Smile Nihongo Academy

Smile Nihongo Academy

Smile Nihongo Academy offers online Japanese courses. Sensei (teacher) is a professional Japanese in Konnichiwa, mina-san! Yuko-sensei desu. Happy learning!

(Hello, everyone!)

Welcome to the Smile Nihongo Academy community! Yoroshiku onegai shimasu. (I'm the instructor Yuko. Nice to meet you!)

I've been teaching Japanese at colleges for 20 years and truly enjoy it! More about me here: http://smilenihongo.com/about-me

I hope you find the posts here useful for your Japanese learning. :) I teach Japanese online too. Check out if interested. smilenihongo.teachable.com.

Operating as usual

03/06/2024
26/05/2024
05/05/2024

I'm currently back in Japan, and today (May 5th) is 子供の日 "Kodomo no Hi," celebrated as Children's Day in Japan.

Traditionally, it's a day to celebrate the happiness and health of children. One iconic symbol associated with Children's Day is the 鯉のぼり "Koinobori," which are carp-shaped windsocks or banners.

They represent the parents' wishes for their children to grow up healthy, strong, and determined, just like the carp that swim upstream.

In Japanese folklore, the carp is admired for its ability to swim against strong currents and waterfalls to reach its destination.

While visiting the rural area of my hometown, I spotted a mesmerizing sight of "Koinobori" fluttering in the wind.
The two banners beside the "Koinobori" display the names of the family's children, reflecting their parents' hopes for their healthy growth and fulfilling lives.

Each carp on the "Koinobori" represents a family member.
The largest carp symbolizes the father, followed by smaller ones for the mother and children.

As modernization progressed, the number of households raising "Koinobiri" declined dramatically.

I am delighted to see that families in the countryside still practice this traditional custom.

03/03/2024

独創的!(どくそうてき!)Creative and original!
そして、可愛い(そして、かわいい)And adorable.
🥰

This is perfect cosplay so far 🤍

Photos from Smile Nihongo Academy's post 01/02/2024

何年も前に、日本の友達が「醤油差し」をプレゼントしてくれました。いつもテーブルに置いてあり、毎日大切に使っています。
その友達は私が猫を好きなことを知っていたので、可愛い猫の醤油差しを選んでくれました。
この可愛い醤油差しを手に取ると、心がハッピーになります。日々の小さな幸せを感じることって、大事ですね。

🔹 Hiragana & Katakana
なんねんもまえに、にほんのともだちが「しょうゆさし」をプレゼントしてくれました。いつもテーブルにおいてあり、まいにちたいせつにつかっています。
そのともだちは、わたしがねこをすきなことをしっていたので、かわいいねこのしょうゆさしをえらんでくれました。
このかわいいしょうゆさしをてにとると、こころがハッピーになります。ひびのちいさなしあわせをかんじることって、だいじですね。

🔹 Romaji
Nan nen mo mae ni, Nihon no tomodachi ga "shooyu sashi" o purezento sh*te kuremash*ta. Itsumo teeburu ni oite ari, mainichi taisetsuni tsukatte imasu.
Sono tomodachi wa watashi ga neko o sukina koto o sh*tteita node, kawaii neko no shooyu sashi o erande kuremash*ta.
Kono kawaii shooyu sashi o te ni toru to, kokoro ga happii ni narimasu. Hibi no chiisana shiawase o kanjiru kototte, daiji desu ne.

