A2 lesson nine – doing things despite other things happening first

Another week, another grammar point. This week we all felt as though we had already studied the grammar point our teacher gave us, but I can’t find it in my AS notes.

~ても is used to describe an event being true even if another event happens.

A ても B means B, even if A. Or put another way, B will still happen even if A happens first.

雨が降っても、ピキニックに行きます。Even if it rains, I will go on a picnic.

~ても is used to indicate that something will happen despite something else.

The more straightforward “if – then” sentence construction uses ~たら.

雨が降ったら、ピクニックに行きません。If it rains, I won’t go on a picnic.

~ても is formed by adding も to the ~て form of the verb, noun or adjective.

Verb: ~て form plus も

~い adjective: change the ending from ~い to ~くて plus も

~な adjective: drop the ~な and add ~でも

Noun: add ~でも

~でも can also be put into the negative by using the short form negative of the verb, noun or adjective.

Verb: ~ない form acts as an ~い adjective, changing to ~なくても

~い adjective: the ~い changes to ~くない in the negative, which then changes to ~くなくても

~な adjective: ~じゃない form acts as an ~い adjective, changing to ~じゃなくても

Noun: ~じゃない form acts as an ~い adjective, changing to ~じゃなくても

~ても form does not have a tense of its own, but takes the tense from the rest of the sentence.

日本語の授業が難しくても、取ったでしょう。I would have taken the Japanese class even if it would have been difficult.

And now for the next 1o Kanji!

単 タン single, simple Word: 単純 たんじゅん simplicity

指 ゆび,シ finger Words: 指す さす to point 指導 しどう guidance, leadership

要 かなめ,ヨウ principal, main point Word: 必要 ひつよう necessary

故 ゆえ,コ past, former, cause Words: 故に ゆえに past 事故 じこ accident

重 おも,ジュウ heavy, serious Words: 重い おもい heavy 重要 じゅうよう important

面 メン face, mask, surface Word: 面接 めんせつ interview

洗 あら,セン wash Words: 洗う あらう to wash 洗濯 せんたく laundry

相 アイ,ソウ each other, reciprocal Word: 相談 そうだん advice, consultation

退 しりぞ,タイ retreat, repel Words: 退く しりぞく retreat 退学 たいがく dropping out of school

昨 サク past, yesterday, last (week, year, month) Word: 昨年 さくねん last year

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A2 lesson eight – transitive and intransitive verbs

The new pattern of our lessons seems to be studying a grammar point for the first half of the lesson and then going through the next section of 鼻 that we prepare during the preceding week.

This week’s grammar point was transitivity pairs, or pairs of verbs that describe situations in which people act on things (transitive verbs) and that describe changes that happen to people or things (intransitive verbs).

For example, a person can open a door (where to open is a transitive verb) and a door can be open (where to be open is an intransitive verb). In English and in Japanese, intransitive verbs don’t have a direct object, whereas transitive verbs do. In English, though, intransitive verbs are synonymous with the passive voice of an active, transitive verb. In Japanese, there is a separate passive tense for verbs which is distinct from the intransitive verbs. As we learnt in lesson four, in Japanese the passive tense is used specifically to express dissatisfaction at being inconvenienced by someone else’s action.

Our teacher gave us a long list of verb pairs with sentences showing how they compare in usage.

