I wanted to share a resource I got recently that I think many other might be interested in. I get alot of Japanese language resources and this is one of the best that I have come across and haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere.
This book is not one of those “how to date someone in japanse” books (even though it does cover a lot of expressions relating to feelings and romance). This is a higher level (intermediate+) text that discusses hundreds of examples of how various emotions and intentions are conveyed in (primarily) modern causal spoken japanese.
If you are a person who has gotten pretty comfortable with “textbook” or “news” japanese but finds themselves at a loss trying to understand alot of casual spoken conversation (in drama, anime, manga, podcasts, etc.), this book is for you!
The book starts off with some essays that are interesting, more so if you have an interest in linguistics or cultural language studies. The main part of the text is about eighty short chapters that introduce a usually related group of 3 or 4 constructions that convey a certain feeling or idea. There is a explaination section that talks about when these would be used, a selection of constructed example usages, and then cited actual usages (primarily from tv shows, interviews, some manga). The example usages are translated and annotated (cross-referenced with other constructions that are talked about in the book).
Example (with alot obvoiusly left out but I wanted to give a sense of the level):
- Preamble to frankness
ていうか to tell the truth, truthfully
てか to tell you the truth
(explaination of usages)
(about 15 example passages) like:
authentic example (from a tv show):
エイジ： おやじは金持ちだからいいかもしれないけど、 俺はここがなくなったら困るんだよ。 ていうか、 ここにいたいんだよ、 ずっと。
Eiji: You may think it’s fine because you are rich, but i’ll be in trouble if this shop closes. To tell you the truth, I want to stay here for a long time.
another example passage from a section on regret:
from “long love letter” episode 1. yuka explains how she left her teaching job.
結花： で、 やめさせられたってわけ。 もともと向いてなかったのかも。 あたしが生徒を救えるなんてあの頃思ってて。 悔しくてさ。 今もちょっと後悔してるけど。 ちょっとじゃないか。 すごく後悔。
(romanji and notes)
Yuka: So, I was forced to leave my job. Maybe I wasn’t suited for that job anyway. In those days I though I could save my students. I was frustrated. I regret that a bit even now. No, not a bit. I regret that a lot.
If you are a person like me who uses dramas for study, this book really is an amazing resource. It covers so many of the usages that even with subtitles I struggled to understand. There are also really great sections on なんて なんか and variants.
Also covers a decent amount of modern (at least as of the mid 2000s) youth slang grammar.
My experience reading this book has been great. If for nothing else there are hundreds of examples of modern authentic speech passages translated with context given (a discription of the situation, scene, and cited). That in and of itself is an amazing resource. Almost every section I have read has given me an “aha” moment about some construction or usage that has seemed inscrutable to me previously.
This book is also a solid choice for people who are frustrated that their language study doen’t teach them words that “people really use” or doesn’t teach them how to speak in a natural fashion. This book is nothing but the vocabulary and grammar of everyday real spoken japanese at a fairly sophisticated level.
This book is going in with DBJG and Hasegawa’s “Japanese: a linguistic introduction” as, for me, a “must have” resource.