Articles for Upper Beginners

Page 1
Title Teaser
Kiyasume — temporary easy of mind
気休め placebo; temporary ease of mind; allay one’s anxietyjust to satisfy; peace of mind; consolation
Japanese Reader Collection Volume 1: Hikoichi with MP3s by Clay & Yumi Boutwell
腹を割る a heart-to-heart (talk); be frank; tell all [Japanese Idiom] Japanese Idiom with Video:

腹を割る – a heart-to-heart (talk); be frank

Click Here to watch

Body Idioms Part I
Body Idioms鼻が高い to be proud
顔が広い to know many people
口を割る to spill the beans Japanese Idiom with Video:

口を割る – to spill the beans; confess; tell all

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口が重い be slow to speak; tongue-tied Japanese Idiom with Video:

口が重い – to be slow to speak; tongue-tied

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Japanese Idiom 足が棒になる My Dogs are Barking Japanese Idiom with Video:

足が棒になる – to walk one’s legs off; have very sore legs; my dogs are barking

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Japanese Idiom 朝飯前 child’s play; cinch; no sweat; piece of cake Japanese Idiom with Video:

朝飯前 – child’s play; cinch; no sweat; piece of cake

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John Chapter 1:1-5 Studying Japanese with the Bible: John Chapter 1:1-5 — broken down and with audio! Click Here
Japanese Idiom 穴があったら入りたい to be so ashamed, one wishes to crawl in a hole Japanese Idiom with Video:

穴があったら入りたい – to be so ashamed, one wishes to crawl in a hole

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Japanese Idiom あけすけに言う say something frankly; openly; without reserve Japanese Idiom with Video:

あけすけに言う – say something frankly; openly; without reserve

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Japanese Idiom 赤子の手をひねるよう taking candy from a baby Japanese Idiom with Video:

赤子の手をひねるよう – something very easy; taking candy from a baby

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Japanese Idiom 味をしめる Develop a Taste For… Japanese Idiom with Video:

味をしめる – develop a taste for…; to be encouraged by initial success

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Japanese Dialogues: At the Restaurant Japanese Dialogues: At the Restaurant. Click Here.
Strong (Iron) Man 無敵の鉄人ボブは夏の小雨で錆びた。
muteki no tetsujin bobu wa, natsu no kosame de sabita.
Bob, the invincible Iron Man rusted in a light summer sprinkle.
Click for Video and Audio
顎で人を使う To Use People (in an arrogant way) with One’s Chin 顎で人を使う To Push Someone Around. Click for video.
本物 or 偽者? 本物 honmono (the real thing) and 偽物 nisemono (a fake) are opposites. But there is a third word: 偽者 nisemono – an imposter. Click here for More…
Love Words in Japanese Love words in Japanese–Common ways of expressing one’s love and other fun stuff. More…
Keigo, the Complete Mess More basic information on Japanese polite and humble language. More…
あつあつ Lovey-Dovey
一目ぼれ Love at First Sight
Hand Idioms Part II
te Japanese is a language full of fun idioms. Let’s explore a few Body Part Idioms using the Hand.

These two idioms are perhaps the most useful ‘hand’ idioms in Japanese.

手がいっぱい to have one’s hands full; be up to here (with something); busy
手に入れる to obtain; get; come by…

Body Idioms Part V
Body Idioms

手の内を明かす Opening up your heart (but with your hands)
胸をなでおろす Stroking one’s chest in relief

Hand Idioms Part I Two idioms using 手 hands. With Audio
Body Idioms Part IV
Body Idioms耳にたこができる the ‘umpteenth’ time
足が棒になる My dogs are barkin’
ウサギと亀 The Tortoise and the Hare
Tortoise and the Hare at The Tortoise and the Hare in Japanese
With sound – Beginner +
Body Idioms Part III
Body Idioms足を引っ張る Drag someone down
小耳に挟む Eavesdrop
Body Idioms Part II
Body Idioms~を尻に敷く be henpecked
腕が鳴る to show one’s skills With Video!
一寸法師 The Inch-High Samurai Issunboushi
Traditional Japanese story Issunboushi The Inch-High Samurai Traditional Japanese Story. Hiragana and very basic Japanese is required. Online e-book with Audio.
At a Quiet Lakeside しずかな湖畔の Japanese traditional song a quiet lakeside
Page 2
Title Teaser
When I Become a First Grader
Hina Matsuri うれしいひな祭り
Kanji Stroke Order Basic rules for the stroke order of kanji.
舌切りすずめ The Cut-Tongue Sparrow
Traditional Japanese story Shitakiri suzume The 舌切り雀 story is a traditional Japanese folk tale about a kind old man, his mean wife, and a sparrow. Hiragana and very basic Japanese is required. Online e-book with Audio.
気取る Put on Airs
put on airs, conceited, styling, all the frills!
ふられる Rejected, Give the Cold Shoulder
rejected, to give the cold shoulder
夢中 Lost in thought, in a daze, ecstasy
Lost in thought, in a daze, ecstasy
降参 Surrender