Transitive Intransitive
開ける (あける) to open 開く (あく) to be open
閉める (しめる) to close 閉まる (しまる) to be closed
入れる (いれる) to put in 入る (はいる) to go inside
出す (だす) to take out 出る (でる) to go out
つける to turn on つく to be turned on
消す (けす) to turn off 消える (きえる) to be turned off
壊す (こわす) to break 壊れる (こわれる) to be broken
汚す (よごす) to make dirty 汚れる (よごれる) to become dirty
落とす (おとす) to drop 落ちる (おちる) to be dropped
わかす to boil water わく water boils
切る (きる) to cut 切れる (きれる) to be cut
止める (とめる) to stop 止まる (とまる) to be stopped
始める (はじめる) to start 始まる (はじまる) to be started
売る (うる) to sell 売れる (うれる) to be sold
なくす to lose なくなる to be lost
集める (あつめる) to collect 集まる (あつまる) to be collected
直す (なおす) to repair 治る (なおる) to be cured
変える (かえる) to change 変わる (かわる) to be changed
気をつける (きをつける) to take care 気がつく (きがつく) to notice
届ける (とどける) to deliver 届く (とどく) to reach
並べる (ならべる) to align 並ぶ (ならぶ) to form a line
片づける (かたづける) to tidy up 片づく (かたづく) to be tidied up
戻す (もどす) to put back 戻る (もどる) to return
見つける (みつける) to find out 見つかる (みつかる) to be found
続ける (つづける) to continue 続く (つづく) to be continued
上げる (あげる) to raise 上がる (あがる) to go up
下げる (さげる) to hang 下がる (さがる) to hang from
折る (おる) to break 折れる (おれる) to be broken
起こす (おこす) to wake someone up 起きる (おきる) to get up
掛ける (かける) to hang up 掛かる (かかる) to be hung up
焼く (やく) to burn 焼ける (やける) to be burnt

I turn the light on.


The light is on.


I turn the light off.


The light is off.


Using ~ています means different things depending on whether the verb is transitive or intransitive.

For a transitive verb, this verb form refers to a state of action in progress.

For an intransitive verb, it refers to a state resulting from change.

I’m opening the window.


The window is open.



窓 まど window

おもちゃ toy

犬小屋 いぬごや kennel, dog house

The Kanji for the week were:

述 の,ジュツ state, mention, describe Words: 述べる のべる state, mention 記述 きじゅつ describe (in writing)

参 まい,サン visit, go, worship Words: 参る まいる visit 参加 さんか participate

押 お push Words: 押す おす to push 押入れ おしいれ storage closet

呼 よ,コ call, exhale Words: 呼ぶ よぶ to call 呼吸する こきゅうする to breathe

直 なお,チョク,ジキ direct, straight Words: 直る なおる to be mended, get better 正直 しょうじき honest

易 やさ,エキ easy, trade Words: 易しい やさしい easy 貿易 ぼうえき foreign trade

妻 つま,サイ wife Word: 夫妻 ふさい husband and wife, married couple

研 ケン research, sharpen, polish Word: 研究 けんきゅう research

政 セイ government, politics Word: 政治 せいじ politics

約 やく approximately, promise Word: 約束 やくそく promise

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A2 lesson seven – causative sentences

In this lesson, we had one main grammar point and then we started to read through the book we have to read for the exam. We are reading 鼻 (はな) by Akutagawa. We’re reading a very abridged version, but it’s still difficult to fully understand the grammar and the colloquialisms. Each week we are given a couple of chapters to prepare, and then in the class our teacher asks us to read a line each, which she then translates for us.

Our grammar point this week was the causative tense. This form of the verb is used to describe a situation where someone makes someone else do something or lets them do something.

~う verbs (group 1): change from the dictionary form (base 3) to base 1 and add ~せる, i.e.

~く becomes ~かせる

~つ becomes ~たせる

~む becomes ~ませる

~ぐ becomes ~がせる

~う becomes ~わせる

~す becomes ~させる

~ぬ becomes ~なせる

~る becomes ~らせる

~ぶ becomes ~ばせる

~る verbs (group 2): add ~させる to the verb stem.

Irregular verbs:

くる becomes こさせる

する becomes させる

The causative derivation is similar to the passive, which we covered in lesson 4.

The causative is used in sentences which describe one person (whom we could call the director) making another person (whom we could call the actor) carry out a particular action.

(Director) は (Actor) に (Action).

先生は学生に会話を覚えさせました。The teacher made the student memorise the conversation.

The causative verb can be interpreted in two ways: the sense of making someone do something or the sense of letting someone do something. You can only tell which sense the verb is used from the context of the sentence.

お母さんは子供に本を読ませました。This could mean either The mother made her child read the book, or The mother let her child read the book. You would need to know something of the nature of the mother to know which one it was!