🔺 Vocabulary
何年も前 (なんねんもまえ) nan nen mo mae = many years ago
友達 (ともだち) tomodachi = friend
醤油差し (しょうゆさし) shooyu sashi = soy sauce cruet
プレゼントする purezento suru = to gift
いつも itsumo = always
テーブル teeburu = table
置いてある (おいてある) oite aru = (it is) placed
大切に (たいせつに) taisetsu ni = with great care/ carefully
使う (つかう) tsukau = to use
猫 (ねこ) neko = cat
好きな (すきな) sukina = is fond of/ like
知っている (しっている) sh*tte iru = to know
可愛い (かわいい) kawaii = cute
選ぶ (えらぶ) erabu = to choose/select
手に取る (てにとる) te ni toru = take in one's hand/hold in one's hand
心 (こころ) kokoro = heart
ハッピー happii = happy
なる naru = to become
日々 (ひび) hibi = every day/ day to day
小さな (ちいさな) chiisana = small
幸せ (しあわせ) shiawase = happiness
感じる (かんじる) kanjiru = to feel
大事 (だいじ) daiji = important/ crucial

🔹 English
Many years ago, one of my Japanese friends gifted me a "shoyu sashi" (soy sauce cruet). Since then, I have kept it on my dining table and use it with great care every day. Knowing my love for cats, my friend chose a cruet with cute cat designs on it. Simply holding it in my hand fills my heart with happiness. I believe it is crucial to cherish small moments of happiness every day.

#日本語の文 #にほんごのぶん #日本語を読もう #日本語を読む #日本語を読む練習

Photos from Smile Nihongo Academy's post 30/01/2024

Do you know about 部首 (ぶしゅ) Bushu, which is a primary component of Kanji?

They are called Kanji Radicals or 部首 (ぶしゅ) "Bushu" in Japanese.

These components are typically related to the meaning or origin of the Kanji.

I have created a new video explaining the importance of Bushu (Kanji Radicals) and how it can benefit your Kanji learning!

👉 Go to the lesson on YouTube: https://youtu.be/W54ZfY0NMNw

In the video, I talk about:

🔹 How Bushu signifies the meaning of Kanji
🔹 5 Most Common Locations of Bushu
🔹 Example of Bushu and their meanings

I have a list of 50 部首 (ぶしゅ) Kanji Radicals with 323 Example Kanji.

You can get it on my website:
smilenihongo.com/radicals

Timeline photos 01/01/2024

あけましておめでとうございます!㊗️ Happy New Year!
2024 is the Year of the Dragon, 辰年 (たつどし).

The Dragon is the only mythical creature in the 12 zodiacs and signifies the following.
🔸 Power
🔹 Strength
🔸 Good fortune
🔹 Intelligence
🔸 Bravery

= Born in the Year of the Dragon? =

If you were born in one of the following years, you were born in the Year of the Dragon. This is your year!
・1952
・1964 ... (60 years old) 2024 is the Year of Rebirth for you.
・1976
・1988
・2000
・2012

People born in the Year of the Dragon are thought to be charismatic, ambitious, and natural leaders. They also have a strong drive for success and are not afraid to take risks to achieve their goals.

= Turn 60 years old this year? =

If you turn 60 years old this year, this is a significant milestone in your life! ✨
Each animal year is also associated with one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water), creating a 60-year cycle.

When a person turns 60, they have gone through the Chinese zodiac cycle a total of five times and are now back at their original zodiac combination.

The zodiac combination 60 years ago (1964) and this year (2024) is Dragon & Wood.

Therefore, 60 years of age signifies "Rebirth" in our culture, and it's a celebratory event in one's life.

We call the occasion 還暦(かんれき) "Kanreki" in Japanese.

・還 (かん, Kan) : Return
・暦 (れき, Reki) : Calendar

If you were born in 1964, your new life cycle starts this year.
Now you possess all the experiences, skills, memories, and wisdom you didn't have 60 years ago as a baby. With those assets, you now step forward to a brand-new life cycle.

I wish you all the best! おめでとうございます!

If your parent or grandparent turns 60 in 2024, please share this information and congratulate them! 😉

Japanese Negative Form じゃない Ja Nai 【Japanese Grammar】 26/08/2023

Let's learn how to change the sentence ...は ...です (...wa ... desu) into negative.

We have 3 versions of the Negative Form of [NOUN]です. Which one should you use in everyday conversation? Let's find out!

・My origin is not Tokyo. (I'm not originally from Tokyo)
・My hobby is not hiking.
・My father is not American.
・Today is not Tuesday.
・"Tatami" is not food.
・My mother's job is not a lawyer, either.