身元確認 ID Check

ID check

百年目 The End

The End

手掛かり Clue


忍者走り Running Ninja-style

running ninja-style

島流し Banishment

Banishment / exile to a desert island

仮説 Hypothesis


にらみあい Evil Stare

Evil Stare

雪女 Snow Woman
Snow Woman
隠れファン Closet Fan
CLOSET FAN [the fact you like something is kept a secret]
フィーバー Disco Fever
(disco) fever
親ばか a Parent Who is a Fool for Child

a Parent who is a fool for child

目立つ Stand Out; be Conspicuous

stand out; be conspicuous [lit. eye stand up]

寝言 Talking in one’s Sleep

Talking in one’s Sleep

安心感 Sense of Security

Sense of Security

冷静 Calm, Cool

calm, cool

Golden Week
kikitorino renshuu koinobori Download PDF and MP3
Download Text with Furigana
– 2 MP3s (regular speed and a slow version)
– 5 page PDF with text, text with furigana, glossary, translation explanation and some comprehension questions.
– Free!
kikitorino renshuu koinobori Download PDF and MP3 
Download Text with Furigana
– 2 MP3s (regular speed and a slow version)
– 5 page PDF with text, text with furigana, glossary, translation explanation and some comprehension questions.
– Free!
ほっぺが落ちる Delicious

very oishii (its so delicious, my cheek will fall)

おまけに To make matters worse…

To make matters worse…

いつのまにか Before you Know it

before you know it

迷う Perplexed

perplexed, puzzled, lost the way

女の直感 Woman’s Intuition

womans intuition

Page 3
Title Teaser
江戸っ子 Born and Raised in Tokyo
(Edos child – born and raised in Tokyo)
かわず Frog

(old word for かえる kaeru- Frog)

瞬間 a Moment
moment, an instant
犬掻きで泳ぐ dog paddling, swim like a dog
dog paddling, swim like a dog
天敵 Natural Enemy
natural enemy
理想的 ideal


強敵 Formidable Enemy

Formidable Enemy

弁解 Excuse


一目惚 Love at first sight 一目惚 Love at first sight
未確認飛行物体 Unidentified Flying Object