会話 かいわ conversation

As tempting as it is to type out each section of 鼻 that we read each week, I’m not going to. There are only so many hours in the day!

The Kanji for this week’s lesson were:

苦 くる,にが,ク  hard, difficult Words: 苦しい くるしい hard 苦い にがい difficult 苦痛 くつう pain, anguish

放 はな,ホウ let go, release Words: 放す はなす let go 放送局 ほうそうきょく broadcasting station

効 き,コウ effect, efficiency  Words: 効く きく be effective 効率 こうりつ efficiency

泊 と,ハク berth, stay Words: 泊まる とまる to stop 宿泊する しゅくはくする to stay in a hotel

到 トウ reach Word: 到着 とうちゃく arrival

表 おもて,ヒョウ surface, table, chart Word: 表示 ひょうじ sign

非 ヒ non-, un-, wrong Word: 非常口 ひじょうぐち emergency exit

法 ホウ law, method, religion Word: 方法 ほうほう method, way

制 セイ regulation, control Word: 制限 せいげん limit, restriction

命 いのち,メイ life, destiny, fate Word: 命令 めいれい order, command

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A2 lesson six – explaining things and observing the wishes of others

We only looked at two grammar points in lesson six, both of them from the text book we used at GCSE level.

The first grammar point was ~んです. For some reason, saying this out loud makes me think of that song by Hanson, Mmm-bop. Don’t ask.

~んです is used to explain why something happened, rather than just reporting that something happened. So, if someone asked you why you were late for a meeting, you could either simply report that the bus didn’t come, or you could used ~んです to explain that the bus didn’t come and that is why you were late for the meeting.

バスが来ませんでした。The bus didn’t come. This is a statement reporting a fact.

バスが来なかったんです。(I was late because) the bus didn’t come. This is an explanation.

The sentence ending ~んです takes the place of the unspoken part of the sentence.

~んです follows the short form of the verb, adjective or noun, which can either be positive or negative form, present or past tense.


Verbs in the present tense take the dictionary form in the positive and the ~ない form in the negative. Verbs in the past tense take the ~た form for the positive and the ~なかった form for the negative.

~い adjectives in the present tense keep the ~い ending in the positive and change to ~くない in the negative. ~い adjectives in the past tense change the ~い ending to ~かった in the positive and to ~くなかった in the negative.

For nouns and ~な adjectives, ~んです changes to ~なんです in the present tense for the positive. Otherwise, for the past tense in the positive, ~だったんです is used, and for the present and past tenses in the negative, ~じゃないんです and ~じゃなかったんです are used.

~んです is usually used when speaking. For writing an explanation, the more formal ~のです is used.

~んです can also be used as part of a question when the speaker wants to invite further explanation or clarification from the person they are speaking to.

どうしたんですか。What happened? (Why are you looking so sad?)

猫が死んだんです。My cat died. (That should explain why I’m looking like this.)

At GCSE, we learnt about using the verb stem with the ending ~たい to describe our own hopes and wishes. This week at A2 level, we learnt about modifying this ~たい form of a verb in order to describe or observe the hopes and wishes of other people. There is a helping verb, たがる, that is used in the ~ている form to indicate that you think somebody wants something from the way they are behaving. The ~ている form is たがっています and is added to the verb stem. This helping verb can only be used with the particle を.

トムさんはコーヒーを飲みたがっています。(From the way he’s behaving, I think that) Tom wants to drink coffee.

私もコーヒーを飲みたいです。I want to drink coffee, too.

There wasn’t anything new in the way of vocabulary for us in this lesson.

