Adventures In 日本語: の, の, の…Yes!

Hello, everyone, and welcome!

(Yes, that is my handwriting, and no it isn’t perfect. But I try…)

I’m super excited to share my first post about learning Japanese ( 日本語, or Nihongo). I’ve been working with the language for a few months now, and I absolutely love it.

I’ve found the Japanese culture fascinating since I was little. My mom would take us to the library as kids, and each week we would pick a different country to study; we would read books, watch videos, and find a recipe for a dish to cook. It was plenty of fun, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that I fell in love with Japan immediately.

(I also started watching anime when I was born…probably. My brother is several years older than me, and often had reign of the TV after school. Not that I minded, because I have fond memories of watching anime with him, particularly Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.)

Throughout my life I’ve continued to watch anime, read manga and light novels, other books, and watch Japanese films. So finally I told myself: “Alexandra, you love this language. Stop being lazy and learn Japanese already. You’ve always wanted to.”

Not that I was trying to be lazy. I’ve set out to learn this language a few times, and nothing ever seemed to work (just like with French and Spanish, unfortunately). But once I decided that I wanted to do this, I started looking for a program that would actually work for my learning type.

I spent years in middle and high-school reciting Spanish words in an attempt to learn them, and it didn’t work for me. I did a fast-track French course in college (which my French tutor, who was actually from France, hated with a passion and cursed every chance she got), and I tried Rosetta Stone, but the staring at pictures while hearing words didn’t quite work for me either.

I needed someone to explain the language to me, or I was never going to understand it. I have to be able to piece things together like a puzzle…but in a natural way.

Eventually, I found the perfect thing: a site called NihongoShark. Created by a student who spent years failing at Japanese before finding an “usual” method that worked for him, it’s been the perfect learning tool for me…and it doesn’t hurt that there’s humor integrated into the lessons.

So…what does all of this have to do with の?

As I said, I’ve only recently started studying. Right now, I’m focusing on grammar, which makes far more sense in Japanese than it does in English I think (but that could be because English likes to break all of its rules…).

Recently I read about の, which sounds (almost) like the English word “no”.

I opened my lesson to see this, which I felt was worth sharing:

“Do you want to study some Japanese? 


Now, の doesn’t mean “no”– that is いいえ, or iie, in Japanese; の is a particle. But, I liked the humor.

It’s good to have levity in language learning, because it can be frustrating at times. I know I get frustrated when I can’t seem to wrap my head around a grammar concept, or remember a word, or write that particular kanji correctly (I’m trying here).

But the important thing is to keep going, and remember why you started in the first place—

To transform that “no” into a resounding はい (hai—yes)!

Are you learning a new language, or growing more fluent in an old one? 

Share your thoughts below!

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