Unidentified Flying Object

Volume 5: The Great いらず Collection Today we will look at a few set or idiomatic phrases using いらず don’t need.
Volume 3: Letters to Kotoba Zamurai’s Little Brother The Defender of what is right, the corrector of already correct Japanese, That’s right, it’s “Letters to Kotoba Zamurai’s little brother” time!
Volume 2: Useless Questions for Today In This Day and Age, Totally Useless Questions
Here are a few questions that once stirred the heart of every Japanese, but today are no longer in debate…
The Kotoba Zamurai Archives
“Kotoba zamurai” articles are written to be “a non-systematic approach to learning unusual, but useful words.” While these not-so-serious articles are written with the upper-beginner to intermediate in mind, even beginners should be able to get something out of them. If not, I may have wasted 15 minutes of your life… I will leave it up to you to take the chance.
(な)のに although, but
場合 condition, in the case of…
ばかり 1) often, a lot, much, only doing… 2) about, around
はず must be, should be, supposed to
~っぱなし 1) left as is; unchanged 2) continue an action
~ほうがいい this is better than that
まま same, doesn’t change
~にくい difficult to…; hard to
~やすい easy to…
~ませんか won’t you…, wouldn’t you like to…
または or, choice between A or B
~ながら while doing A also doing B
どうも 1) truly, really, very much 2) I’m not sure
という called, such as, that
出来る 1) can, able to, ability to, 2) finished
つもり planning on, intend to
Page 4
Title Teaser
1) while, 2) throughout
ために for…, goal, cause, sake of
だろう perhaps, maybe, I wonder
ください please, please give me…
たとえば For example
~過ぎる exceeding, too much, to overdo…
ずつ little by little; dividing by; each
けれど but, however
かもしれない it’s possible that.., perhaps
おかげ thanks to, because of
あとで later, After this, after
Long, Useless Words Long strings of kanji better expressed in katakana
Vocabulary at the Post Office A few common vocabulary words at the post office with sound
Murphy’s Law in Japanese A few important Murphy’s Law statements in Japanese
防 -proof Japanese word study 防 -proof
うるさい Fussy Study on うるさい Fussy
Word Studies Japanese Word Studies
語源 J Etymology 語源 gogen – Japanese Etymology articles
Jagariko Lesson: Can’t eat enough as a Giraffe Learn Japanese through Snacking–Clay’s favorite Japanese snack, Jagariko
New Years Day Words A few important words and customs for the Japanese New Year
The Top Ten Reasons Why You Were Late For The Meeting Some very good excuses for the modern slacker.
A Blizzard of Snow Words Learn several useful vocabulary words relating to snow
Why study Osaka-ben? Some reasons to study the Osaka dialect
Osaka-ben: Grammar 1- The Plain Form Copula 「や」 Osaka-ben: Grammar 1- The Plain Form Copula 「や」
Kansai Ben A little about the Kansai dialect
Japanese Dialects Japanese Dialects
Samurai Page How to sound like a samurai (almost)
The Various Degrees of Politeness A short example of the various levels of politeness
The Yubikiri Song
Frog Song
Page 5
Title Teaser
Elephant’s Song
Momotaro – Peach Boy 桃太郎
Sparrow’s Song
Japanese Traditional Songs Japanese traditional songs
Japan has many, many traditional songs. I would like to have a look at many different traditional songs, but for now let’s look at a few children’s songs.
Easy to Flub up Words Easily mistaken words both for the native English speaker and native Japanese speaker.
Famous Lines in Japanese Three famous (somewhat) phrases translated into Japanese and explained.
Studying Japanese with the Bible Use the Bible to improve your Japanese!
The Planets in Japanese
Japanese Lesson on how to say the planet names in Japanese.
Using 的
For Upper Beginners: 1 Minute Japanese lesson on using 的 to make nouns into adjectives.
Animal Names Vocabulary List
For beginners: Learn a few common animal names in Japanese.
Atsui! Hot, Hot, Thick
1 Minute Japanese: Sometimes different kanji are used for the same pronunciation to show a shade of meaning. Today we will look at the four kanji for あつい atsui and try to clear up some confusion.
Three Japanese Proverbs about Food
Three Japanese proverbs about food: Hana yori dango – Food over Flowers E ni Kaita Mochi – Can’t eat a painted cake Bushi wa kuwanedo taka youji – Even if a samurai hasn’t eaten he holds his toothpick high.
How to Tell Time in Japanese
How to tell time in Japanese
Sick Japanese Part II
More advanced words related to being sick in Japanese
Body Parts in Japanese
Body Parts in Japanese with audio and video
Japanese Kotowaza, Sayings, and Four Letter Words Japanese Proverbs and Sayings-a growing collection of lessons with audio and video
Reversable Kanji Combinations A List of kanji that can be reversed to form a different word
The Many Mushis Words that have the pronunciation of mushi.
Cats & Bears A look at kanji that look like bears and cats
Kanji Study Archive KANJI—an Introduction
敬称 Name Titles A look at the many name titles in Japanese
Introduction to Keigo, Polite Language An Introduction to Keigo, polite language
Toki, Tara, and To – When to say When When to say When – Using Toki, Tara, and To
Particles and Conjunctions More Japanese particles with examples
Small, but Powerful Words A List of Small, but Powerful Words with examples and sound.
Fast Track: 100 Grammar Points Watered-down, understandable, bite-sized grammar lessons. Perhaps by knowing these basic Japanese grammar points, you will be able to communicate in Japanese limited only by vocabulary and guts! Of course this list is a simplified grammar, and is meant to be only an introduction to the grammar points presented.
Grammar Power Words from JLPT N4 Grammatical Patterns for the JLPT 3 kyuu Test