 common Japanese Words and Kanji. I am proud to announce that the list has just gotten much better.

Thanks to the hard work of Michele Romanini and his wife Bika Fujioka, the list is now available for download for Anki and Mnemosyne. In addition to making the list usable in Anki and Mnemosyne, he has also divided the original into multiple lists (english to hiragana, hiragana to English, English to Kanji, etc). The ability to use Anki will allow you to study over 1000 common words and kanji in a very efficient manner.

I have included two files below. One is in “mem” format (Mnemosyne format) and the other in txt format. Either one can be imported into Anki.


Japanese Word Lists

Click Here to download Mnemosyne format

Click Here to download txt format

Japanese Study Tip

When dealing with a list of this size it can be a little bit overwhelming. Setting up a study schedule and a goal will prove to be very helpful. For instance, you might try to learn 5 or 10 new words a day. Or choose the date of completion and then figure out the number of words you will need to remember each day!

Special Thanks

Thanks once again to Mr. Romanini and Mrs. Fujioka for their  hard work! Putting this list into a format usable by Anki and Mnemosyne greatly improves it’s value

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Japanese Adjectives in Sentences Part 9 Mon, 21 Sep 2009 13:00:08 +0000 fushigi

Here is part 9 of using Japanese Adjectives in Sentences. Hopefully you have learned a lot of new Japanese words, a bit of Japanese grammar, and have a better understanding of how to use different adjectives. You can find all of the previous adjectives posts at the bottom of the list.

81    昨日、不思議な夢を見ました。
Last night, I saw a mysterious dream.

82    彼は真面目な顔で話し始めた。
He began to talk with a serious face.

83    彼女は離れて暮らす母親の事が心配そうです。
He looks worried about his mother who lives separately from him.
*Adjective + そう(な)=looks (adjective)

84    前の会社は、楽な仕事ばかりで物足りなかった。
I was not satisfied with all the easy work at my previous company.

85    今日の夕飯に必要な材料を買いに行く。
I’m going shopping for the ingredients I need for today’s dinner.

86    駅で変な人に声をかけられた。
A strange person spoke to me at the (train) station.

87    危険な場所で遊んでいる子供たちに注意をした。
I warned the children who were playing in the dangerous place.

88    私は正直な性格なので、嘘がつけません。
I have a honest personality, so I can’t tell a lie.

More Japanese Adjectives Posts

Japanese Adjectives in Sentences Part 8 Fri, 18 Sep 2009 13:00:08 +0000 jouzu

Part 8 of Using Japanese adjectives in sentences. This page contains only “NA” adjectives. After this there is only one more post to go. 頑張って!  As always please leave comments if you have questions. Previous adjective lists can be found at the bottom of this post.

71    誕生日に家族から素敵なプレゼントをもらった。
I got a lovely present from my family on my birthday.

72    ピアノの上手な人に憧れる。
I long for a person who can play piano well.

73    下手な言い訳なら、しない方がいい。
It’s better not to  use a bad (unskilled) excuse.

74    好きな食べ物は何ですか?
What kind of food do you like?

75    何か嫌いな食べ物はありますか?
Is there any food that you don’t like (hate)?

76    簡単な日本語の単語はほとんど全部覚えました。
I remembered almost all the easy words in Japanese.

77    大変な仕事を任されてしまった。
The hard work has been left up to me.

78    自分にとって一番大切な事はなんだろう。
I wonder what’s the most important thing to me.

79    それは無理な話だ。
That’s an impossible matter.

80    ケーキは私の大好きなスイーツです。
Cakes are my favorite desserts.
* スイーツ=sweets (desserts or something sweet)

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Japanese Adjectives in Sentences Part 7 Thu, 17 Sep 2009 14:54:08 +0000 utsukushii

Part 7 of Using Japanese adjectives in sentences. In this one we start getting into the “NA” adjectives.  As always please leave comments if you have questions. Previous adjective lists can be found at the bottom of this post.

61    青い目をした美しい人に出会った。
I encountered a beautiful person with blue eyes.

62    結婚式には白いネクタイをします。
Wear a white necktie for weddings.

63    お葬式には黒いネクタイをします。
Wear a black necktie for funerals.


64    先週、姉が元気な男の子を生みました。
My sister gave birth to an energetic baby boy last week.

65    友達のお姉さんはとても奇麗な人だ。
My friend’s sister is very pretty.

66    もう少し静かな場所へ行こう。
Let’s go to somewhere little more quiet.

67    世界的に有名な歌手になるのが夢です。
My dream is to be a world famous singer.

68    便利な世の中になったものだ。
This world has become convenient.

69    うちの近所にはコンビニが無くて不便だ。
It is inconvenient not to have a convenience store around my house.

70    その店員さんは親切な対応をしてくれた。
The clark gave me kind assistance.

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Japanese Adjectives in Sentences Part 6 Wed, 16 Sep 2009 13:27:32 +0000 akai

Part 6 of Using Japanese adjectives in sentences. Hopefully you are starting to get a sense for how to use Japanese adjectives. If not, don’t worry, we have more Japanese sentences to come As always please leave comments if you have questions.

51    彼女に可愛いぬいぐるみを買ってあげた。
I bought a cute stuffed animal for my girlfriend.

52    可笑しくて笑いが止まらない。
I can’t stop laughing because it’s so funny.

53    この道は、ゴミがたくさん落ちていて汚い。
This street is dirty and full of garbage.

54    昨日から頭が痛いので、今日は学校を休みました。
I was absent from school because my head’s been hurting since yesterday.

55    危ないから、道路で遊んではいけません。
Don’t play on the street. It’s dangerous.

56    今のレベルでは、東大合格は難しいだろう。
At the current level, it’ll be difficult to get into University of Tokyo.
*東大=Shorten version of 東京大学(とうきょうだいがく, University of Tokyo.)

57    仕事に追われ、忙しい毎日だ。
Work keeps me so busy every day.
Literally to be “chased” by work

58    彼の演技は本当に凄いですね。
His performance is truly amazing.

59    昨日見たオーケストラの演奏は素晴らしかったです。
The orchestra’s performance (that I saw) yesterday was wonderful.
* In a past tense, adjectives lose its last letter “い” and combine with “かった”

60    先週赤いドレスを買いました。
I bought a red dress last week.

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Japanese Adjectives in Sentences Part 5 Tue, 15 Sep 2009 13:14:24 +0000 usui

Here are the next 10 Japanese adjectives used in sentences. You can also find the previous articles using Japanese adjectives at the bottom of this post. If you have any questions please leave a comment.

41    このステーキは柔らかくてジューシーですね。
This stake is tender (soft) and juicy.

42    君のノートパソコンは薄くて羨ましい。
I’m envy that your laptop is thin.

43    学校の教科書は厚いものばかりだ。
School’s textbooks are always thick.

44    優しい人がタイプです。
My type is somebody who is sweet (kind).

45    美味しいと評判のラーメン屋へ友達が連れて行ってくれた。
My friend took me to Ramen shop that’s popular for its great tasting ramen.

46     全国大会で優勝できて、本当に嬉しい。
I’m really happy that I could win the national competition.

47    この映画には悲しい結末がある。
This movie has a sad ending.

48    時々、寂しくてたまらなくなる時がある。
Sometimes I get unbearably lonely.

49    美しい景色にため息がでる。
The beautiful scenery makes lose my breath..

50    怖い映画はあまり好きではありません。
I don’t really like scary movies.

More Japanese Adjectives Posts