Enjoy the lesson! レッスンをたのしんでください。😃

Japanese Negative Form じゃない Ja Nai 【Japanese Grammar】 0:13 Review of Affirmative Sentence1:26 Negative Form of [NOUN]です (desu)3:05 Point 1 - Other Versions4:28 Point 2 - Always used with a Noun5:45 Point 3 - Can...

Photos from Smile Nihongo Academy's post 05/08/2023

裏庭にラズベリーがなっていました。全く手入れをしていない茂みの中に、自然となっていました。甘くて美味しかったです。母なる大地からの贈り物ですね。 ✨

🔹 Hiragana & Katakana
うらにわにラズベリーがなっていました。まったくていれをしていないしげみのなかに、しぜんとなっていました。あまくておいしかったです。ははなるだいちからのおくりものですね。

🔹 Romaji
uraniwa ni razuberii ga natte imash*ta. mattaku teire o sh*te inai shigemi no naka ni shizento natte imash*ta. amakute oishikatta desu. hahanaru daichi kara no okurimono desu ne.

🔹 Vocabulary
裏庭 (うらにわ) uraniwa = backyard
ラズベリー razuberii = raspberries
なる naru = bear fruit
全く (まったく) mattaku = (not) at all
手入れ (ていれ) teire = maintenance
茂み (しげみ) shigemi = bush
自然と (しぜんと) shizento = naturally/spontaneously
甘い (あまい) amai = sweet
美味しい (おいしい) oishii = delicious/tasty
母なる大地 (ははなるだいち) haha naru daichi = Mother Earth
贈り物 (おくりもの) okurimono = gift

🔹 English
There were raspberries growing in the backyard. They were growing naturally in a bush we didn't tend at all. These raspberries were sweet and delicious. It's a gift from Mother Earth. ✨

25/07/2023

What is your current Japanese level?
I have a Placement Test available for you to assess your level!

Try the Checkpoint Quizzes for Japanese 1 to 7 courses, and test your knowledge!

Check your level at:
https://smilenihongo.com/placement

You can use the quizzes to:

🔹 Determine which course to register for your level.
🔹 Review what you've learned in previously completed courses.

Each quiz has only 7 questions, and all of them are multiple-choice.

Let's see if you get a 7/7 score (Perfect Score!) on these Checkpoint Quizzes.

If you do, you probably won't need to take/repeat the course. Move on to the next course!

Enjoy the quizzes and discover your proficiency level! 😀

Timeline photos 17/07/2023

A sound like りょ is called "Glide." Glides are combinations of two sounds (り"ri" and よ"yo"), but you pronounce them together in one beat as if they are one sound.

Compare these two sounds:

▪️ りよ (ri yo) with regular-sized よ = a sequence of two sounds, "ri" and "yo."
▪️ りょ (ryo) with small-sized ょ= Japanese Glides. You pronounce both sounds (ri and yo) at the same time.

Watch the full lesson about "Glides" on my YouTube channel 👉
https://youtu.be/t5ollLgWbkU

= Point 1 =
The first sound has the vowel [i]. (e.g., きしちにひみり)

= Point 2 =
The second sound is one of やゆよ.

= Point 3 =
The first letter is in regular size, but the second (やゆよ) has to be smaller.

NOTE: You apply the same spelling rule also to Katakana.

Watch the full lesson and practice pronouncing Japanese Glides! 😀

  

Small やゆよ Ya Yu Yo - How to pronounce Japanese Glides 15/07/2023

Let's work on some crucial pronunciation in the Japanese language called "Glides."

Watch the full lesson about "Glides" on my YouTube channel 👉
https://buff.ly/46SZV87

Glides are combinations of two sounds, but you pronounce them together in one beat as if they are one sound.

Compare these two sounds:

▪️ りよ (ri yo) is simply a sequence of two sounds.
▪️ りょ (ryo) Japanese Glides. You pronounce both sounds (ri and yo) at the same time.

