Reading japanese: step 1

I can’t seem to get into a good working rhythm this month to get everything done. Fun mini projects keep getting in the way. I think it’s a result of thinking up the million and one projects I am interested in on New Years. The most recent one: Katakana.

Last time I was in Japan, Katakana was the one thing I really wished I would have learned. This time around, even though it was a shorter trip I really wanted to give it a go. I’ve been using this awesome book :


I haven’t managed to learn them all yet and it gets a little more complicated than I thought (of course) towards the end, but overall it’s been a small effort that has yielded great rewards! Katakana is EVERYWHERE (in Japan)!

Now when I’m looking around, instead of seeing a blur of characters that are meaningless, I find pockets of decipherable symbols… it’s like a word search treasure hunt! The best part of katakana for me is that once I read it, it’s most likely a word I am going to know.  You just have to get used to listening for the japanized version of a word or phrase.  Here are some examples around Tokyo that got me so excited 🙂



to-ma-to!  Ok so the picture of tomatoes is also a clue…but still, SQUEEE!



i-be-n-to-su-pe-su … event space!




fu-a-i-na-ru fu-a-n-ta-ji…    Final Fantasy!


ha-n-ba-ga … hamburger

do-ri-n-ku … drink

…and on and on.  Menus are the best  for katakana 🙂


ma-i-ku … MIKE, as in microphone!

Now I just have to squeal a little less when I am able to read something!



2 thoughts on “Reading japanese: step 1

  1. I’m studying Afrikaans right now, and it fills me with joy every time I make a connection! Today I learned how to use the formal You!

    • It’s amazing how motivational those connections can be. First everything is exciting, then it feels like you know nothing and it’s overwhelming, but then you remember something at the right time and everything is good in language world again! Enjoy your trip into Afrikaans 🙂

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