For homework we had a practice sheet for both grammar points, and the next 10 Kanji on the list:

性    さが,セイ,ショウ   nature, gender   Word: 性格   せいかく   character, personality

招 ショウ,まね call, beckon, invite    Words: 招く まねく to call  招待 しょうたい invitation

板 いた,バン board, plank, plate    Word: 黒板 こくばん blackboard

念 ネン think    Word: 記念 きねん remembrance, memorial

的 まと,テキ target, react    Word: 的確 てきかく exact, precise, accurate

具 グ equipment, tool, utensil    Word: 具体的 ぐたいてき definite, concrete

服 ふく clothes, dress    Word: 服装 ふくそう dress, attire

価 カ price, value    Word: 価値 かち value, worth

泣 キュウ,な crying, weeping    Words: 泣く なく to cry  号泣 ごうきゅう weeping, lamentation

並 ヘイ,なら side by side, together    Words: 並ぶ ならぶ to queue up 平行 へいこう parallel, side by side, lined up in a row

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In between stuff – a friend’s Japanese diary

I’m lagging behind with my A2 lessons, I know. Life has been busy and complicated lately, but I will catch up.

In the meantime, a friend I made when his band came to the UK in the summer keeps a diary about his adventures in the band A Page of Punk.

I’ve tried to translate his most recent diary entry, about a band competition. There is a lot of colloquial grammar and some unfamiliar words and idioms, so I’m not sure that I’ve understood all of it. I think I’ve got the gist of it though!

Here goes:


“For the time being an update, and also a latent pattern”

I think I will translate my England diary into English, but trying to read over it again is a little inconvenient.

I won’t stop.

But the main point isn’t me, it’s to be interesting, isn’t it?
Planning the previous day, somehow it became a very good day.


I received praise from Mr Masaki about the aforementioned tour, and I had a sleepless pattern.
For me, because on the aforementioned tour I didn’t only see Mr Pine and Mr Masaki, isn’t it?

In a long acquaintance it’s the first time Mr Masaki also spoke to me.

I’m super happy.

Although I heard it at the launch, the demo was being sold for about 300 Yen at Rocking Records, and has been lined up at about 980 Yen in Union records.

THINK AGAIN、やっぱり凄いンすね。
“Think Again” is still amazing isn’t it?

タグに、「現THINK AGAIN」とあったらしいんですよ。
At the tag, the current “Think Again” is certainly apparent.

Yet 2 out of 3 people for A Page!!

「THINK AGAINに比べたら、アペイジなんてそんなもんだよねー」って言った瞬間、遠くでジンさん達と話してるツトムさんの「おお!やっぱり今アペイジきてる!!」って声が聞こえて苦笑い。
“Compared to Think Again, how can A Page worry about a thing like that?” said in a moment, from far away, Tsutomu’s voice was heard with a bitter smile talking with people, “Oh! As I thought, A Page is coming!!”

そのうち「現THINK AGAIN、現SENSATIONS」になるんだろうな、、、。
Among that it seems to be “Current Think Again, current Sensations”…

Every time at the launch I didn’t have much chance to speak with Yu, on the train home I could speak easily.

“A Page versus GoroGoro” DVD was recorded and I received it from Tomoya.

Let me edit it properly for you, I want to sell honest goods.

Because we discussed showing that DVD with everyone in GoroGoro, until a certain bandmember bad mouthed it.

Yu thought quickly.

The rhythm of the story had a good feeling from often talking.

After returning home, I watched the DVD showdown.

Yeah, I wasn’t defeated.

You don’t even exist, we win. Indisputably.

But there is a member who is defeated mentally.

Finally, the winner in the winning run performed one song, because that was the rule.

In the end, the amount wasn’t settled by sudden death, the outcome was decided by “Rock Paper Scissors”, the settling of the conflict was good.

It was a draw.

Despite almost winning by “Rock Paper Scissors”, we will perform in the door face.

And, beyond the mirror the shape of Baby-Chan jumping and leaping in delight.

So, because we won the contest, it is interesting.

I entirely grasped the point of consideration.

I want to do it again soon.


Next to start with a mic is needed for my place, Joe Makoto has reported.

I’m going to do as much of this week’s homework as I can manage today, and then I might type up some more of my notes later on.

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A2 lesson five – deciding to do things, doing things regularly and trying to do things

This first term isn’t going well for me. I had to miss yet another lesson, this time due to illness. 先週、のどの痛みやせきや鼻水が在りました。楽しくなかったです。

Fortunately, my teacher has been able to tell me what the rest of the class studied – half of the time was spent going over the homework from last week, and the other half was spent looking at some new grammar points:




~ことにする is used when you want to say that you have decided to do something. It follows the short form present tense of the verb, which can be in either positive or negative form – i.e. you can say you decided to do something and you decided not to do something. It is the short form verb that is put into the negative, not する at the end.