= Point 1 =
The first sound has the vowel [i]. (e.g., きしちにひみり)

= Point 2 =
The second sound is one of やゆよ.

= Point 3 =
The first letter is in regular size, but the second (やゆよ) has to be smaller.

NOTE: You apply the same spelling rule also to Katakana.

Watch the full lesson and practice pronouncing Japanese Glides! 😀

Small やゆよ Ya Yu Yo - How to pronounce Japanese Glides Learn how to pronounce small やゆよ and how to spell Japanese Glides.Japanese Long Vowelshttps://youtu.be/yuuWqMt-7cM Hiragana Masterclasshttps://smilenihongo...

28/06/2023

🔸 Review JLPT N5 Grammar

https://buff.ly/3PBdrGW

🔸 Review JLPT N5 Particles

https://buff.ly/3PyPnot

The JLPT July exam is coming up this Sunday, July 2nd❗️

みなさん、JLPTのしけん、がんばってください!🙌

Timeline photos 23/06/2023

The JLPT July exam is coming up!
🔹 Sunday, July 2nd, 2023

Testing sites are available in most countries in East Asia (Japan), South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Testing sites are limited in Oceania, Europe, North & South America, Africa, and the Middle East. July exam is not available in the USA.

Please check the testing sites on the JLPT website. https://buff.ly/3PpqWK1

🔸 JLPT Review Lessons

Full Lessons https://smilenihongo.com/jlptvideos

🔸 JLPT Review Shorts

N5 Grammar https://smilenihongo.com/n5grammar
N5 Particles https://smilenihongo.com/n5particles
N4 Vocabulary https://smilenihongo.com/n4vocab

みなさん、JLPTのしけん、がんばってください!🙌

Pronounce Japanese Long Vowels: Is えいが "EIGA" or "EEGA"? 17/06/2023

Learn Japanese Long Vowels and their correct pronunciations.

https://youtu.be/yuuWqMt-7cM


= Point 1 =
Be sure to give two beats when you pronounce a long vowel. For instance, [ku-u-ki] (3 beats) and [ku-ki] (2 beats) are different words.

= Point 2 =
There are two types of discrepancies between how Hiragana is spelled and how words are actually pronounced with long vowels involved.

The sequence [e-i] in spelling is pronounced as [e-e].
The sequence [o-u] is pronounced as [o-o].

Learn more details and hear the actual pronunciations in the lesson. Enjoy! 😀

Pronounce Japanese Long Vowels: Is えいが "EIGA" or "EEGA"? Learn Japanese Long Vowels and their correct pronunciations. Hiragana Masterclasshttps://smilenihongo.com/HMaster・PDF Materials - 34 pages ・MP3 Audio Files -...

15/06/2023

Hayao Miyazaki’s highly anticipated new film is coming out in July in Japan.
The original Japanese title is 君たちはどう生きるか (きみたちはどういきるか) “How do you live?”

Studio Ghibli is set to release Hayao Miyazaki's 'final film' 'How Do You Live?' with no trailer, no plot summary, no voice cast list and no promotional marketing.

The legendary anime house is asking fans to go see the film with no preconceptions. "Deep down, I think this is what moviegoers latently desire," says Miyazaki's longtime collaborator and producer Toshio Suzuki.

The upcoming film is loosely based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Genzaburo Yoshino and has been described as “fantasy on a grand scale.”

'How Do You Live?' comes out on July 14 in Japan, with U.S. and international release dates to be announced.

Japanese Language Class on Zoom: Learn Practical Phrases【役立つ表現】日本語クラス 24/05/2023

This is a Japanese Language Class I did on Zoom for my online students. Let's learn practical phrases you can use in Japanese conversation!

