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The postal system in Japan is nothing short of amazing. You can ship items at a low cost, and they arrive very quickly. Well, I have found one more cool thing about the Japanese post, one helpful for those learning Japanese. The other day I came across their website which is not only well designed, but can also be used as a great study tool to help you learn Japanese words for family members and friends. The webpage contains an animation that shows the connection of people throughout the country, each introducing their friend or relative. Once the narrative is over you can also click each character again to repeat the phrase. You can find the website here.

The words used are very common and great ones to learn. If you haven’t had much listening practice it may be difficult to hear the individual words at first, but it gets easier after a little bit of practice and time.

I have created a word key below so you can study and remember the words before you start. Notice that some of the words are abbreviated. The same way that mother becomes mom in English, Japanese contains very similar abbreviations. I have listed the English word, and then the Japanese words going from more formal to less, and finally the formal word in hiragana.

Lastly, once you give it a try, please leave a comment and let me know if you find it useful.

  • Mother- okaasan, kaachan (おかあさん)
  • Father- otousan, touchann (おとうさん)
  • Daughter- musume (むすめ)
  • Son- musuko (むすこ)
  • Older Brother- oniisan, aniki,nichan (おにいさん)
  • Older Sister- oneesan, neechan (おねえさん)
  • Younger Brother- otouto (おとうと)
  • Younger Sister- imouto (いもうと)
  • Aunt- obasan, bachan (おばさん)
  • Uncle- ojisan, jichan (おじさん)
  • Grandfather- ojiisan, jiichan (おじいさん)
  • Grandmother- obaasan, baachan (おばあさん)
  • Cousin- itoko (いとこ)
  • Relative- shinseki (しんせき)
  • Friend- tomodachi (ともだち)
  • Best close friend- Yuujin (ゆうじん)
  • School- gakkou (がっこう)
  • College- daigaku (だいがく)
  • Student- gakusei (がくせい)