I have decided to buy a car.


I have decided not to buy a car.


NOT 車を買うことにしませんでした。

I will not make too many complaints.


Using ~ことにする with 行く and putting する into the volitional form, you can use 行くことにしょう instead of 行こう to suggest that you want to do something, while implying that you have taken time to decide what it is you want to do.

Let’s go to Vietnam this summer.

今年の夏はベトナムに行くことにしょう。(This implies “I’ve thought about it, and let’s go.”)

cf. 今年の夏はベトナムに行こう。(This is just “Let’s go.”)

When you change する to している, the phrase changes its meaning. ~ことにしています is used to say that you’ve decided to do something as a regular practice.


I make it a rule to go to bed at 11 every night.


I have made a decision not to drink alcohol, no matter what.


The third grammar point of the lesson wasn’t covered by our text book, but only involved replacing こと with よう to create the phrase ~ようにしています. This is used to say that you are trying to do something.

I am trying not to drink alcohol, no matter what.


Answering some of the exercise questions (練習問題) reminded me of grammar from the AS that I had forgotten about (I might get to them one day if I carry on typing up my notes from last year!):

short form + 時 at the time, when, while

~えれば if, when

~ても even if, even when


文句 もんく complaint

絶対 ぜつたい definitely, no matter what

小学校 しょうがっこ elementary school

面接 めんせつ interview

辞める やめる to quit

捜す さがす to look for

教える おしえる to teach

過ごす すごす to spend time with

Finally, the next 10 Kanji in the 200 we are learning this year:

対    タイ,ツイ   set, oppose, response   Word: 対立   たいりつ   opposition, confrontation

身    み,シン   body, position      Word: 自身   じしん   by oneself, personally

努    つと,ド  effort, endeavour   Words: 努める   つとめる   effort, endeavour     努力   どりょく   effort, exertion

没    ボツ   sink, lose, die    Word: 没収   ぼっしゅう   confiscate

囲    かこ,イ   surround, enclose   Words: 囲む   かこむ   surround   周囲   しゅうい   surroundings, environs

似    に,ジ   resemble  Words: 似る   にる   resemble   似ている   にている   resembling

判    わか, ハン,バン  judge, decide   Words: 判る   わかる   understand   判決   はんけつ   judgement

均    キン   equal, the same, identical   Word: 均等   きんとう   equality, uniformity

府    フ   prefecture (only Osaka & Kyoto)      Word: 京都府   きょうとふ   Kyoto prefecture

治    おさ, チ,ジ   rule, govern, cure, heal   Words: 治める   おさめる   rule, govern,  治療  ちりょう  medical treatment, remedy

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In between stuff – ももたろう

Last spring, while we were at Crayon House in Tokyo, we bought a couple of children’s picture books in the 子どもよむ日本の昔ばなし/kodomo yomu nihon no mukashi banashi (Children Read Japanese Folk Tales) series published by Kumon.

After the AS exam was over, thinking that I wasn’t going to be having any more classes until September, I decided to try translating one of the books, ももたろう.

Here is my attempt. If anyone has any corrections or can suggest how to translate the parts I haven’t been able to find out (indicated by square brackets []), please leave a comment below!


“The Peach Son”


Long ago, in a certain place, there was an old man and an old woman.


One day, the old man went to the mountain for firewood and the old woman went to the river to do laundry.


The old woman was doing the laundry at the river and, from the other side, a large peach flowed gulpingly along.


The old woman said, “If the peach is fruit, it will come this way. If the peach isn’t fruit, it will go that way.”


The peach [ぷいこぷいこ] and flowed in the direction of the old woman.


“Oh, that’s good. I’ll take it home and eat it with the old man.”


The old woman picked up the peach by heaving and took it back home.


A short time later, the old man came back from the mountain.


“Old man, old man, today at the river while I was doing laundry, a big peach flowed along. Thinking we could eat it together I brought it home.”