Questions from Students
https://smilenihongo.com/questions

Japanese Online Courses
https://smilenihongo.com/class

Course Packages with a Discount
https://smilenihongo.com/packages

Enjoy the live class! 😊

https://youtu.be/rR52pS8Lgkc

Japanese Language Class on Zoom: Learn Practical Phrases【役立つ表現】日本語クラス This is a Japanese Language Class I did on Zoom for my online students. Let's learn practical phrases you can use in Japanese conversation.Questions from Stu...

13/05/2023

On Mother's Day in Japan, we usually express our gratitude to our mother by saying:
お母さん、ありがとう。
おかあさん、ありがとう。
Okaasan, arigatoo.

You can also add いつも (itsumo) "always" to say Thank-you for her being caring and supportive of you always.

Learn other expressions in Japanese.
https://buff.ly/3VRfDey

Timeline photos 12/05/2023

How to you say "southeast" in Japanese?

My students asked the question, and I would like to share my responses with you.

Please see the diagram of directions in Japanese that demonstrates how the reading of Kanji changes when two directions are combined, such as South and East.

[Example]

South: みなみ (minami)
East: ひがし (higashi)

→ When you combine the two, it's なんとう (nantoo)

Learn Japanese online at Smile Nihongo Academy
https://buff.ly/2Q1gojp

Timeline photos 11/05/2023

How to you say "It's 50 miles north of [City]?"

My students asked the question, and I would like to share my responses with you.

[City] + の(NO) + 50マイル (go juu mairu) きた (kita) です (desu)。

The particle の NO is mandatory and you cannot drop it.

You can alter the phrase by changing the words.

Example: "It's 30 miles south of San Francisco."

サンフランシスコの 30マイルみなみです。
San Francisco NO san juu mairu minami desu.

It's worth noting that "miles" aren't used in Japan, so you might want to convert the distance to "kilometers" (キロ) if you're speaking to a Japanese person.

Example: "It's 25 kilometers north of Tokyo."

とうきょうの25キロきたです。
Tokyo no ni juu go kiro kita desu.

Learn Japanese online at Smile Nihongo Academy
https://smilenihongo.com/class

Timeline photos 10/05/2023

How to you say "outside/outskirt of [City]?"

My students asked the question, and I would like to share my responses with you.

The phrase "[City name] + きんこう (kinkoo)" can now be used as a standalone noun, so the particle "の" is optional.

[City] + きんこう(kinkoo)

OR

[City] + の(NO) + きんこう(kinkoo)

They are both commonly used.

Learn Japanese online at Smile Nihongo Academy
https://smilenihongo.com/class

Timeline photos 16/04/2023

心が震える先に、金色の道がある。(こころがふるえるさきに、きんいろのみちがある)

・心 (こころ) heart 
・震える (ふるえる) to tremble/to shake
・先 (さき) ahead
・金色 (きんいろ) golden color
・道 (みち) path

Your heart tells you the path you are destined to take. Follow your heart.

12/04/2023

Kanji 車 means “car, wheel.”

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こんにちは!Konnichiwa! (Hello!)

Smile Nihongo Academy offers various levels of online courses for Japanese learners all over the world. The school is based in the USA and your せんせい sensei (teacher) is Yuko-sensei, a native Japanese instructor who has many years of teaching experience!


  • Do you want to learn Japanese online in your spare time?

  • Do you learn better with visual aids such as PowerPoint or video rather than a book?

  • Have you tried an online course before but frustrated because there was nobody to answer your questions and help you understand better?
  • Videos (show all)

    Kanji 外 means "outside." #japanesekanji #n5kanji #jlptn5kanji #japanesekanjistudy #studykanji #japanesekanjilearning #ka...
    When we count people, we use the counter 人 (にん nin). Typically, the location of the counter is after the person you are ...
    Kanji 上 means “up, on top, above.”
    Kanji 馬 means "horse."
    Kanji 大 means "big, large." Download Kanji Practice Sheets (PDF 5 pages) https://smilenihongo.com/kanji-practice
    たい2.mov
    たい1.mov
    ませんか2.mov
    ませんか1.mov
    います.mov
    あります2.mov
    あります1.mov