“Is that so? That’s good. How did such a big peach flow here? Well, let’s eat, let’s eat.”


The old man and the old woman split the peach and, from inside, a big boy [ぼこん – sprang?] and emerged.


“Hey there, well, he’s going to be big. This is an unusual boy.”


“How on earth will we give him a good name?”


“Since he was born from a peach, shouldn’t he be Peach Son?”


The old man and the old woman recorded the boy’s name as Peach Son and raised him very carefully.


Before long, Peach Son became a big and strong boy.


One day, Peach Son went into the fields and brought some ears of millet.


Then he begged the old woman, “Old woman, will you make dumplings from this millet?”


“Oh of course. I will make them.”


The old woman ground up the millet with a stone mortar and made millet dumplings.


Peach Son put some millet dumplings in his pouch and wore it at his hip.


Then he said, “I’m going to confront the bad demon who is laying waste to the capital,” and then he went off to the demon island.


After going for a little while, he met a green pheasant coming from the opposite direction and heard, “Peach Son, Peach Son, where are you going?”


“I’m going to the demon island to confront the demon.”


“What’s that you’re wearing at your hip?”


“A curious millet dumpling I received earlier. Firstly, it’s a delicious thing. Secondly, it’s irresistible.”


“If it’s the first, let me accompany you.”


There, Peach Son gave one millet dumpling and was accompanied by the green pheasant.


As Peach Son and the green pheasant went along, a monkey was coming from the opposite direction and they heard, “Peach Son, Peach Son, where are you going?”


I’m going to the demon island to confront the demon.”


“What’s that you’re wearing at your hip?”


“A curious millet dumpling I received earlier. Firstly, it’s a delicious thing. Secondly, it’s irresistible.”


“If it’s the first, I’ll come with you.”


There, Peach Son gave one millet dumpling and the monkey also came along.


Again, after going for a long time, they met with a dog.


They heard the dog say, “Peach Son, Peach Son, where are you going?”


“I’m going to the demon island to confront the demon.”


“What’s that you’re wearing at your hip?”


“A curious millet dumpling I received earlier. Firstly, it’s a delicious thing. Secondly, it’s irresistible.”


“If it’s the first, I’ll come with you.”


There, Peach Son gave one millet dumpling and the dog accompanied them, too.


Peach Son, accompanied by the green pheasant, the monkey and the dog, headed for the demon island.


When they arrived at the demon island, unfortunately a gate was waiting.


There, the green pheasant flew inside and opened the gate.


Peach Son and the others jumped inside.


The monkey scratched a demon and the dog also sat on a pounding god.


Peach Son, springing upon a demon target the head demon, punished it with a full power throw.


So at last, they conquered all the demons.


Afterwards, Peach Son took the green pheasant, the monkey and the dog and returned to the home of the old man and the old woman.


I heard that they never did this again.



桃 もも peach

昔 むかし long ago

ある所に あるところに in a certain place

ある日 あるひ one day

柴 しば firewood

洗濯 せんたく laundry

向こう むこう opposite side

流れる ながれる to flow

実 み fruit

拾い上げる ひろいあげる to pick up

暫くすると しばらくすると a short time later

じさ old man (familiar)

割る わると to split

こりゃまあ hey there, well

珍しい めずらしい rare, unusual

住まれる すまれる to be born

大事な だいじな precious

大事に だいじに carefully

やがて before long

畑 はたけ field

きびの穂 きびのほ ear of millet

団子 だんご dumpling

頼む たのむ ask, request, beg

石臼 いしうす stone mortar, millstone

袋 ふくろ bag, sack, pouch

腰 こし waist, hip

都 みやこ capital city

荒らす あらす to lay waste

鬼 おに demon

退治する たいじする to conquer, confront

鬼ケ島 おにがしま demon island

雉 きじ green pheasant

猿 さる monkey

犬 いぬ dog

飛ぶ とぶ to fly

開ける あける to open

引っ掻く ひっかく to scratch

大将 たいしょう leader, head

飛びかかる とびかかる to spring at, jump at

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